Archive for the ‘2008 Democratic Convention’ Category

by Pete Talbot

Montana bloggers, both left and right, commented extensively on Gov. Schweitzer’s DNC speech. Writing about Barack Obama and the convention in Denver, The New Yorker’s David Remnick also weighs in, briefly, on the Good Gov:

“Even Montana’s stoutly appealing governor, Brian Schweitzer, performed with a cuff-shooting, shoulder-shrugging panache. Who knew that Buddy Hackett was a Catholic rancher in a bolo tie?”

A little snarky, for sure, with references to “stoutly” and “Buddy Hackett.” On the other hand, “appealing” and “panache” aren’t bad descriptors. And the fact that Schweitzer’s performance was mentioned in the same paragraph as Michelle Obama’s and the Clintons’ is noteworthy.

For the most part, Remnick is right on in his assessment of the convention, Obama and the campaign ahead. It’s a good read.

by Rebecca Schmitz

That John Kerry who was breathing smoke and fire from my television last night–where the hell was he four years ago?

by Rebecca Schmitz

Okay, forget all the whining below. Someone with a sense of humor at Slate is covering the convention on Twitter. Perhaps there is a reason to look forward to St. Paul.

by Rebecca Schmitz

Last night’s television coverage of the convention reminded me once again why I don’t watch network TV: none of the big boys, even my home slice Jim Lehrer–Jim Lehrer!, bothered to completely cover our Governor’s speech. I started the evening with Jim and his crew of blowhards analysts. (I kid about the “blowhards”; even though I disagree with him most of the time, David Brooks is a conservative I can respect) They missed Governor Deval Patrick because of all the blah, blah, blah, so to make up for it PBS replayed his speech, then cut to more of the blah, blah, blah. By this time I jumped to NBC–no, there’s Brian Williams talking to his analysts, okay, how about CBS, nope, hey, who are those people? Who cares? Okay, how about–nah, forget ABC. CNN? Nope. Commercials. Hmmm, do I dare? Am I ready to lose some IQ points? Fine. I’ll go there. Wait…you’re kidding. FOX is airing a recap of the primary season? Well, shit. This means only one thing.


Finally, there was Brian, in the words of our friend Goof Houlihan, “clowning and corny“. But hey, I got a kick out of his speech. The floor loved it. Even Bill Clinton liked it. During the standing ovation, the Big Dog mouthed “I like this guy, he’s good” to Rebecca Gwatney.

I guess there’s only one channel for me. Jill, I know it’s not your fault, but this kind of news coverage–all punditry and no substance–is the reason why I never tune into CBS’ broadcast or that of your competitors. Sorry, Jim, but even PBS dropped the ball this time. One lousy speech, and you guys felt it was more important to talk to the historians on the panel. I’m sticking with C-SPAN for the next two days, and, if I have the stomach for it, I’ll stay there next week for the Republican National Convention. We’ll see, though. It all depends on whether or not Costco sells Tums by the case.

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.

by consonant girl

Thanks Indy!

Ed Tinsley’s blog is up at the Billings Gazette. If you forget that first link, go to the main page, search for that “blog” tab at the top of the page, the DNC will pop up when you get there, and there you go!

You’d think with Montana’s delegates front and center for the DNC this year – they have floor seats 20 rows from the front – and with the Good Gov speaking on Tuesday (around 8 p.m., I’m told) – that the Gazette would put that in a much easier place to see like the front page?!

Come on over to 4&20 Ed! I’ll put you on the front whenever you want!

Bob Struckman, of NewWest, has a piece up on his travels down to Denver with Jay, Matt, Dante and me the people from the Oregon Bus Project – and another on his adventures with the camera guy on The Bus. Don’t miss them!

JP Pomnichowski (HD-63) is blogging the convention too! You can see her stuff over at her blog, over at JP for Montana.

