DPO Summit: watch online

OregonsummitThis weekend, the Democratic Party of Oregon is meeting in Central Oregon. They'll have trainings, policy discussions, and speeches by major leaders.

If you're not attending, you can watch video here.

Use this thread to discuss what you see and hear.

(Please don't discuss topics that aren't part of the Summit. Stay on topic.)

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    We'll be heading out in a few hours for the Summit. I don't have a laptop, so I can't blog from the Summit. But maybe others can. It'd be interesting to see what people had to say.

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    This is kind of an experiment for us, so please let us know what you think. Ron Burley, from Eugene, is the driving force behind this and will be the chief videographer.

    Many people can't afford to attend the Summit, or can't come for other reasons. We want to make the information available to Democrats all over Oregon.

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    My recommendation is go for clarity, not comprehensiveness. We can't consume it in full, so to make the blogging successful, I'd like to see adroit distillation. Possible? Who can say, but good luck!

  • LT (unverified)

    Hope they post pictures and someone blogs or eventually they post transcripts or audio files. My computer has Quicktime and a dialup connection but I couldn't get the video to show. A friend had emailed me last year that she got frustrated trying to watch something on Quicktime.

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    Sorry, Jeff, I don't have time to blog the event. All we can do at this point is give you raw files. If you'd like to watch them and blog about it, great! This all came together pretty much at the last minute. If people do watch it (I would think Wilson's speech tonight would be worth sitting through!), there will be more support at the DPO for better virtual communications. We're learning--things like "don't use a black backdrop for people wearing dark suits."

    There are several BlueOregon bloggers here, so maybe Jesse or Anne or Steve or Lew or Jenni can pick up the slack. It would have been better to enlist their help ahead of time! Also, wireless access is not ubiquitous, so we have to go offsite to file stories.

    Ron Burley is planning to put together a highlights DVD, but we can't do it realtime.

    LT, you need a broadband connection to watch the video. It just isn't possible to stuff that much information down a phone line. My computer--using wireless broadband--has trouble keeping up, but if I just wait for the file to finish downloading, then I can play it.

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    Ambassador Joseph Wilson spoke last night at the keynote dinner. It was a very, very interesting speech and worth watching. Grab a beer and start the download:

    He's hung around all weekend--played golf, mingled, talked to folks. The DNC contingent (Tom McMahon, Brad Martin, Jason Leon) have as well. My prior experience is that the speakers often just jet in for their gig and then leave. It's been nice to be able to talk to these guys. Wilson is very low key.

    Lynn Bradach got the Eleanor Roosevelt Award. It was very touching.

    If you watch just one other speech, check out Kitzhaber's. He made a very forthright appeal to Democrats to be bold, to attack problems instead of symptoms, and to stand up for their principles no matter the repercussions at the ballot box. It was a bit of a scold, but well delivered and very well received. Here's a quote I wrote down:

    "Why Karen Minnis? I think she's the wrong target and the wrong issue. She's not the problem, she's a symptom and making her the problem gives her more credit than she deserves. The problem is that she had a better message and got elected in a district with a democratic edge. We can't be hypocrites here."

    I would have liked a little more interaction here at the Summit. The speakers have been pretty interesting and good, but it's a lot of being talked at. There hasn't been much opportunity for people to actually discuss things in any kind of a structured way. Other than that, it's run very smoothly and been a lot of fun so far.

  • LT (unverified)

    Thank you Jenny.

    I don't think Kitzhaber was a scold so much as a Truman type "telling the truth and they think it is hell". He is a standard of quality leadership. When he was a legislative leader there was much more discussion of issues than there is now.

    The time has come for more discussion of issues and less technical stuff (R to D ratio, "which candidates have a chance", talk about campaign vendors, etc).

    I suspect that there are so many people just waiting for serious discussion of major issues that it is a real opening this next election. And if such a person caught fire they could win in a district with a lousy R to D ratio, regardless of whether any political professional said they had a chance, and even if they did a lot of the stuff (like mailings) with volunteer work and with local businesses rather than famous vendors doing the rest.

    It was refreshing to hear Kitzhaber again, but then I have known him for 20 years.

  • LT (unverified)

    Just saw an interesting article in the Washington Post. Here is the URL and the beginning of it. Sounds like a plan for "winning the West" to me.


    Dean Camp's Tactics Applied to Colorado

    Web Site Aims to Organize Liberal Activists

    By Brian Faler Special to The Washington Post Sunday, October 9, 2005; Page A05

    A small advocacy group in Colorado is betting that it can take one state-of-the-art Web site, add half a million dollars or so and end up with a potent tool that will enable it to organize the state's entire community of liberal activists.

