Republicans had their Clint Eastwood moment at the GOP convention, the only unscripted event and the one causing the most talk. Democrats had their unscripted controversy, too, one that many are calling a self-inflicted wound.
For some reason – no one is exactly clear about it to this day – Democrats decided to take any mention of God out of their platform and to also edit out a reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. After a torrent of negative publicity, President Obama apparently ordered the cuts rescinded. So the change was voted on, and the delegates turned it down, twice. The third voice vote seemed pretty negative, too, but the chairman, obviously under orders, declared the “ayes” a winner anyway. Democrats were thus seen in an apparent vote against God and a blatant display of undemocratic behavior.
There was also controversy over the change of venue for the president’s speech Thursday night from a 75,000-seat outdoor arena to the 20,000-seat indoor facility the rest of the convention was held at. The Obama campaign insisted it was because of the possibility of stormy weather, but Republicans and other cynics said it was because the campaign could not find enough people who wanted to attend the speech, and cameras zooming in on a half-empty stadium would be embarrassing.
The highlight of the convention, most people agreed, was the nominating speech of former President Bill Clinton. He gave the kind of rousing speech he’s famous for and made many Democrats and even a few Republicans long for the good old days of high employment and balanced budgets. President Obama’s speech, it was generally thought, was disappointing and equal to Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech in its lack of details.
Democrats enjoyed better TV ratings than Republicans, and their Wednesday night spectacle even edged out the premiere of the new NFL season. That’s good or bad, depending on how effective you think the convention was at persuading voters to change their minds.