I am sad to be leaving. For us political junkies, this is like the Olympics or World Cup Soccer. Also, there is a fair amount of networking and pressing of the flesh I am sadly skipping. But Becky was sufficiently unhappy with my coming out at all that I promised to limit it to the bare minimum necessary. And Aaron was away all last week, so it has effectively been a week and a half since I have spent any time with him.
Life is trade offs, but I am never sure whether this balancing family and career and doing neither particularly well is better than focusing on just one or the other.
More political reflections below the cut.
Not sure how this is playing outside Denver. But a few basic observations.
1) Security keeps ratcheting up. Sunday night and Monday morning were pretty unobtrusive. By today, there are police in armor and riot gear EVERYWHERE. Trying to negotiate the light rail system this morning was a major hassle, as many trains are not running their full routes.
2) As I left, I saw a few women (as in 4) marching up the main street (16th) and chanting Hilary's name, waving signs and wearing PUMA shirts. I did not stop and chat, but I can't help but think that it is a major embarassment to Hilary to have followers feeding the worst sort of stereotypes and makng her look like some sort of Nader or LaRouche type with cult-like followers. If you are going to turn this into a cause, be smart about it.
3) Many Clintonites at the higher levels feel ill-used. There is much grumbling behind the scenes that the Obama campaign is not integrating Clinton's campaign aparatus and people in an appropriate manner. They are working the right party jobs, but they are not happy. They attribute this to arrogance and a lack of polictical pramatism on the part of the Obama people.
I actually think they are running into something else. The Obama campaign is disciplined, at a level unheard of in the Democratic party since Lyndon Johnson used to throw the fear of God into people. The fact that the Obama campaign prevented any leaks on th VP pick still has the press corp and political observers shaking their heads in amazement.
That means that when the Obama people tell the Clinton people "this is what we want you to do, we are not interested in discussing it, and if you engage in any sort of backbiting, rumor mongering, or the other ridiculous political games which have screwed up previous Democratic campaigns, we will take it away from you with no second chances or appeals," it is a huge shock. No one has ever told them that before, or made it stick. And the fact that the rest of the Obama campaign appears to utterly live by these principles does not make it easier for them.
4) As an aside, the utter iron discipline in the campaign is one of the most optimistic things for me about this campaign. They are relentless. The grumbling about Obama enforcing the "rags-to-riches/land of opportunity" theme for every major speaker may make such discipline look ridiculous. But it is utterly essential in a campaign.
5) There is, however, a mighty difference between the campaign and the rest of the Democrtic Party and the progressive blogosphere. One of the regular themese among speakers at Big Tent was on how we should not give Obama a free ride, even while we should seek to see him elected President. "More and better Democrats" is a fairly common refrain at Big Tent, as well as an appreciation that it is essential to make the progressive perspective mainstream by continuing to push the enevlope. "Lincoln started as trying desperately to preserve the Union. He ended up freeing the slaves because the Abolotionists pushed and made it mainstream. FDR started against an expanded Federal Government, but was pushed by progressives to create the radical change in government known as the New Deal."
More later. Gotta get ready to catch a plane.