After one day as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, my unsurprising observation is that everyone here is a party faithful. They are pumped up — ready to re-elect President Obama, take back the House, and strengthen the Democratic majority in the Senate.
Back home in Silicon Valley, I find that so many Democrats are disappointed in President Obama for not fulfilling their expectations. I asked a delegate, Margaret Souza from Turlock, CA (in the rural Central Valley) why people here are so excited. “It’s great to get support. You get reminded of what social and economic progress Democrats have accomplished in our history. You get the words to express the stuff you feel, that you know, but don’t have words for. Everybody gets down sometimes – it’s great to come together with people to get energized.”Her commonsense observation made me think that demoralized Democrats are like clinically depressed people – too depressed to get out of their own bubble and get the help they need.
Yesterday, a delegate from Iowa showed me how the President’s visits last week dominated the front page of the Iowa Register. 10,000 people rallied in Des Moines and 6,000 at Iowa State. Later, I got to listen in on a call with big donors where the President spoke to us, fresh from a rally in Boulder, CO with 14,000 people. (By the way, the President said that he’s confident he can win in 2 of 3 aspects of the race: ideas and people. But in the swing states he’s getting outspent from 3:1 in some places to 10:1.) I got to hear about how they are making their “air game” plans (i.e. media buys) now for the next two months. That’s why we’re being bombarded with the President’s daily fundraising requests!
The state delegations have a breakfast every morning, with lots of (usually great) speakers. The CA breakfast today included Georgia Congressman John Lewis, Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Democratic Women’s Caucus chair Christine Pelosi, and Democratic House Leader Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. John Lewis grew up in the south during segregation, and became a major leader in the civil rights movement. In Congress he is considered its conscience, committed to protecting human rights and securing civil liberties. He reminded us that we know the history of voter suppression. People before us fought it and for the rights of all citizens to vote. Now it’s our turn to fight voter suppression and for our rights.
Donna Edwards said when she was elected in 2008 (an Emily’s List and Feminist Majority PAC candidate), she met with House Leader Nancy Pelosi about what committee assignments she wanted. She asked for the coveted assignments everyone wanted. Nancy told her that with her background in NASA’s Spacelab project, she should be on the Science and Technology committee. Congresswoman Edwards said she’s so glad she ended up there, she loves it, not least because on the committee she faces Republican members who clearly don’t believe in science and who don’t understand female biology – a reference to fellow committee member Missouri Congressman Todd Akin (see the New York Times). When I spoke to her later at a party, she told me how she was called “aggressive” in the press because of her “naked jab” at Todd Akin (whom she didn’t even mention by name) . She also said he is not the only anti-science congressman on that committee. Congresswoman Edwards encouraged the California delegation to work to get more Democratic House seats for California to win back the Democratic majority in the House.
I will write soon about Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s remarks and my conversation afterward with her daughter Christine Pelosi, chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus.