Wednesday, August 6, 2008

When calling the DNC or the DNCC is like calling tech support or the gas company

Clearly convention fever is beginning to hit the DNC (the Democratic National Committee) and the DNCC (the Democratic National Convention Committee), and not in a fun way. Delegates across the country are working to figure out how to enter a candidate's name into nomination via a petition from the floor at the Convention. They report the dissemination of information from the DNC that they regard as an effort to interfere with their efforts to produce a proper petition that Senator Clinton could, if she chose, sign and thereby have her name placed into formal nomination as a candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination. The delegates - and not only Clinton delegates, but ones pledged to Senator Obama as well - appear to be frustrated because they cannot get anybody at the DNC to clarify. One delegate allegedly wrote:
The chairman's office at the DNC today is telling people our nominating petition is a PUMA petition and that HRC only needs one delegate to put her name in nomination. Amazingly, Governor Dean's office has not returned my phone calls attempting to correct the woefully inadequate misinformation they are disseminating. Can you imagine?

As long as they can paint us in a negative light as a bunch of disgruntled, angry, delusional malcontents, they can dismiss us en masse. There is also a great deal of confusion about PUMA PAC, PUMA and dozens of other petitions circulating. Howard Dean and the DNC [are] capitalizing on this confusion, exploiting it, and hoping it carries them through the Convention.

It's "Pay no attention to the man behind curtain" time, ladies and gents. ALL we are asking - IN THE INTEREST OF PARTY UNITY - is that we be "allowed" to go to Denver and vote for the candidate to whom we have been pledged. The Machivellian machinations of the current leadership of the Democratic Party, enabled by the presumptive candidate, absolutely breaks my heart. I have NEVER seen such a group of bullies wield so much power in the purported interest of unity.

Having myself been contacted by one radio show to comment on the situation, I decided that before I would comment on what the DNC and DNCC's positions were, I would attempt to find out for myself.

I first called the Washington office of the DNC, explained my question to the very polite receptionist who referred me to the DNC press office in Washington. After I explained to the press officer that I expected to be asked to comment about alleged deliberate efforts to confuse people about delegate driven nominating petitions, the DC based press officer told me that since I was calling about a convention related matter I should call the DNCC Denver office. I took down the numbers and proceeded to call. I reached...an automated menu. But that menu gave me the option of contacting the press office in Denver, which is the department the press officer in DC recommended I contact.

I pressed the appropriate menu button and reached...a human being. I explained to this press officer the information I was seeking and why the matter was time sensitive. He asked me if I had read a copy of the Call to the Convention, the document that lays down the governance procedures officially promulgated by the DNC in 2007 to govern this year's convention. I replied that yes I had read the Call to the Convention, quite carefully, and had spent some time attempting to clarify and explain it to others. I told him that my understanding of the Call is that there are two ways a candidate's name can be entered into nomination, one, the way Senator Obama's name will apparently entered, which is at the discretion of the chair of the DNC, and the other via a nominating petition from the floor, signed by an appropriate group of accredited delegates and approved by the candidate the petition seeks to put into nomination.

At this point, the press officer told me that he could not comment on the Call to the Convention or my understanding of it or even the DNC's or DNCC's understanding of it because the interpretation of the Call's procedures was a matter for the "Secretary's office" and he did not know enough about the Call to the Convention to answer my query as to the accuracy of my understanding of the document. He asked if it would be ok to transfer me to the main desk where somebody would then transfer me to the Secretary's office. I told him that when I had just called the main desk all I got was an auto response and suggested he might be better off just giving me a direct dial number or transferring me directly. He replied that there would certainly be a receptionist at the desk. I gave him my name and number and said that of course he should feel free to transfer me but that perhaps he might like to pass my contact information along in case I could not get to the Secretary's office. He politely took down my information and transferred me. Once again, the automated menu. I hit the button for the press office again and a different press officer answered.

I told the second Denver press officer that I had not been able to follow the directions of the first. She assured me that there was a human being, named Katie (sp?), staffing the desk, who was on another call but if I left a voicemail message for Katie, I would definitely receive a return call as soon as Katie was free. I said that I did not have confidence that I would hear from Katie or whoever was designated to speak to me in a timely manner. But, I continued, so long as the press officer would be good enough to note the time and date of my conversation with her so that there could be no mistake about my own (now over an hour long) effort to leave a message for the proper person, I would gladly leave a message with Katie. I reiterated the time sensitive nature of my inquiry and my sincere desire not to to mischaracterize the DNC or DNCC understandings of the Call to the Convention or these respective bodies' understandings of current delegate efforts. Then I was transferred to the main desk, where once again I got the automated menu. This time I pressed zero at the end of the message and was in fact routed to a voice mailbox (the menu does not tell you that pressing zero is an option leading to this destination, but using my wits, I figured it out). As requested, I left my name, number, and a brief explanation for my call, stressing again the time sensitive nature of the problem.

As I complete this post an hour has passed and still no return call. As I told every person at the Denver and DC offices I am only readily reachable by phone today until approximately 3 pm eastern. It is now 2:40. Assuming no return call in the next twenty minutes or so, I will feel entirely free to speak to any journalist who cares to interview me about the situation confronting the delegates, the apparently misleading information they are being given by DNC officials, and my own understanding of the Call to the Convention (which I believe is correct in any event).

