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Saturday, January 31, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 24.0° F  Overcast
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I was going to refer to the conclave in Tampa, Florida, this week as the "convention follies" (that would have also worked for the Democratic gathering next week in Charlotte, North Carolina), but I thought better of it, wanting to maintain respect for sacred democratic traditions. So I'll just mock the politicians.

Well, I won't even do that, the parties and the politicians having shown ample talent for self-parody. But what I will do is urge you again to follow our convention coverage on TheDailyPage.com and in Isthmus. Staffer Joe Tarr and contributor Ruth Coniff are both in Tampa and have been filing reports through the week on the web, and both have convention reports in this issue.

This convention, and the one next week, are vestiges of a bygone process, one of politicking and deal making, rendered obsolete by the proliferation of primaries. Now their main function is the branding and marketing of the candidate, fitting an age where packaging has become as big a concern as the content. They do still provide a window into the feelings of the rank-and-file party members who make up the state delegations. And then there are party rules and platform fights that provide some interest in the proceedings. But gone are the days when the roll call vote for the nomination provided drama and intrigue.

In case you've missed reports from the convention and other campaign-related developments, consult the Election 2012 Blog on TheDailyPage.com home page, where articles are compiled. When Tarr wraps it up in Tampa, he's off to report on Charlotte. Many thanks to WORT (89.9 FM) for including our reporter on their convention team. He is supplementing their daily convention coverage.

Between now and then we'll be enjoying a Labor Day that promises some beautiful holiday weather. We'll take up further convention action starting Thursday online and in next week's paper.

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