Monday, May 01, 2006

One Man's Garbage...

Is another man's treasure. I don't want overemphasize the importance of the endorsement that state Democrats at the recent convention gave Angelides--67% to 28%--but I think an outright dismissal is not entirely fair. (Although I was not volunteering for Angelides at the convention, I was proudly sporting my Angelides for Governor pin.)

There is a reason why their has not been a Democratic endorsement for Governor in California in a long time. It takes a nominee with broad support and convinced delegates to get to 60%. While convincing over two thirds of the delegates to support Angelides may not be most important, it is significant.

I went in to the convention fully expecting that Westly would be able to convince at least 40% not to endorse Phil. All the polls the Westly campaign talks about all the time seemed to suggest as much (although half of the respondents are undecided). However, as I walked around and talked to delegates and other campaign volunteers, it was clear that Angelides had overwhelming and broad support. After all, it takes broad support to get the endorsement of Barbara Lee, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein.

OK. OK. Endorsements aren't all that important, but the reasons why people endorse are. The delegates I talked to supported Phil for similar reasons that I do, which is the sentiment future House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, mentioned when introducing Angelides: Phil is a leader with a strong record of success. There is no denying that Phil was the first one to enter the governors race. And at a time when Schwarzenegger was pretty popular. Just as he has been a leader throughout his career, he was a leader this time as well. It's this leadership and strong conviction that seemed to resonate amongst the Angelides supporters I talked to.

I do think Steve Westly is a great guy and would make a better governor than Schwarzenegger and will be willing to fully support Westly if he wins the nomination. I just happen to see Angelides proving to be the strongest leader and defender of Democratic values. Perhaps Westly really does have a compelling message. But I wish he would throw early, meaningless polls in the trash and tell me what his message is.

I'm sick of choosing nominees based on electability. That's the big difference between Republicans and Democrats. Democrats approach elections strategically. Republicans don't care who the nominee is so long as he pushes their agenda. Schwarzenegger may not be the typical Republican, but he adheres incessantly to the "me only society" GOP party line. In that respect, it really is invigorating to see leaders like Angelides making the case for Democratic values:
"This is more than a Democratic campaign. It's about winning a victory for Democratic values that will ripple across this great land.
If we can't win based on our values, then we have bigger problems. If we can't win with our ideas, then we have bigger problems. Angelides is no Mondale. He is pragmatic and mainstream. Efforts to paint him as unelectable are unfair and just plain wrong.


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