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Wednesday, Sep 3, 2008, 7:28 pm

Who needs community organizing?

By Jeremy Gantz
Back from an hour out on the convention floor, a few choice details...

-I'm not sure which was more frightening: Rudy Giuliani deriding Obama's years as a community organizer on Chicago's South Side, or the audience exploding with glee when he said it. The truly awful thing was, it took people a half second to believe what he had said, as though they knew it was over decency's line. It was, and they loved it anyway.

-The Texas delegation, and then others, broke into chants of "Zero, Zero, Zero" after Giuliani's awful jibe. Somehow "Zero" has become the hot new taunt against Obama. And somehow the Texas delegation managed to live up to my stereotype of Texas Good 'Ol Boys.

-Wolf Blitzer looked eerily statuesque listening to Giuliani, and appeared to be annoyed that he wasn't on camera talking. Likewise Anderson Cooper.

-Triumph the Insult Comic Dog/Robert Smigel was having a great time dropping f-bombs to random delegates - and they loved it. Nice to see laughter not elicited by teleprompter jokes.

-The floor audience really is as wildly enthusiastic as it appear on TV. These people are ready to clap during any pause. It seems like there must be a blinking "Applause" sign out there, but that's far from necessary. These people are here to applaud whatever their leaders say. I heard no boos, nothing but unadulterated cheering...

-This is a very, very white crowd.

UPDATE: How white is this RNC? Well, 36 of 2,380 delegates, or 2 percent, are black. That's a 78 percent decline in black delegates from 2004, according to a new nonpartisan think tank report summarized in this article.

Jeremy Gantz was the Web/Associate Editor of In These Times from 2008 to 2012. His January 2011 cover story for the magazine, "Terrorist by Association," was selected as a finalist for the Molly National Journalism Award 2012. He is now a contributing editor to the magazine, focusing on labor issues.

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