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From the Floor: Reflections on Clinton, Party Unity

Chrisi West


Chrisi West is a Virginia delegate to the Democratic National Convention who will be blogging for Virginia Politics from Denver. She is from Alexandria, in Fairfax County.

The last two days of the convention have been phenomenal and jam-packed with fantastic speakers.

Tuesday's lineup of speeches was great, and was all kicked off by Sen. Jim Webb first addressing the Virginia delegation over breakfast. He spoke of ways to get Virginia onto the Democratic political scene with plans on energy independence and protecting our troops deployed overseas, and as our newest Senator in a class of outstanding freshmen Senators, he failed to disappoint.

Gov. Warner gave the keynote speech Tuesday night, addressing the country, the assembled delegation, and of course the raucous crowd of Virginia Democrats also present in our "Mark Warner" tee shirts. I don't think we could've been more proud of our former Governor than we were as he took the stage on Tuesday night - just before Senator Clinton spoke, and from the same position that Senator Obama gave his amazing speech 4 years ago!

In the midst of the rampant press coverage of disharmony within the party, Sen. Clinton's speech on Tuesday night really drove home the fact that the Democratic party was not only unified behind one candidate, Barack Obama, but also ready to go forward and fight for the future of this country. A reminiscent video on the long fought primary contest and career of Senator Clinton as the first viable female candidate for president brought tears to the eyes of Obama and Clinton supporters alike in the convention hall. Signs reading "Unity" and "Hillary" and "Obama" flooded the Pepsi Center as she concluded her speech and gave her support to Barack Obama.

After a day like that, I didn't think it could get any better, but it did. Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick addressed the delegation Wednesday morning and reminded us all it is not just the candidate and his or her issues that inspire us to act, but also their vision for the country. He acknowledged the inspired grassroots activists who answered the call for change, and reminded us all that it takes everyone coming together to really make real change. Coming from a friend of Sen. Obama, that meant a lot.

Any remaining doubts about party unity were quelled Wednesday evening when former President Bill Clinton took the stage to a mass of cheering and waving American flags. His call to the party, and to the country, to unite behind Barack Obama was genuine and heartfelt. He acknowledged his disappointment that "his candidate" was not chosen, but never did he invite disharmony between the two camps, or refresh old rivalries. He reminded us all of a better time in our country, and called for us to work for a better future, together.

The Virginia delegates took a roll call vote for the presidential nomination yesterday morning. THIS was why I was really at the convention - to vote for the president of the United States of America. We had voted at our morning delegation meeting, almost casually it seemed to me. Surely nothing denoting the historic proportions of what we were actually doing.

On the floor of the Pepsi Center Wednesday evening, the official roll call vote began - states calling out their vote totals for senators Clinton and Obama in alphabetical order.

I wasn't sure what to expect. A couple of states passed, including California and Illinois, and several states unanimously chose to throw all of their delegate strength behind the presumptive nominee entirely. I had heard rumors of a vote of acclimation, but being a newbie to this process I had no idea what that meant. I sure found out though, as New Mexico yielded their votes to Illinois. "They're going to let Illinois put him over the top in the delegate count!" we all whispered to each other in the crowd.

But it wasn't to be. Illinois then yielded their votes to the state of New York. And in a proud moment of party unity, Sen. Hillary Clinton came out into the New York delegation and called to suspend proceedings and call for a vote of acclimation. We all looked at each other in astonishment as the delegation cheered in unison "Ay", when asked to suspend the proceedings. Everyone shouted "Ay" again when asked to vote for Sen. Obama as the nominee of the Democratic party.

It was the moment so many of us had been working toward for a year and a half. The full force of it had finally hit me, and I knew then that everything was coming together. With the delegation finally behind one candidate, we had our presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama. It was the next step toward the White House.

Many of us cast our votes for Sen. Obama back in the February 12th primaries in Virginia on a cold, sleet-filled day. I was just lucky enough to be one of a few who was able to vote for him again yesterday and finally make him the Democratic nominee.

