4 to 5 pm today
Denise and I met at 2:30 today at a small Mexican restaurant before going to hear Howard speak. The food was pretty good and we talked about normal things just getting to know one another as we hadn't "actually" met before. So, at about 3:30 we left to go down to the union hall where Howard was going to speak.
The union hall, United Food & Commercial Workers, was the same place where I was elected the 5th delegate to the National convention for Howard in 2004. Unfortunately, this was after Howard had withdrawn and we didn't get enough votes in the primary for any of us to go.
There was somewhere between a 100 and a 150 people crowding into the small room waiting for the speech. Many of the East Bay crowd was there, so I fairly rapidly got separated from Denise as I rubbed elbows with the people I knew.
Jerry McNerney, who's running against Pombo in the 14th was there. I had met him before and re-established the contact telling him that I was at his service for his campaign. He's a real regular guy and would make a fine congressman.
So, the regular small crowd forcing its way through the larger crowd made its way to the podium. A local union guy started the show thanking everyone for coming and initially introducing everyone. Then the local state senator, Liz Figueroa, spoke calling on us to work to defeat the coming special election. Next up was Art Torres, our state party chairman. Art quickly gave his version of the special election pitch and then introduced Rep. Mike Honda of San Jose. (Mike's also a DNC delegate who backed Howard for his chairmanship.) Rep. Honda spoke to the same issue and then made remarks about how our actions here in California will have national repercussions. Rep. Honda then introduced Howard.
For those of you who like to hear the personal stuff: Howard was in his dark suit pants and a blue dress shirt open at the collar without a tie. Real Californian. The man knows how to dress down for the crowd.
Howard began his speech reiterating the necessity for all of us to work to beat Arnold in the coming election. He made remarks that "we" have to do the leading. That the party can't do it. That we can use the party, but that we'd have to step forward and do the phoning and door knocking and all the rest of it. He called on us to each get 10 people to the polls on election day.
Next, he went into his DNC mode. He asked people to sign onto the Democracy Bond program saying that if 100 million people gave $20 a month that the Republicans couldn't out-raise us anymore. And then he stated that he wouldn't make anymore pitches for money.
The rest of the speech concerned the long range view. About half way into this part, I turned to a friend who's also a delegate from the same assembly district as myself (and who was a Kucinich supporter, never a Dean supporter), and I said "Is he giving his stump?" My friend said "So? That's ok."
Howard said that he's going to Mexico tomorrow to meet with the 3 leading candidates for president of Mexico. He said that we have to work hand in hand with them to solve our proplems. He said that the only way to resolve the broder issues with the Mexicans was to help them have a healthy economy, etc.
Next, Howard started talking about the issue positions we're all familiar with. But, then he began to talk about the Truman republican-lite thing, which led to holding our guys accountable to the same standards we hold the republicans accountable, to how after we win the congress back next Rep. Waxman is going to start investigations concerning all the evil crap that has been going on for years now and how we're going to hold leadership responsible and send them to jail. He then rapidly ran down the current list of evil.
Returning to the "we have to do it" meme, Howard finished his speech.
I looked around a few times during the speech to notice that everyone was smiling. This is something I haven't seen very much over the past few years.
The crowd was very enthusiastic throughout the entire event. Demographics: probably at least 50%, white, 40+, middle class. The other half was pretty mixed with at least one Sikh, a fair group of Hispanic-Americans (the local Hispanic TV station, among others, were taping this event), and smaller groups of African-Americans and asian-americans. Everyone was probably at least middle class.
I wasn't sure that I was going to go to this event today as I have seen Howard at least a dozen times. But, I'm both glad, and have a feeling of renewal, at having attended.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
4 to 5 pm today