Democratic Convention 2008

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I guess in some way I weep for my nation that this many people can come out on a working day to hear some politician give a speech, let alone to hear two of New Jersey's most embarrassing exports (is Southside Johnny going to make a surprise appearance too?). Still, I have to concede: Barack Obama draws a crowd. Here are some shots of the more-than-a-mile-long crowd waiting to get into the acceptance event, and a hint of the kind of logistical support this thing requires:

Our own David Weigel and cinematic master Alex Manning are in the building, and will be bringing you full video and text coverage of the audacious hopefest. The rest of us can only look on in envy, or despair, or drunkenness.

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  1. Don’t worry, McCain and the lone GOP entertainer – Lee Greenwood, will pack them in in Minnesota.

    Well, they may have to dig up John Wayne’s bloated corpse for lead act – but they will pack them in.

  2. I’m not a fan of Obama, but I don’t see why it’s a bad thing for people to come hear him speak.

  3. If I was an entertainer, I would not want to be introduced as “Please welcome grammy award winner….” As soon as I hear those words, I mute the sound because I know it is going to suck.

  4. You have to be pretty profoundly dumb to think it is bad dozens of thousands of people would come to see a politician on a weekday.
    It is DEMOCRACY and a lively interesting type at that.
    Would you prefer they stay home and don’t care ?

  5. “I guess in some way I weep for my nation that this many people can come out on a working day to hear some politician give a speech”

    What? How fucking cynical are you? Regardless of Obama’s politics – I find it inspiring that this many people are going out on a work day to hear a presidential candidate speak live. At least they they are somewhat engaged in the process and not on their asses at home watching Ugly Betty.

  6. Would you prefer they stay home and don’t care ?

    Fuck yeah. Participation in the tyranny of the majority is not a good thing.

  7. “I guess in some way I weep for my nation that this many people can come out on a working day to hear some politician give a speech”

    What? How fucking cynical are you?

    Very. That’s one of the best things about Reason contributors.

    The rest of us can only look on in envy, or despair, or drunkenness.

    Or some combination thereof.

  8. My millionaire boss doesn’t have to wait in line. He pulls up in a limo and gets into the express line, which pretty much describes his week in Denver

    He’s a great guy and all, and I appreciate how it makesmy job so much easier, but I guess there will always be two Americas.

  9. A fat chick bitching about her quadruple heart surgery sans health insurance doesn’t garner my sympathy.

  10. In case there isn’t enough talk about celebrity in America, here’s some extra fare from England. And it?s not about Obama, or Paris, or Britney. It’s about Kate Moss.

    Today the British Museum announced that ‘Siren,’ a nearly $2.8 million, 110-pound solid gold statue of Kate will grace the Greek sculpture collection. The sculptor, Mark Quinn, says it?s the largest gold statue made since the time of ancient Egypt.

    I wonder if the Obama artists are getting any ideas ….

  11. The rest of us can only look on in envy, or despair, or drunkenness.

    Smacky beat me to it. I didn’t realize these things were mutually exclusive.

  12. Today the British Museum announced that ‘Siren,’ a nearly $2.8 million, 110-pound solid gold statue of Kate will grace the Greek sculpture collection. The sculptor, Mark Quinn…

    Wait a minute. That guy doesn’t sound Greek at all.

  13. “Smacky beat me to it.”

    A boy is shepretty!!!

  14. If anyone was watching the convention in the last few minutes they had a “real person” lamenting that they closed the picture tube plant in Marion Indiana in 2004 where he had worked since 1973. He blames the GOP and says a foreigner is now doing his job.

    Barack Obama and the DemocRATS ought to pledge to return the picture tube making industry to Marion.Marion could use a buggy whip factory too. Mule plows, everybody needs mule plows…
    Maybe Marion could score an edison cylinder record cutting factory.

  15. Meh. I’ve been to KISS concerts with more people than that.

  16. SIV – you Bush rednecks will have the stench of Bush on you for many years – and you deserve every bit of it.

    Bill Clinton now looks deserving of Mt. Rushmore in comparison (qualifier used)

  17. “Wait a minute. That guy doesn’t sound Greek at all.”

    Well, I did play Zeus while I was impregnating 20 somethings with my octogenarian wang.