-- Chrisi West

By washingtonpost.com  |  August 28, 2008; 10:31 AM ET
Categories:  At the 2008 Conventions  
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Comments

We know that some PUMAs are just afraid of Obama because he's "different." If you know someone in this category, the following website might help them come around. It's a famiy history of Obama, and illustrates just how American he is in scrapbook format.

http://obamascrapbook.com

Posted by: Red Gloves | August 28, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for sharing this with us. Watching the events on TV and hearing about it during the morning commute is exciting, but reading your posts (and watching the video) makes me feel like I’m right there with you!

Posted by: AlexandriaPB | August 28, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I think the party is very much united. The REpublicans are just trying to cause a huge rift where there is a small rift. They are so Desperate they are trying to make a movie about Barack Obama's teen years. Here is Movie Link http://www.theobamaplan.com
I have to admit I usually vote Republican, though I am an independant. I think McCain will start to slump in the polls big time., Many conservatives feel he has burned the bridge he was trying to build with us. He has no commitment to the base. I am a Conservative who has voted republican my entire life. Now I am Voting for Obama. The only way I would vote McCain is if Huckabee was on the ticket. Romney is not a conservative. Lieberman is not a conservative. Pawlenty is just too unknown for me to take a chance. I just sent off for My Obama Biden Bumper Sticker, They will send you one for free at http://www.McCanes.com

McCain is going to lose, becuase he refuses to make any gestures of good faith to the Christian BAse of the GOP. GO OBAMA!!!

Posted by: Peter | August 28, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Chrisi's life in an echo chamber. All you hear is yourself telling you how great everything is.

The fact is that Obama has abandoned the moderates that Bill Clinton brought to the democratic party. We voted for Hillary because she is a moderate. We do not care for the extreme left wing portion of the democratic party.

Obama is the most extreme left wing member of congress. He has nothing in common with the moderates he has abandoned. He may talk now using Hillary's words but we don't believe him for a second.

We will be putting John McCain in office this term. We will not return to the democratic party until the extreme left wing is banished to siberia.

Posted by: Hillary2012 | August 28, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Go, Chrisi! It was an incredibly historic moment, and it's so cool that you actually got to be a part of it!

Posted by: Jim E-H | August 28, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

It's strange ... "banishing" people doesn't sound at all moderate.

Posted by: AlexandriaPB | August 28, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I was pro-Hillary all the way. I still hope maybe when McCain nominates a female vp tomorrow that Biden will bow out and Hillary will be in again.

That being said, McCain isn't moderate Hillary 2012. He's an extremist. He is a follower and as Biden said, the guy who is a soldier, obeys orders and marches. We do need a leader. And while not nuts about Obama's personality, the policies Obama wants are the ones I do, too. They're the same as Hillary's. And if he's elected, she;ll be in the Cabinet and in a better position to win in 2012. I also think Biden, who was very pro-Hillary, is kind of her surrogate and will temper Obama'z vision and help with strategies.

My kids and many others are inspired by Obama and this country needs inspiration.
Exactly what is so left weing Hillary 2012? You apparently don't know that they are so close in policy that it was hard to debate at times so they debated experience instead. You must be a McCain plant.

Posted by: Gloria | August 28, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"PUMAs are just afraid of Obama because he's "different."

Are you mad? Sorry, your condescending race card doesn't work any more.

PUMA's aren't afraid of Obama you fool, they are upset with the DNC and the (un)Democratic party pulling off a sham of a primary rife with caucus fraud, DNC manipulations and intimidation. The final nail was hammered into the coffin with yesterday's scripted roll call. We're also angry that this joke of a party was mute during the most sexist primary in history.

Unlike YOU, we are Democrats who actually care about the process and restoring principles to this party. This is bigger than Senator Obama and Senator Clinton, something people like you clearly can't comprehend.

Posted by: Reality Check | August 28, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

So, in other words, New Mexico through Wyoming delegates, who were supposed to cast votes on air on behalf of millions of voters suddenly were disenfranchised because you delegates didn't have the cojones to stand up to a party apparatchick (Pelosi) to take the roll call all the way to the end? You should be ashmed of yourself, rather than proud, lady - former Reston, Virginian.

Posted by: JC | August 28, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Ok so your mad at the DNC and you'll vote McCain and put my family and my neighbors in jeopardy. Keep in mind if you PUMA don't vote Obama I highly doubt African Americans will vote for Hillary in 2012 and she can't win without them. So go ahead and cut off your nose despite your face.

