Thursday, August 28, 2008

A View From Denver - A Party in Pieces

Election ‘08: The idea of Democrats emerging unified from their acrimonious convention is laughable. If the GOP convention had the Clinton/Obama feud and John Edwards scandal, it would be declared a catastrophe.

You don’t have to wait until this week’s Democratic National Convention is over to know that the Party of Jefferson is shattered, and their gathering in Denver is a historic disaster.

Hillary Clinton may have delivered a rousing speech Tuesday night, but within it she took a not-so-subtle shot at Obama in suggesting that it would be her universal coverage health care plan he would end up signing into law as president. (Campaigning against him, she had blasted his plan for not covering everyone.)

And what real effect did her calls for unity have? “Yes, I’m still bitter,” California Hillary delegate Jerry Straughan, skeptical that former first lady really meant what she said, told the Washington Post. “Obamination Scares the Hell Out of Me” and “Nobama” buttons were prevalent.

Former Democratic National Committee chairman and Clinton crony Terry McAuliffe isn’t even staying in Denver for Obama’s Thursday night acceptance speech; Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell suggested that Obama is hard for average Americans to identify with; Bill Clinton on Tuesday in Denver waxed on before the cameras about the “hypothetical” dilemma of Democrats choosing a candidate who “agrees with you on everything, but you don’t think that person can deliver on anything.”

Democrats in the Mile High City are divided by sex and by race. Investor’s Business Daily observed a visible racial segregation among delegates when it came to hanging out together, a balkanization or clannishness fueled by very strong identity politics.

Angry Michigan delegates complained to IBD about their distant hotel accommodations, seeing it as payback for Michigan breaking party rules by holding its nomination contest early.

GOP strategist Mike Murphy described the feeling in Denver’s thin air to the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd as “submerged hate.”

On top of all that is Obama’s loss of support among two key groups — conservative Democrats and moderate-to-liberal Republicans. A new Gallup poll finds that since June, conservative Democrats backing Obama have dropped from 71% to 63%, while his GOP support has gone from 10% in June to 11% in mid-July, down to only 7% in Gallup’s latest tracking poll.

Imagine if it were the other party undergoing equivalent convulsions. Let’s say Mitt Romney’s supporters demanded an open floor vote and were seething with public resentment against John McCain, the way Hillary’s delegates are against Obama.

Add to that former President George H.W. Bush verbally undercutting McCain at every opportunity, in the manner of Bill Clinton’s anger toward Obama regarding Hillary, because of, say, statements he made against his son, the sitting president.

Finally, what if Mike Huckabee were involved in a cheating/love child scandal the way John Edwards is, and had become so much of an embarrassment that, like Edwards, he couldn’t even speak to his own party’s convention after winning lots of electoral votes?

Is there any doubt that the Democrats and the media elites would classify such a GOP convention as the biggest fiasco in the history of party politics?

In such a comparable scenario, would there be any speech Romney could give at the convention that would be hailed as healing the party’s wounds? Anything he — or any other Republican — could say that would give the media the kind of heart flutters Hillary’s performance gave, for instance, Newsweek’s Jon Meacham, who gushed that it was the best speech he’d ever seen while appearing on the magazine’s joint Webcast coverage with the Washington Post?

Feminists demanding a female president are fuming against race-obsessed radicals eager for a black president from the leftist cliques of the South Side of Chicago.

Maybe the Democratic Party’s longtime recipe of catering to this interest group and that has finally reached the boiling point.


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