Archive for August 26th, 2008

by jhwygirl

Each morning, we can all get downtown via free shuttle buses being provided by the city for all delegates and press and people in limbo, like me. I still haven’t written about yesterday’s ride – but I thought I might write about today’s.

I mentioned this morning, the delegates are getting pretty comfortable. Some of them are sharing rooms – and it all has the air of a college reunion. Not all are legislatures, so they don’t all work together all the time, but it is clear that they know and like each other quite well.

And No – they aren’t really wearing “regular old t-shirts” – I know I said that earlier – but I certainly don’t want ya’all getting the impression they’re down here on vacation. This stuff really is hard work. There’s important stuff to do for the next 2 1/2 months…and you can tell they mean business.

I didn’t get out of here until about 11 a.m. this morning – which put me on a shuttle with JP Pomnichowski, Michele Reinhart, Julie French and Anthony Jackson.

Anthony is a fine young man from Billings – 26 – who is currently working on Steve Bullock’s race for Attorney General.

Michele is our local HD-97 state house representative – who is running for re-election, BTW. I find her to be very much keyed into understanding the how and why behind things. Hell, I almost feel like she’s interviewing me at times. It’s all good, and I don’t mean that to sound bad – it isn’t. She’s my representative, and she’s very interested in my perspective of things. How could an active voter not like that?

Julie French is really a firecracker. You get the sense, from the get-go, that this is a woman that does not take “no” for an answer. That people – men and women – kinda sit there and nod in agreement when she speaks, and that when she tells you that ‘this is the way this is going to be,’ then, that is the way it is going to be.

I won’t tell you who told me, but I hear they call her Grandma. I assure you, it has nothing to do with her age.

Julie defined what a good legislator is – and she was clear to say that it didn’t matter if it was a city council person, or a state legislator or someone in the federal level. A good legislator is a good listener. “They have to listen to people. They have to want to listen to people,” she said. Julie then cited Jon Tester as an excellent example of someone who exemplifies a good legislator. Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

Those were former nine term Congressman Pat Williams’ words this morning, when he, too, spoke about the importance of this upcoming presidential election. Pat followed Senator Baucus, who spoke extensively about the same, and time was running short, but those 10 words alone say so very much about not only the election, but the intent energy behind Montana’s Democrats working for meaningful change. Behind all Democratic Party members. Positive change. A positive future.

“What you do will affect the other delegates and future delegates. When you nominate Barack Obama and we elect Barack Obama, what it will do is it will change the lives of children not yet born.”

I think we all took a breath as Pat said that (I know I did) – but only long enough to give him a standing ovation.

Thanks, Pat Williams, for that.

Someone should put you on that podium down there in the Pepsi Center. With words like that, you’d have all of America spellbound.

by jhwygirl

Look for the Good Gov to speak tonight around 8:20 – 8:40. Following him will be Senator Hillary Clinton.

Jag, we hear, won’t be there. He doesn’t fly commercial.

Maybe our delegates should throw some stuffed animals up there on stage. If anything, Brian can take them back to Jag as a peace offering for being left out.

by jhwygirl

Well, if you read Jay’s FUBAR post, you know I didn’t get my Monday credentials to get onto the floor with Montana’s fine delegates. I walked more than 35 city blocks yesterday in search of the darned thing – and now know that at one point I was in the right place but apparently the people I talked to weren’t aware they were there. The free pedestrian shuttle would have saved all kinds of urban hiking (which can get pretty miserable when it’s 85 degrees or more out, and you are carrying around 15 pounds of electronics), but that wasn’t functioning very well either because protesters are everywhere – including McCain DRILL NOW folks.

Lovely, huh?

But I’m well rested and back at it – today is Jay’s day for the floor credentials (good luck, Jay!), so I plan on trying to head to a Media Matters event (I hear they are here in our hotel), and then the Council for a Livable World and Veteran’s PAC event at Coors Field.

