Inside the DNC Big Tent

Two-Story Outpost Has Much to Blog About, But Not Enough Air Conditioning

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Credit: Ken Wheaton
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The first thing I noticed about the Big Tent is that it's big. In fact, it's a two-story tent, which is even more impressive than a double-wide trailer if you ask me. It's sponsored by Digg, Google and YouTube and it's full of bloggy goodness. What it's not full of -- not in the upstairs section where the speeches are being given -- is air conditioning. I'm awaiting the next panel, dubbed "Dividing the Voters: Working the Wedge in 2008." The panel consists of Ben Jealous, the incoming NAACP president-CEO; Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign; Arturo Vargas, head of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials; and Peter Groff, president of the Colorado Senate. What's this have to do with marketing? What doesn't it. You win elections not with advertising but by sewing strife among your opponents! How very Conan the Barbarian.

Sadly, the tone so far of this panel -- set by Nancy Zurkin of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights -- is all victimization. The Republicans are mean to us and driving a wedge between us and so forth and so on. But she does promise, after describing how dastardly this all is, that they'll talk about how to "turn the tables."

Solmonese -- whose group was last seen in Ad Age getting that Snickers ad yanked -- says that the presidential candidates are less likely to introduce gay marriage as a wedge issue this time around. But he said down-ticket Republicans may go that route. If you remember, previous Republican wins were attributed to the Rove machine stoking the fears of a gay planet.

Groff mentions Ward Connerly's anti-affirmative-action ballot items as a possible wedge issue. Vargas mentions immigration as a wedge issue, though considering John McCain's problematic history in his own party (as in he's not anti-illegal-immigration enough), I find it highly unlikely we'll be seeing McCain running ads demonizing illegals. It doesn't seem that Ben Jealous is here.

Meanwhile, there's a very large flat-screen monitor to my right bumping Digg headlines, including one that reads, "Say It Ain't So, Joe: Biden Takes Credit for Patriot Act!?!" and "Riot Police Deny Wolf Blitzer Entry; 'Who is Wolf Blitzer?'"

That's enough of this live-blogging experiment for now. It's too hot in here, they're not saying much, and I hear some commotion outside.