Another View: If even a candidate isn't watching...

Having dutifully smiled and waved through his own oleaginous convention, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush can perhaps be forgiven for wanting to skip the Democrats' own saccharine confection.

The Texas governor insisted he probably won't be watching or even listening to the Democratic convention: ''It's predictable.'' Instead, he says, he'll be hanging out at his ranch, fishing, playing cards, maybe chopping a little wood. Besides, he doesn't have cable.

Vice President Gore is believed to have watched some of the Republican proceedings but only because, in the words of one longtime observer, ''he's the kind of guy who would watch a convention.''

The civic watchdogs have been wringing their hands about the decline of political conventions, their lack of content, the network's lack of interest in broadcasting them and what this says about Americans' estrangement from the electoral process.

If you can't even get one of the candidates to watch, you can hardly blame the American public for doing likewise.

SHNS

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