Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Monday, August 25, 2008

LIVE from Denver: Mile High welcome

Editor's Note: Michael Finkle is a Democratic activist who is representing the 8th Congressional District in Denver at the Democratic National Convention. Like the rest of us here at NPI, Michael believes in opening up the political process, and that's why he wants to share his experience as a delegate with all of you. I hope you'll join me in welcoming him.

Excitement has been running as high as the Mile High City itself for the convention, and that was just Sunday. I'll preface this post with a disclaimer: I am a Clinton delegate, and was an active participant in the petition drive that helped get her name being placed in nomination. (I also truly believe in the priorites of the Democratic Party...such as ensuring reproductive rights, enacting universal health care, and getting out of Iraq.) So I hope you will enjoy my liveblogging.

I plan to follow closely two fascinating threads in my convention coverage. First, what do people think of Obama's VP choice, Joe Biden?

The more I think about it, and the more I talk with other people, the more I like his choice. Biden fills in Obama's lack of experience as a statesman, and he is not afraid to go after McCain verbally.

As a Hillary delegate, I initially harbored hopes of an Obama-Clinton ticket, but have concluded that Obama made a wise choice in not choosing her. I think she can and will campaign vigorously for her.

The second thread is the "unity" thing.

I just got back from a meeting of the Clinton sub-caucus. We elected a delegation chair (Paul Berendt), and did a 'round-the-room' where people could present their feelings about the vote, Hillary, Obama, and unity. (The meeting wasn't a secret - three reporters attended).

As with any meeting of Democrats, there were some differences of opinion on whether to vote for Hillary even if she "releases" her delegates.

My view, which I expressed at the sub-caucus, is that the purpose of the petition drive was to give Hillary a choice of whether to be placed in nomination.

The Democratic Party is all about freedom, and freedom of choice. For me, that means I get to choose whether to vote Hillary on the first ballot. That also means that other Clinton delegates get to choose whether to vote for Hillary or Obama - voting is a matter of personal choice, and that freedom should be honored.

My personal plan is to vote for Hillary on Wednesday, and to cheer at Invesco Field on Thursday. I have spoken with other Clinton delegaes from Washington, and most, though not all, have similar thoughts.

Tomorrow should the busiest, and for me the most exciting, day. Emily's List is holding a celebration of women's right to vote. August 26th, 1920 is the date on which the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote was passed.

It should be exciting.

Some of my comments on the subcaucus, by the way, will likely be in tomorrow's Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The Convention is a great opportunity to network and meet other Democrats. last night there was a joint reception with the Oregon and Arizona delegations, who are also staying at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center Hotel.

From what I could see, most of the Washington delegates stuck together, although the delegates did not stay separated into groups based on candidate preference. There was plenty of mixing and friendly conversation. And a sense of unity.

My guess is that the overwhelming majority of delegates will feel unified on Thursday. Our differences are insignificant compared to what we have in common.

More later.


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