On Tuesday, October 8, 2013, we lost Harriet Christian, a lifelong and outspoken champion of equal rights. I came to know her after her honest outburst at the Democratic National Convention’s Rules and Bylaws Committee was captured on video and picked up by major media outlets. Hundreds of us had traveled to DC to picket and protest the committee’s slanted meeting that would decide the fate of millions of citizens’ votes in Michigan and Florida.
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton kept her name on those states’ ballots, whereas Dem party and media darlings Obama and (that guy who used to make the women swoon), John Edwards (who?), had removed their names from those ballots. As Harold Ickes said, although Hillary won those states, The Party, “hijacked” the votes–and later the election–by strong-arming delegates to switch their votes from Hillary–to whom they were pledged–to Obama.
Harriet wasn’t having any of it and courageously protested from the peanut gallery during the RBC meeting and outside in the lobby after being tossed out of the meeting. This meeting’s decision created the spontaneous citizens’ uprising, which immediately spawned the PUMA (Party Unity, My Ass) Movement. Lifelong Democrats, we had become Democratic Party refugees, saying we didn’t leave the party, the party left us.
We PUMAs had a pre-Denver convention in DC to plan our protest and media strategy, and in Denver, our headquarters and events were a hub for protests at the Democratic National Convention. There was lots of pre-convention press about the Dems plans to outfit cops on horseback in riot gear to control protestors by herding them into fenced cages and also by lobbing shit bombs (you heard me).
After all, Hillary Clinton had won the Democratic primary vote, and the party, basically, abandoned her. You may not have known or remembered this, but the language, tone, and accusations were brutal, sexist, and misogynistic. The media laughed at her when she cried, decried her for showing cleavage (eek, a Prez with breasts!), and slammed her for deftly answering debate questions. Tucker Carlson said he’d cross his legs when she walked by, and Keith Olbermann said someone should take her into a back room and only the man come back out. Hillary bloggers received death threats. Her Party made her withdraw from the race although she’d won it. It was shameful. Those were just a few tidbits of many, many more horrible references. That year, 2008, I, finally, became an ardent feminist.
Harriet entered our Denver HQ like gangbusters, the media lightening rod that she was, and she knew it too. This was her/our time, and she was in her element. She lifted everyone’s spirits.
Harriet arrives at PUMA HQ in Denver, site of 2008 Democratic Presidential Convention
We then marched to the big outdoor MSNBC TV booth, where Hillary slammers Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann held court. When pressured by security to take the Hillary for President sign down and move out of the way, Harriet wouldn’t budge. She won.
Harriet’s dear friend Deborah Schutt captures Harriet on cam
Harriet was not afraid. She spoke truth to power. I met her at a PUMA gathering/party in NYC at the home of her dear friends, Liz and Deborah, when she was there with her partner, Van. Turns out, I had captured a pic of Harriet and Van before I even knew them, when we attended a Hillary rally in February 2008 at Hunter College. It was a heady time, and we were ardent!
My friends before I knew them: Hillary’s Hunter College rally–Harriet with her big hair (upper R), Van (to her L), Deborah Schutt (on phone cam), Liz Wiseman (in glasses)
After Harriet spoke out and got so much media attention, she was continually slammed by Obama supporters, who called her a racist for standing up for a woman, instead of stepping aside, “for a black man” as she put it. She well knew the history of America when suffragettes had deferred finally getting the right for women to vote, which had been imminent, in order to let black men go first–and she wasn’t having it happen again. It’s a shame that it had to be a choice–both times–and that women were relegated to last in line. Why couldn’t both be advanced?
Harriet battled cancer, but, still, she never gave up, and she worked up until a couple of weeks before she passed. I was delighted to be invited and attend her 2011 Christmas party and saw her a year ago when she hosted an Obama/Romney presidential debate party at a pub. I’d sent her my poem after Van died and when I learned Harriet had cancer, we spoke on the phone. I offered to do a healing session on her, so she could relax into her body, and, although it wasn’t her way, she began warming to the idea. “Interesting. I’ll think about it.” I knew she wouldn’t take me up on it, but I could tell, when I saw her at the debate party, that it had touched her. I thought she was getting better, but her death came suddenly, and as a shock to all.
I know you’re still raising a ruckus, Harriet. I’m honored to have known you and to have been touched by your strength and good-natured feistiness. Keep on, sister!
Then, for no apparent good reason, in June Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi decided THEY, not the delegates chosen by the electorate and not the superdelegates appointed via proper party procedure, were going to decide who would represent the top of the ticket for the general election. Now that same leadership wants YOU to legitimize their undemocratic and unprincipled methods by putting their selected candidate into the White House on November 4.
But WE can say no to the subversion of democratic principles within the Democratic Party. We can say no with our votes and by urging our fellow Democrats to pay attention to the particulars of the candidate Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi selected to represent the Democratic Party.
