There is no enthusiasm gap in Charlotte

On the first day of the Democratic National Convention, there’s something in the Time Warner Cable Arena that simply wasn’t in the Tampa Bay Times Forum throughout the entire Republican National Convention: enthusiasm.

I could feel the excitement on the streets of Charlotte as delegates arrived. Now, in the hall, the assembled applaud the accomplishments of President Obama and mix their ovations with chants of “four more years!” Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio blew the roof off the arena when he declared, “Obama stood up for us, and now by God, we will stand up for him!”

This theme of standing up for a president who has stood up for “us” was a thread in other speeches. But Strickland’s robust delivery pulled the delegates to their feet in a big ovation. Next came Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts. After listing Obama’s accomplishments, Patrick unleashed a roar from the crowd when he declared, “With a record and a vision like that, I will not stand by and let him be bullied out of office — and neither should you....” And then came Michelle Obama. The first lady brought cheers when she said, “I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are. It reveals who you are.”

There has been a lot of talk and hand wringing about whether the Democratic Party base was as enthusiastic in 2012 as it was in 2008. On day one of the Democratic National Convention, the answer is clear to see — and hear.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.


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