Media interviewing media: CL meets up with The Nation's John Nichols

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"When Pat Buchanan spoke you could feel it in the room," he told CL. That room was the Astrodome.

"Some people loved it, other people hated it, but you could feel it in the room," he said of the tension the speech set off, a tension that led critics to proclaim that the GOP was beginning to go too far right back in 1992.

Nichols also cited the coronation of Bill Clinton and Al Gore as the winning Democratic ticket in 1992 as one with some excitement, thanks to Jerry Brown's fighting to get a speaking slot in New York City that year.

"I hate what they’ve done to conventions," Nichols says of 2012's version. "I hate that they have made them sterile, empty events." Something Nichols did enjoy: The fact that Ron Paul supporters were rebelling on Tuesday against two rule changes. For a moment, there was life.

  • The Nation's John Nichols

Whether Tampa has been invaded by 25,000 people or 35,000 this week (we refuse to parrot the mainstream media estimate of 50,000), the overwhelming majority of these folks are political reporters.

So pardon us if we're excited to tell you about our exchange on the floor of the convention this afternoon with John Nichols, Washington correspondent for The Nation, and a veteran of many conventions.

As far as Nichols is concerned, you don't have to dip back to the 1950s to rue the way that political conventions used to be. Twenty years ago is probably far enough. That's when Pat Buchanan delivered his infamous "culture war' speech at the RNC in Houston.

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