Over the next 24 hours and across the internet, we as a community will urgently be raising money to run edgy and persuasive ads made by Democrats in key battleground states. Generous contributors have pledged $500 in matching funds. Your voice counts. Please contribute now.
CLICK ON ROSIE TO DONATE
Or go to Democrats For Principle Before Party – The Denver Group’s general election website, where you can view other ads the group is running:
Did you ever think you/we would be here at this time in this election year—refugees from our Party of origin, protesting its candidate? Goes to show, we’re still the rebel’s rebel! Ain’t that the story of my life? If that’s the case, and they do pull it off, I’m concerned for my freedoms. It’s so weird, with Obama, Dean, Pelosi, Reid, Frank, Dodd, orange kool-aid types running things, that I feel just as suppressed as when the far Right was in charge.
Many of our disenchanted were out canvassing or making phone calls as Democrats for McCain/Palin last weekend, and they will continue until the election. Some people stepped up right away. Others have cautiously dipped a toe in with mixed feelings. Some PUMA/Just Say No Deal coalition members say it’s the only way to voice our stand for a just and transparent democracy. They consider McCain/Palin more trustworthy, prudent for the economy, and ethical, although most of us disagree with their stance on reproductive rights and the environment.
The Nature of Palin
In my assessment, Palin was very good-natured about being trashed on SNL right in front of her face twice, first by Tina Fey whom she watched on the monitor, then by Alec Baldwin, who told her she was hotter in person. She looked comfy in her body as she moved and danced, which is always a good sign to me.
In comments broadcast the following Sunday from a taped interview on local TV-9 here in Manhattan, Palin spoke of how you much fun it was to do the show, and how nice the cast and staff were to her. When asked if the jokes about her bothered her, she replied that in deciding to go for the job, you have to be thick skinned, but that it hurt to have her family trashed in the MSM. However, she said that running for office is a group deal; everyone in the family knows they need to be on board and also have thick skins. That strikes me as a pretty healthy, energetic attitude. I guess it bothers me that in order to be considered cool, Governor Palin has to get approval by actor, writer, director, Tina Fey, (wow, she’s accomplished—turnabout) who also belittled her on Letterman the previous evening.
Of course, these days we want our prez to be cewl, which is why we liked Bill (in addition to his being brilliant) when he wore shades and played sax on Arsenio and MTV, and jammed along with the band at his Inauguration Ball. Remember, Bill was a product of the type of school system I grew up in, where they offered orchestra, chorus, art, drama, PE, and square dancing. This system helped round pegs like me fit into square holes, but I digress . . .
Donna, Howard, Remember Us?
Nobama has warned: Democrats, be careful, you can still mess it up, just when it looks like you’ve got it in the bag. However, I’m a bit disheartened these days. With Obama raising a record $150 million in September, and 175,000 turning up in Missouri on Saturday, October 19, you might understand why.
So I got this classic Moody Blues song in my head and checked out the YouTube. Their video is your tacky eighties fare, basically about a girlfriend of a rock star. Don’t miss the choreographed dancin’ in the street. But the lyrics could be anybody wondering about a long lost love, friend, dear one, or someone from whom they’re estranged.
This got me wondering if Howard Dean and Donna Brazille ever think about us? You know those bitter white women, old people, the ones Donna declared they didn’t need, and Howard acted like they could win without. They’ll have to, as far as PUMA and Just Say No Deal-ers are concerned. Playing out the roles in the video, I kept getting hung up with the end—when the band is dragging him away, and he just can’t help it, of course. And the girl is standing watching him go, after having tried to get in touch several times, and she’s now a bored housewife. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around which role fit Howard, Donna, me or us. Neither, I think, because we’re not suckers and they ain’t helpless. But that’s not what’s important. It’s the wildest dreams part that’s on my mind, and upon which I’d like to refocus some energy and attention.
If You Want It
Concurring with riverdaughter about the anger, I think it’s time to bring out the heavy-duty tools—as in prayer and intention! You know about The Secret? Sshhh, don’t tell, but as Norman Vincent Peale and healers believe, “You Can If You Think You Can.” It’s like The Little Engine That Could, right? I saw The Secret the movie, didn’t read the book, hah, but it’s about manifesting your life by feeling, thinking, seeing, and being your intention in every cell of your body. Actually, that’s how I work with chronic pain as a somatic practitioner and hands-on-healer. I put my attention into blending with, then overpowering the sensations of pain with my complete attention, leaving no room in my touch or mind for it to be otherwise. Sometimes it’s a battle, pain can be a stubborn sucker, but I always win.
Group prayer can create miracles for its willing recipients. Many people have experienced the power of prayer ease their own or a loved one’s plight. When in dire situations, people may pray for the best possible outcome and the recipient feels at ease, although the result might not be the desired one. I’m no evangelical, but I am ecumenical and believe that no matter what form of prayer or deity one uses as intercessor, it will forward their intention. One might say that the panic-driven recent stock market sell-off, which many observers have remarked is psychological, is a form of prayer or belief working in the mode of fear or negativity. In other words, attention may also be directed negatively and have an affect, as in voodoo. Being a good witch, I always advocate for manifesting for good.
