As you have probably heard by now, the Democratic Convention managers have officially announced that due to thunderstorm forecasts, tomorrow night’s planned Obama acceptance speech at 75,000-seat Bank of America Stadium will be moved indoors to the Time Warner Cable Arena, the 21,000-seat venue where the rest of the Convention is taking place.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been in an outdoor sports arena when thunderstorms or high winds appeared, but it can be a scary experience. I was once at a Braves game at the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on a hot summer evening when large clouds began collecting and then rotating directly over the field, and without any prompting from the umps, the players stopped and stared, along with all of us in the stands, at the sky, half-expecting a funnel cloud to drop right in. Turned out all we endured was a gully-washing rain, but it was alarming nonetheless.
So when Republicans offer their unsubstantiated claims that the weather is an excuse for cancelling a venue organizers might not have filled, keep in mind what would have happened had Democrats brought 75,000 people (or less, if the weather kept some people home or stuck in traffic) into a violent storm without shelter.
If Denver ’08 was the model for the planned event, disappointed would-be attendees will miss not only the chance for a soaking or worse, but some serious calluses. My hotel was within spitting distance of Invesco Field, but the security scheme required an endless walk to and from the stadium, with queues routed all over downtown Denver, or so it seemed.
For the locals, the Obama campaign is currently planning enough North Carolina rallies down the home stretch to accommodate anyone turned away tomorrow night several times over.