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Bill Clinton endorse any of the large demonstrations since Seattle. “We’re trying to create an opportunity for struggle that goes beyond any endorsement process,” he somewhat obliquely explained on Tuesday. Despite the generous reception for Lydia Lester, each of her fellow panelists heartily endorsed Gore, with no apologies. For Borosage, the choice was obvious. “The point is if you’re John Sweeney, or George Becker, or fighting the environmental fight, or caring about poor people, it’s not that Al Gore is the second coming and he encourages you, it’s that if Bush is elected, you’ll spend four years on the defensive, and ten years cleaning it up,” he said. Organized labor would fare particularly poorly: “They would hunt labor like a dog.” And besides, Borosage said, as Jesse Jackson, Sr. has been telling skeptical delegates, “Don’t just look at the quarterback, look at the team on the field.” The few progressives in Congress e.g., Paul Wellstone, David Bonior, Russ Feingold, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Barney Frank are all Democrats. Gore will do fine with voters, Borosage predicted, if he sticks with the core message: save social security, invest in education, protect a woman’s right to choose. The liberals will come around, he said. What choice do they have? Indeed, by Tuesday afternoon, Lieberman had met with a group of black delegates to iron things out. He was not married to his previous record, he averred, and it would be Gore’s administration, after all. meanwhile, had been “liberal night,” with Jesse Jackson, Sr. delivering a fiery speech, the only one this reporter heard that even mentioned the protestors. He reminded the convention that many of reforms this country now takes for granted, including the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, originated not in a Democratic party platform, but with protests in the streets. Jackson’s early speech was followed by Charles Rangel, Bill Bradley, and most of the living Kennedys. Gore’s much anticipated finale on Thursday night with his promise of campaign finance reform right off the bat, and his vague reference to “powers” that sometimes stand between people and prosperity seemed to please the delegates. 12 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 0 ver ten thousand reporters covered the convention, though they spent most of their time in each other’s company an entire wing of the Staples Center was devoted to them. Now that primaries determine the candidates, and delegate selection is a closely controlled process, there is really very little of official substance to report from a national political convention. The convention is a show, not so different from the hundreds that were filmed in Los Angeles over the same four days. It has a producer, a director, and a stage manager, a beginning, a rather long, boring middle, and an exciting finale. Tom Brokaw called it a fourday infomercial for the Democrats. The budget, of course, is much larger than your average infomercial, but the Democrats do not have to pay for it because; like its G.O.P. counterpart, it is funded primarily by corporate donations. The streets provided a much more fluid venue for small-d democracy. Protests, of course, can also be a very stilted cultural form. But since Seattle, things have been a little more unpredictable, both in terms of alliances and tactics. Getting near the permitted marches that took place on each day of the convention proved difficult at times, as the police had heavily lined the intersections along the route which had the dual effect of stopping traffic, while also preventing anyone from joining a march once it had begun. I had to negotiate my way into the rowdy march against police brutality on Wednesday. After displaying my press credentials and reminding the officers that the march was legally permitted, I was allowed to pass the police line. “You’re crazy,” one cop told me. “You want to get in with that crowd?” I did. I really did. A Maxine Waters SEPTEMBER 8, 2000