It must be in the zeitgeist, because in her Sunday Late Night Open Thread, riverdaughter played a beautiful video rendition of “Down to the River to Pray.” Earlier in the evening, Heidi Li Feldman, Marc Rubin, and Harriet Christian joined RD, who filled in for Sheri Tag on her “No We Won’t” PURrr show. Recalling all the February HAKA that Obama would beat Hillary according to the numbers, and that there was no way she could win, Heidi Li made the point that this is basically a theme that has been perpetrated upon the American public. It’s like an ad that’s been played often enough over time. She said, “It’s only a self-fulfilling prophesy if you let it,” which reminds me of John Lennon’s, “War is over, if you want it.”
I’m not saying only pray. I’m saying pray and take action. Harriet says: Be pro-active! Do whatever you can to stop Obama. Heidi and Marc say donate to Democrats For Principle Before Party so they can run an ad during the World Series. Murphy invites you to visit PUMA PAC’s Action Center. And last but not least, find out how to join in a variety of activities by visiting Just Say No Deal.
Perchance To Dream
I’ve arrived at my point in a roundabout way, but . . . please use this entry as a way to dream. Listen to the music, take the poll, and comment away about your dreams. You’ll notice that I did not include Hillary as a presidential choice, because I’m asking that you focus on the choices we currently have. We used to dream about some illegality knocking BO out of the race, but in two weeks, with the momentum now, Hillary is just not, well, dare I say, there’s a limit to my band width. Although, of course, you can dream and write her in under “other.” For any interlopers, know that the PUMA McCain choice is a protest vote. Oh, and yes, I question that the options include a Dean/Brazille, et al apology, and, sadly, fair elections.
What is your wildest election dream given our options? Make it happen, people. In its short life to date, isn’t that what our ragtag underfunded coalition has always been about? By paying attention and speaking up, haven’t we actually made a dent in the narrative of this election cycle and the vetting of its candidates? A determined voice that roars like a PUMA. Who knows what we yet can accomplish? In your wildest dreams . . .
Addendum to Poll: Don’t believe the stats as representative of PUMA. I followed a link from The Confluence’s admin page, and it seems that an Obot site put out the word to crash my poll, and they’re giving my cross-post lots of hits from their link to it, which shows up on the poll across sites. Oh. The link to my post was just put up on Just Say No Deal, so let’s see if PUMAs balance it out.
I’m new at this polling thing, and should have known better than to have included BO as a choice. I was just being fair. Hmph, what a concept. So, now I’ve revised and left them a little turnabout surprise: Fair play and touché.
Prologue: A New Voice —
From THE JOURNEY by Mary Oliver, 1986
” . . . though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice . . .”
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own [. . .]
performed by The Keith Jarrett Trio
When You Wish Upon A Star
Music: Leigh Harline
Lyrics: Ned Washington
When a star is born
They posses a gift or two
One them is this
They have the power
To make a wish come true
When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you
If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do
Fate is kind
She brings to those to love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing
Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true
September 22, 2008 — Bill Clinton is in his element this week, out and about in New York City, in his fourth year of convening world leaders, wealthy philanthropists, and citizens’ groups at the UN on behalf of his worldwide Clinton Global Initiative. He outlines what we all can do to change the world in his 2007 book, Giving.
In his first-ever appearance on The View, get fascinating insights from one-half of the power duo we could have had. Was Hillary really dying to be VP, grasping at it, as the Obamabots and MSM snootily suggested for several months? What does Bill think of her supporters who would vote for McCain? (Hint: he gets it.) Does he think there was sexism directed toward Hillary during her run? Oh, yes he does. He describes it as subconscious in our society and because of that, maybe more insidious. He also gives his take on how people should treat voters who don’t agree with one’s own views. Let’s just say that his attitude is more gentlemanly than that of the Dem nominee and his followers.
Bill gives his take on: the economic proposals currently on the table; if today’s economic woes stem from his administration’s policies; and the breaking Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley filings to reorganize from investment banks to bank holding companies. The View’s Whoopi Goldberg introduces Bill as one of her favorite people. Too bad The View hosts didn’t treat Hillary and Bill as if they mattered at all during the Democratic Primary, preferring to tout and fawn unashamedly over Barack and Michelle.
Find out what the former Pres thinks of McCain, and who he thinks will win in 2008. He seemingly gives a black and white answer, (wild guess: the Democrat), but makes some crafty modifications. He attempts to clarify why he was given a bum rap over saying Obama wasn’t ready to be POTUS. I found it all quite interesting. Et vous?
[At this posting, the video wasn’t yet available on ABC’s website, so here’s a three-part YouTube, sans commercials, which is how I can actually use it. Let’s see if it stays up. If not, will replace.]