    ProgressNow, formed two years ago, is borrowing some of the online tactics that helped fuel the 2004 presidential campaign of Howard Dean, now the Democratic National Committee chairman. It has invited activists from across the state to use its Web site free to push most any issue they like.

    The goal is to create a go-to site for Colorado activists -- a sort of online hub for everyone from environmentalists to abortion rights advocates to those concerned about the direction of their school boards. The group hopes liberals will use the site -- ProgressNowAction.org -- to find each other, organize and meet people working on other issues. In the process, it hopes to assemble a statewide network of activists and, ultimately, give Democrats a new and easily replicated model for local political organizing.

    "We're taking what we learned from the Dean campaign and are applying it to a state," said Bobby Clark, who worked on Dean's Internet team before becoming deputy director of ProgressNow. "If we do our job right, when election time comes around, we will have a much more engaged electorate."

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    I've been back from the Summit a couple hours now, took a nap. It was one of the most exhausive weekends I have had in awhile.

    Everytime I go to a Party meeting, it is a marathon. There are lots of people I want to talk to, people want to talk to me, and there are these darn meetings in the way! Same with the Summit, but much more so. It was irresistible. I couldn't blow off major parts of the weekend, because the speakers were too compelling. We had the current and last two Governors speak, three of our Congressmen/woman, our State elected officials, and many more. Best of all was Joe Wilson. I thought I had listened very carefully to the news about the situation with the "yellow cake" uranium and then his wife being uncovered - but there was more!

    This isn't really the right place - the end of a blog leading into the Summit - to give any blow by blow analysis. I'm not even sure that I want to give away some of what I heard and the resulting directions I an now on - no reason to give the Neo-Con's any advantage. But just to summarize - we have a very energetic Party, with many positive messages, and I have great hope for 2006. I will share one statistical analysis based on polling that we heard - if the 2006 elections were held today, the Democratic Party would win both the US House and Senate.

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    The AFL-CIO's Tim Nesbitt emailed me the text of his speech from the DPO Summit:

    Brothers and sisters, fellow Democrats. One of the first rules of speechmaking is not to start off on a depressing note. So let me borrow George Lakoff’s technique and say: Don’t think of the 2004 Presidential election. Don’t think of so-called values voters or what’s the matter with Kansas. And, most of all, don’t think of how a President whose administration had the worst job creation record since Herbert Hoover, who had aided and abetted the outsourcing of our jobs at a pace never before seen in this country, who had rolled back overtime pay for six million workers, who cut taxes for the wealthy four years in a row while letting working Americans go four years without a raise – how that President could win re-election with the votes of a majority of working people in this country. I hope I’m making Lakoff’s point now, because we need to keep asking these questions. Last year, in every speech I and my colleagues gave, in every union hall and at every campaign rally, we reminded our members that this was the most important election of our lifetimes and that the future of our union movement was at stake. Turns out, we were not exaggerating. Days after the election, newly-elected Republican governors repealed bargaining rights for public employees in two states. Several months later, the President’s newly-appointed majority on the National Labor Relations Board ruled that employers may prohibit their employees from talking about a union even while off the job. And, last month, Bush responded to the failure of his administration in the wake of the Gulf Coast hurricanes by suspending prevailing wage protections for the workers who will do the rebuilding there. But it’s not as if we didn’t see this coming. When the stakes are so high and you throw everything you have into an election, as our union movement did, and you come up short, you see only too clearly what is coming -- which is why our unions have been consumed with our most dramatic debates and deepest divisions since the AFL joined with the CIO fifty years ago. Don’t get me wrong. Our unions did a great job turning out their members to vote. Even more importantly, we showed our members how special interest agendas at the national level are destroying and degrading jobs at the local level. That’s why union members voted differently than their non-union counterparts in the same jobs and in the same communities. Tthey know whom to hold accountable for what’s happening to their jobs and their paychecks, which begins to answer that question about what plagues Kansas and so many red states. Here in Oregon last year, 91% of union household voters cast their ballots, delivering a margin of more than 105,000 votes for John Kerry and John Edwards in a state they carried by 77,000 votes. But, in a few too many states, we ran out of union voters. And this reinforced what many of our leaders had been saying for years. There was a sense, that sharpened into near panic after last November, that we were running out of time, running out of members and running out of the resources we will need – not only to stem the decline of our union movement and regain our strength in numbers – but to reclaim what our movement delivered for this country more than 50 years ago – the jobs and paychecks and health care and pensions of a broad and thriving middle class. That sense more than anything drove the debate among our unions at the national level this year and, in an unexpected way, reconnected us to our common cause. Listen to these comments during our convention in Chicago last July. Harold Schaitberger, president of the Fire Fighters union and a staunch supporter of the AFL-CIO: “We want to better the lives and livelihood of working men and women in this country.” UFCW President Joe Hansen, who broke from the AFL: “We want the kind of middle class that I enjoyed as a young man…We’re going to build a better society for America’s workers.” Teamsters President Jim Hoffa, whose union has joined SEIU and the UFCW in the Change to Win Coalition: “We’re the ones who will reclaim America and take back the American dream.” And, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, who concluded the convention by quoting a union member who posted this comment on one of our websites: “No unions. No middle class. It’s that simple.” Without a free and strong and growing union movement, we get what we got during the past three decades, when employers learned they could, with near impunity, harass and even fire workers who tried to form unions, and our membership as a percentage of the workforce began to decline. We got lower wages, eroding health coverage, the abandonment of pensions – especially for the growing numbers of workers without unions, who started slipping below the ranks of the middle class. But, with a strong union movement, more working families get what they deserve for their hard work, their skills and their productivity. It’s that simple. Look at what our unions have been doing right here in Oregon. Boeing workers will get better pensions and keep their health benefits, thanks to the Machinists who struck not just for themselves but for workers yet to be hired by the company. Thousands of home health care workers in Oregon get health insurance now, thanks to SEIU. Oregon AFSCME is pioneering new forms of representation for child care workers. And even workers at call centers, as vulnerable as they are in the global economy, now earn a living wage with affordable health benefits at Cingular Wireless in downtown Portland, thanks to CWA. No wonder more than 50% of workers without unions say they’d join a union tomorrow if they had a chance to do so. But, it’s not easy to do so under today’s labor laws, and most of them are not likely to have that opportunity any time soon. So, we must find new ways to reach workers without unions and bring them into our movement. We are doing that now through Working America, the community union of the AFL-CIO, which reached the one million mark in new members last month, including 18,000 members in Oregon who have signed on since last March. These members don’t yet have a union in their workplaces, but they have joined with us to oppose the privatization of Social Security, stop the Wal-Marting of our jobs and demand that state lawmakers defend Oregon’s voter-approved minimum wage. You can join them and become part of our larger union movement by filling out the forms we are distributing here today. Still, even with strong unions and a growing union movement, we can fall short of our goals, if we don’t demand more of our government. Even in the heyday of our movement, organizing and bargaining were never enough. It took a fighting union movement, fighting side by side with working people in all walks of life, to demand and get from a responsive government a minimum wage, a 40-hour workweek, a Social Security system that practically wiped out poverty among the elderly and, eventually, a GI bill that opened up our colleges to working people and helped to build this country’s middle class. And isn’t this the challenge of all progressive politics today – to get working people to believe again in government, to hold our elected officials accountable and to demand that they use the power we confer on their positions to curb corporate greed, protect our jobs, promote equal opportunity and provide equal protection for all? And, if a majority of working Americans didn’t think so last year, what are they thinking now? On the day after the levees broke in New Orleans, the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual report on the state of working America, which a Wall Street Journal reporter summarized as follows: “Although the U.S. economy grew robustly last year, the income of the median household slipped a bit, wages of full-time workers fell, the number of Americans living below the poverty line rose and more Americans went without health insurance.” Those used to be just numbers, the kind of thing that voters ignored a