Lee Atwater couldn’t have written a better script for the Democratic National Convention that just ended in Charlotte. The Charlotte fiasco was a less violent version of the fiasco in Chicago in 1968, except the lunacy was now inside the venue, not outside.
Tom Brokaw shares the story of how Hubert Humphrey lost the 1968 election after Americans watched television images of the young radicals in Grant Park scaling statues and flying the Viet Cong flag. At that moment, Americans fully appreciated the lawless direction that some wanted to take the country and saw Richard Nixon as the antidote.
The young radicals of 1968 have become the old radicals who now control the Democrat Party. They put on a convention this week characterized by incompetence, radicalism, and race.
President Obama’s lackluster speech was the least of the DNC’s problems. Convention week was plagued by all the drama and broken expectations of Waiting for Guffman. The empty powder-puff blue seats of Bank of America Stadium are the symbolic image of the lost hope from 2008. When it became clear those blue seats would dominate the coverage of Obama’s Thursday speech, the incompetent operatives at the DNC panicked. The DNC hastily arranged busloads of bodies from black churches for hundreds of miles to arrive in Charlotte to fill the empty seats.
But Guffman never arrived, and neither did President Obama at the stadium. Rain, you see, was in the forecast. Except it wasn’t. The Greek columns of 2008 are a long, disappointing bus ride home in 2012.
Then Julia Rodriguez, a credentialed convention delegate from New York (but waving a Puerto Rican flag and sporting a button seeking statehood), said on camera she “would like to kill” Mitt Romney. The unseemly radicals chanting in the Chicago park were now inside the hall in Charlotte.