Are you smoking??? The most sexist primary in history... please give examples and be specific if you can. I didn't see the blanant sexism your referring so help educate me.

__________________________________________
"PUMAs are just afraid of Obama because he's "different."

Are you mad? Sorry, your condescending race card doesn't work any more.

PUMA's aren't afraid of Obama you fool, they are upset with the DNC and the (un)Democratic party pulling off a sham of a primary rife with caucus fraud, DNC manipulations and intimidation. The final nail was hammered into the coffin with yesterday's scripted roll call. We're also angry that this joke of a party was mute during the most sexist primary in history.

Unlike YOU, we are Democrats who actually care about the process and restoring principles to this party. This is bigger than Senator Obama and Senator Clinton, something people like you clearly can't comprehend.


Posted by: Reality Check | August 28, 2008 5:23 PM

Posted by: John | August 28, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

"Everyone shouted "Ay" again when asked to vote for Sen. Obama as the nominee of the Democratic party."

Pelosi gave everyone time to say "Ay." Then she requested "Nay" and did not give anyone a nanosecond to respond. Listen to the clips.

Posted by: Tom Paterson | August 28, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

When are you people going to get over the hyrt feelings, realize that Obama won via the rules and process in place (and by votes but we don't need to go there) and put our country first. It really appears that those in true need of a reality check are far from receiving it judging by the posts.

Posted by: Wessia | August 28, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, yeah and yeah. One would be given to believe that Obama and Hillary can walk on water. Jeez! Take a good hard look at Obama's pass record and accomplishments. The guy is actually a real phony, and he lies about accomplishments. Don't take my words for it, simply check out the man's past records. Hillary, is simply just another snake oil peddlers, pandering to other women in hopes of becoming president, but most people saw her for what she actually is, "a cold hearted and greed filled person who like her "impeached husband" lusts for power. They are the same persons who gave China are most advanced computer guidance system, for money, and Al Gore was right in there with them. I don't approve of the manner in which George W. Bush has been about the war with Iraq, but the problem and the attack on our Republic was the results of the manner in which the Clinton presidency handled matters in the Middle East. And that is what will again happen if Obama is elected to the presidency. He will just be another puppet on which the Clintons' will be pulling the strings.

Posted by: Rescheva | August 28, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm not afraid of Obama because he's different. It's because he is woefully inadequate. He should have worked out at least one term in the Senate, figure out how things work. He should do something with his life other than immediately running for the next highest office every time he gets into one. Maybe he should take some time to actually educate himself as to how the "system" works before he decides to change it.

Maybe he should take into account that eighteen million Democrats voted for another candidate. Maybe he should try to woo them a little bit.

Maybe he should have tried to at least pretend to vet Hillary Clinton for Vice President.

Maybe he should have said that he understands how passionate many of us feel and continue to feel about the brilliant Senator Clinton. Maybe he should not assume that only older women, uneducated white people, and rednecks voted for her, and he certainly should not have tried to paint us that way. I'm a white male in my twenties with two graduate degrees, and most of the more educated people I know chose Clinton in the primaries.

Maybe Obama shouldn't have tried to paint Bill Clinton and anyone else who dared to criticize him as a racist.

And finally, maybe he should have told his cult of followers to cut out the nasty comments.

I won't be voting for Obama. Not because he's "different" but because I'm scared he's incompetent, and I don't want another President like that.

Posted by: Brian Williams | August 28, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

To Brian Williams

You must not be scared that Obama is incompetent. That is fake feeling. Are you telling us that the delegates who voted for obama in large numbers to win the nomination scare you as well. There is a difference between incompetence and having never done something before. I think in your case you mean obama has not been a president before and therefore he cannot be a president. You sholudn't be scared. He will take care of you and every american well. OBAMA FOR AMERICA!

Posted by: Darlington | August 29, 2008 2:23 AM | Report abuse

Please please Republicans must stop fooling themselves thinking that Clinton supporters in the primary nomination are mccain supporters. campaign hard to encourage your own supporters from not staying home on election day because they cant stand a choice to give them 4 more years of the same jungle policies that has led america into the bush.

Posted by: Bell Crush | August 29, 2008 2:30 AM | Report abuse

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