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July 09, 2004

I'm Going to Boston

By Byron LaMasters

I was a bit shocked when I got a letter in the mail from the DNC on Tuesday with press credentials for both the perimeter and the hall to the Democratic National Convention in Boston at the end of the month. I had pretty much discounted my chances, since BOR - while being a top political weblog in Texas, is not really one of the top blogs nationally. I mean, yeah, we have a link on kos, but still we're around #200 in terms of traffic ranking of weblogs on the Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem. We still get around 1000 page views a day - a number that I'm sure will rise dramatically when I blog the convention. Regardless, I must have something going for me. I was smart enough to send the DNC everything they needed (some bloggers seemed to forget about this minor security detail). You know - a copy of my drivers license, my social security number, etc. - to make sure I'm not a terrorist. Although, a background check on me (via Google.com) yields some interesting results. Maybe it's because I'm important enough for Rick Perry to call the top reporter for the Austin American Statesman into his office to dispel a rumor I posted that was initially spread by the governor's opponents within the Republican Party. Or maybe it's the fact that I'm a student at a University that rejected George W. Bush. Or maybe it's that I'm from Bush's home state, and I've had to hear his crap much longer than most Americans. I don't know. But it doesn't matter. I've been asked by the Democratic National Committee to cover the convention for this blog, and I accept the task. Since I was not expecting to be credentialed (and since I have a job this summer), I had not yet made plans to attend the convention. But I've managed to scramble some things together, so I should have all the airfare and hotel issues worked out by the weekend. Fortunately, I'm able to get some help with this from my employer (Dallas County Young Democrats) and from my parents, so the costs, while expensive, ought to be managable. My birthday is July 20th, so my parents contribution will be something of a birthday present.

Anyway, I'm very excited about this opportunity. I don't know if this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, or if this is something I'll be back at every four years if I decide to make a career out of this. I'm still not sure. I have another year of college to figure it out, I suppose. It doesn't matter, really. I'll have the opportunity to hear John Kerry and John Edwards accept their nominations to be the next President and Vice President of the United States - and for that, I consider myself very lucky. The first vote that I ever cast was for Al Gore in 2000, and every day as I see the wreckless policies of the Bush / Cheney administration I feel prouder of that first vote that I cast when I was 18 years old. Now, at the age of 22 (as of 7/20/04), I will have the opportunity to see the Democratic ticket completed to defeat George W. Bush. Having said that, my job at the convention is to blog. I want to cover issues that the mainstream media will likely ignore. My focus will be on the Texas delegation, but I want to meet as many delegates from across the country as I can. All of the delegates have a story, and the more that I can find the better. In particular, I would like to reach as many young people as possible. I want to know how young people across the country see this election. I want to know what Democrats can do to energize and bring more young people into the party. The mainstream media will cover all of the major speeches, and I will do that as well. But, I want to focus on things that the media won't quite capture. I want to hear from all of you. I'm doing this for my viewers. Fortunately, Karl-Thomas will also be in Boston as a delegate out of his senate district. So, there will be two of us from BOR covering the convention. Jim and Andrew have already promised to give their reaction to the mainstream media coverage of the convention. So here's my question. I'll be in Boston. I'll be spending a good four or five days around the convention. Yes. I'm a partisan liberal Democrat. But, I'm not going to be a lackey for the DNC. They'll probably approve of most of what I post, but I have my credentials, and I'll be in Boston as an Independent progressive Kerry / Edwards supporting Democratic blogger. So, here's my question to all of you. What do you want me to cover? What would BOR readers like to hear from the floor of the convention? I'll be there, and I'll have a laptop, and likely wifi access, so tell me what you want covered at the convention (if you don't want to comment, email me at: Byron@BurntOrangeReport.com).

Finally, while I do have some help getting to Boston, some of the cost will have to come out of my own pocketbook. So, if you'd like to help defray my costs, please donate to my paypal account (lamasters@mail.utexas.edu) here (and be sure to tell me what you'd like covered at the convention while you're at it):

Thanks again.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at July 9, 2004 11:27 AM | TrackBack


thats great about being able to cover the convention. I'd donate if I were able, but I'm looking for a job myself. It would be great if you could find some veterans of the Iraqi Freedom campaign to talk to. I don't know if many will be there, but after seeing Fahrenheit 9/11, and listening to the vets in that documentary, I'd love to hear some interviews from vets at the Dem convention. Thanks.

Posted by: donkeytalk at July 9, 2004 05:00 AM

Words cannot express how extremely jealous I am of you right now, and if I had any money I would definitely send it your way!

Have fun... and be careful!

Posted by: Len at July 9, 2004 07:17 AM

Insights about the various Senate races would be of great interest.
If nothing else, that should give you an excuse to talk with Barack Obama. =)

Posted by: Tim Z. at July 9, 2004 10:38 AM

I guess we could allow a dirty rotten Texan into Boston territory if he's supporting a good cause :). Make sure you see the rest of the city - that is, if you can get around. It's going to be a mad house up here.

Posted by: Jeff at July 9, 2004 10:53 AM

Congratulations Byron!
Im always telling people to check out your blog,
Your a great writer!
I hope you bring back some good dirt.

Posted by: austingirl at July 9, 2004 03:06 PM

Yeah, get some good dirt. We'll be able to hear what the convention speakers say so focus on the going ons, talk to some interesting people, get the reactions to speakers and events.

Posted by: Tek_XX at July 10, 2004 12:21 AM

What most Americans see/hear about conventions are 1) the keynote speeches and 2) any platform fights that may be brewing. Plus of course the final, utterly predictable, delegate vote.

I'd like to know - does anything else actually happen at a convention or is the whole thing just a big old party / networking / glad handing / job hunting event?

Posted by: fiat lux at July 10, 2004 01:12 PM

I'd love for you to cover post-FMA (vote is next week in the Senate) reaction from delegates and elected officials. Also, congressional races around Texas -- delegate reaction and interviews/conversations with candidates & incumbents...would be very cool :)

Posted by: Patti in Dallas at July 11, 2004 12:09 AM

I look forward to seeing you there, Byron.

Mike Lowrey
Dean delegate, 4th Wisconsin Cong. District

Posted by: Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey at July 11, 2004 05:18 PM

I know the debate over Iraq may be worn thin, but I would like to know how Kerry plans on handling the situation in Iraq once he becomes president (once he does, not if he does!). We, the United States, can't simply pack up and ship out after completely demolishing the country. While Kerry may be against going to war with Iraq now, he's going to have his plate full when he steps into the White House. What are his plans for Iraq? What is the future of our troops? How will other delegates help Kerry in reorganizing our efforts over there? Does he plan on gaining support from the U.N.? I know Kerry doesn't agree with the way Bush has handled Iraq, but the people want to know how he plans to handle it. What changes will he make to benefit all involved with this major foreign affair?

Posted by: Megan at July 26, 2004 03:22 PM
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