Aug 272008
Authors: Caleb Thornton

Watch any news organization covering the convention and you will see plenty of smiles, cheers, passionate speeches, and if you tuned in on Tuesday night, signs galore reading, “unity.”

But do not be fooled.

Look below the surface and you are sure to find a very different story underlying the Democratic Convention.

This convention was supposed to be, and by all accounts should be, the coronation for the would-be president. Barack Obama was supposed to be a sure thing, a no-doubter, you could have bet your paycheck on him (after the government took out its fair share, of course).

Oh, how times change.

A recent Gallup poll released just prior to the first night of the DNC showed not Barack Obama, but John McCain with a 46-44 percent lead — making the bid for the White House a dead heat.

If the Obama campaign is not nervous about these numbers, they certainly should be.

First, this poll came out only days after Barack Obama announced his vice presidential candidate as Sen. Joe Biden from Delaware.

The senator was supposed to bring Obama ticket credibility on the international stage, experience in Washington, and insider expertise, everything Obama himself was missing. It looks like the American public is just not buying it.

In 2000 and 2004 both Democratic candidates received a bounce in the polls after their selections of their vice presidential candidates, as did Bush in his first election.

Instead, Obama received a drop in his polls numbers. But the trouble for Democrats doesn’t end there.

The sitting president, a Republican, continues to reflect job approval ratings at or below 30 percent while at the same time less than 20 percent of American’s believe the country is on the right track. Barack Obama’s entire campaign has focused around the word, “change,” which certainly seems to be what the American people want, but for some reason the message just isn’t getting through.

And then you have the Clintons.

Yes, Hillary has supported Barack Obama’s campaign (with some promised perks of course, such as help paying off the massive debt she incurred running for the nomination) and yes, in her speech Tuesday night Hillary called for her followers to support Obama in his quest for presidency, but talk to die-hard Clinton supporters and you’ll find that there are plenty out there who are still not happy.

Apparently one of them is Bill Clinton, who CNN reported Tuesday night would not be attending Barack Obama’s speech at Invesco Field at Mile High.

Feelings must be hard when you refuse to suffer through a political rival’s speech while the opportunity of seeing Bruce Springsteen live looms.All these issues point to one simple fact — Barack Obama as president is not a sure thing.

The fact is, once you get past all the glitz and glamour that has surrounded Barack Obama, the American public is beginning to see what Obama really stands for, and obviously they don’t like what they see.

Maybe it is Barack Obama’s refusal to expand exploration of petroleum throughout the U.S. Maybe it is the fact that the surge in Iraq is working, proving the nay-sayers, Barack Obama being one of the biggest, wrong.

Or maybe the country is just not comfortable handing over the government to two of the most liberal senators in the nation. Yes, Barack Obama’s poll numbers will undoubtedly increase after the convention; they always do. But the fact that the race is so tight coming into the convention should have liberals who were betting on “change” concerned, at the very least, for their prospects in the coming months.

All is not as happy as it seems in Denver this week so do not be fooled.

Caleb Thornton is a junior political science major. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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