The intensely political city is being wracked by sectarian conflict that appears ready to devolve into out and out civil war, with partisans on each side looking to destroy the other as they work to ensure the political supremacy of their respective leaders.
Baghdad? No, Denver:
A number of Sen. Hillary Clinton's top advisers will not be staying in Denver long enough to hear Barack Obama accept the nomination for president, according to sources familiar with their schedules.
Clinton will deliver her speech Tuesday night. She will hold a private meeting with her top financial supporters Wednesday at noon, and will thank her delegates at an event that afternoon. Former president Bill Clinton will speak that night. Several of Hillary Clinton's supporters are then planning to leave town. Among them, Terry McAuliffe, Clinton's campaign chairman, and longtime supporters Steve Rattner and Maureen White. Another of Clinton's top New York fundraisers, Alan Patricof, did not make the trip to Denver.
Obama backer Robert Zimmerman points out that this is not that big a deal, because Gary Hart's and Howard Dean's backers behaved the same way back in 1984 and 2004. Excuse me, but didn't Republicans also win the Presidential elections those years? Just askin'.
As Democrats arrived here Sunday for a convention intended to promote party unity, mistrust and resentments continued to boil among top associates of presumptive nominee Barack Obama and his defeated rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
One flashpoint is the assigned speech topic for former president Bill Clinton, who is scheduled to speak Wednesday night, when the convention theme is "Securing America's Future." The night's speakers will argue that Obama would be a more effective commander in chief than his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).
The former president is disappointed, associates said, because he is eager to speak about the economy and more broadly about Democratic ideas -- emphasizing the contrast between the Bush years and his own record in the 1990s.
This is an especially sore point for Bill Clinton, people close to him say, because among many grievances he has about the campaign Obama waged against his wife is a belief that the candidate poor-mouthed the political and policy successes of his two terms.
Some senior Democrats close to Obama, meanwhile, made clear in not-for-attribution comments that they were equally irked at the Clinton operation. Nearly three months after Hillary Clinton conceded defeat in the nomination contest, these Obama partisans complained, her team continues to act like she and Bill Clinton hold leverage.
After a period earlier this month when the two sides were working collegially over strategy, scheduling, and other convention logistics, things turned scratchy again in recent days.
It doesn't get any more pacific if you read the whole thing. Oh, we are assured that everything will end hunky-dory. And on paper, it will. But does anyone really doubt that Bill Clinton hates Barack Obama--especially given that Hillary Clinton did not receive any consideration whatsoever during the process to select a Vice President?
Meanwhile, Ed Rendell continues to carry water for the Clintons. He's not likely to be the only one. Again, I am sure that we will have the show of unity at the end of all of this. But the question of whether a disgruntled group of Clintonites decides to hold back and ultimately serves to deny Barack Obama the Presidency is not a closed one.
And John McCain's campaign knows that: