The doubters said we couldn’t do it. That our fair city, our “cowtown,” would be overrun. In 1908 restaurants ran out of food on the first day, having no idea what hosting the Democratic National Convention required. But 100 years later I’d say Denver more than made up for our past follies by hosting a truly magnificent convention.
Much of the credit should go to our much-maligned host committee and the Mayor’s office, who may have had trouble raising money as the nominating process dragged on, but who worked double-time once we had a candidate to successfully meet their goal. As far as I understand it, everything that happened outside of the Pepsi Center and Invesco had to go through them, and they did a fantastic job keeping all the different moving pieces moving in the same direction.
Next, the Democratic National Convention Committee put on one of the most well-choreographed conventions I can remember. With modern conventions more a coronation than a forum for deciding on a candidate, this is political theater at its highest form. Obama’s last minute switch to Invesco Field included more Coloradans in the process — and for the first time I’m aware of in American political history filled an entire football stadium with cheering fans — but also caused a giant headache for organizers. Still, even with this wrench in the gears every speech, every moment of the convention moved a coherent and specific Democratic message, uniting the party and bringing Obama’s message of change to the country — and reminding voters that John McCain equals four more years of a failed Bush presidency.
With the exception of one incident, protesters and police kept things respectful and safe. Many thanks to the men and women in blue for their service and restraint, and many thanks to the men and women in dreadlocks and silly costumes for their civility.
The weather — oh the weather! What beautiful Colorado summer weather! While it looks like Hurricane Gustav could cause a Katrina-sized headache for Republicans this week, the weather in Denver couldn’t have been any better. I saw more perfect-ten sunsets last week than the rest of the summer combined.
Finally, and most importantly, the people of Colorado welcomed Democrats from around the country with open arms and loving hearts. I never heard a single complaint about “townies,” and heard more compliments than I can number. Locals — even Republicans — gave directions, suggestions on their favorite restaurants and local hidden gems, and on the whole seemed genuinely excited about this opportunity to show-off our city to the rest of the country.
We’ve got a great town in a great state, and now everyone in American knows it. I just hope they don’t all decide to move here…
Colorado Independent’s blog-i-nist (blogger-columnist) Jeff Bridges has worked in Democratic politics for the last 10 years, serving as communications director for two congressional races in Colorado and two governors races in the Deep South. Bridges also worked for Sen. Ken Salazar as a legislative assistant in D.C., and currently serves on the board of directors for New Era Colorado and the Colorado Conservation Voters.