Some good comments on the last thread, but Maureen Dowd nails it:
High Anxiety in the Mile High City
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: August 26, 2008
The New York Times
I’ve been to a lot of conventions, and there’s always something gratifyingly weird that happens.
Dan Quayle acting like a Dancing Hamster. Teresa Heinz Kerry reprising Blanche DuBois. Dick Morris getting nabbed triangulating between a hooker and toes.
But this Democratic convention has a vibe so weird and jittery, so at odds with the early thrilling, fairy dust feel of the Obama revolution, that I had to consult Mike Murphy, the peppery Republican strategist and former McCain guru.
“What is that feeling in the air?” I asked him.
“Submerged hate,” he promptly replied.
There were a lot of bitter Clinton associates, fund-raisers and supporters wandering the halls, spewing vindictiveness, complaining of slights, scheming about Hillary’s roll call and plotting trouble, with some in the Clinton coterie dissing Obama by planning early departures, before the nominee even speaks.
At a press conference with New York reporters on Monday, Hillary looked as if she were straining at the bit to announce her 2012 exploratory committee.
“Remember, 18 million people voted for me, 18 million people, give or take, voted for Barack,” she said, while making a faux pro-Obama point. She keeps acting as if her delegates are out of her control, when she’s been privately egging on people to keep her dream alive as long as possible, no matter what the cost to Obama.
Hillary also said she was happy about the choice of Joe Biden because he added “intensity” to the ticket. Ouch.
She added insult to injury by coming out Tuesday night looking great in a blazing orange pantsuit and teaching the precocious pup Obama something about intensity and message. She thanked her “sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits,” and slyly noted that Obama would enact her health care plan rather than his.
She offered the electrifying fight that the limpid Obama has not — setting off paranoia among some Democrats that they had chosen the wrong nominee or that Obama had chosen the wrong running mate. “It makes perfect sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together in the Twin Cities because these days they are awfully hard to tell apart,” she said.
Afterward, some of her supporters began crying, as they were interviewed by reporters, saying that her speech had proved that she would make a better president than Obama. And, as one said, she would only give him “two months” to prove himself.
Ed Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania, compared Obama to the passive-aggressive Adlai Stevenson and told The Washington Post that Obama gives six-minute answers and “is not exactly the easiest guy in the world to identify with.”
At a meeting of the Democratic women’s caucus Tuesday, 74-year-old Carol Anderson of Vancouver, Wash., a former Hillary volunteer, stood in the back of the room in a Hillary T-shirt and hat signed by Hillary and “Nobama” button and booed every time any of the women speakers mentioned Obama’s name.
She’s voting for McCain and had nothing nice to say about the Obamas. What about the kids, I asked. “Adorable,” she agreed. Well, I said, Michelle raised them.
“I think her mother does,” Anderson shot back, adding: “I wonder if Michelle would give the Queen one of her little knuckle punches?”
Bill’s pals said he was still gnawing at his many grievances against the younger version of himself he has to praise Wednesday night; the latest one being that the Obama folks, like all winners, wanted control over Bill’s speech, so that he did not give a paean to himself and his economic record, which is what he wanted to do, because he was incensed that Obama said a couple critical things about his administration during a heated campaign.
Finally, Obama had to give in on Monday and say he would allow the ex-president to do exactly as he likes, which is what he usually does anyhow.
Obama’s pacification of Bill made his supporters depressed and anxious that he was going to be a weaker candidate than they had hoped and fearful that, as in Obama’s favorite movie, “The Godfather,” every time Democrats try to get away, the Clintons pull them back in.
And Democrats have begun internalizing the criticisms of Hillary and John McCain about Obama’s rock-star prowess, worrying that the Invesco Field extravaganza Thursday, with Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi, will just add to the celebrity cachet that Democrats have somehow been shamed into seeing as a negative.
So that added to the weird mood at the convention, with some Democrats nitpicking Obama’s appearance, after Michelle’s knock-out speech and the fabulously cute girls, with a reassuring white family in a town he couldn’t remember at one point. They wondered why he wasn’t wearing a tie, fearing he looked too young, and second-guessed Michelle’s green dress, wondering if it clashed with the blue stage, and fretted that there wasn’t a speaker Monday night attacking McCain and yelling about gas prices.
“I’m telling you, man,” said one top Democrat, “it’s something about our party, the shtetl mentality.”