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The ITT List

Wednesday, Sep 3, 2008, 7:28 pm

Who needs community organizing?

By Jeremy Gantz

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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 is a contributing editor at the magazine. He is the editor of The Age of Inequality: Corporate America's War on Working People (2017, Verso), and was the Web/Associate Editor of In These Times from 2008 to 2012. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, he worked as a reporter for The Cambodia Daily in 2007. After graduating from Carleton College in 2004, he lived in Sri Lanka on a Fulbright scholarship, studying the intersection of ethnic politics and public education. His articles have also appeared in Chicago-area newspapers, Alternet and the Onion’s A.V. Club.

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