Why has the Democratic National Convention been such a disaster?
When asked about the Democratic convention in Charlotte, NC, Mitt Romney called it a “celebration of failure.” Granted, he may be a little biased. Yet the spectacle coming out of the DNC this week is hard to ignore or even gloss over with well-intentioned words.
Frankly, it’s been a disaster.
Exhibit A is the Democrats’ embarrassing ham-fisted reversal on their party platform. The platform the party released on Tuesday omitted any reference to “God” and did not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Cue outcry.
On Wednesday, Democrats decided to add the references to God and Jerusalem back in amid screams of protest and utter chaos. But did they really? Who knows? Convention chairman and Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa seemed to have a hard time discerning if two-thirds of the audience were booing or cheering the changes. In what was probably a wise decision, Villaraigosa decided to call it a day and declare the majority in the affirmative.
David Axelrod, for his part, defended the president on the platform, and blamed “others” for the mishap. Now that’s leadership!
Next up is DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Never far from controversy, Wasserman Schultz this week told Jewish Democrats that Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, said that “what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.”
When an enterprising reporter at the Washington Examiner reported the comment, Oren denied ever saying such a thing. And then Wasserman Schultz denied ever saying Oren said such a thing, telling Fox News that the “comment was reported by a conservative newspaper. It’s not surprising that they would deliberately misquote me.”
But it’s not a misquote if the quote in question was captured in an audio recording. You can’t argue with audio. Unless you’re Wasserman Schultz, in which case you can argue over and over again that you didn’t say what everyone knows you said, leaving even Anderson Cooper with his head shaking.
Then there’s the disheartening ABC/Washington Post poll that was released Tuesday night showing President Obama with a 47 percent favorability rating — down 7 points from his peak in April. What no one saw coming was that the most significant drop in approval would occur among registered women voters.
The irony — and I know that, as a carrier of XY chromosomes, I must tread lightly here — is that the poll was released while the Democrats decided to turn their convention into the front lines of the so-called war on women.
Last week, Republicans in Tampa talked about the $16 trillion national debt, job creation and tax reform. This week in Charlotte, Democrats are talking about free contraception, abortion rights and even more public spending (or, as they call it, “investment”). Perhaps the average female voter doesn’t care as much about free contraception as the Democrats think they do.
In contrast, the Republican convention, objectively speaking, went fairly smooth. Put another way: these conventions reflect the personalities of the two parties’ respective nominees. On the right is Mitt Romney — a man well-schooled in the art of good management. On the left is President Obama — a man with no real management skills.
I haven’t even mentioned the venue change yet. What a debacle. What’s obvious is that the president’s team and convention organizers overestimated their ability to fill an arena. What’s slightly bizarre is that they changed the president’s venue last-minute due to predictions that there might be some rain.
In Tampa, Republicans moved their convention around to accommodate a hurricane. In Charlotte, the Democrats panicked over a 30 percent chance of precipitation.
When Republicans poked fun at the switcheroo, one Obama campaign official said, “If we were worried about our crowd size, we certainly wouldn’t listen to Mitt Romney about how to build a crowd.”
Why’s that? Because the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City wasn’t one of the most watched, most financially successful Olympics in recent history? Oh wait.
Joe Kildea is a media and rapid response consultant with Rational 360. Previously, Joe was Managing Editor at The Daily Caller. On the campaign trail, Joe was war room manager for Bush-Cheney ’04 and rapid response director for Rick Scott for Governor. In government, Joe served in the Bush administration in the White House Press Office. A proud Hoya, Joe holds a B.S.B.A. and J.D. from Georgetown and is a native Washingtonian.