Despite the crowds flowing into the convention center main hall, and unlike every other Washington State democratic party event since february, there was plenty of seating. I was suprised since there were some rather high bill speakers in the morning slate. I spent some time hunting down my 45th LD homies and just being a fly on the wall for surrounding conversations.
What struck me immediately was the overall Clinton/Obama conversations. The Clinton people ranged from resigned to highly, *highly* pissed off. Someone had come into the hall and plastered key areas with hundreds of Clinton signs. In an interesting bit of floor drama I’ll get into later on, there was a new measure for the charter to utilize results from the Washington State primary results instead of the Washington State caucus results, which if made retroactive would have materially altered Obama’s delegate count since he won the primary by a more narrow margin than his caucus blowout margin.
As I mentioned previously the rather odd but fun parade had gotten people in the mood. Senator Patty Murray warmed the crowd up, so when Gov. Christine Gregiore took the stage folk were pumped.
They used her margin of victory after three recounts (133 votes) into a pretty snazzy campaign ad. Although I should mention that I’m getting sick of hearing U2’s Beautiful Day as a campaign rallying theme.
What was most interesting about her speech is that she did all but tell Clinton supporters to "get over it". Her speech was very much focused on the silly attempt by Republicans in the state like her challenger Dino Rossi to remove the word "Republican" from the ballot next to their name and replace it with "GOP Party" (Grand Old Party Party?), electing Obama, and telling people to get past the primary season now that the party had a nominee.
Given the majority of the group were Obama supporters it wasn’t a suprise to hear cheering for this speech.
Senator John Kerry was due to give the keynote however he was attending a funeral of a soldier killed in Iraq. I feel bad retroactively for joking that he didn’t make it because he figured out they were sending him to Spokane instead of Seattle. I feel worse because another soldier died in that senseless war. Senator Amy Klobuchar filled in instead and gave a really good speech that was designed again to rally support behind Barack Obama. She had several personal anecdotes about the Senator and the fact she’s a freshman in the 110th.
She was a perfect choice I think as her talk really worked to humanize Obama to the more hostile of the Clinton supporters.
Ah but after all the speeches are done, there’s the incredible boring work of convention business. A collision of Robert’s Rules of Order, a long church service, standing in line at the DoMV for your license plate tags, doing your taxes, organizing 100 hyperactive children to form a straight line, listening to Ben Stein give an 8 hour lecture, and punching yourself in the stomach repeatedly. The seats started to empty.
Which isn’t to say I didn’t have a good time watching it all. In fact aside from the drama of the new motion to allocate delegates using the results of the primary (it was never clear to me if that motion would have been retroactive to the February results) which failed, the job of state delegates at the convention who were not running for state elector or national delegate was to show up, maintain quorum, vote the charter, go home. So I spent a lot of time just listening to people.
One thing was clear, the Clinton supporters in general are completely mystified as to her loss. I watched one Clinton supporter, an older woman, tearfully talking to a younger woman with an Obama button about why in the world she had not supported Hillary after all that Hillary had done for women. The younger woman was mystified at the very line of the argument, saying "but I support Obama because of his plan. I don’t like Clinton’s plans at all!" The Clinton supporter just had a blank look and no response to it. It was an incredibly telling exchange.
During the good of the order call at the end, a Clinton support took the mic to promise a floor fight in Denver, and that they would never ever give up. While one at the other end of the floor spoke about realizing Barack had won, and really, was she going to support pro-life John Mccain just to spite her own party?
So as the convention wound down we Wa 45th LD delegates headed out to dinner to rehash the convention, talk about the election, and just have a good time. A few were running for National delegate the next day, but I left the next morning to take Rochto some Schlotzsky’s.
This marks the end of my participation in the primary process this election and I think it’s been probably one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in a while. I encourage everyone to get involved in the electiont this year no matter what your politics. You’ll meet interesting people, silly people, scary people, and awesome people all in your own political belief sphere. And it will force you to really know your candidates positions and plans far more deeply than simply reading a position paper on their website.