By dusk on Wednesday, the California Obama campaign had purged almost all progressive activists from its delegate candidate lists. Names of candidates, people who had filed to run to represent Obama at the August Democratic Party National Convention, disappeared, not one by one, but hundreds at a time, from the Party web site listing the eligibles.
The list of Obama delegate hopefuls in one northern California congressional district went from a robust 100 to an anemic 23, while in southern California, the list in Congressman Waxman's district almost slipped out of sight, plunging from a high of 91 candidates to 17. Gone were strong women with independent political bases.
Who was left standing, still in the running for the Sunday delegate caucuses?
The bundlers, the men and women who skirt campaign finance laws by bundling cash, a bundle of $2,000 here and a bundle of $2,000 there -- and some, though certainly not all, of the Obama volunteers, loyalists from day one.
Who was kicked to the curb? Brian Leubitz, a Calitics blogger with a mighty pen, Tad Daley, former policy advisor to Cranston and Kucinich and a career fellow with the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Alan Toy, a disabled rights activist and Chair of the American Civil Liberties Union chapter in Santa Monica, and a nameless, yet tireless grassroots volunteer who toiled nights making precinct maps …. and me -- Marcy Winograd.
I campaigned for Obama -- went on Pacifica's KPFK twice, once on election day, to promote his candidacy, to tell the world he really was our hope, the candidate who could galvanize the young and the man who could strengthen an ever-expanding progressive base in the Democratic Party. I urged our Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles chapter to endorse him and we did.
Obama for President.
But the Obama campaign was worried their delegates would switch at a brokered convention.
After the first round of voting, if no clear winner emerges, there is no such thing as a pledged delegate – according to Hillary Caesar Clinton.
Did I take an Obama loyalty oath? Even better.
Two years ago I picketed a Hillary Clinton fundraiser in Hancock Park and was quoted telling the Los Angeles Times. "Hillary Clinton led us to war. She is not the kind of leader we need."
I sit on the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party and will vote in June on DNC delegates who will preside over the convention in August. These are the men and women who will make the rules at a potentially brokered convention.
How very sad, indeed, that the Obama campaign has chosen to slash and burn its list of supporters, as this purging policy projects the wrong image, makes the campaign look nervous, not at all confident – and, I'm afraid, anti-democratic and mercenary, given the coveted treatment of bundlers running for delegate seats.
Perhaps there's still time for the Obama campaign to reverse itself, to celebrate its popularity with grassroots activists and let everyone who wants to participate run a proud race for a man they would like to be proud of as he moves into the Oval Office.
With hope for change,
Posted: 10 April 2008