Last year I volunteered at the convention and ended up with a proxy so I was able to experience my first convention from both sides. This year I was a full fledged delegate and felt much more a part of the process. I kind of missed the Leno/Migden circus from last year as nothing else equaled or replicated the entertainment factor. I was very impressed…as always… with Debra Bowen’s pitch perfect speech given without as much as a 3 x 5 note card in front of her. And hearing Boxer is always motivating and reinvigorating.
For chair, I voted for Chris Finnie and I give her major kudos for staying in the race when the others ran away. I see this happening more often in our elections and I’m disappointed in the fact that our options for candidates are often decided for us long before we get to the ballot. I understand that running for any office involves a great deal of time, money and commitment, but I want to make my choice rather than having the party make the choice for me. I didn’t hear a lot of enthusiasm for John Burton among the crowd. What I heard a lot of was, “I like Chris Finnie but Burton’s going to win anyway so I will vote for him”. It makes me wonder if we have become so desperate to be on the winning side of elections that we have learned to settle for what’s inevitable over what’s inline with our own priorities.
I was very encouraged at the increasing force our young voters are becoming. I love seeing the growth of the CYD and I’m happy to see the young Dems becoming a more influential force in the party. But I’ve heard and seen this before in every grassroots organization I’ve been involved with. I’ve also seen them get disgruntled and frustrated and eventually take their talents elsewhere. The idea that young voters and activists have been drawn to the party in such large numbers is a testament to our ability to reflect their priorities as well as the strength of our elected officials and candidates. But keeping them involved and engaged is also our responsibility and I hope the leadership understand that and don’t abuse or ignore that part of the process. Building this new leadership may mean giving up some of our own power. But if we want to be sustainable as a party we must be willing to do that.
Overall I thought it was a good convention. I was kind of hoping Jane Harman would show up, but that goes back to my nostalgia for the Leno/Migden battle. I do so love a good show.