The Doctor Is In.
by Katherine Brengle, Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 05:10:56 PM EST
One quick side note--I chose to stay overnight in NYC with an old friend of mine who now lives there, and it's true--the city never sleeps! I had a blast, due in large part to having the chance to be in the same room with some truly inspiring political figures--mainly, Howard Dean.
I gathered at the hotel with the rest of the Driving Votes (http://www.drivingvotes.org) crowd, donned my DV t-shirt, grabbed a Dean For DNC Chair pin, saw Al Sharpton walking around, and began to wait.
We waited for about an hour as the "important" people were registered and ushered into the ballroom--DNC members, members of the press, and special guests. We, the regular people, were the last to enter and were seated in the balcony--but luckily all of us were able to get into the ballroom.
As the last of us entered, Art Torres was already making his introductory comments. I took a seat in the balcony, but had a pretty good view of the stage and podium.
I have to admit that I knew two things before I attended the caucus--I knew I liked Dean, and I knew I hated Tim Roemer. It seemed the crowd was with me, as Dean received the most enthusiastic applause when he took the stage to deliver his opening statement, while Roemer was the only candidate to be "booed" all morning.
I'm sure lots of bloggers have already posted the content of the candidate's statements, so I won't bore you now with repetition.
One of the things I tried to pay attention to during the speeches was how I felt about the candidates when I heard them speak. When Dean, Wellington Webb, and Donnie Fowler spoke, they said the things we have all been waiting for a politician to say lately. They spoke with energy and passion, and Webb, especially, spoke about issues that wouldn't necessarily get him elected, but needed to be included in our political discussion. In fact, if Webb wins, I'll be almost as glad as if Dean wins, because he seemed, to me, to be a man of unending integrity and passion.
Fowler was energetic, but he didn't sway me.
Dean was, well... Dean. He was open, and honest, and full of enthusiasm. A few of the best lines from his speech (not all verbatim, but very very close) were: "We need to run a 4-year campaign, not an 8 month campaign." "WE CANNOT BE REPUBLICAN LITE." And his closing line, "We need to be a party of deep conviction." For more on my thoughts about Howard Dean, check this out--http://www.opednews.com/brengle_121404_dean.htm.
Simon Rosenberg did not impress me. His ideas were fairly generic--about the same as most of the other candidates (although we must also gauge how much they MEAN what they are saying), but he was not particularly well-spoken most of the time and when he delivered his opening statement, he went over the time limit quite a bit and had to rush in the last few lines--it showed a lack of practice and discipline, plus it made him sound insincere, since he was talking so quickly.
David Leland was another candidate I found fairly generic, but he did deliver a passionate opening statement--lots of energy. However, it was tainted by a very lengthy baseball analogy--he was trying to explain that he didn't want to be a "star" but wanted to be a manager--I'm sure you can see both the link to baseball AND the simultaneous dig at Howard Dean--masterful... but just not. He did say one great thing, "America is the land we love today because of the Democratic party, and Democratic principles." But, all in all, not impressed.
I found Martin Frost completely forgettable. In fact, I can't even recall what he looked like. I actually missed his opening statement. When he answered questions during the forum, he struck me as the type of guy who will try constantly to negotiate with the DLC, instead of being the kind of maverick chairman we desperately need right now.
Roemer, as I said a few minutes ago, never appealed to me. Based on what he had to say on Saturday, he only added to my distaste. The first thing he did was tout his credentials as a member of the 9/11 Commission--but everyone gave some background, so I let this slide. He then told a story about how, when he was on the 9/11 Commission, a woman whose husband had died on September 11th. had come to thank him, and gave him a ring. It was the only thing found of her husband's when Ground Zero was cleared. The weird thing about the story is that Roemer felt it necessary to tell us that the ring was attached to the man's severed finger when it was found. This put me off quite a bit... He followed this story up with a direct dig at Howard Dean, "We need a chairman who doesn't just represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic party." It was a sad attack, and false to boot. He repeated some of the things the other candidates had said, and actually used the term "Axis of Evil" in his speech. After this, he called pro-choice women a "special interest" and was booed by quite a few observers--including some of the DNC members. He repeatedly reminded us that he is tight with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, as if that makes him more likeable.
I have to run now, but I hope everyone gets a chance to read my article on Howard Dean--I didn't want to sit here for an hour repeating things I have already said.
[Aside from the caucus, I had a fabulous time on my foray into the Big City, and didn't get to bed until 6:30 am :)]
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