Dalliances In Denver

I realize that every effort is being made to bring about a successful convention and a powerful launch for the Obama campaign as it moves fully and completely into general election mode. But in many ways, the intensity of the work being done to cap matters off successfully in Denver serves to underscore just how divided the Democrats are on a number of fronts.

Exhibit A–There is a split amongst the Democrats concerning the tone of the convention:

Have the Democrats wasted the first night of the convention?

Yes, says Democratic Strategist and CNN contributor James Carville.

Speaking on CNN, Carville said the party was too soft in its attacks on John McCain Monday night — the same mistake, Carville says, Democrats made at the 2004 convention.

“The way they planned it tonight was supposed to be sort of the personal — Michelle Obama will talk about Barack Obama personally, Ted Kennedy was a very personal, emotional speech,” Carville said. “But I guarantee on the first night of the Republican Convention, you’re going to hear talk about Barack Obama, commander-in-chief, tax cuts, et cetera, et cetera.”

[. . .]

“If this party has a message it’s done a hell of a job hiding it tonight, I promise you that,” he said.

Some might say that it was not only Monday night when the party appeared to be failing in transmitting its message to the public at large. Of course, we will see Democrats take off the gloves in short order but this complaint can be read as representing the concerns of the Clintonians that Barack Obama & Co. simply will not be tough enough to take on John McCain and the Republicans. In the event that McCain wins, the Clintonians will be positioned to tell everyone and their pet canaries that they told us so, that they warned us that only Hillary Clinton would be strong enough to win the general election and that come 2012, everyone and their pet canaries ought to make sure that they listen to the Clintons instead of being caught up in the latest political fad.

Speaking of the Clintons . . . well, you really didn’t think that you would go long before reading something like this, now did you?

Bill Clinton appeared to undermine Sen. Barack Obama again Tuesday.

The former president, speaking in Denver, posed a hypothetical question in which he seemed to suggest that that the Democratic Party was making a mistake in choosing Obama as its presidential nominee.

He said: “Suppose you’re a voter, and you’ve got candidate X and candidate Y. Candidate X agrees with you on everything, but you don’t think that candidate can deliver on anything at all. Candidate Y you agree with on about half the issues, but he can deliver. Which candidate are you going to vote for?”

Then, perhaps mindful of how his off-the-cuff remarks might be taken, Clinton added after a pause: “This has nothing to do with what’s going on now.”

Sure it didn’t. Let it be noted, by the way, that as the most prominent U.S. Senator in the country not named “McCain,” “Obama” or (I can’t believe I am writing this) “Biden,” Hillary Clinton is able to stop this kind of behavior easily. It doesn’t take much; just a simple explanation to her husband that her political career may be irredeemably harmed if she doesn’t appear to be making nice with the Obama camp and doesn’t appear to be working as hard as possible to ensure that Barack Obama wins in November. But she does no such thing. Instead, she plays good cop and Bill Clinton plays bad cop and it is impossible to believe that he does so without her official sanction. Bill Clinton makes it outwardly clear that he hates Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton makes a show of liking him just fine and letting bygones be bygones, but she likely despises her erstwhile rival just as much as her husband does and is more than glad to let her husband continue to undercut Obama. Boy, those efforts at unity are going amazingly well, now aren’t they?

Not that Clintonians don’t have a right to be displeased about certain things, of course:

Supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton furiously circulated petitions on the floor of the Democratic National Convention last night, hoping to stave off a plan to hold the convention’s roll call at breakfast Wednesday — out of the public eye — sources inside the delegations said.

The move being worked out between the Obama campaign and officials behind Clinton’s suspended bid, would work in two parts: Delegates would cast votes at their hotels Wednesday morning; that night, at the Pepsi Center convention site, the roll-call process would rely on the votes cast that morning, the delegates said.

Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, a former state co-chair for Clinton said she knows the camps are in negotiations about what to do.

“My view is we need to come together as a party,” DeGette said. “I admire Hillary Clinton greatly, but I think it would be divisive to have a vote on the floor. We need to have a unanimous vote.”

So . . . in the effort to not be divisive, the Democrats are going to end up being divisive. Now they are considering not even affording Clinton supporters the dignity of a roll call vote that is in the public eye. I don’t think that this plan will go very far, but the mere discussion of it is enough to get people angry all over again.

I guess that I am left with the following question: Have Republicans infiltrated the Democratic National Convention? Because matters certainly appear to be proceeding along the lines of a Republican saboteur’s fondest dreams.