Just a few short days after vowing that the 74,000-seat Bank of America stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina would be overflowing with fainting, weeping Obama fans, word is out that David Axelrod and Debbie Wasserman Schultz may have done a rain dance in order to save face for President Obama.
The initial “FORWARD” event was touted to rival 2008’s INVESCO Field/Greek column extravaganza. Unfortunately, filling those seats proved a challenge. Seems “Yes we can” pack a stadium to the rafters suddenly turned into “No we can’t” even pack a high school gymnasium to the rafters.
Some are saying, from a marketing standpoint, dragging out the “Progress for People” and “FORWARD” signs at the Carolina Panthers home base and setting up the Teleprompters to speak to a partially-filled stadium would be more “politically disastrous” to Barack Obama than doing a second Roanoke, Virginia “You didn’t build that” speech.
Prior to Wednesday, Democrat Convention sources had stressed that the outdoors stadium would be filled, “rain or shine.” Based on that level of confidence, it looked like tight head shots, Steven Spielberg-type special effects to distract the audience, and thousands of life-like blowup dolls were going to be necessary to keep the ruse alive.
Let’s face it – if the “Obamamania 2.0” image is going to be maintained, astute orchestration in conjunction with inclement weather may be key to reviving Obama’s rock-star image, especially after he officially launched his campaign in a “half-empty” Ohio State University sports center.
Nonetheless, aside from the homeless people who were put out onto the streets by greedy hotel owners eager to make a buck off convention-goers, one concerned Obama spokesperson stated days ago that the only reason the DNC was even considering moving indoors was purely out of concern for the spectators clamoring to attend the event. According to the convention representative, “if it’s going to rain …[or]…going to be really bad” Democrats “don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way.”
Ironically, in the end the very gods the Democrats banished from the DNC platform came through. Either that or David and Debbie danced up a storm, because in true 2008 Greek Parthenon fashion, Zeus, Lord of the Sky and God of Rain, saved the day. Just hours prior to the big speech, the DNC was able to formally announce that it is officially moving from the 74,000-seat stadium to a 20,000-seat indoor arena and instead of blaming George W. Bush, this time they were able to fault the threat of “severe weather.”
One convention worker did confess that days ago “It look[ed] like a done deal … The decision’s apparently been taken and it [was] just a matter of spinning it as being forced on us by the weather.” Either way, it’s good to know that if the weather forecast didn’t turn out as planned, as backup excuses the DNC could have always attributed moving to a rainy-day venue to: the risk of West Nile virus; windburn; night blindness; gnats; claustrophobia; frogs; or even locusts.
It was reported that 1/3rd of the Bank of America stadium was originally going to be filled with convention workers, guests and delegates. The rest of the seats were slated for “community-credentialed” people to whom Obama has now promised he would apologize via conference call.
In a statement, DNC organizing committee CEO Steve Kerrigan said:
The energy and enthusiasm for our convention in Charlotte has been overwhelming and we share the disappointment of over 65,000 people who signed up for community credentials to be there with the President in person. We encourage our community credential holders and Americans across the country to continue to come together with their friends and neighbors to watch and participate in history.
What might have happened if the bleachers were filled with adoring Obama voters and lightning had crackled in the night sky that wasn’t an Obama 2012 special effect, but the real thing? Thankfully, the ever-thoughtful and considerate Democrat Party representatives didn’t wait until the last minute to inform the thousands of people who were being bussed in from colleges and predominately black churches that they were no longer needed as stage extras.
In the end, despite moving to a smaller location, all is not lost! Maybe instead of promising to meet with 65,000 disappointed Obama fans, the DNC can give dedicated volunteers a sense of purpose by bussing them in anyhow, but instead of packing them into the stadium, the multitudes can be masqueraded as an overflow crowd. Human props can stand outside the Time Warner Cable Arena and endure the “severe weather,” giving Americans at home the false impression that literally thousands are clamoring to get inside – willing to risk life, limb, and possible electrocution to witness yet another historic Barack Obama acceptance speech.