The Democratic Convention's single, dominant theme—dwarfing even John Kerry's Vietman service—was unity. Deaniacs didn't care that most of their platform was rejected, yesterday's Naderites leaped back aboard the Democratic train to derail the Common Enemy, and no one I met took the bait when I tried to rub salt in the various intra-party divisions. Even after Kerry's turgid speech the only chant that caught fire outside the Fleet Center was not "Go Johns Go!", it was "No more years!" ABB in '04!
While I'm confident the new togetherness will disintegrate within months after a Kerry victory, I think it also may very well lead to a Kerry victory, since Republicans haven't suffered through the disciplining experience of watching a president they despise smirk and chop through four traumatic years. So what's the early prospect for elephantine unity at the Republican Convention?
Not so promising. The first delegate I met, a pleasant, corporate-welfare-opposing chap from Oklahoma, volunteered without me asking that the grassroots base, especially in the Southwest, is feeling pretty dissatisfied with the Dubster's immigration proposals, the No Child Left Behind Act, and all his create-new-government-programs stuff. He figured it might depress turnout among the faithful.
And—cliché alert!—the first Bush-supporting cabbie I met also railed against the president's immigration policies in an otherwise anti-Kerry tirade, though he did add "but I never hoid John Kerry say fuck-all about it, so fuck him, too."
The right wing commentariat, meanwhile, has shown many pre-convention signs of going wobbly; for starters, see this weekend's agonizings by pop-culture-vulture David Brooks and empire-icist Niall Ferguson (both links via Ken Layne).
Also—and this may not be related—I overheard an employee of the RNC Media Center admit today that he, in fact, chuckled once or twice at Fahrenheit 9/11. "It was propaganda, but it was kind of funny," he shrugged.