Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More caucuses and an arrest...

...and *no*, I wasn't the one who was busted. :)

The day started early with breakfast with the Arizona delegation (thanks Lauren!).

It was a pretty low-key morning, with Sam Rosen, the father of Sarah Rosen, paying tribute to his daughter. Sarah is the former ADP Communications Director who died in a car accident in 2005. He has established a fund in her name to help pay Democratic Party interns. (PolitickerAZ coverage here)

Governor Janet Napolitano spoke very briefly, mostly to comment about Monday night's Convention activities ("great night") and Michelle Obama's speech ("talk about hitting it out of the park") before heading off to speak to other states' delegations about the West. (more PolitickerAZ coverage here)

Congressman Raul Grijalva also spoke, and in comments that foreshadowed most of Tuesday's speeches on the Convention floor, sent delivered some zingers directly at John McCain.

- "Arizona has a tradition of being the only state where moms can't tell their sons that they can grow up to be President. Let's keep that tradition going."

- Referring to John McCain's poor record in AZ, and AZ's poor record in areas such as education and the environment during McCain's watch, jibed that "we don't want to see that record repeated" across the rest of the nation.

After breakfast was a quick trip downtown via light rail (certain folks in Scottsdale just got indigestion at reading that :)) ).

The first stop at the Colorado Convention Center was the Women's Caucus.

OK, that sentence doesn't really cover it, not by a long shot.

Let's try this one -

The first stop at the Colorado Convention Center was at the jam-packed, energized, and LOUD Four Seasons Ballroom for the Women's Caucus.

Not great, but definitely better... :)

The throngs at the Caucus (2000 +!) were treated to a long list of "superstar" speakers that included Andrea Wong, CEO of Lifetime Television, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Donna Brazile, longtime Democratic activist (her resume is too long to list specifics), actress and activist Rosario Dawson, DNC Vice-Chair Lottie Shackleford, Ellen Malcolm, founder and president of Emily's list and more. There was even a quick guest appearance by actress Eva Longoria.

And that was just in the first 50 minutes or so, before I had to run off to another caucus.

This caucus had the best speakers of the day, especially Malcolm and Brazile, but for me, the highlight was that the giveaways at this caucus were the best so far. Normally, caucus swag is limited to pins, bumper stickers, and rally signs.

The Women's Caucus gave away tambourines, magazines and posters. I didn't bother with the magazine (can read those anywhere), but I kept the tambourine and posters. The tambourine will make a great giveaway at the next LD17 meeting, and the posters will look good on the walls of the coordinated campaign offices in Tempe and Scottsdale.

After the Women's Caucus was the Faith Council, where a group of incredible orators spoke about how many of the issues that concern people of faith also concern Democrats. Both communities are find common ground in working for the common good on issues such as poverty, education, a living wage, the environment and even immigration.

As Bishop Wilfredo Dejesus of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference said, "We must stand by all of God's children, even the undocumented ones in our country." (Wow - I'm not even in AZ and I get to write something that will tick off Russell Pearce and the rest of the nativists. I call that a good day. :)) )

As good as the speakers at the Faith Council were (preachers of whatever faith get lots of practice working an audience, don't they? ), the crowd was, to put it tactfully, a little stodgy, especially when compared to the Women's Caucus.

However, things livened up quickly at the Veterans and Military Families Caucus.

Near the very beginning of the proceedings, an anti-abortion protester jumped and proclaimed that he was a Marine and that a vote for Obama was a vote for killing unborn babies. He continued shouting his rant, even when the audience of more than two hundred people instantaneously started a chant of "Obama! Obama!" until security arrived to lead him away.

Note: I didn't take any pics as he was wasn't resisting arrest and the police weren't using excessive force, and I believe it is generally a bad idea to give extremists of any stripe free publicity.

The meeting was set up mostly as an interactive forum, with a few speakers such as Rep. Mike Honda discussing the issue of Filipino veterans of WWII getting screwed out of veterans benefits and Cecil Roberts of the United Mine Workers talking about his service in Vietnam and the close relationship between unions and veterans.

He had the best line of the day regarding John McCain's abysmal record on veterans' issue -

"We honor McCain's service; now we ask him to honor ours."

The actual "forum" part of the forum discussed Senator Obama's qualifications to be commander-in-chief. Major General Scott Gration USAF (Ret.) and Colonel Dick Klass USAF (Ret.) spoke eloquently (not a word normally associated with military folks, eh?? LOL) about Obama's compassion, courage, ability to relate to military personnel and, above all, judgement to lead.

At that point, around 2:15 p.m., I started crashing and headed out. I have to give the delegates and party officials a little respect here - most of their days are 16 hours or longer (at breakfast, Maria Weeg, the Executive Director of the ADP, talked about getting three hours sleep) and they are still fully energized by the time the Convention hits prime time at 8 or so at night.

Anyway, it's after midnight as I finish typing this, so it's off to bed for me. Another early start tomorrow, though not as early as the delegates.


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