Monday, February 11, 2008

Caucus in Colorado

On Super Tuesday, I attended my precinct's Democratic caucus at Scenic Elementary School. By 7:00 PM, there were close to three hundred people packed into an average-sized classroom, sitting at short tables on short chairs and standing three and four deep along the walls. Precinct captain Dan Robinson stood on a table to welcome us and get the evening started. He laughed as he told us that four years ago, during the 2004 election, only fifteen people showed up, so it was pretty obvious how important this election was to all of us. The smiles and nods all around confirmed his words and loosened up the crowd for what came next, an opportunity for people to speak on behalf of the Democratic candidates. Young and old, black and white, man and woman stood to declare their support for either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. The Obama supporters outnumbered the Clinton supporters about two to one. Situations like this have the potential to escalate into shouting matches, but to their credit, people were civil and supportive of each other.

When everyone had had their say, it was time to head to the gym and break up into groups by precinct number. Dan and our other precinct captain, Tom Acker, presided over our group. They began by handing out copies of the party's resolutions, which are worth presenting here in their entirety:

RESOLUTIONS OF THE MESA COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY (Draft)

The Democratic Party has a long and proud history of hope, opportunity and progress toward a better life for the citizens of these United States. The Democratic Party is rooted in the ideas of our founding fathers as set forth in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This platform builds on these foundations.

Continuing Resolutions

This We Believe:

1. A healthy economy is dependent upon hard-working men and women receiving a fair living wage for their labor.

2. Working people have the right to organize and bargain collectively without fear of intimidation or permanent replacement during disputes.

3. A strong public education system with adequate and equitable funding and independence from political whims is the core element of modern society.

4. The health of an economy is dependent on the health of its environment, and it is necessary to have a clean environment to attract and keep well-paying jobs.

5. A healthy economy relies on appropriate maintenance of our public infrastructure, including roads, bridges, water, sewer, and funding of police, fire protection and school facilities.

6. While violent criminals definitely need to be imprisoned, more resources need to be devoted to programs that prevent crime, provide rehabilitation and reduce recidivism.

7. A system of universal health care coverage is needed to repair a badly broken and ineffective system currently unable to provide appropriate health care to Americans.

8. National security should not be used to limit those individual civil liberties guaranteed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights on which this country was founded.

9. The constitutional guarantee to a right of privacy extends to decisions involving a woman's reproductive choices, and affordable and well-informed choices should be available to all.

10. Government support of community amenities including art and culture, parks and recreation, and historic preservation insures that they are available and affordable for all.

11. The integrity of the voting system and its accessibility must be preserved at all levels of government, with results being verifiable.

12. Freedom of speech and the press are the most vital of our constitutional rights. It is essential that we speak and write our concerns, regardless of current popular sentiment. We strongly oppose the concentration of our media in a few partisan hands.

13. The fundamental principles of freedom of religion and separation of church and state must not be compromised.

14. Social Security and Medicare reform must preserve benefits for current and future generations.

15. The right to equal treatment must be available to all persons regardless of race, creed, religion, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation/gender identity.

16. A grateful nation needs to provide its veterans with the best possible care, and, when necessary, rehabilitation.

Current Resolutions

This We Believe:

1. The proposed "Right to Work" initiative would destroy unions' ability to be a voice on behalf of working families in Colorado and would lead to more government interference in businesses and workplaces.

2. The costs to local government for supporting activities involving energy related mineral extraction must be ameliorated by a fair and equitable distribution of severance tax revenues. An increase in the severance tax rates to make them more comparable to neighboring states is long overdue.

3. The financial crisis in this state precipitated by the interaction of the Tabor Amendment, the Gallagher Amendment and Amendment 23 needs to be addressed.

4. Enhanced early childhood education and better identification of and programs created for gifted and talented students will benefit all citizens of the state.

5. In today's world, post-secondary education is critical in order to create the opportunity for success. Higher education must be available to all who seek it. Funding for higher education in Mesa County is not adequate and needs to be addressed by the legislature.

6. It is important that the borders of our country be secure. At the same time it is important to recognize that the undocumented immigrants seeking employment in the United States are for the most part responsible, hard-working individuals who deserve the respect afforded any person.

7. It is time for Mesa County to have a Recreation Center accessible to all.

8. The negative and misleading political advertising put forward by 527 organizations is abhorrent to all serious campaigners. We call for its elimination.

9. Democratic candidates should reject the abuse of power, violation of Americans' civil liberties, and contempt for the Constitution demonstrated by the current administration.

10. School districts must instill in our young people a community spirit by teaching and modeling fairness, tolerance and participation in the political process.

