What If You Threw a Party Convention and No One Came?

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Or rather, volunteers didn’t sign up to turn the wheels of the party machinery? Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) reports that the Minneapolis-St. Paul 2008 Host Committee is scrounging to fill its volunteer roster for the Republican National Convention in September. They’ve even tapped the imposingly bulky Kenneth Anderson, a.k.a. “Mr. Kennedy” of Friday Night SmackDown fame, and Minnesota Viking Matt Birk to appeal in ads to Minnesotans’ civic honor and sign up for duty. Here’s Anderson in one of the ads

Minneapolis-St. Paul is hosting a championship match, the 2008 Republican National Convention… This convention matters to our cities and we need your help no matter what your political affiliation…. Let’s show everyone what Minnesota Nice really means.

(See MPR’s Polinaut blog on why Anderson might not have been the best pick for a PSA.) 

In all fairness, organizers have recruited some 8,900 folks to work as “docents, greeters, and all-around Minnesota ambassadors.” But they’re still short of their 10,000 target, and the deadline to reach that number is Tuesday. The deficit is a wee bit embarrassing given their Democratic counterparts’ performance so far. “[I]n Denver,” MPR reports, “so many volunteers have registered for the Democratic National Convention that hordes will likely be turned away.” 

We at Utne Reader will be busy that week covering the GOP convention ourselves. We’ll have our editorial team trolling our hometown and pacing the convention floor. We’d like to know: What stories do you want to hear from the RNC? What missing coverage would you like us to tackle? Chime in below in the comments field.

UPDATE (7/14/2008): Looks like the Host Committee’s efforts paid off. Organizers met their goal of 10,000 volunteers over the weekend, thanks to help from Mr. Kennedy, Matt Birk, and volunteer booths at the Mall of America. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that they’re still signing folks up as back up volunteers through tomorrow.

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