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