No wonder the delegates are frustrated.

18 Comments:

Anonymous kavala007 said...

Heidi, you are a phenomenon. This type of obfuscation is done to make rules incomprehensible and to hide what is being done. The DNC obviously did not count on someone with your keen intellect and abilities.

August 6, 2008 at 3:14 PM  
Anonymous britgirls said...

This is Obama's tactics from '96 all over again ... eliminate the competition from the ballot. Really frustrating.

On one of the threads on Riverdaughter, Hillaryzilla asked: Is Obama's name automatically in nomination? Does he need a petition with 300 signatures also?

Keep trying, Heidi. I so appreciate your hard work and dedication. If the DNC doesn't hear us now, they'll hear us in November.

August 6, 2008 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Eileen said...

Maybe it's best that they don't call back. You can answer questions honestly, and perhaps the story will have legs.

Nah. Not the way the press has been covering things the past 8 years.

Thanks for hanging in there, Heidi.

August 6, 2008 at 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do really amazing work, Heidi, and it's much appreciated!!

I spoke with Howard Dean's office today and left a message that I urge him to nominate Hillary Clinton.. the receptionist was obviously irritated and said Howard Dean cannot nominate anyone, delegates can sign a petition to nominate Hillary and no one is trying to block that from happening. She repeated that no one was trying to block Hillary from being nominated and that if she got at least 300 signatures she will be nominated.

August 6, 2008 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger petunia politik said...

Heidi to the rescue, again. Your voice, your knowledge, and your commitment is so crucial in this most puzzling and excruciating time in our nation's history. The deaf ears at the DNC are so purposefully ignoring all who try to dissent from their credo. It may leave us no other recourse than to prove our power another way...at the polls. Thank you for all that you do.

August 6, 2008 at 5:52 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

I seriously doubt we will be heard in November either. I think he'll just steal that election like he stole the primary. And now that he moved the DNC to Chicago, it's going to get really scary. They are Republicans in Democrats clothing. I think we need to start a viable third party with Hillary as our nominee.

August 6, 2008 at 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is UNBELIEVABLE...but then again, it's textbook DNC...they screwed around with us (the voters) all year long, when we emailed/called/lobbied/protested on the MI/FL stuff and all the other egregious actions by Dean, Brazile and the rest of 'em.

This is the dirtiest kind of corruption in politics...thank you for illucidating what we are up against...i can't wait to get back on the air to RETURN THE SMEAR!

August 6, 2008 at 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i meant "elucidating"...sorry - i'm so angry right now!

August 6, 2008 at 6:10 PM  
Blogger Pagan Power said...

Great work Heidi. To say that you are tenacious is a vast understatement.

Thank you for your tireless efforts on behalf of us all.

August 6, 2008 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger WhatSuddenly said...

Hiedi -- you've demonstrated the devil is in the details!

August 6, 2008 at 7:04 PM  
OpenID stormny said...

These people think they can run a country?

August 6, 2008 at 7:38 PM  
Anonymous OldCoastie said...

it just seems bizarre to me that Dean wouldn't just put Hillary's name into nomination...

by not doing so, he makes Obama look like the biggest scaredy cat wimp on the planet.

Good work, Heidi - if they can eliminate Hillary on a technicality - well - it would be very true to form.

August 6, 2008 at 8:07 PM  
Anonymous EMJ said...

How many votes does Obama need to lose - meaning they either switch to Hillary or go back to undecided / unannounced -- to no longer have a "lock" on the nomination? It's also worth contacting SDs and asking them to switch back to Uncommitted.

August 6, 2008 at 8:46 PM  
Anonymous minty said...

No wonder why our government doesn't work. These people do not even know how their own party rules work.

August 6, 2008 at 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You Heidi! Now Hillary will be on a chat tomorrow-Thursday at noon to talk about the convention and elect Obama..The whole thing is sad.

August 6, 2008 at 10:26 PM  
Anonymous IBI said...

Regardless of what Hillary says, the First Amendment is still in place and you and I are free to contact the SDs and explain that Hillary is the better candidate. Also remind the SDs that even though Hillary may have asked them to support Obama, each SD should be able to think for herself/himself.

SDs are there to do their best for the party and the country -- and that may mean NOT doing what's best for Obama. They need to respectfully disagree with Hillary's request and tell her and the convention that she's still be best candidate to be President.

August 7, 2008 at 5:50 AM  
Blogger Rose of Tralee said...

This sounds like me trying to get through at Verizon (as the title states) which made me remember that somewhere I heard about a plan for us to be able eventually to vote using our cell phones. What a concept! Considering Obama's FISA vote, I mean. Better technology means even BETTER manipulation.

August 9, 2008 at 1:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so proud of folks such as Hedi, Will Bower and others. I find it pathetic that the DNC and Obama groupies want to marginalize those of us that support the DNC rules and traditions that candidates are actually selected at the DNC convention. I thought the Dem's was a party that supported free speech and activism. The Dem's are not standing up for their supposed values.

Joanie ( Dem not voting for Obama)

August 13, 2008 at 7:06 PM  

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