politics { Congressional District 1, Ward 2 Caucus

Update: Salon.com has a great results page.

Just got back from the Caucus here in Rochester. Record turn out, over 2000 people showed at our caucus. In my precinct alone 300 people showed, more than twice the number in 2006 (and the veterans were saying in 2000 only 20 people showed to caucus). There were so many, they ran out of ballots at 7:15pm and had to start cutting up resolution papers. We were late because the parking lot was full and cars were backed up for a considerable distance. There was a lot of energy in the air, positive and hopeful. It was good to see 75% of our immediate neighbors there and ready.

The Ward went ~1400 Obama, 689 Clinton, and <100 for the others.

I've been made a delegate (along with Nerdwife) for the County Caucus on March 29.

Resolutions passed in my Precinct:
*DFL will oppose any constitutional (state or national) that restricts the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
*Provide or subsidize health care for all residents.
*DFL will support and recognize labor unions and support measure providing fair wages for all residents.
*DFL will support and fund transportation infrastructure including effective public transportation, railways, roadways, and bridges.
*Fully fund and support education programs for all. (a lot of education programs have been mandated, but not funded)

Resolutions that were rejected:
*Support of the Marty Bill providing Universal single-payer health care. This was a tough one. Much debate, many good points for and against, but it was pretty much over when Sheila Kiscaden spoke against it as a division point that would polarize discussion on the issue in the legislature instead of providing a phased implementation towards a universal health care solution. I'm not familiar with the legislation, but I voted for this resolution as in my opinion it is a step in the right direction.

The biggest event of the night: Nerdwife and I met with and confronted Representative Walz on his vote for the FISA bill. He was very energetic and honest on the topic and we talked for almost 15 minutes. He understands the frustration and the feelings of betrayal those on the left felt for him after that vote- but Walz put forth a passionate defense. He voted for the FISA bill to keep the topic open for discussion because it had a six month end clause forcing renewal (note that Walz states he opposed the recent 15-day extension, which was a voice vote). He felt further deliberation provided a chance for substantial revision or repeal in the Senate. Unfortunately, the Senate's bill came back with only one change: a clause granting immunity to the Telecom Companies. He (and a few other Democrats) voted for the initial bill to deny it as wedge issue the GOP could use against them in the election. Walz has promised a "No" vote on renewal - lets see if he keeps his promise. After discussing this topic with him, and playing good constituent/bad constituent (guess who was who!)we both felt he was honest, and his reasons made sense. It changed my feelings on the subject and regarding him. At this point, I am likely to vote for him for another term.

nerdwife: I can't say I agree with Walz's logic- after all, isn't a "no" vote at this point simply going to afford the GOP a wedge closer to election time?- but he seemed genuine, well-informed about the bill and his decision, and most importantly, ready to knock the current bill down. To those who have written/called/emailed: he is very aware of your feelings! Walz was really on point about this vote, and had answers ready for this frowning constituent.


Mike said...

Same for me. My precinct had 298 counted votes, normal turnout is less than 50. Must have been over 1000 folks for the entire ball of wax (all 9 precincts that make up our SD/Wards).

GeekGoddess said...

We watched a bit of the national results last night before turning in. It was encouraging to see that the Democrats turned out, for the most part, in much greater numbers that the Rebulicans.

GeistX said...

It was an amazing night. Fully half the people in the room were first timers and easily 1/3 were under 30. The group was great, they 'elected' one of the new guys as a delegate because he put forth a couple really good resolutions. The GOP had its caucus just up the road at Mayo HS, it sounds like their turn out was around 1700. The local news (KTTC) was reporting DFL turn out around 4000 for the county, but the total # of vote at the place we were at was ~2200. People were pissed, people were excited, people wanted changed, there was hope, there was joy, there was undeniably an energy in the air.

MPR last night was projecting DFL turn out in excess of 220,000 and GOP turn out in excess of 65,000. It pleases me that so many people care enough to go to a caucus. Even if they are supporting the other side, participation in the process is a good thing. I hope record numbers turn out in Sept for the Primary and Nov for the election.

celesathene said...

Hmm...voting for the opposition as a means of defending yourself for re-election sounds pretty much like they win. And have you over a barrel. And suggests you lack confidence in your ability to convince the voters your ideas are the best.

I think he was sucked into the paranoia about what the republicans will do once election time rolls around again. Made a bad vote. Now trying tortured reasoning to secure the democrats' votes he lost.

The best solution was to vote no in the first place.

Nerdwife said...

No doubt, celes- unfortunately, Walz lacks the time-traveling abilities of more senior representatives and is forced to merely explain his thoughts at the time and what he will now do to correct them. Representatives who never think about reelection politics and who never make mistakes would be great. Until they're in office, I was pleased to see Walz ready to take a stand to correct this vote, even at risky pre-election time.

GeistX said...

I agree with Nerdwife. He's trying to correct it. Yes ideally it would have never passed, but at the time Rove was a real threat, he's "retired" since then (most likely going low key cuz his ass will be in a congressional investigation sooner or later). It was a no-win situation either way, vote yes and liberals hate you, vote no and the GOP smear machine feeds you your ass (remember facts don't matter with them).

The fact he was ready to discuss his vote, what he felt and thought at the time, and what he is going to do to correct it counts for a lot.

celesathene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
celesathene said...

I am a filthy, filthy hypocrite. Here's how...

Fear (of Rove or being unseated) that prompts a compromise on perhaps appropriations is politics, but on a bill that allows unconstitutional spying on citizens? That's tough for me to accept.

In real life, what will happen in the next election is that Walz and Klobuchar will have a DFL behind their names versus some republicans and therefore they will get my vote. (Unless Kucinich transplants...)

I'm glad that he has reflected on his vote and is trying to make amends. Sounds like the vocal response from his district made a difference. Hopefully Klobuchar will have similar revelations.

GeistX said...

By no means is Walz off the hook. The second vote on FISA, which is the more critical one, will be the test. We confronted him on the topic and spoke face to face, away from his handlers on the subject. From his mannerisms it was apparent that he had felt bad about his decision was determined to change it. But again this is all works and the test will be the next vote.

AllThingsSpring said...

Bluestem Prairie picked up on this thread.

Congressman Walz, your job is not to worry about reelection. That's OUR job as Minnesota Democrats. Your job is to do the right thing every time, and if you mess up, like you did with FISA, you learn from your mistake and take steps to correct it.