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What's Missing from the RNC?

Michael Scherer in Mother Jones hits what's missing from the Republican Convention and Madison Square Garden--

There's something missing from this convention. Call it energy, spirit. Call it people....There's an aura of weirdness about this convention. It's different from last month's Democratic show in Boston.

How so?

On the first night in Boston, Bill Clinton had sucked every bit of air out of the FleetCenter. The journalists packed their risers; the nosebleed seats overflowed. You couldn't carry on a conversation. It was an early climax, not topped by either Kerry or Edwards, but it set the tone for the four days.

I agree with Scherer's description of the Fleet Center, so I have no reason to doubt his description of the Garden. I can say that outside the vicinity of the Garden, New York seems like a shadow of its normal self. Traffic isn't bad. I went from midtown to SoHo tonight in almost no time. SoHo had street parking available. There are no hordes of people, and that has included my trips to the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, midtown and Hell's Kitchen.

While there are plenty of tourists in Times Square, they don't seem connected to the convention. They seem mostly interested in eating their ice cream cones. All over town, looking inside restaurant windows, I've seen plenty of empty tables. Glancing up the avenues in the late afternoon and early evening, it seems most taxis have their "available" lights on.

There's still two days to go, so I don't want to proclaim New York a snooze yet, but I have to say, it's leaning that way.

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