  18. Barack Obama and the DemocRATS ought to pledge to return the picture tube making industry to Marion.Marion could use a buggy whip factory too. Mule plows, everybody needs mule plows…
    Maybe Marion could score an edison cylinder record cutting factory.

    Sure! After all that’s what America promised.

  19. …while I was impregnating 20 somethings with my octogenarian wang.

    Surely that’s enough to make any man an honorary Greek. But all this Mark Quinn dude has done is make a giant golden, heroin-chic statue. I don’t think he makes the cut.

  20. This is fucked up.

    Really.

  21. At this point I have to conclude that sending a troupe of shit-flinging monkeys to Denver would have produced more useful reporting than the Reason crew has this past week.

  22. [i]If anyone was watching the convention in the last few minutes they had a “real person” lamenting that they closed the picture tube plant in Marion Indiana in 2004 where he had worked since 1973. He blames the GOP and says a foreigner is now doing his job.[/i]

    They tuk ur jerb!

  23. so now I get the italics right, d’oh!

  24. Biden Takes Amtrac conductors home every night???

  25. How could McCain vote with Bush 90% of the time when the president doesn’t vote?

  26. Ask not what you should do for your government, but rather, what can your govenment should do for you.

  27. tim took the words right out of my mouth.

    Smacky
    Very. That’s one of the [reasons libertarians are so marginalized.]

    FTFY

  28. I guess in some way I weep

    Damn, Tim. Get back to us when you’re over your period.

  29. Sorry, The tim I agreed with was the “How fucking cynical are you?” tim, not the boob weeping for a country where people are involved in the political process.

  30. not the boob weeping for a country where people are involved in the political process.

    I think he was weeping because a lot of those people really think they’re “involved in the political process.” And there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that unless you’re a politician, a lobbyist, or a multi-millionaire, you’re not “involved in the political process.”

  31. Les
    “I think he was weeping because a lot of those people really think they’re “involved in the political process.”

    I’m sorry. I can’t find the place you are quoting from.

    I thought he was just being snarky and immature. It may be that we have lost control of our government, but I don’t see how apathy is a solution.

  32. Tim
    “A fat chick bitching about her quadruple heart surgery sans health insurance doesn’t garner my sympathy.”

    And they say libertarians are heartless;-)

    (Obviously I’m having trouble keeping tim and Tim apart but from the tone of the quote above I’d say that ‘Tim’ is Cavanaugh.)

  33. (Obviously I’m having trouble keeping tim and Tim apart but from the tone of the quote above I’d say that ‘Tim’ is Cavanaugh.)

    I’d be surprised as that’s not really Tim’s style. He may be cynical, but he’s not an asshole.

    I’m sorry. I can’t find the place you are quoting from.

    I wasn’t quoting Tim, I was quoting your phrase, actually. I was taking the liberty of guessing at why he might be so cynical and there’s no reason to think I got it right. Mostly I was projecting my own beliefs that very, very few of the people lined up were truly “involved in the political process.”

    It may be that we have lost control of our government, but I don’t see how apathy is a solution.

    Refusing to join a gathering to reverently cheer a guy who’s changed his position on a variety of important issues in order to raise his poll numbers doesn’t equal apathy. In fact, it could be argued that holding Obama accountable for his manipulative salesmanship is more productive, more of a solution than cheering him on regardless of what he says and does.

  34. Les
    Mostly I was projecting my own beliefs that very, very few of the people lined up were truly “involved in the political process.”

    Certainly it depends on the connotation of “involved”. By involved all I meant was that they were there for a political event. While I agree that they (we) aren’t in control, at least they are paying attention and doing something. I was beginning to fear that the population had given up. And honestly I can’t remember anything like this in my lifetime.

    Cynical as I am, I just can’t help but find it a little encouraging for democracy (whether I like Obama or not) that almost 100K people did come out on a worknight to hear a politician.

    “Refusing to join a gathering to reverently cheer a guy who’s changed his position on a variety of important issues in order to raise his poll numbers doesn’t equal apathy.”

    Of course not. But sitting home and not paying attention does. And at least they weren’t doing that.

