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in which yours truly establishes his nutjob credentials 
30th-May-2004 02:47 pm
Hazen High School, 10am once again, this time for the 8th Congressional District caucus. Only 186 people this time and a somewhat higher concentration of hard-core politicos per square meter. Things ran much smoothly than at the lower levels. The final credentials committee report was out within about an hour or so, thus there were very few candidate speeches (also the caucus chair decided to vastly limit their number, which, as it turned out, was a really good move).

We got a thankfully-much-abbreviated version of Heidi's speech, followed by a rep from Alex (Alex himself couldn't make it, oh well) who had none of Alex's energy and focus.

Then we got the latest entry into the 8th district race: KIRO-AM talk radio guy Dave Ross, with a stirring speech about how 20 years ago he gave a show in Prague, and after being delayed for two hours at the border checkpoint, the audience waited patiently and cheered his arrival, "they cheered because I was an American" --- contrast with his more recent trip to Baghdad where an American passport is enough to paint a huge bulls-eye on your back and get rockets fired at your hotel. "How the hell did we get from there to here?" And damn, he's a good speaker; guess this is to be expected.

I'm still rooting for Alex but it looks like Dave will also be able to wipe the floor with Reichert or whatever rightwing tool They decide to nominate. But it also worries me that the moderate vote in the primary might get split between Alex and Dave, meaning we get stuck with Heidi in November.

Ron Simms For Governor showed up as well. I've decided Ron is more of a hardwood-floors/gymnasium type of guy; carpeted auditorium is not his best venue. Or maybe it's just that I was viewing him more from the side and so the jumping around and arm waving looked a lot weirder. Still, he had people standing and cheering; I have a bad feeling about this.

Kerry Dean Kucinich Unc. Total
107 36 5 148
22 15 0 37
2nd count 129 51 6 186
   %    69.4% 27.4% 3.2%
final count 129 53 4 186
4 2 6
1 0 1
voting in
130 56 186
53 27 4 1 85
? 10
4:45pm 2:45pm

You may recall that I got the last alternate slot at the LD caucus. Well, sure enough, 4 of the male Dean CD delegates evidently flaked out, so yours truly got upgraded to Full Delegate StatusTM after all.

Once again the Kucinich folks mostly held out rather than throwing their votes to someplace where they'd actually do anything. Then again, this time, people were allowed to switch after the national delegates were apportioned. As it happened, the delegate math (finally!) worked out in Dean's favor, what with 27% attendance translating to 1/3 of the delegates awarded.

Subcaucuses went much faster, owing to the fact that
  1. not everyone who filed a candidacy letter (which you had to have done by May 14 in order to run for national delegate) ended up entering their names into the nomination and
  2. they cleaned up the rules quite a bit; this time, with the Dean subcaucus having to choose one boy and one girl, we were able to do separate rounds for each (meaning each ballot only had to have one vote on it), and where no one got a majority on the first round, it was now allowed to have a single runoff between the top two. So everything was resolved in 4 voting rounds.
And then I went to lunch with a bunch of the Dean organizers while the Kerry people (who were once again stuck in the auditorium with NO FOOD OR DRINK ALLOWED --- the Hazen High School folks are very proud of their brand new auditorium; hence the strict rules) continued to work through all of their ballots. They were just barely starting on their first girl ballot when we left.

Over lunch, I got to hear stories. Seems we have at least one or two LDs where the old-time party functionaries really didn't like having to deal with having new people come in and, like, actually try to do stuff, get out the vote, etc. I guess it must be rather hard when you've been doing the job for 20 years and then suddenly you've got these new people showing up who've decided they know better or something. Or maybe getting new people involved is not one of your goals when you're actually mostly happy with things the way they are. Political parties just suck sometimes (or maybe always).

Yours truly decided not to bother with the candidacy letter. Given the small numbers of national delegate slots, it was clear they were going to go to folks who were far more motivated/hard-core than I could ever possibly be. In any case, I had bigger fish to fry; figure if one is going to run for something, may as well make it something interesting like... (drumroll)
Presidential Elector
Just in case you were wondering, this is where Electors come from. Each Congressional district chooses one and then there are two more for the whole state to be chosen at the state convention (next weekend). I figured there was some small hope since hardly anybody was expressing any interest in this post at all. Also I had this really good idea for a speech. The marguerita I had with lunch probably helped, too.

In all, there were a twelve people running for Elector and Elector Alternate. And since the gender quotas applied here, it mattered that it was nine boys and three girls, and whoever had the most votes for Elector, it would be the highest vote-getter of the opposite gender that would be the Alternate.

Most gave random platitudinous speeches about what good Democrats they were.

When my turn came, I used the full 3 minutes, giving an impassioned plea, pointing out that the Electoral College is not some kind of arcane received political wisdom from 225 years ago, but rather a failed compromise based on a complete political fantasy --- a government in which there would be no polticial parties and where no one would campaign for president at all. That it only took the framers 15 years to figure out that this system was completely broken (the 12th Amendment was their attempt to fix what they could). That it is not a harmless tradition, but continues to have real consequences to this day, as Democrats attempt to amass the supermajorities necessary to counterbalance the wide-open, empty spaces of Utah and Wyoming that are voting Republican. That whoever gets chosen for this post will have an opportunity between November 7 and December 13 (a teentsy bully pulpit, if you like) to rub people's faces in the utter stupidity of this institution. That even if the Other Side holds all of the cards (i.e., the 17 small states that can defeat any amendment), they can still be shamed into doing the right thing if we beat on them enough.

I was encouraged by the fact that I seemed to be getting into that rhythm I recognized from those (extremely rare) occasions when I actually manage to give a good speech --- probably the last such occasion being when I ran for 8th Grade Treasurer and (unexpectedly) won. People in the audience were nodding their heads in agreement, smiling, not quite cheering (but I did hear a few people going "Yess!" in an under-their-breaths sort of way) --- I figured I couldn't expect much more seeing as it was 5pm by this point and everyone was clearly tired.

One of the candidates who followed me, said "I agree with everything Roger said,..."

"... but we have to live in the real world."

Arrgh. Thanks for completely missing the point. You can do it after November 7th when it won't affect the outcome. Send out op-ed pieces, "Hi, I'm the Elector and you're not. The framers decided you all were too fucking stupid to be allowed to vote for President yourselves; I will now go debate with my Fellow Electors and decide your fate. Mwahahahahahahaha."

Or get the 11 Annointed Ones to show up in Olympia on December 13, dressed in clown suits.

Oh well. I know I got at least 3 votes on the first round because I controlled two proxies. What was slightly odd was that of the other eight guys running, there were six gray-haired, old-time apparatchik types, obviously running on the "this is a ceremonial post; please honor me" platform, and two guys in their twenties. And the guy who finally won the alternate slot was one of the latter; he'd basically given the one sentence "vote for me, I'm cool" speech. So I guess there was other stuff going on behind the scenes, or he was just Known, or maybe it was just that I'd voted my proxies his way after I'd lost the first round (because I didn't want to see one of the apparatchiks winning it) and that was enough to tip the balance.

Now I just have to figure out if anything important is going to happen at the state convention next weekend.

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