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Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is the President of Intermat, Inc., a consulting practice that specializes in the intersection of media, technology and marketing. For two years, he produced the Emmys on the Web and supervised web related activities for the Academy, including for the 50th Anniversary year of the Emmy Awards. In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie. Visit his web site at

Let the Games Begin!

On the morning John Kerry announced John Edwards would be his running mate, the venerable New York Post, founded by Alexander Hamilton and now owned by arch conservative Rupert Murdoch, boldly proclaimed on its cover that Kerry had chosen Gephardt, with a photo of the two together.

It had gone to print with what the Post believed was irrefutable inside information that Dick Gephardt was the choice and the Post was going to scoop the world.

Well, not since Dewey defeated Truman in 1948 has there been such a front-page gaff. And, as one can imagine, the local media had a field day of fun with the Post - as I can imagine the national media did also. Red faced after being caught red handed, the Post corrected its mistake the following day with a droll nod to its blunder. Rumors circulate the mistake goes all the way up to Rupert.

It was a good, great, deep laugh in a campaign that I don't think promises a lot of laughs. President Bush has seemed very cross since the announcement; he has been humorless, actually - though I have never noticed that he's had much. And he's been on the attack.

Some Republicans, including former Senator D'Amato, have gone so far as to suggest Bush drop Cheney and pick someone a little livelier than our current Vice President; someone, too, without that heavy Halliburton baggage.

One of the things the choice of Edwards has given Kerry is a bit of charisma - he actually seems to have learned to smile a little more since he has joined himself to the perpetually sunny Edwards.

The 2004 race for the Presidency is on, heatedly, before the conventions - an unusual feature in itself. Pundits have pointed out that this has happened rarely in our political history.

Also what is new, and what is sobering, and not so fun, is that this is also the first post 9/11 election in the United States.

It is not the first, however, election since the invasion of Iraq. We saw what Al Qaida did in Madrid - which toppled a government.

The reality for us is that another attack upon is likely - and it is possible that something will be attempted during the Election.

With the Government announcing there are "credible" reports of terrorists planning attacks on us during either the conventions or election campaign we are entering uncharted territories in electioneering. When the 2000 campaign was underway, it was inconceivable our national process would expose the citizenry to physical danger.

It does now.

Interestingly, 62% [CNN] of the population believes Secretary Ridge's announcement had more to do with politics than with reality. Ah, America, home of unfettered optimism is also the land of cynical reactions.

Sitting in one of the cities that will be home to one of the conventions, I am feeling far more vulnerable this election than I have in other elections - and I mean physically vulnerable.

In another era the presence of a national political convention in a city meant serious inconveniences, traffic jams, difficulty in getting restaurant reservations, and sidewalk crowds of clueless tourists, unruly demonstrations.

Now it means you are the bright red center of a target - and we're not thinking shopping at Target. We are talking dynamite or worse.

My sister was relieved I wasn't in New York on the weekend of the 4th. I would be relieved if I wasn't in the city when the Republicans are here but, unfortunately, I will be here, with the clueless crowds, avoiding restaurants and all of mid-town, collectively crossing our fingers that nothing goes wrong.

We are in for the season of histrionics, back-biting, reputation ripping, half-truths, character slashing, and financial investigating while watching profound amounts of money being spent on advertising campaigns, our television screens splashed ad nauseum with ads that will become increasingly vitriolic the closer we get to November.

In this rendition of our quadrennial spectacle we are faced with the first experience of living through it knowing that someone out there has a figurative gun pointed at us.

The Games have begun. Let's hope they are not deadly.