Thursday, August 28, 2008

Utah's Divided Delegates

Today's Trib:
But even in Utah's delegation, some ill will remained, including several Obama delegates, galled at what they see as lukewarm support during the historic event and insistence on a televised roll call in the race decided months ago.

State Sen. Scott McCoy said he never saw the point in Clinton backers insisting on sticking with their candidate and supporting a public roll call.

"I don't understand what purpose it serves," he said. "Symbolically, to the rest of the world, what does it say?"

[...]Lisa Allcott, a Clinton delegate, said she is confident the Clinton supporters will warm to Obama, quoting Clinton, who said in a conference call that her supporters have much more in common with Obama than they ever will with Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain. But it might take time.

"It's only been since early June - 2 1/2 months - and it's hard when you're loyal to a candidate and you lose. You just need some time."

Jenny Wilson, a Clinton delegate and Salt Lake County councilwoman, said Clinton deserved the recognition from her delegates.
Kudos to Mr. McCoy for asking the question. And to Jenny Wilson... perhaps you are not cut out for a delegate position, if in 2 and 1/2 months you are still unable to look beyond an emotional primary and see the importance the energy on display here at the DNCC contributes to the many races in play in Utah and across the country this year and Utah's downticket elections.

The answer to Scott's question is fairly straight forward.

It makes the delegates look petty and belligerent. And this same childish "battle" has played out in nearly every delegate circle I have come into contact with here at the convention. It is also punctuated by the few PUMA's I've seen around town, declaring their frustration with an irrational promise vote for McCain.

I was a very early Clinton supporter. I was (and still would be, had things played out differently) excited at the idea of her nomination, which seemed a shoe in at the time. But that changed, and so did her campaign. And she lost. Not because she was a woman, and not because of some grand conspiracy to cheat her out of the White House, but because of Mark Penn, and a very flawed campaign, poor strategy, and an inability to distinguish itself enough from the politics millions of voters hope to see come to a final and permanent end.

And while it is impossible to completely extract emotional decision making from our personal politics, as delegates, these people have a responsibility to remain aware of the larger goal of getting more Democrats elected in Utah, and nationally. If we wanted to send a symbolic message that it is time to address the problems of health care and economic inequality in our country, we would serve that purpose much more effectively by working for a unified vote of support for the nominee, and the Democratic Party, keeping in mind that excitement and cohesive energy do much more for down ticket races than threatening to skip acceptance speeches, and casting divisive votes with false nobility.

To the 9 votes cast for Hillary, I commend you for your dedication to the Senator who - despite her failed campaign - would have made an excellent President. But you could have done much more for Democrats in Utah as a delegate had you been able to see beyond that.

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