Saturday, June 28, 2008

Democratic Convention Liveblog 3

Democratic Convention Liveblog 3: Tired Up, Ready To Go (home)

Straight up 8:00 -- 11 hours into the convention.

The remaining crowd falls into four categories:

  • The folks who really, really care about platform.
  • National delegate candidates.
  • Friends of national delegate candidates (I fall into this group).
  • Staffers and/or people serving on the standing committees like rules.

    The last platform voting is happening. The most contentious platform discussion was the Israel-Palestine conflict. More heat than light on this subject. Three lines are deleted:

    We support:
    1071 25. Keeping the US Embassy in Tel-Aviv until reaching resolution.
    1073 We oppose:
    1074 26. Israeli settlement activity on territory captured in the Six-Day War.
    1075 27. The Separation Wall.

    The affirmative action chair vote is on either ballot four or ballot five, but since we've narrowed from three candidates to two, this'll be decisive. Folks are starting to grumble, openly, on the mike, about the attrition rate as it affects national delegate candidates.

    A result at last: Elector (candidates), Audrey Lindaman and Joe Judge. The ballot counting is the bottleneck, as it always seems to be. Tully has tried several tactics to entertain the troops, including reading silly Bush quotes and conducting a "who has the most children" contest (the winner had more than ten).

    8:45 and Sandy Opsvedt has been re-elected to the DNC. Health care, civil rights, and environment get voted as the platform priorities; a year and a half ago when the campaign started it might have been the war, the war and the war. The last ballot on DNC male is happening.

    12 hours in, preference groups at long last happen. "Edwards, if there's anybody left, you can meet in the hallway and I'll be happy to talk to you" says Tully, a former Edwards guy.

    12 hours in, preference groups at long last happen. "Edwards, if there's anybody left, you can meet in the hallway and I'll be happy to talk to you" says Tully, a former Edwards guy.

    The toughest ticket to Denver is for men. Obama chooses four women and one man, plus a male alternate. Clinton chooses three women and a female alternate. (This is because the party leader/elected official delegates are disproportionately male.) It's not announce but I was told Edwards, contrary to original reports, is also now all female. All other affirmative action guidelines are voluntary, but male and female delegates are separate votes.

    Food, by the way, is long since closed.

    Rob Hubler's still here working the room; he tells me the key to winning on his tough turf is letting people know who he is, and letting people know who Steve King really is. "Thie year could be better than 1974," he says. He's part of a father-son candidate team; his son is taking on party-switcher Doug Struyck in Council Bluffs.

    22 men -- it keeps going up -- are running for the one male Obama spot. Leading contenders look like Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba and Coralville State Senator Bob Dvorsky. Speeches are variations on How Much I've Done For Obama And The Party (for older candidates) or How Wonderful Obama Is (four younger candidates). Sam Becker makes his best case as the youth candidate: "I'm 85, so I'll make everyone else seem young."

    30 female candidates; I panicked when the alphabetically ordered names filled the first video screen and were only in the B's, but they skewed disproportionately to the beginning of the alphabet. We can hear what we think are fireworks outside; either that or a sudden thunderstorm, or a band elsewhere in the building. The female candidates' speeches are similar but a few more people drop in their affirmative action categories (female veteran, Hispanic woman, Asian Pacific Islander woman, woman with disabilities, 50+ woman, etc.) looking for an edge.

    I'm offered a Snickers bar, which reminds me of the ad: "Not going anywhere for a while?"
    Team Obama has finished ballot one at 10:30, and is killing time with Open Mike Night. Dick Myers fires up the troops. "There is only ONE party in this United States of America that believes in civil and economic justice, and that is the DEMOCRATIC Party!" Myers concludes.

    Investigative journalism has determined that the booming noise is a kid-oriented Christian rock band next door. Members of Team Hillary were straggling out of the convention, having completed two balots in the time Obama completed one. They had 13 people running for four spots -- again, all women. Team Obama takes a pro forma, yet recorded, vote to say the three Edwards people -- Catherine Crist, Tammy Watson Caroso, and alternate Catherine Wilden -- are OK.

    10:54 and that pro forma Edwards vote passed. Male candidates have been winnowed from 22 to 11. We go through jokes and songs. "They asked John McCain if he wore boxers or briefs and he said depends." I liked it the first time I heard it, when it was a Bob Dole joke.

    Women narrow faster -- from 30 down to 9. One of the people I promised votes to is eliminated. "Last call," says the rules committee, and though they mean ballots I wonder how close we are to bar time.

    11:27 and the third ballot on Obama men cuts it to five. Dvorsky and Gluba still in there. Bad news: male alternate is a separate election, and the ballot will be the 21 men who unsuccessfully run for delegate. Guys are strongly encouraged to drop out.

    11:42 -- the second ballot actually elects three women: Jan Bauer, Faith Bromwich and Mary Campos. Third ballot on the one last woman. Six candidates remain, so probably at least one more vote. Another attempt to get men to quit the alternate race.

    Down in the Clinton room, they're standing down between ballots, the field narrowed down to nine. The Edwardians are probably home asleep by now.

    Last vote of the day. No, we're not done; we're just rolling over into Sunday. The men only narrow from five to four on the fourth ballot. Only one woman drops this ballot. Sooo.... we got to ballot five for men and ballot four for women.

    While they count, the entertainment bar is lowered; we've sunk to knock-knock jokes and watching YouTube clips on the big screen. Makes one long for the glory days of a bright green Bruce Braley eight or so hours ago. Democracy in action, dear readers, democracy in action.

    The delegate attrition rate has dropped and we're in stalemate. Everyone remaining is a passionate supporter of a remaining national delegate candidate. One candidate drops off per ballot. Bob Dvorsky drops off (so my promises have been met.)

    Another half hour, another ballot, another one person of each gender drops off. At this point fatigue is outweighing news, so it may just be time to call it a night.

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