Dems Da Breaks
Local delegate dishes from Denver.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
It’s day two of the Democratic National Convention and Shawn Bagley is strung out on speeches and protests, stargazing George Stephanopoulos and Willie Brown.
“I am a political junkie and this is Disneyland– plus a flight to the moon– all wrapped in one,” he says. Bagley’s one of two Monterey County delegates at the convention. (Sam Farr’s the other one.)
Central Coast Assemblyman John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), an Obama delegate, is at the DNC– for now. But he’ll miss the major fireworks in Denver– speeches by Bill Clinton, Joe Biden and Obama– because he’ll hop a flight to Sacramento on Aug. 27 for another kind of big bang– the California state budget showdown. “He’s going to miss the Wednesday and Thursday night speeches because of the nice folks on the other side who are messing with the budget,” Bagley says sarcastically.
Monday night, riot cops shut down the Sheraton in downtown Denver, temporary home of the New York and California delegations. “Tear gas was used,” Bagley reports.
News broke early Tuesday of a possible plot to kill Obama. Now, hours later, bomb dogs sniff the convention floor, veteran Democratic operative Bagley says. “One dog, two dogs… The security element here is just intense. It’s kind of cool to see 20 SWAT guys riding the shuttles with their fully automatic weapons.”
At a delegate breakfast Tuesday morning, governors from New York, Iowa and Virginia talked about turning the country blue. Meanwhile, celebrity L.A. attorney Gloria Allred, a Hillary Clinton delegate, wandered around wearing a gag. “It was very dramatic,” says Bagley, who is also a Clinton delegate. “But to me it was kind of sophomoric. There were governors speaking, and she’s walking around with a gag. I was embarrassed for her.
“There is a diehard Clinton element, but I’ve moved on. It’s all about party unity. That’s the message and I expect to bring it back to the Central Coast.”
So the PUMAs (Party Unity, My Ass) for Hillary have no teeth?
Bagley lets loose. “I am done being nice. I have been respectful for two months. Number one: Nobody is listening to them and therefore they are irrelevant. And number two: 10 percent of Dems vote for Republicans every year, anyway, and if they want… ” He stops. “And here comes Mr. Willie Brown. Your honor! Good morning, sir!”
He gets his fix. “It’s very intimate. I got to see George McGovern walking around!”
Returning to his rant, he says, “If less than 1 percent want to vote for McCain, the train has left the station. Barack Obama is transforming the Democratic party. What’s so exciting: There is, in Monterey County, Republicans for Obama. Keep an eye out for all the signs. We’re going to make the Central Coast Obama country.”