For political journalists, there's nothing crueler than two national political conventions, two weeks in a row: Endless hours of note-taking; long, boring speeches by countless politicians; cheap hotels, lousy food and not enough sleep. You take one day of travel to another convention city, then turn around and do it all over again.
Every reporter complains about it, but too bad. Because the worst things for reporters are the best things for voters -- a chance to see both major political parties up close, back to back, in order to weigh the differences between them. And there could be no greater contrast between two parties, two conventions, or two candidates than what we saw in Cleveland and Philadelphia.
The quick version is: One convention was built on fear, the other on hope. One convention ended up offering the most qualified person ever to run for president, while the other offered the least. As for other real differences between them, let me count the ways.