UPDATE: Andre makes a strong point about a lack of diversity in the party's delegation to the national committee.
I figured the Democratic Party would have a good, made for television crowd today at DNC Chairman Howard Dean's stop in Macon. The Democratic Party of Georgia's state committee was meeting at the same time, and at the same place, as Dean's voter registration rally here. And the committee meeting drew a couple hundred people.
So the Dean folks set up a stage, a microphone and speakers for him outside the Wilson Convention Center here. There was even a riser for television cameras. But about a half hour after the rally was supposed to begin, with about 50 people waiting around, they abandoned all that and moved the event inside the convention center.
It was clear that Dean organizers expected more folks to be there and moved things inside so the crowd wouldn't look so small. The crowd of 50 was smaller, here in one of Georgia's blue counties, than what Dean said his trip drew in Crawford, Texas, population 700 and home to President George W. Bush.
And yet there was a large potential audience 100 yards away from where Dean spoke. They could have had a crowd of 250 people going nuts. Instead they had Dean, without a microphone, having a conversation with about 50 people while party insiders decided who to send to the national convention in Denver. A 20 minute break to make the rally a success seemed logical, but it just didn't happen.
CORRECTION: As the commenter noted, they were picking new national committee members, not convention attendees.
Dublin state Rep. DuBose Porter, the party's minority leader in the House and Dean's introducer, tried to downplay the situation to me. State party spokesman Martin Matheny said the committee meeting had been scheduled since May, and that folks came from all over the state for it.
"We'd like to get them back to their families," Matheny said.
Dean took it in stride, saying "there's not a single person in that room that's not registered to vote." But how you go from a stage and press riser to a conversation in a lobby and don't see this as a snub, I don't know.