On September 18, 2008, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) spoke on the Senate floor in grave and stringent tones about the state of Wall Street, the bailout, and serious fiscal challenges of New York State and its workers. She decried the lack of transparency during the Bush Administration, and how it turned a blind eye toward what was happening toward the economy, and toward middle class families, who saw their wages decline, their mortgage rates balloon, and their employers’ tax rates dwarf their own.
Hillary’s ideas to help homeowners stay in their homes, with the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) model, is a new version of a program that was first implemented during the Great Depression. It sounds so obvious to anyone who owns a home, has lost one due to rising rates, or is on the verge: We lower their rates. Again, Clinton shows she thinks about People. (Read: DNC = fools for selecting a self-indulgent candidate instead of one who actually cares about the middle class and can clearly articulate the problems we face and the common sense solutions we can implement. But really, I’m so sick of saying the same thing for the last eight months.) I don’t pretend to know anything about the economy or understand economic policy. I do understand concern for people. Read the transcript of her speech, plus outlined points on her website.
As far as my understanding of the housing market, I only had to look at my neighborhood. I bought my own very first home in Northern California when the internet-boom-fueled market had just begun to rise. I sold it at a profit before the market tanked. I knew I was moving across the country and had been asking my respected advisers if I should sell in Spring 2005? Over the period of a year, I was told that the market was strong and yet, one by one, I noticed the “For Sale” signs popping up. I’d ask, “Are you sure?”
If I had followed my own instincts, I would have profited an estimated 25 percent more, and sold it more quickly, according to comparable sales in my area. As it was, the first buyer, who made an offer within the first three weeks, fell through. The final sale took four months, during which time I was paying both my mortgage and my NY apartment rent, and I had to drop my price three times — however, thanks to a dynamite agent, I came out ahead. I was lucky. My main indicator was: the number of homes that had sprouted up in my area as compared to several years previous, when there were absolutely NO homes for sale. During that time, homeowners were swamped with multiple offers from buyers that often included bonuses of vacations, time shares, and cars to seal the deal! Buyers were crafting touchy-feely bios with photos to sell the sellers on that they were worthy of the purchase beyond just their cash.
My point is, forgetting about our brain-dead President for a moment, don’t our legislators actually live Somewhere? What exactly about driving down [name any street] and seeing “For Sale” signs was not obvious to them, too? And what about shop after shop on “Main Street” going out of business over the last two years was also not obvious? That doesn’t take a hearing or a meeting, just peeping out of your eye holes and listening to your struggling constituents.
I’m not letting either Party off the hook. Riverdaughter weighs in about the greed, and points to Anglachel. Where was our government’s concern when the housing market began turning downward and the sell offs began in 2004 and 2005? The fire sale, the fire? It takes millions of foreclosures to get them off their dime and bail banks out to the tune of $700,000,000,000 before we’re in certain doom? No accountability for Treasury Secretary Paulson? As McCain said this morning, he has deep concerns about letting one trillion dollars rest in the hands of one person.
Here, McCain is showing that he’s no George Bush.
This morning McCain weighed in about the economy at a town hall meeting in front of Irish Americans in Scranton, PA. He recommends a bi-partisan oversight board to establish accountability criteria and determine who gets help and who doesn’t. He suggested Warren Buffet who supports Obama, Mitt Romney who supports McCain, and Michael Bloomberg, an independent would be ideal potential members of this board.
McCain decried golden parachutes, as in Lehman Brothers top executives asking for $2 billion in bonuses after they ran the company into the ground. He stressed that they must have transparency, we must know which companies will be helped, in what manner, and have this information available online for public scrutiny. He proposed to fix the Wall Street mess, reform Wall Street, and create an economic plan to provide jobs and put our country back on track. He said we need to put our country first and focus on what’s best for Main Street, iterating that we must keep people in their homes and keep college students in school.
Among Democrats, Senate Banking Committee Chairman, Chris Dodd has voiced confidence in Paulson’s plan, but Barney Frank has advocated for exercising caution before approving a no-strings-attached plan. According to OpenSecrets.org, the Center for Responsive Politics, who looked at which politicians benefited most from contributions from the failed mortgage institutions Freddi Mac and Fannie Mae since 1989, Obama ranks second, only to Dodd. They list Democrats as the top three recipients, including the Presidential nominee, who racked up his totals in only three years.
Dodd, Christopher J S CT D $165,400 $48,500 $116,900
Obama, Barack S IL D $126,349 $6,000 $120,349
Kerry, John S MA D $111,000 $2,000 $109,000
In fairness, as I was about to complete this blog, Obama also gave a compelling speech in Green Bay, WI, about making Wall Street accountable. A major problem I have with Obama is his slash and burn style of slandering his opposition, while failing to be responsible for his own actions. How about the Democrats who came to office in 2006 and promised to stop the war, cut off war funding, create jobs, and forward environmentalism? How about Obama’s votes for the Bush/Cheney energy bill? How about his flip-flops on every significant liberal issue: FISA, war funding, campaign finance reform, abortion, gun control? How about 130 votes “present”? That’s all in addition to the despicable way he treated Hillary Clinton throughout his primary campaign. Oh, and let’s not forget caucus fraud, Florida and Michigan. And Israel. Soft stance on Ahmadinejad.
