November's election will not be decided by the people who attended the political conventions. It will be decided by the couch potatoes who stayed at home.

I have to admit that I am a couch potato. I watched the Democratic National Convention last week with six friends at the Lucas house. Nadia Lucas had laid out guacamole, cheese dip, tacos and popcorn -- which all couch potatoes consider comfort food.

"Quiet, everyone. Did you hear what I heard?"

"What?"

"Teresa Heinz Kerry told a newspaper writer to 'Shove it.' "

"She is going to get my vote."

"You didn't say anything when Dick Cheney said to Senator Leahy, '[Expletive] yourself.' "

"He is a man and he is entitled to say anything he wants. A woman must be more ladylike if she hopes to be the first lady."

"I still say she has won the 'shove it' vote, particularly among women who believe they are not getting a fair break."

People started digging into the guacamole.

"Boy, all the speeches are downbeat about what is going on in this country. They keep saying the rich get all the cake and the poor just get the crumbs."

"The speakers have to say something to get a standing ovation. They want the delegates to wave their signs and clap their hands and shout 'Kerry!' "

"The Republicans will do the same thing. You can't have a convention without standing ovations."

"I wish everybody wouldn't say that we are worse off today than we were four years ago. I sell handbags and the speakers are not helping my business."

"Every speaker brings up John Kerry's war record."

"Why not? Bush has none."

"That's dirty pool. The president didn't fly in the war, but he landed on a carrier after we won in Iraq."

"I don't think the Democrats should keep pointing to the fact that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We went there to wipe out Saddam Hussein and we did a good job."

"It seems to me that they are hitting the 'job' problem too hard. Every time a speaker says the unemployment rate is at its highest, the applause is thunderous."

"They are not cheering the unemployment rate -- they are cheering the people who are responsible for it."

The cheese dish was getting low.

"The Kerry girls are very pretty."

"You don't vote for a president because he has pretty daughters. Bush's daughters are beautiful, too."

"Anyone seen a poll on whose daughters are more beautiful?"

"Clinton is a rock star."

"So is Bono."

"Michael Moore and Bill O'Reilly went mano a mano the other night on Fox. It was the best show of the night because they weren't kidding. I would give it to Moore on points."

And so it went. The couch potatoes for the most part are still in the "don't know" column. They say they're waiting to see if Laura Bush will tell someone at the GOP convention to "Shove it."

(c) 2004, Tribune Media Services