The Semi-Serious Quadrennial Party Party

Pat Ryan

Friday night they'll be dressed to kill
Down at Dino's bar and grill
The drink will flow and blood will spill
And if the boys want to fight, you'd better let 'em
--Thin Lizzy

Tomorrow me and my Road Dogs will be down at the 3rd CD Delegate Convention. We've got some folks in both rooms and we're going to compete with about 350 of our closest frineds for the chance to attend a week long party for Democrats in Denver Also Known As the National convention.

Over the past six or seven years we've formed friendships and alliances with other activsts and activist organizations, but in the room, throats will be cut and bodies will litter the floor, because all that matters in a room with so many different power nodes and alliances is What can you bring me?

It's supposed to be about sending the deserving activists as a reward for hard work done, but there are actually all kinds of matchups, since every single aspirant imagines that they are the most deserving or maybe that they can play an activist on TV.  Anyhow, there will be the Big Donor Crews, The Campaign Committee Crews, the Union Crews, The Bus Project Crew, and so on. Political Insiders and state legislators will also be in the mix, and they have a leg up with name familiarity, often in a good way, too. Some of these alliances actually have merit and our gang, The Oregon Trail Democrats are no exception in believing that our candidate deserves recognition for outstanding activism.

So here are a few of my picks starting with the Obama side of things:

Susan Gates--AKA the Tough Taco-Our District Leader accepted the post by acclaim two years ago. She was the Executive Director in Nick Lampson's District in Houston, retired to Sandy, and in the past two years has taken our grassroots organization to the next level. She has been prominent in the Sandy area peace effort as well, out every Friday nigh on Highway 26, standing up for ending the war. During the Obama campaign she's organized fundraisers, walks, calling volunteers, and so on, while always keeping in mind the need to bring the Clinton folks along as well. The girl rocks and she is in my opinion the best textbook example of the Dean 2.0 strategy cited by Obama yesterday.

Mac Prichard--Unsung hero in '04 effort for Kerry and back again bigger and better for Obama. This guy's the House Party King and has been the Quiet Monster of fundraising. Mac's a 24/7 guy on the activist front and has his own formidable crew of supporters that overlaps significantly with The Bus and some other grassroots orgs.

Stephanie Vardavas--Honorable Opponent in the recent Merkley/Novick Wars, we've drawn blood on each other multiple times, but still have a mutual respect and I'm honored to get a chance at a conciliatory gesture. Beyond that, she has the activist cred over a long history, both here in Oregon and around the country.

Jefferson Smith and Kari Chisholm--Don't need to Bio either of these guys. Either you're like me and have been watching the huge impact that both have had statewide and even nationwide over the past several years, or you haven't been paying attention. Both have been subject to a lot of crap From the Little Dogs on the Porch, and have stayed with the Long Game through thick and thin.

On the Clinton side, which has two female and one male spot we have a little alliance going as well:

Christine Chin Ryan--AKA The Wild Thing (because she ain't) is fresh off of a term of chairing the Governor's Small Business Council, a group comprised of Dem, Repub, and NAV business owners who worked hand in glove with Senators Bates and Westlund to get Health care for children in the last session. She also chairs Oregon Small Business for Responsible Leadership which is a progressive business alliance originally constituted in '04 as Business Leaders for Kerry. She's been out there fighting Campaign Insider Intertia, to Git 'er Dun for Hillary and Hillary supporters for the past several months, and is currently in the forefront of the Reconciliation efforts.

Joe Mazzara--one of the New Guys (to us) in this cycle, he came storming down out of Welches with blood in his eye, and along with his lovely wife Fran busted his butt organzing fudraising efforts, personally catered and threw a big house party, and most improtantly is committed to working with our loca group going forward. Joe has a lifetime of progressive service, both politically and personally. A guy who walks his talk.

Mary Botkin--If you don't know Mary, you haven't Been There for the past decade or two. Mary's a big union girl and one of the old guard Second Wave feminists that have pretty much spent their lives in the fight. Me'n Mary don't always see eye to eye on specific union intiatives and tactics but she's a true warrior, and on this go around we're in the same tank.


It'll be a big party tomorrow, a microcosm of the process and a snapshot of Anarcho/party solidarity, which is about as close as you're likely to see Democrats get to being organized.

See you down there.


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    Don't wanna forget the old disclaimer here. Christine is my Significant Other of 30 bliss filled years.

    always on the lookout here to avoid winding up snoozing on a Doggy Bed for a couple of weeks.........

  • Greg D (unverified)

    Not quite sure I understand the depth of meaning in this post, but the reference to Dino's in the opening poem caught my attention. May it rest in peace, but Dino's had the ugliest "dancers" in Portland, probably Oregon, maybe the world, and perhaps the universe. And to think that Dino's is now worthy of mention at blueoregon. The times are a changing.

