I too arrived yesterday like Jerome. I went straight to the Women's caucus meeting. Howard Dean was starting to speak. He was strong and he was engaged and he smiled a lot.
In the question and answer period, Judy Tobias Davis, an early Dean for Prez supporter by the way, in her quiet but steely way asked him how could we let the Repubs claim moral values as theirs alone. She had been hard to hear so Howard rephrased it as "How can we let Republicans claim to be about moral values when they have none?" We all loved it. The questioner by the way is the mother of the DNC treasurer, Andy Tobias.
I saw Gregory Meeks speaking to the Cifuentes people just before he withdrew. He was the last speaker, he wasn't supposed to be last. I knew from his body language that he was going to withdraw, and the Cifuentes folks were being unresponsive to his entreaties. I think he was trying to get them to also withdraw. Tactically it really shrewd. I like Meeks a lot and Honda is very personally appealing but I don't knowhis politics.
I was involved in helping one of the female Vice Chair candidates, Susie Turnball, whom I have known since the late 90's. She started out in community organizing and earlier in the week she posted a diary here asnd at DKos. Susie has been the head of the Women's Leadership Forum of the DNC since the the late 90's. The WLF has raised since its inception in 1993 tens of millions of dollars. And for a generous donor group it has always insisted on being involved policy issues in a public spirtited way. She sais she had the votes to win on the first ballot along with Linda Chavez-Thompson of the AFL-CIO, who was considered a shooin. She did win handily, but Susie also won handily. The other 3 candidates were Marjorie Fields Harris, State Senator Dianne Wilkerson of Mass., both African American and a grassroots organizer from Utah, to whom I must apologize because I do not remember her name.
Initially, because I hadn't done the vote counting, I thought Harris or Wilkerson could withdraw to endorse the other and so challenge Susie. But even together their total votes were less than Susie's. For her this will be a full time job.
Interesting tidbit, Roberto Ramirez former chair of the Bronx county Dem party in NY made a seconding speech for Harris. I think this could mean that Al Sharpton, whose NYC mayroal candidate has left the race and who was Harris's sponsor could wind up endorsing Roberto's candidate for Mayor of New York, Fernando Ferrer, rather than the remaining African-American in the race, C. Virginia Fields, the President of the Borough of Manhattan.
I think this was a great day for the beginning of the beginning of a new and reenergized Dem party. We can't let the right wing noise machine and the MSM make our dedcisions for us.
And unlike a lot of bloggers on this site and elsewhere I agreed with all the speakers's purposeful comic hyperbole a la Terry McAuliffe praising Terry as the "greatest chair in the history of the universe" In January of 2001 when he came to speak to the NY WLF his ambitions for the party's infrastrucure needs was the only thing that kept me going. And if you want partisans then there is no more partisan Democrat for real than Terry McAuliffe. He left us with the tools we need to build the future, the tools the Repubs have been building for 25 years.