RNC: Putting on a Happy (Yet Appropriately Somber) Face

The Republican National Convention lumbered to a start Monday with a business-only agenda, a Hurricane Gustav damper, raucous demonstrations, and fresh family drama from Sarah Palin.

St. Paul’s Xcel center was none-too-densely populated, but the delegates who showed up for the quorum wore their happy faces. If some folks were disappointed that Bush & Cheney were tending to Gustav and weren’t going to speak as planned, party leaders probably heaved a sigh of relief. (If only the RNC was held in 2005, maybe New Orleans would have gotten their attention. Three years later, things are much more attuned to looming natural disaster tragedy: The convention even opened with an appeal for everyone to donate to those affected by Gustav via text message, a tack the Obama team scooped by minutes via a text message appeal of their own.)

And the business about Palin’s pregnant, 17-year-old, unmarried daughter was not going to get delegates down. In fact, these party loyalists saw nothing but the bright side:

“As a grandmother, I can tell you the governor is excited,” said Texas delegate Kathie Whitford-Freeman. “The most exciting thing in this world is to be called granny.”

As for the protests, things got rowdy and messy. Utne.com’s Bennett Gordon and Chelsey Perkins has some great video dispatches from the frontlines, as does the UpTake. For some of the finest coverage of the weekend’s preemptive raids and Monday’s ongoing shenanigans, check out the Minnesota Independent.

For more of Utne.com’s ongoing coverage of the Republican National Convention, click here.

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