After a long night with Planned Parenthood last night, it was another early morning at the Brown Palace to register DNC Finance members and make sure they got their credentials for the day. This time, though, I got credentials too.
After finishing up my shift, I headed over to the Manifest Hope gallery--a special installation of Unconventional 2008 that features artwork of Barack Obama and hope. It was small, and a definite hike from downtown, but definitely worth it. Politics isn't all about the policy wonks and credentialed delegates. Especially this year, Barack Obama has touched the hearts of so many people and inspired them to get involved in any way possible.
Then it was off to the Pepsi Center! Speeches begin at 3pm, but it's a sad sight to be there at the beginning. The speakers are at the podium, trying to look animated and enthusiastic, but they are essentially talking to a non-existent audience. For those who are there, their attention is wavering and many are occupied by conversations, their phones, or even books.
I got there early, though, to make sure I got a seat, to see Cecile Richards (Planned Parenthood president) speak, and to take it all in. The speeches were on the slow side until Dennis Kucinich took the stage and riled up the crowd with his calls to “Wake up, America!”
His speech in particular, though, highlighted the differences between many of the delegates and the other guests. Many of the delegates are big activists, while other guests are donors, policy wonks, or Washingtonians. The delegates on the floor tend to get crazier/have more dramatic reactions than the other guests. While everyone on the floor was on their feet and cheering for Kucinich, many of the guests off the floor restrained themselves to polite clapping. There are so many different groups of people here in Denver (from delegates to policy folks to protesters), and it is interesting to see how the groups differ and interact with each other.
A friend was able to get me into one of the DNC Finance lounges, so we missed some of the middle speeches, but I was back in my seat and ready to go for Montana Governor Schweitzer’s rousing speech. It’s too bad that Warner was the keynote and not Schweitzer—the general consensus seemed to be that Schweitzer’s speech was much stronger than Warner's, and did a great job of energizing the crowd for Hillary.
As for Hillary, I was definitely impressed. While some of the talking heads and high-up Dems critiqued her speech and chided her for not being strong enough, I thought she did a good job of displaying party unity and emphasizing her support for Obama. The crowd in the hall seemed to agree--even the most ardent Obama supporters didn't seem to have a problem cheering for her and holding up the white Hillary signs they passed out. The photo op of the evening, though, was of people holding the blue UNITY, HILLARY, and OBAMA signs. And then we all held hands and sang cumbaya...