Sunday, May 18, 2008

Truman Days 2008 - Day 2

Oh, but it is good to be a Democrat! Oh, my, yes. Last night was the banquet, and the evening started off with a wine-and-cheese reception hosted by Mike Sanders, who was our host and master of ceremonies for the weekends festivities, and he is well suited for it. He is charming and witty and thinks on his feet. He gives a good speech and engages the public and one of these days we are going to share him with the state, cause he is that good. We owe our out-state brethren the opportunity to be represented by this guy.

We heard speeches by State Auditor Susan Montee, Senator Claire McCaskill, Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Jay Nixon, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, and Jesse Jackson Jr.

Every speaker was excellent and I heard some words I wanted to hear from Claire. As you know if you read me, I have been mad as hell at her since August, and every bit of my anger is over telecom immunity. In the view of this civil libertarian and long-standing card-carrying member of the ACLU, that is a betrayal I can not reconcile.

In her speech she acknowledged that the Democratic party is messy and prone to squabbling amongst ourselves, and that there are times we don't like one another. What I read between the lines of her speech was "I know I am polling at 30% disapproval among Missouri Democrats and I've pissed a lot of you off. "

Yes, she certainly has. But the thing is, I will let her out of the box if she starts acting like Harry Truman, who defined the oeuvre of the hell-raisin' Missouri Democrat when he occupied that seat. If she stops acting like a blue-dog and tells Jay Rockefeller to go fuck himself, her constituents are overwhelmingly against telecom immunity, and he should accompany her on a trip back home and meet some of us if he thinks that she won't pay a terrible price for taking his position, that would go a long, long way. Other than that one issue, she has been just fine. Here's hoping I didn't hear her speech through a rose-colored filter, hearing what I wanted to hear.

My congressman, Emanuel Cleaver II.

Claire and Kay Barnes. I will likely start spending more time in the northern tier so I can vote in the Sixth in November. EC is safe. He has no primary challenger and we don't have any republicans in the 5th. We are still a Democratic town, but they tell me the "machine" was busted up decades ago - however, I have seen no evidence of this.

DNC Member and KC Councilwoman Melba Curls, engaged in conversation with Kay Barnes.

Kay and Mike Sanders catch up at the reception before the banquet.

Claire McCaskill and "Ruckette" Mary O'Halloran - who is as much fun in person as she is when she is on the verge of jumping out of her chair and throttling Woody Kozad his chair on the set.

Claire, EC and Kay. I want this picture to be the norm once Kay is elected. That will flip Missouri back to blue, you know. Right now our congressional delegation is as evenly split as it can possibly be using whole numbers. Right now, our Senate delegation is one of each and the house is five/four with the advantage to the republicans. That will reverse in less than 180 days, when Kay is elected! (That Act Blue link is going to stay there for the duration of the campaign - Graves has a lot of out-of-state and PAC money. Every penny counts.)

Overall, the weekend was a success, and a blast and I am already looking forward to next year! I will attend this function every year for the rest of my life, because I am a true, Truman Democrat, and I have the good fortune to have generations of history and a sense of place that is rooted in the soil of the northern tier counties of this state.

We are going forward and we are going to win in November. We are going to take back the Governor's mansion, and we are going to take back at least one chamber of the statehouse. We are going to elect Kay Barnes and we are going to retain the Secretary of State's office, we are going to pick up the State Treasures office, and we have a deep bench for the Attorney Generals race (Jeff Harris, Margaret Donnelly, and Chris Koster) and meanwhile, I am a political junkie and I can't even tell you who is running in the republican primary for that office. (There will be an AG candidates debate Thursday at UMKC and I will be there to cover it.)

Finally, I can't close this post without thanking Senators Koster and Victor Callahan. They used parliamentary procedure and ran out the clock on the session, and in so doing, they strangled Rosemary's Baby - the proof-of-citizenship-to-vote amendment to the state Constitution - in it's crib.

A lot of Democrats have given Koster a hard time since he switched parties last year, and I started cringing soon after - don't we want the Missouri republicans with some common sense and decency to have that "come to Harry" moment? I sure as hell do!

Chris gets full marks from me for his clever application of the rules on Thursday and Friday. I won't have any problem marking my ballot for him when his name appears. I told him last night when we were talking before the banquet that the way I understood it, he was the last person to realize he was a Democrat, and he laughed and said he has heard that and it's quite possibly true.
Let's get busy, Missouri, and start growing the grassroots (this is where DFA comes in...) and let's elect Democrats all the way down the ticket in November.

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