"There aren't Greek columns tall or wide enough to camouflage Barack Obama's impending North Carolina catastrophe," says Michelle Malkin in the New York Post. North Carolina, still a swing state when the Democrats decided to hold their national convention in Charlotte, is looking increasingly red, but that's not the only factor that has Democrats regretting their plan. Here, three reasons Democrats should brace for a rocky nominating convention when it kicks off in Charlotte this Labor Day weekend. (Hey, at least they'll have liquor.)
1. Anger on both sides of the gay-marriage issue could spill over into protests
Literally the day before President Obama came out in support of gay marriage, North Carolina voters overwhelmingly passed a sweeping measure outlawing even civil unions for same-sex partners. That's creates quite the quandary for the president, says Chadwick Harvey at PolicyMic. If he trumpets his nod to gay marriage, anti-gay protesters could come out in force — but a failure to mention it could "cause a stream of protests through the city streets of Charlotte from the gay and lesbian community." Some gay-rights groups even want the Democrats to move the convention from "a state that does not promote liberty and equality." Things could get ugly, quickly.
2. Unions could sit out the convention, with their dollars
Although the Charlotte host committee denies that the Democrats are having trouble raising cash for their convention, two sources say planners are about $27 million short of their $36.6 million goal, says Hans Nichols at Bloomberg. The likely reason: Democrats decided to bar corporations from directly funding the convention, choosing to accept only personal donations of $100,000 or less. Democrats were hoping labor unions would cough up the difference, but unions are opting out "because Charlotte lacks unionized hotels" and North Carolina is a union-unfriendly "right to work" state. Hmmm, says Malkin in the New York Post: "Disgruntled leftists. Disgruntled centrists. Disgruntled unions. Disgruntled corporate donors" — sounds like a great party.
3. The no-shows could be a downer
Several prominent Democratic lawmakers have already said they're skipping their own party's convention, and "if historical precedent is a guide... Obama should be worried," says Alex Roarty in National Journal. In 2008, such defections on the GOP side "amounted to an early alarm bell." And while it's not too surprising that Sen. Joe Manchin and two of his West Virginia colleagues are staying away, given Obama's unpopularity in their state, Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) is a big Obama supporter. (McCaskill told reporters that she's "never gone to a convention when I've had a contested election" and that the chatter about her skipping is "dumb.") Obama's 2012 slogan may be "Forward," says Malkin, but "'Back Away!' is quickly becoming the dissenting Democrats' rallying cry." Given their attitude, "the DNC promises to be a public-relations nightmare."
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