The first political campaign that I was ever involved with
personally was in 1970.
The candidate was the retiring mayor of Beaumont, Texas, and he
was running against an entrenched incumbent for a state Senate seat
in the Democratic primary. Jim McNicholas was his name. The winner
of the primary would win the general election, probably without an
McNicholas got slaughtered.
I can't remember her name, but I'm certain of the circumstances
that lured me to McNicholas' campaign.
As a volunteer, I passed out literature, manned phone banks and
got to spend time with the candidate, especially during the last
week of the campaign when emotions are high and everyone is nervous.
I was nervous, too. I didn't know why then, and still don't. My
job wasn't on the line and there wasn't much a state senator could
do to tactfully end the war in Vietnam, yet I couldn't wait for the
votes to be tallied to see if our guy would win.
I'm sure I was anticipating some sort of victory party that would
include lots of politically savvy, very nice looking young ladies to
enjoy the win with. Sadly, I can't even remember if we had a party
The fact is, though, that primary campaign for Jim McNicholas
whet my appetite for politics. I still get jazzed up by the
It's now prime time and things should only get better and more
frenzied between now and Nov. 7, when we pick the next president.
I am thoroughly enjoying the national political conventions this
summer and I hope that the nation is paying attention. One place
setting is complete and the other will be in place by Thursday
I've had the good fortune to cover two national conventions, 1984
and 1992, and it's an amazing process to watch and report on as it
But, as amazing as they are now, the convention process has lost
some magic because there is no mystery at the meeting. Both
presidential and vice presidential candidates' positions on the
ballot are secure before the opening ceremony.
Of course, it wasn't always that way and it could have been
different this year, too -- at both party conventions.
There is one man that could have changed things with a simple nod
of his head. There is one man, that if he had chosen to enter the
race in January, in either party, could have changed the outcome so
significantly that we might have seen a delay in the selection
process until the parties convened this summer. …