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18.4.14 0552
The W - CRZ's World - DEMOCRACY IN ACTION OF THE DAY
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CRZ
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Since: 9.12.01
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I spent yesterday at the Minnesota Senate District 59 Basic Political Organization Unit (BPOU) convention. Even though I was elected as an alternate (The W), I knew that there was a good chance delegates wouldn't show up and the general sense of curiosity I had about the whole process AND a baffling yet continuing sense of obligation to the Ron Paul campaign all combined to get me to skip a morning of sleeping off to attend.

As things turned out, our precinct's delegation had 5 out of 6 in attendance (the sixth guy was "stranded in Indianapolis" - a story which I interpreted as "never really interested in showing up the first place") but because I was the only alternate who showed up, I was seated without any fuss. I would have been a little unhappy if I DIDN'T get a seat, since some precincts had a grand attendance total of zero.

We heard a pretty good speech from the GOP candidate going up against Keith Ellison in the House - Barb Davis White (barbdaviswhiteforcongress.com) - I don't know if she has a chance, but maybe enough people are done congratulating themselves over electing Ellison that they're willing to give her a listen instead of going in blind. (See, I'm learning the whole GOP "speaking in code" bit!)

Minnesota's state senate districts also encompass two house districts - in the 59B district (mine) we had one candidate seeking the Republican endorsement for State Rep, so all we had to do was listen to a speech, ask some questions and approve Ole Hovde by acclamation - over on the 59A side, two folks were seeking the endorsement: a Paulian and a woman who the GOP brass recommended. This meant that THEY had to listen to two speeches and go through two Q&As...then they had to hold a second ballot when neither got the 2/3 needed. Out of 69 attendees (we had 51, for a total of 120), "our guy" Felix Montez got 41 votes on the first ballot, and 44 on the second. I think it was a combination of his ability to better answer questions, and the organization of the Paul supporters prior to the convention that ultimately got him the nod. It was also a portend of things to come...

Already running quite late due to seating issues and a protracted debate on the "A" side for state Rep, there was a debate on whether or not candidates for Delegate to the Congressional District convention should get 30 seconds to speak, or just say their name and that they were willing to serve - a debate which probably wasted more time than just getting on with it (there were 54 candidates for 22 spots, with "up to 44" alternates, so everybody was at least going to make it as an alternate). I think this is where a lot of people make their biggest mistake - they are so concerned with having things to say that they end up droning on and on past the point where ANYBODY is interested in continuing to listen to them. Knowing that - and going last - I was short and sweet, and to the point. Reproduced for your entertainment is the entirety of my speech:

    Hi, I'm Christopher Zimmerman. I'm a technical writer for a software company. I'm a big fan of liberty and the Constitution and slightly less of a fan of alphabetical order.

I think it was the delivery (think James Warren on the McLaughlin Group) but it went over big.

Why I REALLY wasn't worried was the Paulians had already gotten together and we all had a slate to vote in, so I didn't much care about the speeches.

Again, I got a chance to volunteer to help count the votes, but was really surprised afterward to hear that I finished with 59 votes 'cause they sure weren't in MY pile. When it was all done, the Paulian slate got 19 of the 22 spots.

The funniest/saddest part of all this was, during the announcement of results, watching our own precinct chair - this college kid, very definitively stereotypical conservative student, blonde, business dress, Romney supporter and practically living at the state capital as a legislative assistant, supremely confident that she would get in, almost with that sense of entitlement you get from people of that type with that look - watching her smile fade, a look of confusion grow, and then finally seeing her think "what the fuck" and then actually MOUTH "this is bullshit" - rather satisfying. How it came out was that there were three folks with 52 votes tied for 21st, so they drew lots to determine the final two delegates and the first alternate. Of course, in some sort of karmic twist, they drew the two names that weren't hers. I REALLY think it's important that people learn early in life that the system doesn't work, and am certain that the poor kid is wiser for the experience. (She'll still be representing me in Congress some day, though. I'm pretty sure about that.)

I was counting votes while the resolutions were debated, but the one I was really worried about (claiming global warming was invented by liberals to make George W. Bush look bad, among other things) failed without a lot of debate, which was a relief. If you're intensely curious I still have my paperwork, I can type it up and share it with you later.

Having FINALLY completed the CD convention delegate election, we moved to elect delegates to the State Convention - this is where they pick the National Delegates to the big enchilada in St. Paul that you'll be watching on television (or avoiding for whatever's on cable). I didn't run on this when I found out that it would be taking place over three days in Rochester (29-31 May) - I probably could have handled taking the time off and staying over in a hotel and/or driving all three days, but it was happening during a weekend where I believe I am going to have family commitments, so I didn't bother...especially given that the Paulians had a full slate without me. I was counting votes during this campaign but I believe they wised up (seeing a hard close time coming up against them) so they had people just stand up and remind them of who they were (based on the earlier speeches - it was practically all the same people). Again, the slate worked - Paulians picked up nine of the eleven spots.