11. The development and use of renewable energy resources and technologies is essential to achieving lasting national security and energy independence. All energy exploration in Mesa County must be undertaken with the utmost regard for the continued protection of our health, our water, our air and our environment.

12. The future of our community lies with our young people, and their future is jeopardized by a lack of support services for children. The high rates of suicide, methamphetamine abuse and other self-destructive behaviors, and high rates of physical and sexual abuse of children in Mesa County speak to the importance of placing greater attention on the needs of our children.

13. The Women's Freedom Amendment should be added to the United States Constitution.

14. Automobile insurance needs to be affordable to all drivers, regardless of their economic status. Credit scores should be eliminated as a factor in setting rates since they most affect those who most need the insurance.

15. Economic development and jobs are important for the health and well-being of Colorado's residents, but we oppose subsidies and incentives that do not clearly result in the creation of new high-wage jobs. Furthermore, companies that move their manufacturing facilities offshore should lose any subsidies or tax breaks they may have received.

16. The No Child Left Behind Act has proven to be a failure, replacing teaching time with excessive testing.

17. The support of our troops in harm's way is compromised by the privatization of the armed forces instituted by this administration. Halliburton, Black Water and other friends of the administration have made obscene profits while shortchanging the young men and women serving our country.

18. Real science needs to be reintroduced to national health research in this country. Limitations placed on the use of federal funds in seeking advances in health care must be based on hard scientific facts rather than personal beliefs. New strains of viruses and antibiotic-resistant bacteria are potentially huge threats to the nation, and greater efforts at developing prevention are sorely needed.

19. Education vouchers and tax credits divert tax dollars away from public education and give them to unregulated and untested private schools, thus diminishing the financial support for Colorado's public schools.

With minor revisions, the resolutions were unanimously accepted. Finally, it was time for the straw poll. In my group of eighty-one, forty-six were for Obama, twenty-four were for Clinton and the rest were undecided. This worked out to five delegates for Obama, two for Clinton and one uncommitted. Hands were raised by those willing to attend the county caucus meeting next month either as a delegate or as an alternate. And then it was over.

I watched the primary and caucus results that night on MSNBC and was not at all surprised to see Colorado go for Obama by a two-to-one margin over Clinton, exactly as my precinct had. The results in other states were not so decisive, so the decision that Super Tuesday was predicted to render did not materialize. But Obama's better-than-predicted showing, as far as the polls were concerned, seemed to create momentum going into this past weekend that resulted in his sweep of all four state contests: Washington, Nebraska, Louisiana and Maine.

Tomorrow is the "Potomac Primary." Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC will help determine if Obama is indeed riding a wave a momentum, or if Clinton really is the presumptive candidate. My guess is that Obama will take all three states but win narrowly in Virginia. That will tip the delegate count firmly in his favor heading toward Ohio and Texas, but what about the superdelegates? Do they stand to thwart the will of the people? Are we heading toward another 2000 election fiasco before we even get to the nomination? These are exciting times.

1 comment:

jacksmith said...

Bottom Line:

It looks like you got some vote fraud hanky-panky, and selling of votes going on in the democratic caucuses. Obama seems to be doing disproportionately well in the caucuses where it is easier to commit vote fraud, and sell votes. Obama has not been doing as well in the non caucus primary's where you can't cheat the vote as easily.

I smell a pole cat. I smell the Karl Rove vote fraud machine at work. This looks like past presidential elections where most voters leaving the poles said they voted for the other guy. But Bush still won. No wonder Obama thinks the republicans have some good ideas. Apparently a lot of republicans are voting for Obama in the democratic caucuses.

The insurance companies, and medical industry that have been ripping you off, and killing you are determined to keep you, the American people from having good universal health care. So it seems they are supporting Obama. Along with the republican vote fraud machine.

This looks like a great story for a team of aggressive investigative reporters. Or maybe some good documentary film makers like Michael Moore, or Oliver Stone.

If I were the Clinton's, I would focus like a laser bean on what has been going on in the democratic caucuses. No wonder the Republicans like Obama so much. Looks like he's their man in the democratic caucuses. http://prorev.com/2008/02/in-search-of-obama.html

I'm absolutely convinced now that Hillary Clinton is your best choice for good universal health care coverage. And HR 676 (Medicare For All). "Single payer, Tax Supported, Not For Profit, True Universal Health Care" free for all as a right. Like every other developed country in the world has. See: http://www.house.gov/conyers/news_hr676.htm

"HR 676:
For church goers: less money to insur. companies and more to the church- lots more.
Srs on Medicare: save way over $100/wk. Because no more medigap, long term care & dental insur. needed. No more drug bills."

They really think you are all stupid, inattentive cash cows... It may be time to bring back Bad Bill, Good Bill.