Saturday, February 24, 2007

Democracy in Action?
I received an email last week about this event, which seems pretty interesting especially in light of how the presidential candidates are running their events so far in the process. I meant to post it when I first got it but I spaced it. What can I say, I've been busy. So, here it is now and hopefully any of the people who read this blog on a regular basis who might be interested in going will go and check it out:

On Sunday, Feb. 25, from 5 to 9 p.m., a Democracy in Action Conference will be held at Colby-Sawyer College's Ivey Center in New London. The event will take place at Clement Hall. The conference is "participatory training on how to effectively question Presidential Primary candidates." There will be some issue workshops too. The event is sponsored by a bunch of local leftist groups: PrioritiesNH, NH Peace Action, the American Friends Service Committee, the Carbon Coalition, and Colby-Sawyer Coalition for Peace & Justice. For more information, contact Erin Placey at or call 224-2407.

These groups have had at least one of these conferences before. I don't know how the attendance was to that event but if they are holding more of them, it probably went well. But I wonder if this conference is really necessary. Maybe it is. I don't know. I would think that most of us would probably know how to ask a question of a presidential candidate if given the chance.
But the "rockstarization" - yeah, I just made that up - of the presidential primary season, so far, is a bit worrisome. They aren't rock stars - they are public servants. And the whole point of having a "New Hampshire Primary Experience" is to be able to have it. We need to be able to talk to these people, shake their hands, and have more than just a few seconds of time with them [it doesn't have to be much more than a few seconds but it should be]. The experience needs to be more than just a passing, fleeting moment, and not just for the connected and the contributors. And not in some phony controlled atmosphere like a "listening" session or an auditorium [like any of these people are really listening to us anywho ...]. Not this early in the process at least.
But that is what we are getting right now ... with press releases even fibbing about the turnout numbers [one of the oldest PR tricks in the book, BTW ... like somehow we can't see it or we don't know how many people fit into the Christa McAuliffe Auditorium at CHS, Hillary Clinton campaign ...].
Compare that process to the house party on Ridge Road in Concord which Joe Biden attended before Christmas.
At that event, Biden actually spent about 30 minutes working the room, shaking each person's hand, and chatting with them for a bit before talking to the gathered crowd in the living room. Guess which one the attendees were probably more impressed with - squinting at Clinton from 30 rows up or looking Biden in the eye?
Now don't get me wrong, this isn't an endorsement of Biden over Clinton - or anyone else - in the Democratic primary. Bloggers haven't nicknamed Biden "Sen. Joe Biden, D-MBNA" for nothing. In my mind, on some of the bad things over the last seven years, like the Iraq invasion vote, the Patriot Act vote, and the Bankruptcy Bill, both are unacceptable elected officials [according to a Google search, Clinton blew off the bankruptcy vote, an even worse act than showing up and voting for the thing, in my mind]. In fact, thinking about it now, Biden is probably worse, having voted for a lot of bad legislation forwarded by Hillary's husband: NAFTA/GATT/WTO, the first terrorism bill put together after the Oklahoma City Bombing, and the 1996 Telecom Act, which deregulated and created consolidation in the media industry and at the same time, destroyed local broadcasting [Hillary wasn't in office for any of these things but she was publicly supportive of them].
But the point isn't primary politics or public policy; it is primary process. And at least Biden and others are talking to folks one-on-one while Clinton is having stadium shows, literally out of touch with the voting public.
Crossposted at Area603


Anonymous said...

Those people are just party crashers. They teach how to disrupt a reception for example, and won't be allowed into any of my functions.

Tony said...

Hey Anon:

Care to tell me where your next function will be? I promise not to let anyone else know ... :-)