Saturday, April 28, 2007

Guest Entry: What I learned at the California Democratic Convention

by Nancy Fulton (guest blogger from the California Convention in San Diego)

So, I'm new to "official politics", party conventions and the "back room" but this first convention has been an eye-opener. My favorite e-ticket ride so far has been the Resolutions Committee.

So Groups like So Cal Grass Roots and Progressive Democrats of America write resolutions to propose to the California Democratic party. The resolution committee reviews the resolutions, and the top ones get voted on the floor of the convention and may be adopted. The adoption of those resolutions by the convention can be used by activists and others to lobby congressmen and party members.

So, there were multiple resolutions calling for IMPEACHMENT of BUSH and CHENEY brought by groups to the Resolution Committee. They are supposed to give them an up/down vote. In the case of about nine (of 105 resolutions) they decided not to.

Instead they decided to "refer" them which means that the language of the resolution (which folks like YOU might have voted for if you were member of a grass roots group) was NOT voted on. Instead they pointed to another resolution and said "its basically the same thing". Except, in many cases the language was entirely different in meaning and context.

The rules state that you are supposed to get an up or down vote on your resolution. If it gets voted down, you can collect 300 signatures and take it onto the floor.

Except when it gets referred (as many resolutions were) the Resolutions Committee decided not to give people the forms required to collect signatures. Thus resolutions couldn't be taken to the floor.

So, what I learned is . . . stupid little rules matter. Matters of procedure matter.

Except . . . . I'm sitting in a room with 700 people or so. They are an angry mob. And they are having quite an impact on the Resolutions Committee. We just made them give us our impeachment resolution. In a few minutes we'll decide if its one of the 10 that get to the floor.

So Rules Matter . . . but so does being an angry mob. Its amazing how the 700 people in this room have managed to change the behavior of that little committee.

Now we have to do it to Congress :) It is time to Impeach the President.

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