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2008-06-07

Texas Democratic Party Convention, Day 2:

Our Senate District caucus didn't go all night. But we did prove that we're not very good at doing things like lining up and counting.

I mis-read the schedule, so I'm here earlier than I needed to be, checking out random training and exhibition booths.

Update, 15:32:

Hillary Clinton's speech this morning was patched in to the convention floor this morning. The crowd on the screen seemed to meld with ours, creating a sense that we were there with her. There was something awesome about it. I even felt a little of the sorrow those who have given her so much support must have felt. Later in the speech, the internet connection started flaking out and we didn't hear the latter portion, but we heard the important stuff.

Now we're getting ready to vote on the Texas party chair---looks to be contentious....

18:17: Things got interesting.

So we had two contested offices, which required speeches from all the candidates, followed by a roll call vote of the entire delegation. Yep, a roll call vote. Fortunately, they didn't read off names; we counted up within Senate Districts, and had a roll call of the districts.

Then, just after the results of those votes were announced, we had a resolution introduced to end the allocation of national delegates on the basis of the precinct conventions (also known as "caucuses", or the "Texas Two-Step"). After a bunch of points of order and parlimentary inquiries, we got to a motion to table the resolution until the commission appointed with investigating the best solution to this issue could complete their investigation. This would effectively kill the resolution at this convention. We held a voice vote, which was (of course) immediately followed by a call for a roll call vote. So we counted up within Senate Districts, and just as the secretary called for the tally from Senate District 1, a very official-sounding voice came over the loudspeaker telling us that there was an emergency in the Convention Center and that we were all to evacuate.

Now that was a hoot. Thousands of people flowed out of the cavernous hall and into the streets of downtown Austin. Not long afterward, we got the all clear and all filed back in. Once again, the roll call started and we got through it without further incidents. The result was just announced, with 78.7% voting to table the resolution.

Now we're hearing from the rules committe.

And we just had a big SNAFU that looks to me like fallout from too much haste from the chair in holding voice votes. Untimately, that haste didn't save us any time, and probably wasted it. Oy. More later....

The group from Corpus Christi (hosting the 2010 convention) brought beach balls. A great time was had by all as we held a sort of beach ball hailstorm up in the front of the hall.

As the evening rolled on, we reached that point where you know you're waiting for a committee report, but have no idea when you'll actually get it. So, I slipped off to Sixth Street to see my favourite Austin band, Opposite Day. That was definitely the right move. They ended their set, I said "hey" to the band, and returned back to the Convention Center just in time to witness the protests from this round's collection of people who were unhappy with the nominations of at-large delegates. (Pretty much the same thing happened at the county level.) As expected, it came to a roll call vote which passed. An interesting note is that when we held the vote, everyone was under the impression that the committee would basically have to start over again if it was voted down. After voting within our Senate Districts, but before the roll call, we were informed that that isn't how it would happen, and that the Obama and Clinton campaigns would select the delegates in that case. Fortunately, we didn't get into that scenario.

Then, apparently not satisfied with dragging out the process of accepting the report, the cranky people decided to gripe about the nominations of the PLEO (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) delegates, once again proving that the lower the stakes, the more passionately people will fight for something.

We adjourned at 12:11, just in time for me to go see Congratulations playing at the same bar Opposite Day was at. So I didn't get to go to any swell candidate parties, but I ended the night surrounded by friendly faces.

I got up really early, so I don't know why I'm still up and writing, but I am. So there you go, the Texas 2008 Democratic Convention in a nutshell or two.