The Real Reason Why the Democratic National Convention Won't Be Shortened

Categories: Media

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On July 2, the Los Angeles Times' political blog published "A Short But Sweet Gathering," which reported that unnamed aides for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama had floated the idea of ending the Democratic National Convention one day early, on August 27, in order to give their guy "an extra day of post-nomination bounce in the crowded August calendar." A small piece in the July 3 Denver Post quoted Denver mayor John Hickenlooper (taking a break from the overblown Black National Anthem controversy) to guarantee such a thing wouldn't happen.

Hick's right, of course -- but neither the Times nor the Post bothered to mention the real reason. August 28, the day Obama is expected to give his acceptance speech, is exactly 45 years to the day since Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a little talk of his own -- one that included the phrase "I have a dream."

Because this timing has been mentioned in press reports for quite some time (check out this June 3 Huffington Post item by Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. making note of it), it's remarkable, and a little bit embarrassing, that no one at either of the papers bothered to cite it. Sure, the Obama camp has gone out of its way to put the campaign in a post-racial context, whatever the hell that means. But no one with even the slightest sense of history could resist the symbolism of Obama officially becoming the nominee of his party on the anniversary of the most famous speech by the only African-American specifically honored by his own holiday in this country.

That includes Obama himself. In at least some ways, he is the realization of King's dream -- or at least a tangible symbol of it. That reporters at the Times thought he might shrug that off for 24 hours of extra bounce is either short-sighted or flat-out naive. -- Michael Roberts

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