Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day One of the Convention

I meant to post more today but it was a day that was so frenetic we literally have been going since 6 a.m. and it's 11:30 p.m. now, just back at the hotel.

I thought the show was electric today, as we broadcast live from the Pepsi Center on Talk Radio Row and took calls from people all across the country who were hungry to get past the mainstream media blather.

We had a TV right on our table, watching it during prep and during the show (with the sound down). All you saw on TV all day was dissension and Republican spin -- Hillary supporters up in arms, people unhappy with the Biden pick, polls showing the race tightening, etc. There's a kernel of truth to those things but the media blows them up into huge stories to the point where they are no longer reality. They did the same with the convention itself after it began during the last hour of our show. Commentators were saying it was dull and lackluster and had no direction.

What I in fact saw was enormous excitement about the convention and about Barack Obama among the delegates. The Kennedy speech was a warm and touching moment -- I've never seem so many people crying in one room -- and I think Michelle Obama's was just terrific, and not only because the stage looked so fabulous (I sent my partner a photo of Michelle on the stage and he said it looked like a Madonna concert). It went a long way toward connecting with people. Some commentators lamented that there weren't more attacks on McCain and Bush at the convention. That is true -- and some of the other speeches were not rousing, particularly Tom Harkin and Claire McCaskill. But there are three more nights for that.

A lot of the discussion on the show was about Biden and Clinton as well -- with the usual bunch of callers who were so unhappy they said they might vote for McCain. The discussions became quite spirited, and then positively angry when we talked about Leah Daughtry, the pentacostal minister who is Chief of Staff of the DNC who gave the welcome address at the convention. It was part of an overly faithful opening the convention that frankly grossed me out. And only last month the antigay Pentacostal minister was revealed to have funneled DNC money to sending out antigay mailers.

As usual, I argued that that no matter how disappointed and angry we are on any of these issues -- and we should let our voices be heard on various issues, to the DNC in particular -- we cannot choose to vote for McCain or to not vote at all. Too much is at stake. After the show, I went down on the floor of the convention and interviewed (on tape) a broad swath of people about these and other issues: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Barney Frank, New York State Senator Tom Duane, gay and transgender delegates, activists, pundits and others. We'll bring those interviews to the show tomorrow.

In between the show and working the floor we ran over to the Big Tent, a hang out for bloggers outside the convention hall, and ran into a bunch of friends. But we had no time to talk -- had to grab dinner and get back to work. Exhausted now, have to go to bed and then start it all over again.