Call your representatives and demand that they don’t bail out Wall Street with a no-strings-attached blank check! Demand accountability and transparency.
I get that a lot from my family and friends. They know I had been working the entire year to get Hillary Clinton elected President while “raging against the machine,” and that I was going to Denver to protest. I replied,
“Ummm . . . good. . . . I, I wasn’t really at The Convention.
We were like . . . the Anti-Convention!”
Post-Denver, although still mourning for what could have been, most hardcore, grassroots Hillary supporters have moved on — in one way or another. They know, or are deciding, what they will do with their votes and/or their efforts. Will they work for one campaign or other at the top, or just support down-ticket candidates? They are mulling over whether to: vote nothing on top, vote third party, write in Hillary’s name, stay home, or cast a protest vote for John McCain. For most, that would be their first Republican vote ever, and they do not take it lightly. The only reason they would do it is to protest Barack Obama and Democratic Party leaders who subverted the democratic process and 18 million voters.
But I can’t fully move on yet. This story is roiling around inside me, unwilling to be forgotten. One week plus is old news, past prime, but I keep getting these “little messages.” Last week I ran into my neighborhood Brazilian Café and struck up a conversation with husband and wife owners, Marcello and Juliet. I’d been socked away in my “Puma Den” for the last six months, making rich stove top espressos at home on the cheap.
Marcello asked, “I heaven’t seen you for a while. Where have you bean? What have you been doing?”
I hesitated protectively, having lived undercover using my handle for so long that I had to consciously produce my real name in my head before saying it. “Actually, I’ve been doing a lot of writing most of the year, political writing. Do you know what blogs are? I have a blog and contribute to other sites and efforts.”
They continued the conversation as they scurried about their business, “Oh really, and who were you supporting for President?”
My personal self gulped inside my political self having been so underground and divided, “Actually, I was supporting Hillary Clinton, working to get her elected. I still support her and believe she would make the best President.”
They both jumped to attention and gravitated back to the counter to face me, “Really? We’re for her too!”
(See why I can’t stop?) “That’s great,” I cooed, as I came clean, telling them about my blog and links to others, our efforts prior to and during Denver, and our work to ensure a roll call, a floor vote, and a record of the truth about this election.
They pointed out to me, “It’s just like 2000, Gore and Bush!”
“Right!” I answered, “and now from our own. It seems so much worse that way. Did you know that Democrats have a weird gene that makes them eat their own?”
They laughed. We talked about the delegates. They had seen the same things that Puma and Just Say No Deal Coalition members have been uncovering, observing, highlighting, and shouting about all year long: the subversion, bullying, and undemocratic processes. They could not believe when they saw the vote halted and delegates switched. “We voted. We went in and pulled the lever. Why should we even bother?”
“I KNOW. How do they do it in Brazil?”
“We vote. It gets recorded. Somebody gets elected. That’s it.”
I am proud to call on the Senator from New York to make the following presentation, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton:
Madam Secretary, on behalf of the great state of New York, with appreciation for the spirit and dedication of all who are gathered here, with eyes firmly fixed on the future, in the spirit of unity, with a goal of victory, with faith in our party and our county, let’s declare together in one voice, right here, right now that Barack Obama is our candidate, and he will be our President. (yays and boos)
Madam Secretary, I move that the Convention suspend the procedural rules and suspend the further conduct of the roll call vote. All votes cast by the delegates will be counted, and that I move Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this Convention by acclamation as the nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States. (yays and boos — Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, chanting)
“Wuh Roo?” said Scooby Doo, “What Did I See On TV?”
This was bothering me. Many of you have moved on to whatever’s next in your PUMA/Just Say No Deal/Democrat or anti-establishment lives. But I’m not that way. I can’t move forward until I understand and sort out what I have witnessed.
What exactly did we see on the “Democratic” Convention floor last Wednesday, August 27, 2008? Why was the roll call halted halfway through? Why did state after state in which Hillary won the primary election and a majority of delegates declare their votes for Obama? Who and what do all those delegates’ votes represent? As each “Great State of” our Union called out its numbers, I wondered, what was the actual delegate count? I felt compelled to compare the roll call vote with the delegate count that we were supposed to get. After all, why pull the lever if it doesn’t even matter? Wow, now that’s deja vu all over again, ain’t it?
What About My Vote?
