Friday, June 02, 2006

Friday evening remarks

6pm
  • Call to order. Marianne Stevens, Vice Chair, state party.
  • Invocation. Rep. Stan Moody of Manchester, president of the Christian Policy Institute.
  • National anthem, pledge of allegiance. The anthem was sung by "Referendum," a political a cappella group. Very good - excuse me, wicked good.
  • Opening remarks. Ben Dudley, Chair, state party. Wades through the list of thank yous. Will see Allen, Michaud to dem majority, reelect Democratic governor for the first time in 22 years… 159 days till election. Stress concerns of the people – the people, the people. Bushco out of step with American values - opportunity, investment, community, shared sacrifice, shared reward. Yet one month ago the GOP proudly displayed Bush’s picture before their convention in this very hall. They have a government that’s about THEM. We want one that’s about ALL OF US. Democratic values are Maine values. In 4 years we’ve “turned the state around” (hmmmm) in jobs, health care. Clinton said “people of modest means if they are of common mind can change the world.” Exhorts people to “invest in Blue” and end boom/bust cycle, 50-state strategy. [ends with clip of “Let’s Get It Started,” obviously not knowing what the real words are.]
  • Welcome. Rita Moran, Chair, Kennebec County dems. The most important people are not up here but are you down there blah blah. Get dems elected to town councils, school boards, county treasurers, sheriffs. Believe it. [actually she’s doing this pretty well.] Give the governor enough people in the legislature so he can get stuff done without obstruction.
  • Welcome. Arthur & Donna Lerman, City of Augusta. Corny. She’s a little uncomfortable… Riff on GOP failures.
  • Report from Maine legislature. Sen. Beth Edmonds, president, Maine Senate. Be proud of your legislature and its work. Democratic representatives include loggers, dairy farmers, mill workers, teachers, retirees. Edmonds is from Freeport where she was a children’s librarian. Was inspired in her leadership career by a female minister when she was growing up [see, wingnuts – WOMAN PREACHERS REALLY DO LEAD TO PERDITION]. Touts Baldacci’s accomplishments in education, including teacher pay, financial aid. Theme of THEY FEAR, WE TRUST… Bushco plays on fears of Americans to hide their real agenda, which is lining the pockets of their corporate friends. Maine has a comprehensive energy policy and acted to prevent gas price gouging. Working to safeguard personal information. Oppose discrimination in any form – historic civil rights legislation. Intervened to save mill jobs. Invested in R&D – helped attract Team ? and IDEXX expansion. Teen pregnancy, teen smoking fallen dramatically. Fighting TABOR, raised minimum wage. They fear the future. We think Maine workers are the gold standard. We imagine a better future.
  • Call of convention. Patsy Crockett, Chair, Convention Subcommittee. Roster of thank yous. Is moving briskly through it. This was the first convention to use internet in registration – saved lots of money though it was a little bumpy at times. Learned a lot. Democrats make Maine a better place to live and work because they believe in investing in Maine people.
  • Report from Credentials Committee. Betty Johnson, Chair. Snore. Oh god……….. I could never do the work those good people did.
  • Report of Permanent Organization Committee. Sally Crowley, Chair. She’s treasurer from Hancock County. Also snore. [a respectful snore, though.]

7pm

Remarks. Hon. John Richardson, Speaker of the House. Turns out he’s a good speaker in a large venue. Quite rousing. Another dig at the GOP convention last month… their theme song was “We’re not going to take it any more.” Ha.

Remarks. Congressman Tom Allen. Introduced by Virginia Manuel, Chair Aroostook County dems. Enters with great fanfare, cheering, and waving of placards to the theme of Springsteen's Rising, the anthem written for the police, firefighters, and others who responded on 9/11. He's introduced by a video that sounds like it's narrated by the Catsup Advisory Board, but it gets a strong reponse.

In Maine we understand tides, he says - they go in, they go out. And the worst tide is a red tide.

Touts Baldacci's accomplishments - closed budget deficit without raising taxes. encouraged small business growth, the ground-breaking Dirigo health program, improvements in education. Please send him back to the Blaine House. Gets in digs at Snowe about the Alito nomination. Runs through crimes of the Bush adminstration in his usual polite and eloquent manner. [I'm never excited by Allen from a distance but am always awed by his ability when I see him in person.] It's tempting to try to win on one simple slogan: HAD ENOUGH?

But Democrats have to address four major challenges: foreign competition, health care, energy, and climate change. Then moves on to talk about Iraq. Allen voted against the war resolution and worked to stop the rush to war. Has consistently urged adminstration to change course and says it's time to start orderly withdrawal of troops.

Remarks. Congressman Mike Michaud. Introduced by Eddie Gorham, Maine AFL-CIO. Glad to see labor here and that they're still alive. Michaud drives in (in a forklift!) to "Power to the People" and loud chants of "We want Mike!" Says the man seated next to me, "He's just the nicest, nicest guy," and a man in the row ahead concurs.

He's not my rep and I never see him so it's a pleasure to watch him in action. He has a very solid and genuine presence. He refers to the AFL-CIO leader as "Brother Eddie Gorham" and speaks respectfully of labor, teachers, veterans. When he says he supports the troops 100%, you believe him. He is outraged at the state of veteran's health care and benefits. He says it's time to bring the troops home. He has words on energy, education (repeal NCLB), welfare, jobs, outsourcing, minimum wage, the environment, civil rights, health care, child care. This is a solid, old-time, red-meat Democrat. [And he's anti-abortion. Next time NOW pulls another bone-headed stunt like they did in Rhode Island, they need to come look at Michaud's record and compare him to Chafee.]

Let's return this country to its rightful owners: the American men and women who through their blood, sweat and tears built the greatest country on earth. And P.S. Republicans? You're fired.

Then his staff hands out the words to a union song: "Solidarity Forever." And we stand it sing it together. Pretty cool.

Remarks. Governor John Baldacci. My connected friends - pretty much environmentalists first, second, and third - all hate Baldacci, but I kind of like the guy. Nevertheless, everything he says I somehow instantly forget. Here comes his litany of accomplishments (I think there are five). As my mind wanders, I wonder if Bill Clinton's fundraiser this Monday for the governor will be fully attended. We've gotten two real calls, two invitations, and two robocalls yesterday, which doesn't sound good...

Adjourn. America the Beautiful sung by Matthew Small, a student at Orono. Beautiful voice, beautiful song.

See you tomorrow.

2 comments:

leolabeth said...

Go Alnadem.

Thanks for this. I have to work today so had no hope of attending and will keep in touch online.

One question: whither Hannah Pingree? Isn't she a Democratic darling?

Alna Dem said...

Spotted her this morning being lauded as one of about 150 dem candidates for the House. Other than that, she's low-profile.