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Keller @ Large: Conventions A Waste Of Money

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Florida National Guardsmen patrol outside the Tampa Bay Times Forum ahead of the Republican National Convention on August 26, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Florida National Guardsmen patrol outside the Tampa Bay Times Forum ahead of the Republican National Convention on August 26, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Disappointingly for some, mercifully for others, there will be no Republican Convention festivities of any note Monday in deference to Tropical Storm Isaac.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:


It was probably a good idea for them to cancel, considering the hash convention organizers made of yesterday’s arrangements, when shuttles that were supposed to take the thousands of media personnel from their workspaces located a long walk away from the convention hall stopped running well before the need for them had ended, and covered walkways that were supposed to shield workers from the elements were left inexplicably uncovered.

Memo to the City of Tampa and the Republicans: drenched, exhausted reporters and technicians do not make for a happy audience for your big show.

But that wasn’t the worst of what amounted to the Tampa convention’s dress rehearsal.

There is more than enough military, police and other security firepower in the streets of downtown Tampa to defend it against an assault by several battalions. And that appears to be what the Secret Service, which has been turning these political conventions into case studies in uncontrolled paranoia for a decade now, appears to be anticipating.

I know, all it takes is one ugly security breach and we’d be screaming for their heads.

But if you’ve never been stopped 12 times during a half-mile walk inside an already heavily-guarded compound and ordered to show your credentials, you can’t truly appreciate how oppressive and ridiculous it is.

Perhaps this is their idea of punishment for the press blowing the whistle on their extracurricular escapades.

This is a topic everyone is afraid to deal with, but at some point, given our budget problems, we might want to take a clear-eyed look at the degree to which law enforcement has exploited our post-9/11 fears to load up on untold billions in hardware and overtime.

Let’s put it this way – the first political party to scrap its convention to save the waste of tax dollars will get my vote forever.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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