I will recap three points that we’ve been saying for months. I’m restating, because many citizens do not realize what happened right before their eyes: The delegate count in this election was not a fair reflection of the Democratic Party electorate. 1) Hillary Clinton WON the popular vote. (Resources and numbers nearly impossible to reconcile, based on FL, MI, and caucus votes) 2) There exists growing documentation, compiled by Lynette Long and ordinary poll and election worker reporting, that caucus fraud was rampant. This occurred in the form of systematic, deliberate suppression, misinformation, pressure, and bullying, mishandling of voter and caucus rolls, and ignoring basic caucus rules. 3) Each delegate elected from a district or region in a primary state represents approximately 12,225 primary voters, but only 2,110 voters in a caucus state. Accordingly, a caucus delegate represents about 5.8 times fewer voters than one elected in a primary. So, when Obama “won” a caucus, each of those delegates stood for far fewer voters. This is especially important in the general election in the red and swing states. Pat Buchanan called Wednesday’s spectacle a phony roll call vote in his op-ed, “And If Obama Loses.”
Why Is This Year Different Than Any Other Year?
Laying that aside for now, let’s talk about how the Democratic Party screwed Hillary Clinton and everyone who was connected to her around that roll call vote. At least that was my impression leading up to and viewing it on TV. Even the scheduled time was in flux. In my recollection, in every other election year, it had been held at night for everyone to view. But this year, Hillary Clinton, the person who won the most primary votes in history, had to negotiate for her right to be on the ballot and have a roll call vote on the convention floor. Her supporters wrote thousands and thousands of letters, emails, and blogs. They raised money, ran political ads, and spoke out in the media to help the delegates stick with the one that brung ’em. All this, because the DNC leadership and Obama’s campaign were so afraid of Hillary’s success after saying they could win the general election without all of us old and new dedicated party regulars. All year they tried to strong-arm us in to Unity and make her quit.
Our dedicated coalition members worked tirelessly to have a full roll call vote and a nominating speech for Hillary on the floor during prime time. We appealed to delegates and Superdelegates with petitions, and petitions on top of petitions. We didn’t know what would happen until the last minute, although we suspected. The same with Bill Clinton’s speech: off on, off on, but not during prime time, after they edited him.
And Then It Happened . . .
All of a sudden the roll call was on, but many of us were unable to get the live-streaming on our computers, so we ran several blocks away to a “Hillary-friendly” Denver bar. We saw states yield to other states on their votes, then the Convention floor was all abuzz, as our candidate was introduced as a simple Senator, with no mention of her historic win — just one of the guys delegation. She was on the floor with her fellow NY legislators. Then they made her eat sh*t, while they had her turn around and f*cked her up the a**, while reading a “stop the vote, we’re all onboard” speech. (Oh, I should have warned you: XXX, not my usual sedate lady self, is it? I feel a little strongly about this.) Everything was orchestrated, as CA, IL, and NM yielded so that Hillary, in a great show of U-N-I-T-Y, could cast all votes of her own NY State for Obama, throwing the delegate totals over the top. Oh, right, she likes it like that, because she’s a politician. But I’m not.
Yes, we’re all good soldiers and must move on to the next front. Many already have and are considering both individually and as a group what to do leading to November and beyond. However, many people aren’t clear about what happened, and are incensed that the vote was stopped mid-stream. Below, I’ve compiled the number of delegates won by state and candidate, how the numbers changed during the roll call vote, total number of delegates, and total number of votes cast. This list is variable, depending on the source and date and because it contains Superdelegates. On the morning of the roll call vote, 10 delegates flipped back to Hillary, and the petition effort was contacted by several Superdelegates who wanted to switch to her as well, some under the lights of the press.
Fair Reflection? Arkansas, Florida, and Michigan
Just a few words about fair reflection: Arkansas flipped. The Chairman of their delegation and DNC party head, Bill Gwatney, had been murdered two weeks prior. Heard anything in the news about it? Word is that his entire delegation had signed the 300 petition to ensure that Hillary’s name be placed on the ballot. In a twist of irony, his wife delivered their state’s votes to the Convention: Unanimous for Obama, after Hillary had won their state of origin by the largest margin of the primary: 70%. Arkansas.
Florida and Michigan votes were denied and blocked by Obama, until the May 31, 2008 DNC RBC meeting when he became a charity case. The committee donated four of Senator Clinton’s Michigan delegates and all the uncommitted vote delegates, which had included votes for other candidates. Obama had removed his name from that state’s ballot, fearing a loss would taint his chances in Iowa. However, Clinton kept hers on, stating that although the votes wouldn’t count, the voters should have a say. She was smart and right.
The Rules and Bylaws Committee refused to tackle their problem of fully seating delegates representing 2.3 million voters in both states. Instead they made each delegate into half-votes, and referred an incensed Harold Ickes, attorney for Senator Clinton, to the more appropriate Credentials Committee to contest their ruling in Denver on August 24, 2008. On August 5, Obama wrote a letter to that committee, requesting that those delegations be seated and counted in full. On August 20, when they no longer had any effect on Hillary’s campaign, as they would have had they been counted when she won them, those delegations were seated in-full. I learned on August 24 that the Credentials Committee and the Rules and Bylaws Committee were comprised of the exact same people. So I guess they really meant: talk to the hand.
