As you may have heard last night, Osama bin Laden is dead, has perished from the earth, is at the bottom of the sea, and is not better off than he was four years ago. The Democrats are trying to pull a Bush on national security, inflating Obama's reputation as a killing machine and portraying Mitt Romney as a bungling softie.
In a surprise appearance, former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords led the Democratic National Convention in the Pledge of Allegiance. It's amazing how far she's come since her shooting in January of last year.
The good folks at the Democratic National Convention, ever mindful of the fundamental importance of equity and fairness in all endeavors—just kidding this place is a buzzing hive of status anxiety and barriers to entry based on a byzantine credentialing system!—generously allow the hoi polloi to wander the sacred floor of the convention space and rub shoulders with the delegates, but only for an hour at a time. Here's what it looks like AT THE CENTER OF HISTORY.
The FINAL NIGHT of the Democratic National Convention is set to begin, and there is a SUPER BOWL ATMOSPHERE in the air, at least here in Charlotte, in the immediate vicinity of the Time Warner Cable Sucks™ Arena, where U.S. president BARACK OBAMA will be speaking in less than six hours. No idea how it is in the rest of America. But here, people are FIRED UP, as well as READY TO GO.
CHARLOTTE, N.C.— Bill Clinton's interminable speech last night here at the Time Warner Cable Arena certainly had the room going (though there was a noticeable lag in energy from minutes 457 through 588). It was probably a little tougher to take for anyone who had in hand a printed copy—small type, two columns, two pages, front-and-back—provided to the press by eager young DNC assistants. Thumbing through at what I thought was the speech's crescendo, I quickly realized that he was less than a third of the way through, and started wondering whether or not our parking lot closed at midnight.
The Democratic convention, like the Republican convention, and every political convention, is a television event. That is, it is designed and intended expressly to satisfy the audience watching at home, on the screen. The media, gathered here on-site, does not so much "cover" a convention as news as we hold it up, turn it over in our hands, and remark on its qualities, like a bunch of Home Shopping Network hosts talking up a new snow globe.
Secretaries of state don't traditionally attend political conventions, and anyway, she was in East Timor (9,963 miles away), but Hillary Clinton still didn't miss her husband's speech last night: she watched it (taped) around midnight eastern time in the Timorese ambassador's home. Aww. Aren't they cute, in a centrist-sellout, welfare-demolishing, drone-warring, Glass-Steagall-gutting kind of way?
Greetings from the Democratic National Convention in horrible Charlotte, North Carolina, where your humble correspondents were just penned like dogs with a mass of humanity while waiting for fire marshals or some such to approve our entrance. Hamilton Nolan, myself, and SPECIAL GUEST AND GAWKER EMERITA Ana Marie Cox of the Guardian are here to liveblog this magical night for you. Let's begin.
The first night of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte had many highlights. There was the "political" tribute to Ted Kennedy that shifted midway into an ethering of Romney; Ted Strickland's VERY LOUD SPEECH; a keynote speech by San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, who, according to Tucker Carlson's clown paper, is insufficiently Latino; and a Sasha-pleasing speech by Michelle Obama; plus, of course, the live blog in which John Cook was chastised for not lifting a toilet seat. All of that translated into a ratings victory for the Democrats, as night one of the DNC drew 26.2 million viewers compared to the RNC's first night audience of 22.3 million.
The Occupy movement is camped in Marshall Park, which should be a walk of about three or four blocks from our perch in the bowels of the media area in the Charlotte Convention Center. In reality, you are forced by a series of fences, police barriers, and law enforcement checkpoints to walk eight blocks out of the way in a grand semicircle in order to reach the park. Once there, you find an encampment of several dozen tents, interspersed with small groups of people talking, making food, washing clothes, and talking to reporters. This, sad to say, is the heart of the protest movement at the DNC.
I guess we'll start with the hotel. Ours is a shithole. A $250-a-night mildewy rathole for truckers and prostitutes on a decimated strip mall. Charlotte is the armpit of the south, a glorified half-dead exurb with some tall buildings planted in the middle. There are skeezy-looking tattoo shops everywhere, and none of the stores are open past midnight.