Tuesday Morning Montana Delegation Update

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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  1. Richard

    Compare what you know about Baucus with the plans that Bob Kelleher has for Montana. Check out his new vision statement: http://www.bobkelleher2008.com/vision.htm

  2. Wow – what a guy this Baucus guy must be. He inspires a sort of camp-following devotion among some, and disdain among many more. Your devotion to him is noted. Did he sign your poster?

  1. 1 “It Will Change the Lives of Children Not Yet Born” « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] 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 […]




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