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Grata: Eye on political conventions

| Monday, Aug. 27, 2012, 12:54 p.m.
Ed Dlutowski owner of Sign Guy signs in Monongahela puts up this political sign in front of his business for passerbys to see. Jim Ference | Valley Independent

As if you haven't heard enough political mudslinging on television news and ads already, the worst is yet to come as the nation moves toward the Nov. 6 general election.

Will it be four more years of incumbent Democrat President Barack Obama?

Or will you help pick Republican challenger Mitt Romney to lead the nation starting in January?

The parties and affiliated political action committees will step up the rhetoric and their multimillion-dollar campaigns starting Monday, when delegates gather in Tampa, Fla., to open the Republican National Convention.

Both the Rs and Ds will pledge to save the country from ruin and make promises they can't keep.

The conventions are the subject of today's column, another in occasional Question-and-Answer offerings.

Q. – Who will be the opening speaker at the GOP gathering?

1) Former veep candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who can see Russia from her home atop a melting glacier

2) Romney's wife, Anne, who owns two Cadillacs

3) Rafalca, Anne Romney's dancing horse who competed in the recent Olympics and provided a $77,000 tax write-off

4) Allegheny County Republican Party Chairman Jim Roddey, who has apologized for using a disparaging “r” word

Q. – Which of the following souvenirs will be sold at the Republican convention and can be purchased on-line as well?

1) A GOP baseball cap designed “to make you look good and keep the sun off your head,” $30

2) A 1.25-inch long elephant pin inspired by Salvador Dali's “Space Elephant,” $120

3) A limited edition Republican National Committee Christmas ornament with “Made in the USA” on the back, $30

4) A 2-foot-square “official” convention flag, $49, includes shipping

5) All of the above

After a four-day reprieve (Thank you, Lord!) from the Republican National Convention, the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., will get under way on Labor Day with similar formalities.

Q. – Who will be the opening speaker at the Democratic gathering?

1) Bo, the Obamas' rare Portugese “water dog”

2) Marian Robinson, the President's mother-in-law who lives at the White House and who's really “top dog” there

3) Daughters Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, who attend the same Washington, D.C., school as did Chelsa Clinton and Tricia Nixon

4) Ex-state Rep. Bill DeWeese, D-Greene, currently in jail for political corruption, in exchange for a presidential pardon

Q. – Which of the following souvenirs will be sold at the Democrat convention and can be purchased on-line as well?

1) Three bottles of “official sauce,” $35, not Jack Daniels, Old Grand Dad and Southern Comfort but tomato-, mustard- and vinegar-based barbecue sauces

2) A ladies' scoop neck T-shirt “with a touch of Spandex to flatter a woman's curves,” $35

3) A beer-can holder with a convention logo, $6, to keep your favorite beverage cold.

4) A “slam dunk of a deal,” two buttons for one low price, $6, of Obama shooting hoops

5) All of the above

Q. – How much time will you spend watching the political conventions whose results will shape your future?

1) None

2) Who's running?

3) About as much time as I spent watching the Olympics. By the way, who won?

4) I'll be watchin' the Stillers and drinkin' an Arn

5) I don't vote

Plate du jour - “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill

Joe Grata is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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