Other View: Now, on with the campaigns
This presidential election is all about the "undecideds." Count Mother Nature among them. Ten days after a passing hurricane delayed the first day of events at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., the threat of heavy thunderstorms f...
This presidential election is all about the "undecideds." Count Mother Nature among them.
Ten days after a passing hurricane delayed the first day of events at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., the threat of heavy thunderstorms forced Democrats to move their grand outdoor finale -- President Barack Obama's acceptance speech -- to a much smaller indoor venue.
About 70,000 supporters planned to attend "the most open, accessible and inclusive convention in history" at Bank of America football stadium in Charlotte, N.C. But a week of daily downpours and a forecast for more, with lightning, led organizers to confine events to Time Warner Cable Arena, which holds about 20,000.
That left tens of thousands of guests -- including many who'd earned their way in by committing to nine hours as campaign volunteers -- without a ticket. Oops.
A cynical Republican might be tempted to observe that the Democrats had overpromised again. But there were no Republicans in sight this week, save the few brave picketers pacing the sidewalk between Charlotte's convention center and the arena. It was all happy, costumed Democrats within the uptown security perimeter. A local columnist complained that the "Democracy District" was so insular that residents of Charlotte weren't allowed in.
The conventioneers were a proudly diverse lot. You could tell by their enthusiasm for the bins of official DNC campaign buttons sold inside the convention center. Bus drivers for Obama, Firefighters for Obama, Retirees for Obama. Postal workers, janitors and lab techs for Obama. Artists, architects, educators, actors, cat lovers, kids, moms, dads. Nuns for Obama!
At $2.50 apiece, the buttons might just close that funding gap, especially since it was hard to leave with just one. Or two.
(Notably not represented: Investment bankers, doctors, hedge fund managers or golfers for Obama. Hey, this party was for people who have made up their minds. That was true in Tampa, too.)
Thursday's change of venue left disappointed Obama supporters scrambling for a Plan B -- the couch and cable TV in their hotel rooms or hastily arranged "watch parties" in local bars. It wasn't what they had in mind.
But diehard Democrats are a forgiving lot. Witness their willingness to cut their candidate so much slack for the continued dismal economy. The national debt just hit $16 trillion and unemployment is stuck above 8 percent, but things are getting better and they could have been much worse. Or so they were told, over and over, this week.
There was nothing to do but have a beer -- hey, there was none of that in the arena -- and applaud everything the president has done for Latinos, for women, for seniors, for gays ... for bus drivers, bartenders, educators, for anyone who already plans to vote Obama on Nov. 6.
The conventions are over. Now it's all about the few people who haven't made up their minds. On with the campaign.