One of the "tragic" ironies is that the Paulians got more votes than the Executive Committee members, so the guy running our BPOU convention ended up an alternate instead of a delegate. So, you know...in retrospect, it might not have hurt to suck up to the Paul crowd when you get the chance.

And that's another thing - clearly this group is proving that they're serious. Is the MN GOP wise enough to welcome and include this caucus as opposed to continuing to alienate anyone who wasn't for McCain or Romney? I HOPE that the fact that we keep showing up and following the rules wakes a few people up.

And, you know, this is coming from a guy who STILL isn't even in the party!

I don't know how all of the other BPOUs have gone, but it still looks like the chances of getting some Ron Paul delegates to the convention remain very much alive across the state. You could make an argument that it's all meaningless, but I can guarantee you that getting more votes than zero gets you a lot more attention paid than getting zero votes. Not a LOT, but maybe just enough to nudge people in the right direction...or maybe just enough to get them to turn their heads and look our way...just a skosh.

The Congressional District Convention is in Robbinsdale in three weeks, so that's another "wasted" Saturday for me, but this is proving to be a very interesting and educational experience. I hope it was marginally interesting for you!


(edited by CRZ on 16.3.08 1759)


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redsoxnation
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Since: 24.7.02

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.55
What is with the negative campaigning? You should have been promoting reverse alphabetical order rather than being against alphabetical order.
AWArulz
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Since: 28.1.02
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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.49
Very, Very nice, Zed - I enjoyed this a lot. It reminds me of my stint in Hoosier Boys State - a civics program sponsored by the American Legion - and I enjoyed that. Not enough to become your precinct captain though.



We'll be back right after order has been restored here in the Omni Center.


That the universe was formed by a fortuitous concourse of atoms, I will no more believe than that the accidental jumbling of the alphabet would fall into a most ingenious treatise of philosophy - Swift

CRZ
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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.00
    Originally posted by AWArulz
    Very, Very nice, Zed - I enjoyed this a lot. It reminds me of my stint in Hoosier Boys State - a civics program sponsored by the American Legion - and I enjoyed that. Not enough to become your precinct captain though.
I dunno - I definitely get a "Young Republican" vibe from you... ;-)



AWArulz
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Since: 28.1.02
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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.49
    Originally posted by CRZ
      Originally posted by AWArulz
      Very, Very nice, Zed - I enjoyed this a lot. It reminds me of my stint in Hoosier Boys State - a civics program sponsored by the American Legion - and I enjoyed that. Not enough to become your precinct captain though.
    I dunno - I definitely get a "Young Republican" vibe from you... ;-)


At the time (I was 17, fer goodness sake) I thought McGovern was awesome and that Nixon was a criminal (to my Dad's dismay). Now, I am the not so young republican and my Dad has flip floped and thinks Obama is the future of America.



We'll be back right after order has been restored here in the Omni Center.


That the universe was formed by a fortuitous concourse of atoms, I will no more believe than that the accidental jumbling of the alphabet would fall into a most ingenious treatise of philosophy - Swift

CRZ
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Since: 9.12.01
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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.00
CODA: Three days later, we were emailed the "official" results and somehow our Young Republican friend has now snuck in as the #22 delegate instead of the #1 alternate. I'm still in at #11, at least.



pieman
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Since: 11.12.01
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Now that's how politics works! Sneak yourself in there when nobody is looking.

The first campaign I worked on was Jimmy Carter's 1980 re-election bid. I have never voted for the winner in any presidential election.




The World Champion New York Football Giants
AWArulz
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Since: 28.1.02
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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.49
    Originally posted by pieman
    The first campaign I worked on was Jimmy Carter's 1980 re-election bid. I have never voted for the winner in any presidential election.


I voted for the winner in all but two since voting for Carter in 1976. And that's the only vote I regret.

I did the town council thing in the late 80s for two terms (4 years). Worthless. Nothing I wanted done got done, because I was the only one who voted not to spend money on stupid things and was the only one voting to reduce basic costs (our town of 46,000 spent over $80,000 on garbage collection consultants, as an example. And when a presidential candidate came to town to give a fundraising speech, we popped more than $20,000 for police overtime, EMT overtime, barriers and pretty banners. I voted to just send him a check for $5000 and get off easy).



We'll be back right after order has been restored here in the Omni Center.


That the universe was formed by a fortuitous concourse of atoms, I will no more believe than that the accidental jumbling of the alphabet would fall into a most ingenious treatise of philosophy - Swift

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39% evil and 8% tool. 79% Evil tarnish? You've sold drugs to kids, haven't you? Or at least had sex for money. Moe
- MoeGates, Are you EVIL? (2002)
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