There’s something happening here …

The DNC should feel like a gloried version of a congressional session, with tickets sold for astronomical sums (maybe not cash but large donations of time or valuables). But being in the Pepsi Center this week feels more like a cross between a pep rally (which, of course, it is) and sporting event — the game before the BIG game (which, of course, it is).

Some Americans wonder why the country’s two political parties go to the trouble of hosting these well-staged events, but once you step inside the convention doors the genuine enthusiasm is palpable, which feels like an accomplishment in itself. There’s real energy and optimism in that somewhat-stuffy air as thousands of Democrats cheer for their party leaders, the goals touted in each speech and, of course, their presidential and vice presidential hopefuls.

The pomp is over the top but somehow still effectively ushers in a festive atmosphere. The blue carpet quiets the thousands of hurried footsteps crossing the convention floor, as people rush in every direction. The huge stage and glitzy backdrop give delegates a focal point in an arena packed full of camera flashes, news crews, signs and waving flags.

Security tries hard to keep a clear path, but people pile up in the walkways trying to get a glimpse of news anchors like Anderson Cooper and Katie Couric or posing for a picture with politicians they run into like former South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle. With all the activity, excitement and star power, the Democratic National Convention resembles a miniature, indoor version of New York’s Time Square.