The DFL convenes amid lots of loathing but maybe not enough fear
ROCHESTER On the second day of the 2012 DFL convention, 800 delegates, seemingly in imitation of some strange biological experiment, separated into dozens of amoeba like clusters.
Each had a nucleus a man or woman perched dangerously on a folding chair or table waving a hand lettered sign that read “Obama Suburbanites Against Both Constitutional Amendments” or “Obama Against Bullying and Hatred” or “Obama Not a One Termer.”
Like flagella, messengers reached out from one cluster to another to negotiate mergers, and gradually, the blobs of Democrats re clumped themselves into perhaps a dozen giant cells.
This odd DFL Party game, called “a walking subcaucus” is how participants chose Minnesota’s delegates to the national convention. A candidate (or his BFF) establishes a group its name has to have the word Obama in it and tries to attract enough people to elect him. If the group is too small, it is disqualified thus the negotiations and the mergers.
After lots of milling around, haggling and number crunching, the groups select 20 at large delegates, 12 PLEOs (don’t even ask what they are well, actually they’re Party Leaders and Elected Officials) and eight alternates. Their picks, in addition to surviving this procedure, have to meet the party’s affirmative action goals to increase the number of Hispanics and Asians and to be split 50 50 between men and women.
MinnPost photo by Marlys HarrisAll delegate supporting groups had to have the word ‘Obama’ in their names.
Trying to understand all this made me cross. But delegates took the pettifogging procedure in stride even a guy fro tommy hilfiger uk m Lino Lakes who claimed to have been thrown out of a group.
“What did you do?” I asked, hoping, like the gutter journalist I am, to have uncovered some internecine strife.
“The group was called (most unfortunately I thought) ‘Obama No Jobs in My Uterus,’ ” he said with a laugh. “They only wanted women.”
Congeniality reignsIn fact, everybody in the hall at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester seemed pretty happy. “I’ve been coming to conventions for 30 years, and this is the most congenial one I’ve ever been to,” said Chuck Repke of St. Paul.
It should be.
Unlike the Republicans, who settled somewhat unenthusiastically on Mitt Romney as their presidential nominee after a series of primary bash ups, the Democrats are united behind tommy hilfiger uk President Obama. Their Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar, whom they endorsed by acclamation on Saturday, has a 61 percent approval rating and a $5.1 million war chest.
Barring some unforeseen act of God or nature, she should easily beat Republican nominee Kurt Bills, a high school economics teacher and one term state representative. And the DFL doesn’t have to waste time, as does the GOP, dealing with a large debt, a reputation for financial mismanagement and a lawsuit stemming from a sex scandal.
Nonetheless, the Dems have a huge to do list. at tommy hilfiger uk the polls. DFLers are hoping to defeat both.
They also would like to take back both houses of the Minnesota legislature, which they lost in 2010. And, although the task seems hopeless, they want to rout from office Michele Bachmann and Chip Cravaack, two Tea Party congressional headliners they detest.
Arrayed against the Democrats, however, are some daunting forces. Thanks to the Citizens United case, a tsunami of money will engulf this election, much of it coming from billionaires and millionaires gunning for Democratic causes and candidates. According to Politico, Republican super PACs plan to spend $1 billion this fall to defeat Obama and take the Senate. That’s about double what Democratic super PACs are expected to raise.
What’s more, Republicans have embarked on a nationwide campaign to root out supposed voter fraud. law in Minnesota, Republicans at their convention last month promised to sic thousands of poll “challengers” on the electorate to question any possible irregularity. The GOP’s head of Election Integrity declared, “This is the only way we are going to win.”
Are the Democrats up to the test?
“People are pretty stimulated,” said Repke.
Pretty stimulated? Call me crazy, but I think they should be scared out of their skivvies.
And some of their leaders tried to tell them so.
Big challengesTom Bakk, the state Senate minority leader, a hulking man with a penchant for plain talk and a newly grown goatee, warned, “If you’re a parent or a grandparent, there’s a lot at risk in the state right now.”
Republicans had balanced the budget but only by borrowing some $3 billion from local school districts. “Is that the best we can do?” he asked. Hammering home bad news, Bakk pointed out that the Dems had lost 39 districts in the previous election. “Our campaign failed for the Legislature. We need to retool,” he declared.
Just how they would do that wasn’t clear. tommy hilfiger uk
Bakk left delegates with a dispiriting picture of what they had to overcome. A store clerk he met had complained to him about the $30 in taxes taken out of his paycheck. “Did you drive on a road?” Bakk asked. “Was the road plowed? Did you think it was going to be free?” He added, “We have to talk to our friends and neighbors about that. Just because we work hard, we think we got there on our own.” In fact we succeeded because of government investments in roads, schools, the environment. “We need to change the way people are thinking about government,” he said.
Good luck with that, I thought. Making that case in the current anti tax environment wasn’t going to be easy.
Next up was Mark Ritchie, Minnesota’s secretary of state. amendment. At the long tables where they sat, delegates studied the one page proposal. It would require that all voters, whether or not they vote in person, to present some form of government issued identification. There are no exemptions for soldiers serving abroad, the disabled, the elderly or students. requirement, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. within a few days.