year ago. But then the bodies floated into view in New Orleans, and the numbers represented real people. Ironically, tragically, it has taken the experience of a real-world storm of once-in-a-century proportions to open the eyes of many working Americans to what is happening to their jobs in this country, to expose the failures of this economy and to show how precarious life can be when you’re on your own in the so-called “ownership society.” Their eyes are open now. And they’re recognizing that this tragedy was less about the failure of a mismanaged government agency, more about a failed philosophy of government and most about the failure of government itself. There’s a party in power now whose most ideological leaders have been saying, in effect: Government doesn’t work; elect us and we’ll prove it to you. And so they have. But we know better, we deserve better – which is why our union movement has always demanded and expected better from our government. Speaking for the first AFL more than one hundred years ago, Samuel Gompers said, “We want more schoolhouses and less jails, more books and less arsenals, more learning and less vice, more constant work and less crime…” And, we have always believed in a movement that includes all working families. Fifty years ago, Walter Reuther of the United Auto Workers who helped reunite the AFL and the CIO, looked far beyond our bargaining units, when he said, “Labor will not make progress toward the high standard of living it is able to produce so long as it seeks to advance its own interests without regard to the interests of all other workers and of the community of which it is a part.” And, now John Sweeney and Andy Stern and Jimmy Hoffa are pledging to restore the right of workers to form unions, rebuild our middle class and reclaim the American dream. Doesn’t that sound like a progressive agenda? There are some who say we need a Working Families Party to advance an agenda of economic justice for working people, but these sound like traditional Democratic Party values to me. Can we count on the Democratic Party to support this agenda? I hope so, because this agenda should define us, not divide us. We should be proud of our minimum wage in Oregon, because we’re one of the few states where our citizens have said, we won’t allow poverty wages. Good Democrats should defend that principle without compromise. Thank you, Jeff Merkley and Governor Kulongoski, for holding the line on that principle. We should be outraged when business lobbies like AOI try to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from those schoolhouses that Gompers talked about on the theory that investors should pay less taxes on their profits than working people pay on their paychecks. Thank you Mark Hass for your eloquence and Ryan Deckert for your tenacity in holding the line on that issue. We should remember how critically important it is to fix our health care system, not just for our physical well-being but for our economic well-being and for our quality of life. Rising health care costs are threatening to wipe out real raises for working families for years to come, while employers like Wal-Mart, which pays for health insurance for fewer than half its workers, compound this problem by shifting the costs of the uninsured and the underinsured to employers who are trying to do the right thing, to workers struggling to make ends meet and to taxpayers and their governments hard-pressed to sustain public services. More than 600,000 Oregonians, including 100,000 children, now live without health care, and most of them are in working families. If every employer provided affordable health care, we’d cut those numbers in half. Thank you Mitch Greenlick, Alan Bates and Ben Westlund for proposing to put the goal of universal health in our constitution and for honoring the principle that when you work for a living you should earn your health care from your job. In Congress, we should demand fair and honest trade that helps workers on both sides of our borders and demand truth from the so-called free traders who promise jobs but deliver lay-offs in this country and drive a race to the bottom abroad. CAFTA was an outsourcing agreement, long on special provisions for investors who move capital overseas and short of any protections for workers here at home. Thank you Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Darlene Hooley and David Wu for calling out the Bush administration on that job-destroying trade deal. And we should call out the failure of this administration’s tax policies that have squandered our surplus, busted our budget, burdened our future and so damaged our government’s ability to protect its citizens and promote their welfare. Thank you, Ron Wyden, for opposing repeal of the estate tax. We don’t need new tax cuts on the inherited riches of the super-rich that will drive our country deeper into debt, we need a tax system that it fair to workers and a government that is willing to apply its resources to ensure that our economy works for working families. What do these issues have in common? They go right to the heart of our values. America’s workers are working harder and smarter and longer than ever before, but they’re getting less and less for their efforts. They deserve better. They deserve respect for their work – and a fair share of the wealth they’re producing in the wealthiest country in the world. Our unions can organize and bargain for our members’ fair share. We can fight with working families for everyone’s fair share. But we need a government that is on our side and working with us. And, to achieve that, we need a political party that fights with us. Brothers and sisters, fellow Democrats, you should be proud to be that party. Be proud to stand with our unions. Be proud to fight for working families. Be proud to be the party that demands a government that works for working people. Yes, the 2004 Presidential election was depressing, but you did great things here in Oregon – not the least of which were your efforts that brought 136,000 new voters into your party, many of them young and first-time voters, thanks to the DPO and allies like the Bus Project and campaigns like America Coming Together. So, don’t stop thinking of the 2004 elections. But do start thinking of the 2006 and 2008 elections, at least one of which is likely to be the most important election of our lifetimes. America’s workers are paying attention again. This is a reachable moment. We can reach them now. But we can’t do it alone. We can only do it together. So, keep up your good work. And, let us go forward today in common cause, fighting together to promote good jobs and better government, to rebuild our middle class and to reclaim the American dream.
  • PP (unverified)

    Seems to me that putting Kitzhaber way out in front at the Summit(a foreshadowing for a 2006 run?) is actually antithetical to the content of his speech. It would be the safe bet for the Dems, since, despite several failures as governor and his silence these past 3 years, he's politically brave, likeable and very, very bright. But is it visionary? Is it creative? Is it risky? No way! We need the new leaders of tomorrow to stand up and take their rightful place in line (I was glad to see Jefferson Smith, at least). We need people who will engage in revolutionizing national and international issues, such as election reform, globalization of the economy and corporatization of America, which, without addressing, we will never make any headway in sustainable living or universal health care. We need aging politicians to pass the torch and stick around as mentors and teachers, not let their insufferable egos get in the way of progress.

  • Jim (unverified)

    I was glad to see Jefferson Smith too. What a great speech on Sunday!

  • DanD (unverified)

    Yes, Jefferson Smith is the perfect contrast to the "insufferable egos" of our current political leadership. LOL.

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