How Am I Driving? Pass and Yield
Lastly, how about that orchestrated roll call, pass/yield deal? It began like any other roll call. Hillary would have her due. It had been rumored for over a week that she might release her delegates before a roll call vote on the floor. This prompted a new 20% or 826 delegate petition requiring a vote. Then came word of a secret hotel vote, then a Wednesday meeting with Clinton and all her delegates in which she released them and advised they vote their conscience. She’d cast hers for Obama.
Back to the roll call: First, California passes on casting their 441 votes, of which Hillary won over half. As Barbara Boxer yields to Hillary supporter Art Torres to make the announcement, she gleefully turns to her delegation and giggles. It’s as if Boxer was saying, “Ooo, what a coup! Aren’t we clever!” Come their turn, Illinois passes. New Mexico yields back to Illinois, who yields to New York. Then a hustle bustle on the floor, so Clinton could deliver the perfect Unity blow, right into her own back. Gee, it just doesn’t get better than this, does it?
Is It Safe To Vote?
Exactly, why do we vote if “delegates” can just switch their votes, and on the first ballot no less? Why should Superdelegates be able to have a more influential vote than any ordinary citizen, enough to sway their state and an election, as perpetrated by a biased and corrupt political party? I am committed to reforming the system to one person one vote. If we don’t have that, what do we have as citizens? It’s our most basic democratic right.
The chart below shows by state the combined delegate/Superdelegate count awarded to each candidate, the first ballot floor vote, total number of delegates per state, and total votes each cast during the convention. I completed the chart for the rest of the states. By directing Superdelegates to declare their endorsements before the convention in a DNCC and DSCC letter, in press conferences and public appearances, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid nullified their original intent. The numbers, which include SDs, seem less close than they actually were.
Democratic Delegate Count vs. Roll Call Count, Democratic Convention, August 27, 2008
STATE HRC DELS BO DELS HRC ROLL BO ROLL TTL DELS TTL CAST
AL 28 29 5 48 60 53
AK 4 14 3 15 18 18
AM SAMOA 6 3 0 9 9 9
AZ 35 31 27 40 67 67
AR 38 8 0 47 47 47
CA 232 200 PASSES 441 0
CO 23 45 15 55 70 70
CT 36 24 21 38 60 59
DEL 8 14 0 23 23 23
DEMS ABRD 4 7 2.5 8.5 11 11
DC 13 25 7 33 40 40
FL 104 78 51 136 211 188
GA 29 70 18 82 102 100
GUAM 4 5 3 4 9 7
HI 8 21 1 26 27 27
ID 3 19 3 20 23 23
IL 0 0 PASSES 0 0
IN 42 41 6 75 85 81
IA 17 35 9 48 57 57
KS 10 30 6 34 41 40
KY 40 16 24 36 60 60
LA 26 39 7 43 67 50
ME 10 21 8 24 32 32
MD 39 55 6 94 100 100
MA 66 51 52 65 121 117
MI 76 72 27 125 157 152
MN 27 58 8 78 88 86
MS 13 25 8 33 41 41
MO 41 46 6 82 88 88
MT 7 17 7 18 25 25
NE 8 22 3 28 31 31
NV 13 20 8 25 34 33
NH 12 15 0 30 30 30
NJ 71 55 0 127 127 127
NM 20 17 YIELDS TO IL 38 0
IL 49 133 YIELDS TO NY 185 0
NY 159 121 0 282 282 282
1321 1482 341.5 1831.5 2907 2174
NC 51 78
ND 5 15
OH 82 74
OK 25 21
OR 23 41
PA 101 80
PR 42 19
RI 21 10
SC 14 39
SD 9 12
TN 46 35
TX CAUC 29 38
TX 79 75
UT 11 17
VT 7 14
VI 3 6
VA 33 63
WA CAUC 31 61
WV 23 12
WI 34 53
WY 6 12
Source, delegate count: CNN Primary Results Scorecard
Source, roll call vote: CSPAN live tape up top
Total number of delegates: 4234
Number of delegates needed for nomination, including FL and MI: 2211
Numbers in chart include Superdelegates: Obama 438, Clinton 236
Et tu, Brute?
So why did so many states flip? Sources say that on the morning of the floor vote, everything was complete. Many opinions say it was finished on or before the May 31, 2008 DNC RBC meeting. But not believing our eyes and ears, in service of democracy, we kept on to preserve our and the rights of our candidate. We’ve since learned that as late as August 27, during the convention, swing-state delegations were being threatened with loss of Party funding for their states and candidate campaigns if they didn’t vote for Obama. Evidently, Obama needed Hillary more than she needed him. Otherwise, they would not have had a sham roll call or a Mile High speech to prop him up.
Oh, and as far as going Repug, it ain’t me, babe, although I will never cast a vote for Obama. In my life, the means are absolutely as important as the end, and I cannot support a candidate who derives power “by any means necessary.” If I have to cast a protest vote, I will. However, remember who brung Brazile? Her info emails with Karl Rove beginning in 2003 helped him help her promote the most unelectable Democratic candidate. So, let’s not forget who’s still trying to pull the strings and who’s still laughing all the way to the bank. Criminal, ain’t it? Too bad, Dems still ain’t got a clue.