    As far as changing positions to garner favor, (a) both (all?) candidates have done it (whether for the polls or to gather support from power players in the party) and (b) I don’t see being responsive to the will of the people is such a bad thing. (Likewise with ‘flip-flopping’, show me a man who hasn’t ever changed a position and I’ll show you a man who has never learned anything.) Politics is compromise and elections are salesmenship. I don’t find it disengenuous that a man running to unite the country is moderating his ideas somewhat. And after these years of ‘compassionate conservitism that decrys nation building’ I don’t trust much of what’s said during an election.

    Also, I don’t think the people who were there were “just cheering him regardless of what he says and does.” That seems far more a Republican trait to me. Anyway, this is actually the time for that. Conventions are pep-rallies.

    “Manipulative salesmanship”? Now who’s not being cynical enough? I honestly don’t see how Republicans can say such things with a straight face after the last two elections.

    Remember, the real reason to vote for Obama is because the Republicans can’t be allowed to continue what they’ve done to the country.

  35. mephisto,

    While I agree that they (we) aren’t in control, at least they are paying attention and doing something.

    I guess that’s the problem I have. I don’t know what they’re doing. They’re expressing themselves, and I’m all for that, no doubt. But I get nervous when people cheer politicians. I think our elected leaders, even the best, don’t deserve cheering. The deserve polite scrutiny, at best.

    I was beginning to fear that the population had given up.

    I’ll feel better about that when we see what the voter turnout is, I suppose.

    But sitting home and not paying attention does [equal apathy]. And at least they weren’t doing that.

    Well, going to hear the guy speak doesn’t mean they’re paying attention. How many folks there are aware of the issues on which Obama has changed his mind?

    As far as changing positions to garner favor, (a) both (all?) candidates have done it (whether for the polls or to gather support from power players in the party) and (b) I don’t see being responsive to the will of the people is such a bad thing.

    (A) is no excuse for pandering. And in terms of (B), there’s a difference between being responsive to the will of the people and pandering. When one year you’re saying that inarguably failed policies like our embargo on Cuba and marijuana prohibition need to be changed, and the next year you defend the status quo on those policies, that counts as pandering.

    I think the reason the Founding Fathers created a Republic is because sometimes the will of the people is flat out wrong. At those times, it’s the duty of our elected leaders to ignore the will of the people.

    (Likewise with ‘flip-flopping’, show me a man who hasn’t ever changed a position and I’ll show you a man who has never learned anything.)

    Oh, I agree completely. But surely we can agree that Obama didn’t change his mind regarding marijuana and Cuba because he realized that our current policies really are working.

    I don’t find it disengenuous that a man running to unite the country is moderating his ideas somewhat.

    If he’s moderating his ideas from “practical” to “impractical,” from “new and historically successful” to “old and historically failed,” I think “disingenuous” is the right word.

    Also, I don’t think the people who were there were “just cheering him regardless of what he says and does.” That seems far more a Republican trait to me.

    And many a Republican see it as a Democratic trait. I think the fact is that there are loyalists on both sides who are more interested in party and ideological victory than in practical solutions to our problems. I see not a bit of difference between people who cheer Hillary Clinton and people who cheer Bush. Both are loyalists to their own emotional investments to the point where they will cheer demonstrably dishonest, incompetent people.

    “Manipulative salesmanship”? Now who’s not being cynical enough? I honestly don’t see how Republicans can say such things with a straight face after the last two elections.

    Oh, I do hope you don’t think I’m a Republican. I’m most certainly not. But my understanding of politics and history has convinced me that Democrats and Republicans are, first and foremost, politicians. And all politicians are salesmen (and saleswomen). And they all want to know what they have to do to get us in a car today.

    Remember, the real reason to vote for Obama is because the Republicans can’t be allowed to continue what they’ve done to the country.

    The Democrats have done a fine job in helping them every single step of the way. That said, if I lived in a state that was up for grabs, I’d vote for Obama (nose held, of course), because I do utterly loathe what the Bush Administration has done. Fortunately, I live in California, which Obama will easily take, so I have the luxury of voting for someone who won’t win, but who I can believe in. I just have to figure out who that is!

  36. For the record, Les pretty accurately described my thought process, with two caveats: I wasn’t actually weeping and I am, in fact, an asshole.

  37. Well, “Trapped Again” would have been a fitting theme song.

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