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    1) This post has no depth of meaning.

    2) Doubt that Thin Lizzy has ever been to the Portland Dino's. I know I haven't, and I'm a native Oregonian....

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    That's interesting that Susan Gates worked in Lampson's office, as that's the office I worked for in Texas as well. She must have worked there after I did, as the name's not familiar.

    I'm running as an Obama delegate at the 3rd CD as well. See you there, Pat!

  • Mary (unverified)

    "1) This post has no depth of meaning."

    Didn't you mean has no depth nor meaning?

    Does your "Road Dogs" club have a mascot?

    ...maybe a poodle?


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    That's interesting that Susan Gates worked in Lampson's office, as that's the office I worked for in Texas as well

    Actually Jenni, a correction is in order. Here's the update from Susan:

    Only one little fact check: I was Executive Director for all of Harris County (which is Houston and suburbs). Lampson’s district is just one of 6 congressional districts that are in that county (3rd largest in the country).

    The mistake is all mine.

    Good luck on your effort Jenni. If there are deals to be done in the room, look up Susan or Walt (our first Modern Era HD-52 chair). He's the one that looks like Jerry Garcia in a bright orange hunter's hat.


    Mary, the poodle thing definitely works.

  • Jill Thorn (unverified)


    I am envious that I can't have you write about my running in the 5th Congressional District! Clackamas County is on the short end of the stick as we are split between the 3rd and 5th.

    Jill Thorn

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    Wow, so she had an even bigger job that you'd said - Harris County is huge. I lived in Harris County for about a year while going to college. The rest of my time was spent in neighboring Galveston County.

    I look forward to meeting a fellow Texan at the meeting. And I'm not certain, but I think I may have met Walt at some recent event or meeting.

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    Thanks for the shout-out, Pat! With over 130 candidates running for those seven 3rd CD Obama slots, well, it's gonna be a barnburner...

  • Greg D (unverified)

    This is obviously off topic, but I did not mean to sound insane in my earlier post. We were there when Thin Lizzie played the Paramount with Queen in March of 77. Concert was followed by a bunch of people getting crazy on the east side at 10th and Hawthorn (Dino's). I believe the quasi-riot and resulting police action was well covered by the Big O. When the "Boys are Back in Town" song came out in 1978, I assumed - incorrectly perhaps - that Phil Lynott was referring to the Portland Dino's in the song. Maybe yes, maybe no. Should be some rock trivia people who would know, but perhaps not on this blog.

    Go Dems.

  • Dena (unverified)

    I am so excited ! I don't have any great delusions but I love the energy of such an event. My students and I created a "Go For It" list and they dared me to go for mine as well. What I am most looking forward to is meeting the people who post here so often. It will be great to match names and faces.

  • Mary B (unverified)

    Gee Pat

    Thanks. I always thought it was "personal" now that I understand it is a "Union" thing - I sort of understand.

    Your lovely significant other is one great lady and I'll fight in the trenches with her anytime. There are a lot of good hard woring Democrats running in both the O & H caucuses.

    Tomorrow and next Saturday too is a celbraion of those who are the (not called "super")...real super delegates! The ones who gave their time, their money and their love to candidates that they believed in.

    I just want to say that when the dust settles and all of us Hillary folk get over not having our lady at the top - we will do all that we can to elect a new movement in America. One that values Union and non-union workers, women and men of all ethnic and religious backgrounds and beliefs. It is time to stop politics of fear, hate and dispair.

    Pat sometime you and I can debate the True value of Unions, all their warts, mistakes and talk about their values, beliefs and yes their future for working families.

    See you all tomorrow!

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    I am envious that I can't have you write about my running in the 5th Congressional District! Clackamas County is on the short end of the stick as we are split between the 3rd and 5th.

    Jill, I'll always support my very first (and current) County chair. I'd vote for you if I could. It is kind of goofy that now that you are state vice chair, you still aren't Automatic.

    From PDX eastside, though, all I can offer is a good luck wish.

  • Ruth J. Davis (unverified)

    I am not an Oregonian -- no longer even live in the USA --I'm a resident of Mexico. So maybe I shouldn't even add my comment.

    But, when it comes to Susan Gates -- she is at the top of the heap! I worked at the Harris County Democrats office beginning in about 1998 and that is when I first met Susan. We worked together until Oregon got lucky and she moved to Sandie. Never have I known a more dedicated worker or a better Democrat. Not only did we develope a wonderful working relationship, but a loving and lasting friendship.

    In case anyone is curious, I belong to Democrats Abroad, Mexico and still do volunteer work for the Party and exercise my right and priviledge to vote!

    Hang in there, Susan, and continue to show them what hard workers and good Democrats we Texans are!

