Saturday, July 26, 2008

The things parties do: The Democrats

UPDATE: Andre makes a strong point about a lack of diversity in the party's delegation to the national committee.
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I figured the Democratic Party would have a good, made for television crowd today at DNC Chairman Howard Dean's stop in Macon. The Democratic Party of Georgia's state committee was meeting at the same time, and at the same place, as Dean's voter registration rally here. And the committee meeting drew a couple hundred people.

So the Dean folks set up a stage, a microphone and speakers for him outside the Wilson Convention Center here. There was even a riser for television cameras. But about a half hour after the rally was supposed to begin, with about 50 people waiting around, they abandoned all that and moved the event inside the convention center.

It was clear that Dean organizers expected more folks to be there and moved things inside so the crowd wouldn't look so small. The crowd of 50 was smaller, here in one of Georgia's blue counties, than what Dean said his trip drew in Crawford, Texas, population 700 and home to President George W. Bush.

And yet there was a large potential audience 100 yards away from where Dean spoke. They could have had a crowd of 250 people going nuts. Instead they had Dean, without a microphone, having a conversation with about 50 people while party insiders decided who to send to the national convention in Denver. A 20 minute break to make the rally a success seemed logical, but it just didn't happen.
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CORRECTION: As the commenter noted, they were picking new national committee members, not convention attendees.
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Dublin state Rep. DuBose Porter, the party's minority leader in the House and Dean's introducer, tried to downplay the situation to me. State party spokesman Martin Matheny said the committee meeting had been scheduled since May, and that folks came from all over the state for it.

"We'd like to get them back to their families," Matheny said.

Dean took it in stride, saying "there's not a single person in that room that's not registered to vote." But how you go from a stage and press riser to a conversation in a lobby and don't see this as a snub, I don't know.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

While these newly elected DNC members may attend the convention in Denver, their official terms do not commence until immediately following the convention. Our existing DNC members will be our representatives at the 2008 convention.

As for the diversity in the Georgia DNC delegation, this concerns all of us. Frankly, I think many were surprised that Representative Calvin Smyre was not elected on Saturday.

I believe we elected four excellent individuals who will represent Georgia very well to the DNC.

As it was, our meeting went nearly two hours over schedule. Had the rally been scheduled before he meeting started, perhaps we all could have participated. As it was dozens of people left before the final voting was complete.