The platform debate-presidential debate-nomination battle structure of the LP Convention has a nice clarifying effect on the race. A few hours before voting starts, we know whose pre-Denver bluster was never tethered to reality. So, here's a quick guide to the people you'll never hear about again after this afternoon.
Christine Smith. As candidates rushed to hand in tokens yesterday, Andrew Ferguson of Liberty and I spotted Smith walking back from the convention hall. "Are you going to be in the debate?" Ferguson asked. She said no. Then she energetically (some would say angrily) pointed out that she had enough tokens to get nominated, and she wasn't out of this. "The debate's only a beauty contest!" said Noel Stephenson, a Smith backer walking right behind her. It's a funny argument from a candidate who's telling conventioneers to pick up copies of the local alt weekly, which is running a short profile on her featuring a publicity shot that can't be less than five years old.
Alden Link. "I thought, from his picture, that he'd sound like Lawrence Tierney from Reservoir Dogs," one delegate told me. "He sounds like Elmer Fudd." That's about it.
Daniel Imperato. He became a mascot of sorts in Denver. By Saturday everyone had an Imperato story; his bragging about his multinational lamination business, his claim to have laid fiber-optic cables across the Atlantic Ocean, his bizarre flyer that portrays him shaking hands with the Pope as George Washington looks ghostly on. After lunch on Saturday he made some news by dropping out of the race and endorsing Barr in a rambling statement that had to be heard to be believed, with his repeated "witticism" that "McCain is a pain!" and a mystifying story of Barr giving him a stick of gum in an airport.
Robert Milnes. A sad figure who spent months 1) saying he'd accept the mantle of a cross-party progressive alliance and 2) begging for money to get to Denver; Milnes was here in spirit. Plenty of people, including the comic Doug Stanhope, received his appeals for travel money. It's for the best that Milnes didn't show up (take a second and read his platform plank on back-to-Africa emigration), and I hope that for everyone who pokes fun at him, there's someone else trying to get him help.