  • Becky (unverified)

    Hey all -

    Good luck tomorrow. I have to work so I won't be there. I am in a non union job - so maybe Mary B can help me out cause it could not be worse and I''d like to try working in a union just once.

    Mary B - good luck tomorrow I love your spunk.

  • LT (unverified)

    Took me a minute (never knew the name of the group) before the music to "The Boys are Back in Town" came into my head (it has been a long week at work).

    That said, I believe new people should be going to this convention--which lets out Mary Botkin who has gone to her share.

    Mac P. certainly deserves to go, as do Jefferson, Kari, and old sparring partner Stephanie V. It might be very informative for her to meet a diverse group of Democrats from across the country (saying that as a former 1984 National Convention delegate).

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    I agree with LT about new people going to the convention. It would be great if this year we could have a lot of first timers go to the convention. I'm not saying that just because I want to go either - it's important to give activists who haven't had the chance to go yet that chance. It helps to recognize the efforts they've been putting into the party.

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    Thanks for the kind words, Pat!! I too am looking forward to tomorrow. Should be a fun day.

    And thank you, LT. I hope very much that I will be able to go.

    I first met Susan Gates at the Rebooting Democracy conference in Welches in January 2006 and knew immediately that she was a woman to be reckoned with.

    I'm honored to be in her company.

    I've still got one female and two male votes uncommitted, so I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and deciding how to spend them.

  • Toni Medellin (unverified)

    Run, Susan, run! Y'all folks in Oregon could not elect a better delegate than Susan Gates. I've worked with her in Houston and she is the hardest working Democrat I've ever met. I think she should run for President, but National Delegate will do for now.

    We miss you in Texas, Susan . . . .

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    How exciting for all of you folks. I remember interviewing Mary Botkin a zillion times on union matters when I was a reporter and thought she was one of the best voices for the working people of Oregon.

    At least I can look forward to the NEA convention in D.C. this summer.

  • Muriel Stubbs (unverified)

    You all (I had to try hard not to say"Y'all")are so lucky to have Susan Gates in your midst. Susan is legend around here (Harris County, Texas). She was the source of so much that's good and effective and lasting (including friendships) while she was in Houston (much too short a time)that there are legions who still think, when there's a problem, "What would Susan do?" (And, bless her heart, lots of times we call and ask her.) We know she belongs to Oregon now and is happy to be there, but in the Harris County Democratic Party Office, she'll always be Our Girl.

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    Congratulations to all the selected delegates today. It was a great day for CD 3. The turnout was fantastic and bodes well for the future health and growth of the party. I was especially pleased to put faces with names today . I was humbled by the passionate, committed work that people do.

  • selenesmom (unverified)


    You're kidding -- "Dino's Bar and Grill" might be a Portland reference?

    We have some people in another thread grousing unentertainingly about who is and who is not a "boomer"/"late boomer," starting from the debatable premise that 46-year-old Barack Obama is in "Generation X" and dragging in Cameron Crowe.

    Rather than picking a year to make the cutoff, I propose that if you already knew that Pat's quote was a reference to Thin Lizzy, and also that their two big U.S. hits were "The Boys Are Back In Town" and "Jailbreak," you're not a "boomer" in the same way that the Woodstock generation (assuming this exists) is.

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    Bottom line on the rock 'n roll. I was born in '51. Definitely a boomer by any def.

    Thin Lizzy and Queen together would have been about three times as entertaining The Who and the Stones, as far as I'm concerned, but color me odd.


    We're pretty tickled with how things worked out for us yesterday. We got a male slot on the Clinton side with Joe Mazarra and got our HD leader Susan elected on the Obama side.

    A lot of activists were rewarded by the chance to be in the room and meet their fellows. Hell, I got to meet TA for the first time in person, and lots of our HD people were delighted to put names to a lot of faces of fellow activists and volunteer Rock Stars in attendance.

    Joe Smith ran a tight and streamlined event that ended two hours earlier and with a lot more bodies present, than it did in '04. Thanks Joe.

    In the "This is your life" category, when Joe enjoined us all to participate in a little exercize of introducing ourselves to adjoining strangers and communicate our activist plans, I sat mute in the center of a surrounding flower of new (and presumabley beautiful) social connections. Perfect.

    Jeff Merkley had a crew there to remind people that the down ticket stuff is critical, and the man himself showed up to offer a taste of the rhetoric that he'll deploy agaisnt Smith in the General.

    My wife Christine lost her bid in the Clinton room, but the way deals get done at these events, she can claim a couple of markers for future activist endeavours, so that's all good too.

    Finally, I was blessed with the opportunity to meet and converse with a few of the bright eyed Free Radicals that were gracing us with their presence for the first time.

    And so it grows.

    <hr/> <h2>I know that we still have State to go, but we're already trying to wind down a bit. Might lay around on the deck today and fret about the length of the grass, or something like that.</h2>

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