Well, I’m off to catch the shuttle. Hopefully I’ve not missed the first one – I’d like to score an interview with any one of our wonderful delegates – or even a guest….

by Pete Talbot

KECI’s weatherman, Mark Heyka, claims that the August Singularity is “poppycock.” Just because every year about this time the temperature drops and it rains and then it gets warm again (for awhile) he says it isn’t a singularity. Sounds like a singularity to me.

And it’s a harbinger of things to come. It was 42 degrees Fahrenheit at my house this morning and you could smell autumn in the air. As a Montanan, you can never complain about the rain or cool in August — there are forests and fields that need the moisture and those temps. Probably isn’t helping the tomatoes, though.

I’m not ready for summer to end. Most years, we get maybe two or three months of real summer, and this has been one of those years.

As this summer wanes, there are some things to look forward to: the Labor Day Weekend and back to school for the kids, including UM (the Griz play Cal Poly here on Sept. 6) and perhaps a gorgeous fall.

(The first Griz game is away.  The first home game is Sept. 13 against Southern Utah.  Thanks, Dan)

And there’s still the Democratic Convention in Denver coming up in just a few days. That’s exciting. Some of Montana’s best bloggers will be posting from the Mile High City: jhwygirl and Jay Stevens and Matt Singer. It will make for good reading and some insights not offered by the mainstream media.

The Republican Convention follows on its heels. I’m waiting for my press credentials to that.

So enjoy the rest of the summer. It’s supposed to be back in the 90’s on Sunday. Then let’s gear up for the general election in November. There’s work to be done and this is one of the most important elections that I can remember, and I’ve been around a long time.

by jhwygirl

Starting to gear up here for the DNC next week. I have to say I am apprehensive, excited, and I continue to have a little (big?) voice inside my head saying “Oh, no, what have I gotten myself into?”

But plans are made, and damage is done, I guess…and, besides, the other little voice inside my head says “Why in the hell would you second-guess an opportunity like this?”

Montana has 16 delegates and 4 alternatives. 8 of the delegates are “superdelgates” – the ones you heard so much talk about earlier this year. I’ve met many of the superdelgates before, although none of that was in the context of me as a blogger. I’m looking forward to yammering with Ed Tinsley, Montana’s Democratic National Committeeman. He’s one of my favorite Montana Democrats – an all-around very likable guy. Rep. JP Pomnichowski is on the list too – another one of my favorites, if only for the hard work that she’s done on issues near and dear to my heart.

And that’s not – to be clear – to take away from all our other delegates.

Come to think of it – maybe I should get to that….

Here are Montana’s delegates to the DNC:

Governor Brian Schweitzer
Senator Max Baucus
Senator Jon Tester
Rep. Margaret Campbell, Roosevelt
Jean Lemire Dahlman, Democratic National Committeewoman
Dennis MacDonald, Montana Democratic Party Chairman
Ed Tinsley, Democratic National Committeeman
State Senator Kim Gillan, Yellowstone
Former U.S. Senator John Melcher, Missoula
State Senate Majority Leader Carol Williams, Missoula
Rep. Diane Sands, Missoula
Rep. Michelle Reinhart, Missoula
Scott Martin, Missoula
Kathleen Driscoll, Ravalli
Joan Vetter Ehrenberg, Flathead
Jason Smith, Lake
Laura McGee, Cascade
Nancy Anderson, Cascade
Carl Donovan, Cascade
Ryan Rusche, Roosevelt
Raphael Graybill, Cascade
Anthony Jackson, Gallatin
Rep. Julie French, Sheridan
Anna Whiting Sorrell, Lake (unpledged, add-on)
Rep. JP Pomnichowski, Gallatin (alternative)
Sen. Larry Jent, Gallatin (alternative)
Christina Quijano, Carbon(alternative)
Jorge Quintana, Lewis and Clark (alternative)

Hopefully I’ll have more in the coming days on these folks, and their expectations and thoughts on the convention as the opening draws near.

by jhwygirl

Just wondering…..

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