Since we traveled to Iowa and Texas as political tourists, friends wanted to know if we were traveling to Denver and Minneapolis for the national party conventions, too.

Well, we thought about it. But it didn’t work out. Paying for hotel rooms miles from convention events and parties didn’t seem like such a great opportunity to us.

So here we are. Like other political junkies, we’re camped out in front of the family room television tonight. (Shouldn’t there be a law against staging a political convention on the first day after 16 nights of Olympic competition?)

Chances are, there won’t be surprises at either convention. But the candidates and their advisors will be tested. For Barack Obama and John McCain, this becomes their moment to connect with the American electorate – while avoiding the big mistake. Is it stagecraft? Sure. But political conventions are all about stagecraft. Get used to it.

For more about tonight’s line-up, check Paul Gullixson’s reports here and here.