Archive - May 22, 2010
There is a reason they call it the Democratic Party. Actually, there are probably several reasons for it, and the most accurate probably have something to do with a group of people being a party to a lawsuit, or making a reservation for a party of five at a restaurant. However, the opening of the 2010 Connecticut Democratic Party State convention served as a good reminder of other aspects of what makes it the Democratic Party.
My convention adventure started in my home town of Woodbridge CT, as I met a member of our delegation to carpool up together. She was just finishing up an event at our local school and we got on the road. On the drive up, we talked about local politics. When we arrived at the convention, there were volunteers and staffers holding up signs everywhere, encouraging delegates to support one candidate or another.
In the parking lot, old friends greeted one another. I saw many folks that I had worked together with, on one campaign or another. People wore different stickers indicating their support for various candidates, and friends who had worked together in previous campaigns were now working against one another.
Friday night was about the U.S. Senate nomination. There were more Merrick Alpert supporters outside than I expected. Many were old anti-war activists. Another person held up a giant sign noting Alpert’s support of Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic Primary.
Inside, the giant meet and greet continued. There were discussions about the platform. There were people jockeying for attention on the underticket. There were various legal maneuvers. One table, manned by Susan Bysiewicz supporters gave away the last trinkets of her ill-fated campaign for Attorney General.
The convention slowly came to order, too slowly for many party officials, as Chairwoman DiNardo repeatedly asked the delegates to take their seats and quiet down. She sounded like a beleaguered school teacher, trying to get excited kids to settle down. The Sergeant At Arms joined in, instructing people to clear the aisles. Slowly, the convention got down to business.
The nominations were made in alphabetical order. Merrick Alpert’s nomination was the first. His supporters took yet another opportunity to complain about Alpert not being given a chance to speak. They spoke about the importance of a primary, like a practice game, and giving voters a chance to choose who they think the best candidate would be.
People had questioned whether Alpert would get more than 1 or 2% of the delegates. He needed 15% to qualify for a position on the primary ballot. By lottery, the fourth congressional district was selected as the first district in the roll call. In this district, Alpert received over 5% of the vote, and it continued as a trend through the coming district roll calls.
As the roll call continued on, Alpert asked to address the convention and was given the opportunity. He said that the results were clear and that he wished to withdraw his name from nomination and announced that he would support Richard Blumenthal for U.S. Senate. It was then moved that the convention nominate Blumenthal by unanimous acclamation, and the roll call was cheerfully dispensed with.
The convention adjourned and the next order of business was the parties. There were plenty of good parties to choose from. Dan Malloy had a large party taking place in the parking lot of the Expo Center and many delegates gathered there to discuss their plans for the evening. Blumenthal’s party was the closest one not at the Expo Center. It was a fairly staid event with a cash bar at the Greater Hartford Jaycees Community Boathouse. As we mingled, both Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont showed up to congratulate Blumenthal before heading on to other events.
Since my travelling partner for the evening was a Lamont Delegate, our next stop was Lamont’s party at Pig's Eye Pub on Asylum Street. It was loud, crowded and boisterous, perhaps in part, because it had an open bar. Like with the events throughout the evening, it was packed with old friends catching up with one another. There were several other events of the evening, but we headed back to Woodbridge after Ned’s party. Saturday is expected to be a long day.
Back at home, I checked in online. Text messages flew back and forth at midnight as I talked about the Democratic Convention as well as the Republican Convention.
Friday was a beautiful evening. The weather was nice. Friends gathered; people who have worked against one another in some battles and with each other in other battles. What they all had in common was a belief in the democracy that makes our country great, the ability to fight out the battle of ideas in a friendly manner. Too often, politics gets a bad rap, when looked at through “gotcha” news headlines, and perhaps it is time for people to see some of what is great about the American political process and to join the party.