In conclusion, Hillary and Bill Clinton were in an impossible, lose-lose situation. Some supporters got disgusted and thought they caved. I don’t think so. In order to come out of this, being seen as having done everything possible to nominate and elect Barack Obama — a far more generous and political act than exists in his little finger — The Clintons did everything possible, Bill while holding his nose, and came out smelling sweet as a rose. Party people all the way, and on to the next challenge. Yes, I’m getting there.
[“Evita,” music Andrew Lloyd Weber, lyrics Tim Rice]
Clinton Delegates are pissed. The Clinton National Delegate Network, a grassroots movement of delegates is on the streets of Denver collecting signatures from Hillary delegates. This eleventh hour effort is being organized to ensure that delegates who were elected to represent the voters of each state can and will vote for the candidate they were pledged to.
The DNC and Nancy Pelosi, the Chairman of the Democratic Convention, are doing everything in their power to make sure that does not happen. With Obama’s flagging support, according to the polls, running neck and neck with McCain, they are very worried that Hillary will get the nomination if a roll call vote takes place on the convention floor. That is why they are making the delegates have a secret hotel vote, instead of the floor vote that’s been done since forever. The hotel vote will purportedly take place on Wednesday morning, August 27, 2008.
However, there is a DNC rule that says if 20% of a candidate’s delegates sign a petition for a roll call vote, it must happen. This means that Hillary needs 826 of her delegates to sign this petition. I visited their headquarters along with BettyJean, Pagan, Hill08, and BrendaLynn. As we set out on our mission, we got three signatures in less than one block. They headed for the Pepsi Center to collect more, and got about 40 in an hour, and I came back to Puma Headquarters to blog. Last word I got was there were over 400 signatures gathered.
Pagan reports that he talked to a delegate who originally supported Hillary. The delegate declined to sign or divulge the delegation he was from. He said he would vote the way his state party told him to vote and that Terry McAuliffe had instructed them in how to vote. When Pagan asked if he’d mind sharing what that way of voting would be, he also declined, and then just turned his head and refused to engage in the conversation anymore.
Delegates have reported to us that Obama supporters are stationed outside of each delegation’s room with clipboards, ready to make sure that once again, despite their best efforts to represent their constituents (approximately 12,000 voters per delegate in the case of primaries, and 585 in the case of caucuses), that Hillary delegates and voters are ROBBED of their democratic rights.
As recently as this afternoon, we knew that the hotel vote would take place in each delegation on Wednesday morning, and that Hillary would have a special luncheon with her delegates at 1pm. Rumor had it that she might release her delegates then.
However, we have an unconfirmed report coming from someone inside the Pepsi Center that Hillary Clinton will make a special announcement tonight during her speech. Although I’m ever the optimist, call me paranoid: Will she try to pre-empt this grassroots effort by releasing her delegates tonight?
I can’t even imagine the pressure she is under by party leadership. We even heard that President Clinton’s speech would not be televised live in prime time.
Oh my, is the DNC running scared or what? We need divine intervention. If you’re a praying person, give it your all.
Pumas are slammin’ in Denver. I’m telling you, our presence is AMAZING! Puma Headquarters are a beehive of activity. At least 300 Pumas, including several delegates, have been here today. They’re making signs, attending events in protest. Riverdaughter, BettyJean, danceswithpumas, joanofart, and Pagan — are all live-blogging, so stay tuned.
The press dropped by. We were interviewed by CBS, ABC, the French press, Japanese press, and The National (an emerging newspaper from the Arab Emirates that acknowledges the existence of Israel, although their host country does not.)
I’ve met so many Pumas in the flesh whose names I’ve seen online all year. What a great group of dedicated and passionate Americans we are. People who have sacrificed money, opportunity, and many, many things to make sure that the ideals our of country are upheld. What a fantastic opportunity to solidify and build our relationships for now into the future.
There’s been so much activity that it’s taken me all day to write this update!
Tonight is the movie premiere of the “Audacity of Democracy,” by filmmakers Brad and Laurie Mays, which will be attended by Puma and Just Say No Deal members and covered by the press. This documentary shines a light on the caucus fraud perpetrated by the Obama campaign that has plagued this primary election process.
Tomorrow is the Beautiful Protest/The Rise event in Cheesman Park 2-6 pm informal gathering, and 6-10 pm speakers, featuring Darragh Murphy, riverdaughter. I’ll even be taking a turn at the mic to say a bit about how and why I was motivated to hang in there for Hillary, why I’ve been compelled to keep going.
I’ll be posting some pics tomorrow and will be reporting on each day’s activities and goings on, so be sure to return for the latest.
Pumas, Just Say No Deal coalition members, know this: Our voice, our Democracy — live on through all of you. We have just begun to fight for our cause and our country. Know that you all are strong, our movement is strong.
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