Dana Milbank @ WaPo:
It began, like the Obama presidency itself, with the loftiest of hopes and the greatest of expectations.
The Democratic National Convention was to have opened here Monday with a festival at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, where, convention officials said, some 100,000 people would participate in a Labor Day festival that demonstrated the party’s openness and inclusion.
After a couple of nights at the Time Warner Cable Arena, the convention was to have closed with President Obama’s acceptance speech at the Bank of America Stadium, where convention officials were planning to squeeze nearly 6,000 seats onto the field to expand the stadium’s capacity beyond its usual 74,000.
But the speedway event was canceled — ostensibly because of logistical problems but more likely because convention fundraising was running low. Then the Democrats canceled the stadium event in favor of the smaller arena — ostensibly because of “severe thunderstorm” concerns but more likely because they couldn’t be sure enough people would come to fill the stadium.
In fact, the forecast hadn’t called for severe weather, and conditions were fine Thursday night. The change caused thousands to be turned away, and the crush of crowds at the arena led authorities at one point to lock down the building for a second straight night – leaving some delegates on the street while lobbyists enjoyed the proceedings inside.
It was quite a comedown from that heady night in Denver four years ago when Obama accepted the nomination in front of about 80,000 at Invesco Field. The candidate, on a stage set resembling a Greek temple, spoke about remaking the nation and the world.
The demigod turned out to be entirely human, and his results were disappointing. On Thursday night, as Obama admitted to “failings,” Democrats who dreamed of the biggest and the best in 2008 were learning to accept good enough.