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July 12, 1972 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1972-07-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

i air kian Bafu
Edited and managed by students at the
University of Michigan
Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual
opinions of the outhor. This must be noted in all reprints.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 12, 1972 News Phone: 764-0552

The molasses in Miami:
Delegates wallow in it

Prs (enl Me overn
THE SLOW-TALKING senator from South Dakota has
done it again.
George McGovern has deftly cleared the last hurdle
on the road to a first-ballot victory. With his over-
whelming victory in the California credentials challenge
vote, his immediate concern has become writing an ac-
ceptance speech.
Most old political pros, still blinking at the last few
months, will nonetheless tell you that McGovern's
chances of beating Richard Nixon in the fall are dismal
at best. "The President has a commanding lead in all
opinion polls," they will say with all the cynicism of
so-called political savvy. "'Right now Nixon is an unbeat-
able frontrunner." We can hear it now.
RECALL THAT in January Edmund Muskie's frontrun-
ner position was touted in the same light of inevit-
ability. And that the amazing Mr. McGovern proceeded,
against all prophecies from "old pros", won ten pri-
maries, six of them in a row.
At every major threshold of this campaign, there
has been some "old pro" standing around saying, "Nice
guy. Lots of ideals. Too bad he can't win."
NOW THE "nice guy" is about to become the Democrats'
standard-bearer. And of course, the pros have begun
their familiar refrain about nice guys. November, un-
doubtedly, will be as predictable as all the primaries
Which certainly is good news for George McGovern.

flood lights, surrounded by
vine-covered chain linked fence,
hutndreds of Secret Service (S)
agents scurrying about checking
everying, the Miami Beach Con-
vention Hall is the perfect place
to watch the political maneuver-
ing of the Democr'atic party.
waiting to get a security clear-
ance for my typewriter, conver-
sation was momentarily interupt-
ed by the low-flying military heli-
copters searching out trouble.
"They should have a couple of
those inside the hall," commented
one SS man, "That's where all
the fighting is going to be."
And the carillon bells of a near-
by church chimed out Glory, Glory,
IT IS A convention of contradic-
It is a convention that saw Sena-
tsr Bubert Humphrey try to use
the McGovern reform rules to
deny McGovern the California de-
legation and the nomination.
It is a convention that the news
media over-saturated with coverage
and still had no idea of what was
really happening on the floor.
IT IS A convention that is billed
as the most open and free con-
vention ever. Yet, the restrictions
on movement around the floor and
the convention hall is unbelievably
To gain access to the hall you
must have an oblong cardboard
pass with your area stamped on
it. A pass marked PRESS will not
get you on the convention floor.
One marked PHOTO will not get
you into the press stands. O n e
marked DELEGATE will not get
you near the guest seats. And the
one marked GUESTS will not get
you anywhere but your seat.
"I'm sorry, but that pass will
not get up up here," said the pret-
ty ushers hired by the Democratic
National Committee. And the two
SS men standing behind her per-
suaded you not to argue.
One pass, however, will get you
anywhere. The all-mightly FLOOR
PASS. And it is hard to get,
Members of the press have to
stand in line up to an hour to get
one of the rotating floor passes and
then are told "have it back in a
half an hour or you will -ot be
allowed back in the convention to-
On the convention floor for the
brief half hour, you find cnaos
and confusion.
THOUSANDS ARE on the floor,
apparently wandering mindlessly
around. Hundreds of media peo-

ple with ear plugs growing from
their ears are running here and
there trying to find somebody with
a name. Even if you don't know
any of the important faces, you
just have to count the number of
reporters around a person to jdge
his or her importance.
But if you make it to the floor
a second or, if you're lucky. - third
time, you begin to notice things
about the .massive crowd of dele-
gates here to decide the future of
the Democratic Party.

MOST OF THE delegates spend
their time sleeping, reading, try-
ing to get interviewed or playing
the most popular game on Miami
Beach this week - Spot the Cele-
The lebritie " could range from
Norman Mailer scowling at Gloria
Steinam to U.N.C.L.E.'s R o b e r t
Vaughn doing a television inter-
view with Abbie Hoffman w h o
wore a media pass with Popular
Mechanics scrawled across the top.
The rest of the delegates are

A snoozing delegate

They are down in Miami Beach
first to work, then to play. 'Ite
festive air ,seen at past conei-
tions is gone, no bands, a few
straw hats and giant buttons and
almost no balloons. They are at
the convention to do a job.
The delegates have come to vote,
not to listen to speakers or march
in the aisles. They came to cast
their vote the way they had de-
cided to long ago.
The main thing to notice on the
floor is that no one listens to
speakers. The delegates heard all
the arguments before, long before
they came into the convention hall.
And if any confusing procedural
questions come up that they might
not understand, as in the Cali-
fornia. challenge, the delegates
just sit back and wait for the aide
of the various political camps to
come around and advise them how
to vote.
Today's Staff . . .

playing power politics. They are
running around shaking hands,
patting backs and shooting bull.
"Hey, did you hear about the
New York delegation, they're slip-
ping away."
"No, you're wrong, it's the It-
linois delegation, it's Illinois that's
"Maybe, but I heard that they're
Gaining strength in Tennessee"
BUT THE JOB of the delegate
is not that easy. The delegates
are forced to sit through roll call
vote after roll call vote.
"I just sit here and pray that it
will be decided by a voice vote,"
said a woman delegate from Iowa.
She cringed as Larry O'Brien
again said from the podium ,"The
chair is in doubt, the cleri will
cal the roll."
And on it goes.

News: Jan Benedetti, Alan Lenhoff, Marilyn Riley
Editorial Page: Carla Rapoport
Photo Technician: Denny Gainer

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