Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Pecking Order

Photo: Richard Sennott, Star Tribune
What does it take to get to be the white dude helping carry the banner on MLK Day?

Norm Coleman is a US Senator (R) and St. Paul resident, which must trump Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar (slightly obscured at right in the next row), who is a Democratic candidate for Minnesota's other Senate seat.

Showing up and jockeying for a camera position at these bi-partisan events must be very stressful for politicians. Will someone allocate the spots or is it time to sharpen the elbows?

Years ago when Mikhail Gorbachev visited Minnesota, a great group standup routine was broadcast prior to a Governor's reception for the Soviet leader. Gorby's limo was running late — and so was the reporter following him. Meanwhile, a live feed ran from a fixed camera at the Governor's mansion set up to carry the formalities, while voice over was provided from the studio.

As local politicos of both parties arrived, they all gravitated immediately to the camera and tried to look casual. The area had been cleared of furniture, food and people. The men were visibly uncomfortable feigning informality standing in a place at a party that made no sense — unless you needed to stake out a position before the guest of honor arrived.

It was like watching a court full of post players all trying to establish themselves on the block without getting called for a foul.


Blogger janinsanfran said...

I once was the advance organizer for a rally by a Democratic primary Presidential candidate. Every local pol had to be on hand because it was common knowledge that our candidate was going to take a strong plurality of votes in the city.

As is very normal in such events, the candidate was late. Really late -- something like four hours. The event was outside. Everyone let anywhere near the podium had to be screened by the Secret Service. So the pols came on time, mostly, and were penned into police barricades. The heavens opened and it rained and hailed. There was only a 12'x12' tent to cover our local "leaders." One of the few pleasures associated with putting on this soggy event was watching our soaked and bedraggled local government types forced to chat with rivals they couldn't stand and would probably run against in the future. They endured tho -- any hardship for being seen in the right place.

3:55 PM  

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