By William D. Randall - Special to the Liberal OC.
A former staff member with the DNC in both Los Angeles 2000 and Boston 2004, William is covering the 2008 DNC in Denver as John Q. Public, i.e. “Without Creds.”
This morning I had the opportunity to attend the breakfast meeting of the 441 strong delegation of the California Democratic Party in Downtown Denver. Some notable political names were in attendance, such as former White House Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton, Leon Panetta, Former California Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Senator John Kerry (D-MA), and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), not to mention the Chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party Frank Barbaro and the rest of the OC Delegation.
After a somewhat late start (the scheduled start time was 8:00 and the breakfast commenced around 8:30) California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres kicked off the meeting this morning. Chairman Torres mentioned that some delegates had concerns with the non-secret ballot process utilized by the Democratic National Committee in placing votes for the nomination tonight. While there are a large number of delegates in California who are staunch Hillary supporters, the message today was one of unity and coming together to ensure that Barrack Obama is elected the next president of the United States. Some delegates are even pushing for a roll call vote by gathering the necessary signatures under the rules. It does not appear that this will happen however as the roll call vote is scheduled to take place outside of prime time.
And while this fearless blogger was hoping for Invesco Tickets, Chairman Torres reiterated that California still has not been granted an extra block of tickets. As California is one of the largest donors to Barrack Obama and the Democratic National Committee, this “slight” does not resonate well with many of the delegates in the room.
As for the main speakers this morning, Senator Barbra Boxer, who is running for reelection in 2010, spoke about the depiction in the media of a rift among democrats between HRC and BHO. From my observations
this morning, along with the cheer of the delegates in the room, I have to say that the rumor of a rift among the democrats is greatly exaggerated. It makes for great press and it helps to generate interest in watching the convention but not much else.
Also, in a slightly different environment from four years ago, Senator John Kerry spoke this morning about his experiences in California. He stressed that we need change in this country in order to correct the failed policies of the Bush Administration. Sen. Kerry also had a great line about the contrast between Obama and McCain, “Obama announced his vice presidential pick on the Internet, McCain will announce his by Pony Express.”
Senator Claire McCaskill was also dynamic this morning. She noted the size of the California delegation and addressed the concerns of the many HRC supporters in the room by saying how this election is not about Hillary, but is an election to change America for the better, a vision shared by both HRC and Barrack Obama.
It is no secret that with a state the size of California, there are many issues and concerns that would arise among the delegates. Many have mentioned the difficulty in getting seats in the convention hall. From experience, I can state that if you are not in the convention hall before 3 PM, you’re not getting in. I even observed the President of the Teamsters, Jimmy Hoffa, being turned away from the convention hall. Many alternates are seeking a more active role in the convention as well. While closure of the convention hall to delegates and other attendees is not unheard of, the early closure this time out is disconcerting as many hardworking delegates are being shut out from a moment that they have spent months of their lives working for.
On an Orange County related note, delegates from the OC here in Denver have been carrying with them a South Vietnamese flag in solidarity with those who immigrated to Westminster and other parts of Orange
County during the Vietnam War. They have been taking pictures with elected officials and putting them up here on the Liberal OC. A good friend mentioned to me however that some elected officials, notably John Garamendi, have declined to have their picture taken with the flag despite the fact that a large amount of financial support has come from those who support a democratic Vietnam.
As our Orange County delegates continue to enjoy Denver, and the big speech at Invesco Field on Thursday night, I’ll be returning to Orange County. You can follow the convention from the floor through our OC delegates only here on the Liberal OC.
A few pictures
All Photos (c) William D. Randall 2008
William D. Randall