Dems unite in foot stomping and chanting for Obama



“Yes we can!” filled the air at Olympic High School Saturday, as foot stomping, chanting Kitsap Democrats gave their hearts and votes to Barack Obama as their next president, leaving Hillary in the dust.

Obama wound up with three times as many delegates as Hillary, although these aren’t necessarily the ones who will go to Denver for the really, really big show.

They have two more steps in that ladder. The 20,000 or so elected at Washington’s county conventions will meet on May 17 for caucuses of the congressional districts. Here they’ll narrow the chosen ones down to 51 delegates and 9 alternates, who proceed on to Spokane for the state Democratic convention June 14 to elect more there.

Some 1,350 Democrats showed up at the school long before the convention was gaveled into order, among them many black faces, who are usually scarce even at Democratic doings here, and missing completely when Kitsap Republicans did their thing the week before. Obama signs were everywhere but the Hillary crowd displayed its loyalty too, even among the black delegates.

A call by county Democratic Chair Carl Olson for a show of hands of those at a convention for the first time produced hundreds. The No. 1 business was, of course, electing delegates to propel Obama or Clinton to Denver. The 1st and 6th congressional districts caucused separately, then each broke into those from the 23rd and 35th legislative districts, and finally into Obama or Clinton.

The 26th legislative district had already caucused last week for their voting, although about 100 of their folks showed up here, too, but not to vote for delegates.

Candidates trudged to the microphone all morning pleading for help and money. U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee of the 1st district was over in Seattle consorting with the Dalai Lama, and Rep. Norm Dicks also was a no show. A spokesman for Dicks, however, had them pounding the floor when he delivered the good news that as of Jan. 2, 2009, President Bush would no longer be in office. “Nothing gets us so motivated,” he said.

The final credentials report shook out like this: In the 1st congressional district, the 35th legislative district got 1 Clinton, 3 Obama delegates, and the 23rd district, 9 Clinton, 29 Obama (Yayyyy!!! Screamed the crowd in a frenzy of foot stomping and yelling). In the 6th congressional district, the 23rd legislative district was awarded 2 Clinton, 5 Obama, and the 35th district, 3 Clinton, 7 Obama. Alternates also were given in proportion.

Those wishing to be delegates declared themselves and voted on, with instructions to have equal numbers of men and women and be sure to consider diversity, youth, etc.

A spokesman for each candidate was given five minutes. Karen Cline praised Clinton as a person “who will bring us to a better, safer, stronger place.” Patrick Sheldon urged them to unite behind Obama as a candidate who believes that “Yes, we can.”

They got around to the platform at 3:40 and platform chair Jim Sommerhauser warned them to get on with it because if anybody called for a quorum it was all over. There were not 346 people left. The sun was shining brightly outdoors and the convention was rapidly leaking delegates.

The platform was just plain mush intended to offend nobody, but one delegate insisted on adding “disability” as a basic human right and won. Another persuaded passage of “gender identity.” An effort to ban preemptive wars didn’t make it.

At 4:20 p.m., Jerry Hebert jumped up and called for a quorum count. Delegates began to break for the doors. “The central committee will take up the platform,” Olson declared. “The convention is adjourned.”

Adele Ferguson appears Wednesdays in the CK Reporter. She can be reached at P.O. Box 69, Hansville, WA 98340.