Keep the political pageantry short and sweet

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney Photo Credit: Getty Images and AP

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Ellis Henican Newsday columnist Ellis Henican

Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a political analyst at the Fox News Channel and ...

The conventional wisdom is already in: Mitt Romney did well enough in Tampa, Fla., to remain competitive. Barack Obama delivered a solidly stirring acceptance speech, though Bill Clinton kinda stole the Charlotte, N.C., show. And pound for pound, the Dems put on a better bash than the Republicans did.

But before the two quadrennial infomercials fade entirely into the history books, a few other conclusions deserve more attention than they've received. Beginning with this one: Three nights is one night too long.

If the two parties persist in picking their nominees in primaries and caucuses -- and seemingly, they will -- then the conventions are little more than over-scripted pageants. They're still fun. Everyone looks great. But two full nights should be more than enough to hit those markers. The Republicans should thank Hurricane Isaac for the unplanned edit. Four nights, their original schedule, would have felt interminable.

This will not be a year of big convention bounces. A long campaign, big money and a relatively few undecided voters will make sure of that.

One-on-one debates matter more than mass conventions do. The debates are less scripted and smart questioners can poke at the candidates.

Funny is still effective. Ask Bill Clinton.

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Long and self-referential is not. Ask Marco Rubio.

The art of speech writing is in a glory phase now. Even the least inspiring oratory in Tampa and Charlotte was well-crafted. And when the speechwriters aren't involved -- well, everyone's still talking about Clint Eastwood, and not in a good way.

 

IMPOLITIC

1. Follow Bill Clinton to the podium

2. Schedule acceptance speech night before jobs report

3. Ask W. to Mitt-paign

4. Book Clint for Convention 2016

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5. Count on excitement from broadcast nets

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: "Guaranteed raises"? Who else but Suffolk cops expect guaranteed raises these days? Hear that phrase often around your job? . . . What uniform tricks can Roosevelt High students learn from their friends in Catholic school? How to maintain some shred of individuality despite the boring attire? . . . With infrastructure returning as a campaign talking point, isn't now an excellent time to revive the idea of a cross-Sound tunnel? The UPenn School of Design is pitching Port Jeff-to-Milford as a high-speed Amtrak link that would also boost Islip as major air hub . . . Why didn't Barack Obama name Brentwood High science whiz Samantha Garvey? Know any other inspiring 17-year-old national-prize standouts who bunked in homeless shelters? . . . Is anyone charting the progress of the future USS Michael Murphy? The 510-foot warship, named for the Patchogue SEAL hero killed in Afghanistan, left Bath Iron Works in Maine on Wednesday for an Oct. 6 commissioning in New York City, then on to Pearl Harbor . . . In this jumpy age, can't alienated high-school students threaten something besides "blow up the school" and "kill everyone"? Police say Massapequa senior Ryan Bernhardt uttered those disquieting words in a bagel shop . . . If LI is really the next Silicon Valley, don't we need a snappy nickname? And no, Silicon Island is way too derivative. Mark Lesko, the soon-to-be Accelerate Long Island director, might want to get busy on that.

THE NEWS IN SONG: Time grabs you by the wrist: "Good Riddance" by Green Day, tinyurl.com/donehere

LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK: MICHAEL MAK

Who says dancing to name-brand DJs has to entail a late-night trip to the city? With his first-ever Long Island Music Conference this weekend, Michael Mak is filling the LI dance-house-and-techno beat vacuum -- 50 times over and starting at 11 a.m. The 29-year-old promoter from New Hyde Park (facebook.com/aMAKevent) has summoned Dimitri, Rick Wonder, Louie Vegas, Jason Drazen, Chopps, Dami, Gina Marie, Michael Fusco and more than three dozen other top tri-state spinners to The Sands at Atlantic Beach for a two-day pool-beach-cabana dance party and music celebration. "Jersey Shore" DJ Pauly D headlines Sunday. "It's a mix of Las Vegas and Atlantic City on a scale Long Island has never seen," says Mak.

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Email ellis@henican.com
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