The lost delegates of Samoa

July 14, 1992|By Dave Barry | Dave Barry,Knight-Ridder News Service

NEW YORK — When Dave Barry booked his summer vacation in New York, little JTC did he know the Democratic National Convention was scheduled for the same time. A lesser man would have pretended not to notice, but Dave, supremely devoted to his craft, insisted on covering the proceedings. Selfless Dave will report on the convention this week while his family is busy tossing down lobster salad at four-star restaurants. New York -- Day One of the Democratic National Convention went off without a hitch, with speaker after speaker driving home the official convention theme: "A Whole Lot of Speaking."

The only major party member not yet with the program is former California earthling Jerry Brown, who has decided to continue his courageous quest -- despite the opposition of the corrupt old-line, big-money political establishment -- to draw attention to himself. But Most Democrats seem content to show their party unity by sitting in front of, without actually listening to, the speakers, and snorking down hors d'oeuvres at the estimated 17,500 receptions going on simultaneously at any given time.

In an effort to carry out my journalistic mission of providing you, the voter, with information obtained at places where I, the journalist, can get free beer, I attended several receptions. One was held for the Florida delegation at the Museum of Natural History, where delegates were eating and drinking beneath the towering skeletons of giant prehistoric creatures that roamed the Earth during the time of the last Democratic presidential administration.

I was standing under a nice set of skeletons when in walked -- you never know, at conventions -- famous rock person Stephen Stills. He is definitely older now than he was in the '60s. He was wearing a conservative suit, and looked like an investment banker with a little pony tail. I immediately whipped out my notebook and asked him a question about the issues.

"Did you ever inhale?" I asked.

"All my life," he said.

I guess that rules out a Supreme Court appointment.

Next I went to a reception for the delegations from Guam and American Samoa. Due to the overwhelming interest in Guam and American Samoa, the reception was very crowded, and I had to shove my way through, at great risk of being stabbed in the eyeball by hors d'oeuvres spears, to get to an actual Guam person. His name was John Angoco, and in an exclusive interview he revealed the following Guam facts:

*Guam is very far away. "The same distance from California to Hawaii; it's that much farther back over," is how my notes read.

*The population of Guam is "anywhere from 75,000 to 100,000."

When asked to compare Guam with an American state such as New Jersey, Angoco said: "New Jersey and Guam are two totally different things."

After this interview, we all crowded onto the terrace to hear an official welcoming proclamation read by -- I swear I am not making this up -- the New York City commissioner of mental health.

"I know you don't need my professional services," he told the crowd, inaccurately.

After the proclamation I tried to locate an American Samoan, but I couldn't. Finally a photographer told me that -- I am still not making this up -- most of the Samoan delegates had missed the plane. They're not even in New York. God only knows when the next plane will be.

This means that, depending on what the party bylaws say, this entire convention might be in violation of due party process, and the nomination might have to revert to the last legal possessor. Michael Dukakis, please call your office.

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