Democrats could provide fireworks in Denver

Freedom New Mexico

The Democrats’ nominating convention in Denver at the end of the month is shaping up to be more interesting than the scripted-for-television displays of party unity these dreary affairs have become.

Maybe it won’t be as interesting as the conventions of yore dominated by smoke-filled (perish the thought nowadays!) back rooms where party elders supposedly made horse-trades to determine the fate of the nation, but fairly interesting nonetheless.

As USA Today reported on Wednesday, “Aides to (Barack) Obama, who will formally accept the Democratic nomination on Aug. 28, are girding for the possibility that (Hillary) Clinton backers will force a roll call vote that would demonstrate the extent of support for the New York senator.” It’s just a rumor as of now, but it’s a rumor that won’t go away.

To disappointed Hillary backers, that might be a sufficient gesture to show respect for the historic attempt to have a woman nominated by a major party. But there are also rumors that some die-hards believe a roll call just might be the vehicle whereby Democrats disappointed by Obama’s failure to pull away from presumptive GOP nominee John McCain could demonstrate sufficient “buyer’s remorse” that some super-delegates could return to the Hillary fold and deliver her the nomination.

That seems unlikely, but the possibility is intriguing. At the least, the convention may have trouble delivering the message loud and clear that this is Barack Obama’s party now. After all, the designated keynote speaker, former Virginia governor and current senate candidate Mark Warner, is scheduled to follow Hillary herself to the podium. Will that seem anticlimactic?

And the vice presidential candidate the next night will have to follow former President Bill Clinton. Will he be able to muffle a certain bitterness that has seeped through in recent interviews?

So the questions. Is this convention all about the Clintons yet again? Will that be beneficial or deleterious to Barack Obama’s chances in November? Does she have a secret wish to see him lose in November so she can try again in 2012? Even if she is fully on board the Obama Express, will she be able to control some of her more boisterous and outspoken supporters?

And then there are the rumors (denied by him) that former Secretary of State Colin Powell will make an appearance and endorse Barack Obama. Despite saying he will not attend either major party’s convention, he has also let it be known that he hasn’t decided who will get his vote in November.

The old days when national conventions actually decided who would get a party’s nomination were seldom as romantic and dramatic as nostalgic memory would have it. But they were more interesting than affairs where the outcome was determined months before.

A little fireworks in Denver — even digitally enhanced — would be kinda fun.