Just came from breakfast with Montana’s delegation, and they’re getting comfortable. I saw some regular old t-shirts and tevas – frankly, it’s just too darn hot and muggy for anything else.

Our wonderful Senator Max Baucus was the main speaker this morning, and he spoke quite passionately about the importance of the upcoming election. I have to say I honestly really like Max – he’s really very down to earth – he’s quick to pass credit to anyone he possibly can, including Dennis McDonald, our Montana Democratic Party Chair, this morning – and he seems genuinely taken aback at everyone’s admiration for him. Not everyone likes to share the spotlight – Max never has it any other way. Really.

In speaking about the upcoming election, Max laid out the work that needs to be done: “…in 70 days and 12 hours, the polls will be closed. We have an obligation for our kids and our grand kids – the promise of change, or hope, of the future.” He went on reiterating this very important mission several times. It is clear that Max sees the work that needs to be done in very far, generational terms, and he said in a very obviously heartfelt way: “Remember that it is our responsibility to do everything we possibly can to prevails. I do believe that we have a moral responsibility to leave this world a better place.”

When I watched him say those words, I know he means it and that he believes it. It clearly is his mission.

There are important issues at stake in November, and he reminded us of them – Healthcare, Tax Policy, Foreign Policy. He pointed out – angrily is how I would describe it – that “McCain wants to lower taxes of the very rich. Lower them!”

He may be the longest sitting US Senator from Montana, and he may spend a hell of a lot of time in Washington, but he comes off as my neighbor.

Max spoke of the importance of other races and how a 60-seat majority in the Senate is what really needs to happen. How hard it is to eek out those extra 9 votes to get a filibuster proof bill passed – and even here he was quick to throw credit to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her work in the House.

He ran down a list of seats where he felt that Democrats have a good chance to make a difference – Mark Warner in Virginia and Jeanne Shaheen New Hampshire (he said he was sure that Sununu was out – and Jeanne looks to be 10 points ahead there!); Tom Udall of New Mexico; Mark Udall of Colorado (now up by 4 or 5 points); and Jeff Merkley of Oregon (fighting a tough race against lots of $).

He mentioned some others that he thought were possible: Al Franken in Minnesota and state Senator Kay Hagen in North Carolina (Hagen in a dead heat with Elizabeth Dole – tell me that aint’ bad news for old Libby!); and Bruce Lunsford, facing a pretty uphill battle in Kentucky against Mitch McConnell.

“We’ll pick up seats,” he said. “4 will be OK – 6 would be a great night, and 8 would be fabulous.” The room roared with that statement.

I’m getting long winded here, so I will save Max’s Ted Kennedy story for another post.

But let me add just 2 more items….Max closed out by pouring more credit out there on Raph Graybill, Montana’s youngest delegate (19). Raph is blogging the election for the Great Falls Tribune, BTW….and then Max went on to shower more credit and sunshine on Stephanie Sherrick, a Butte native who is running Al Franken’s campaign (and who had worked her magic on our own Jon Tester’s amazing win in 2006).

Finally – this: Congressman Pat Williams spoke this morning too, commenting on the historic events before us. He lead off with his first experiences with the national convention in Chicago 1968. It seemed maybe Dennis McDonald had been there with him (?) too – and for those of you who don’t know (or don’t remember), Chicago was a hell of a time with Mayor Richard Daley and the anti-war protests.

“These protesters don’t know how to protest,” he said (only jokingly). “I saw a whole bunch of them last night – lined up in a single line, wearing dark black hoods, looking very serious – holding things in their hands – and I saw them walk out of the convention area, walk down the street, and come to a red light. They stopped.”

The room laughed.

“That wasn’t Chicago!”

Later, in all seriousness, Carol Williams and Sara Pyfer closed out this morning’s meeting reminding folks to be careful out there – police had to use pepper spray last night – that things were only going to get more active, and how the situation was very fluid….and that the police have a job to do out there and that we should all be aware that they need to be able to do it.

Off to downtown…..Cheers.




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