As you may know, Nebraska Democrats held their convention in Columbus last weekend.
Since we wanted to get an idea of what went on — from the inside — we asked a conventioneer if he would report back to us some of the goings-on.
So, here is a brief synopsis of some of the excitement from last weekend, by the one and only, Democrat, Brian T. Osborn.
Just before I headed out for the Nebraska Democratic Party State Convention last Friday, Sweeper asked me if I would consider reporting on the proceedings from my personal perspective. Since Leavenworth Street is THE place on the web for discussions concerning Nebraska politics, I agreed.
The purpose of the convention, other than the election of the various party officers, caucus chairs, and the filling of other positions on committees and such, is to generate or modify the rules that govern how the party is supposed to function and to construct a party platform. Seeing how those rules and principles are so universally ignored following a convention, maybe it would be best if we just concentrated on electing a Chair for the party, handing him/her dictatorial powers, then adjourning to go enjoy an adult beverage or three.
The discussions concerning the Platform were predictably long, tedious, and a vision of what hell must be like. This is the time that all those in love with their own voices have the opportunity to wax poetic.
Never will anyone hear more ‘whereases’, and ‘be it resolveds’. When a simple statement such as, “The Nebraska Democratic Party favors good, and abhors evil,” could suffice, we end up, instead, with paragraph upon paragraph of narrowly defined verbiage to assuage the egos of the authors. If everyone’s personally favored group or cause isn’t mentioned, there comes a flood of amendments, motions, and comments for and against ad nauseam.
Since the Platform discussions take place early Sunday, while everyone is still fresh, they are alloted much more time than those dedicated to the the arguments over the Constitution and Bylaws (C&B) on Saturday.
Never-mind that the C&B are the rules that govern how the party is run, and delineates the authority granted the various officers, caucuses and committees; ignore the fact that the Platform, once adopted never sees the light of day until the following convention, since it is universally ignored by practically every candidate and elected official; it is the Platform that gets the lion’s share of attention.
From a personal perspective, there were two or three highlights I would like to share.
Perhaps the most irritating of them took place during the 3rd CD Caucus. Brent Hultine, a member of the NDP Rules Committee, someone you would think SHOULD know better, made a motion to donate $500 to each of the statewide candidates from the 3rd CD Organizations treasury.
Now, let me explain that the CD Caucus and the CD Organization are two completely different groups, however comprised of some overlapping membership, and the CD Caucus has no treasury. I pointed out the idiocy of such a move to the Chair, Marion Bahensky, who basically told me that it was appropriate, since she is the Chair of both groups.
Once the caucus finally realized that error, the Chair then basically said, “That’s alright the CDO’s Executive Committee can decide to give the money, totally disregarding the fact that the CDO’s Bylaws only allow the EC to spend up to $50 without authorization by the group’s convened body. I then told her that doing so would result in me filing a complaint with AG Bruning and somebody would be going to jail. Of course, many of the delegates decided that it was I who was the a** in the situation. Go figure!
Sunday morning we were “blessed” by the presence of Sen. Nelson. As the Sweeper’s regular readers will note, I consider Sen. Nelson to be nothing more than a Republican in Democratic clothing. He blathered on about a bunch of stuff he’d love to take credit for, and strategically ignored the sins against the Democratic Party that he has so recently committed.
Finally, as everyone at Sunday’s meeting wondered just what I was up to when I stepped to the microphone during the time for crafting resolutions (rumors I had spread that I would enter one censoring Sen. Nelson obviously had some of them nervous) were dumbfounded by what came out of my mouth.
I declared that I wanted a resolution to state, “The Nebraska Democratic Party supports and promotes the legalization of medicinal marijuana.” After the laughter died down, and Robin Quarles seconded the motion, I explained my reasoning. Anyone who ever watched a loved one die a lingering, painful death from cancer or some other debilitating disease would probably give them anything they could to alleviate the suffering. Marijuana is a God given herb that does just that. It does it better than most of the pain killers manufactured by corporate pharmaceutical companies.
The resolution passed. Finally … my faith in the NDP was somewhat restored.
And on the speakers…
A variety of speakers appeared before the gathered delegates at the NDP State Convention this past weekend. Some were able to get the crowd pumped up, others could have a great career producing audio recordings to aid insomniacs get some much needed sleep, and others were, thankfully, somewhere in between but brief. A suggestion to anyone that ever finds themselves in the position of addressing such a crowd … leave the Power Point at home, memorize your speech, make it brief and learn how to use the microphone.
Don Walton wrote about Sen. Ben Nelson rallying the Democrats. That he did, although I personally found it to be nothing but boiler-plate blather in the best traditions of vote pandering candidates – take credit for all that has gone right whether you were directly responsible or not, and avoid addressing those things that could incite a lynch mob to come after you. I saw many in the audience that I know to be harsh critics of Nelson flapping their fins and barking their approval like so many trained seals. I couldn’t bring myself to join in. It would have been an offense to the unemployed that Ben has turned his back on.
Sen. George McGovern, although a very laid back speaker, enthralled the audience with his tales of how, during WWII as a B-24 pilot, he was more proud of having delivered loads of food to refugees than he was for having dropped bombs on the enemy – not that he regretted having done that. The experience has driven him to fight hunger world-wide as an envoy for the United Nations. He offered up some bon-mots on his political experiences, but preferred, it seemed, to harangue the crowd more about the fight against hunger.
All the candidates had their turns. Tom White and Mike Meister delivered pugnacious presentations that seemed to meet with much approval. Pulling punches evidently aren’t in either of their bags of tricks. As the campaigns heat up, I think that Nebraskans will find them to be more than merely entertaining. The ladies, Ivy Harper and Rebekah Davis were much more reserved. Their demure addresses, while heartfelt and well presented, just didn’t have the punch that the guys delivered. I have to note, however, that I am more familiar with Ms. Davis, since she comes from my district and I’d have to say that she is doing a much more effective job of communicating than she did earlier on. She is a soft spoken, yet articulate and thoughtful young woman that Rep. Adrian Smith had best not write off too readily.
I’ll admit I didn’t really listen to the fellow that spoke about unions and such, I was busy working the back of the room. But what I did see and hear, while it appeared to be informative, would have had me snoring like a drunken sailor in short order. But that’s just me.