Saturday, March 29, 2008

Maybe Phil Bredesen Should Hop a Flight South and Offer to Solve This Problem, Too

Lone Star Democrats convening to nominate their presidential hopeful today find themselves in the middle of a Texas-sized mess:

The convention — the second in a three-step process to select the remaining 67 delegates in the Democratic Party presidential primary-caucus hybrid — was supposed to begin at 9:30 this morning. As of 1:30, the actual convention still hadn’t started, and frustrated delegates were wedged into a narrow hallway still trying to sign in.

The breakdowns are almost too numerous to list. The first major issue was limited parking. The Will Rogers complex is also hosting a horse show and a gun show today. So Democratic delegates in Volvos with Hillary and Obama bumper stickers had to compete for parking spaces with heavy duty pickups with gun racks.

Once inside, delegates waited all morning listening to time-killing speeches while the credentials committee tried to sort through the various logistical messes and some of the delegate challenges ....

In the arena’s front hallway, delegates crowded together, waiting to sign in at make-shift tables. No one seemed to know what was going on ....

some tables had started signing in delegates from certain precincts prematurely (and without convention credentials to hand out) and wouldn’t stop when asked ....

The palpable excitement among delegates this morning at the sight of such a large gathering of Democrats — perhaps the biggest in Tarrant County in decades — was soon replaced by growing anger and frustration.

I'm not concerned about the messiness of the mobilized electorate, although many party standard bearers would be. But it does suggest that maybe the Democratic Party was totally unprepared to help channel the popular backlash against the Republicans. It appears to me that Dems have been so accommodational to Republicans that they could not prepare and pivot to channel the national angst into a coherent alternative.

The voters are leaving party leaders in the dust today, in the rodeo dust of a Ft. Worth Coliseum.

UPDATE: Sheriff's deputies called in to keep angry delegates away from Party credentials officials.

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