Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Caucus in Boundary County

This is the succinct edition: Boundary County had almost three times (145) as many in attendance as in the last caucus (55). Our caucus also occurred in the midst of a snowstorm, receiving about 6 in. of snow. Several Republicans turned out for Obama, as well as a number of Independents. Although most of the crowd was older, we had a small but significant number of high school and college students show up for the caucus. We began with a small group for Edwards (some of our older Edwards' supporters called to say that due to the weather they would not be able to attend), a slightly larger group for undecided, the next largest group for Clinton and the largest group for Obama. The final results ended up with all Edwards' supporters going to either Clinton and Obama. We had several die-hard uncommited. But we ended up with about 73% for Obama and 25% for Clinton. Representatives for each candidate gave great speeches. We also had two foreign (French) observers (with children) who wanted to see our political process in action. Not expecting quite this large a turnout in a room that turned out to have horrid accoustics, it was difficult to be heard (without yelling), but we succeeded in having our numbers carefully monitored. I think, and I want to personally thank, all the volunteers in Boundary County who put on a great chili feed, set up, kept a number count, greeted newcomers, collected names, represented their candidates, and came out in the middle of a snowstorm to participate in the caucus. All the Boundary County Democrats were very pleased, we have some new faces for the State Convention, and we'll be in the news again tomorrow. Go Democrats!


Anonymous said...



As someone who sells houses in Boise, I work very hard trying to help people into or out of housing in a very difficult market. The problems I see as I meet with my clients (who are usually struggling, sometimes losing their homes) have convinced me that we must make changes in how this country is run. I believe the deregulation of big business and banking by Republicans, including Mike Simpson, has led to the current distress we are in. By deregulating the financial sector we have allowed crooks to take their profits while destroying our economy. This crisis, like so many others in our country, is rooted in greed. Loans were made that never should have been made. People signed documents they did not understand. As a real estate agent, I work very hard to try to get people out of these situations.

The stories I hear on the job make me angry. There are many people who are financially devastated by medical problems. A large proportion of us do not have health insurance. First we lose our health, then our jobs, then our insurance (if we have it in the first place), then our homes. Under our current system, we penalize the sick. We also prevent innovation because people are afraid to start businesses or leave dead-end jobs if it means losing their insurance. When people are ill they should focus on their recovery, not worry about their finances. It is time for universal healthcare for all Americans that is not connected to your place of employment.


I don't believe that we can morally pull out of Iraq instantaneously, whatever the result of the 2008 election. If we, through our terrible handling of the war, ruin a country, then leave it in a state of anarchy, that would be reprehensible and would hurt our reputation on the world stage. That being said, we need to start preparing for withdrawal. The Republicans have no exit strategy in Iraq; they seem to be willing to keep troops there indefinitely no matter what the circumstances on the ground. We need an exit strategy, and we should be out of Iraq within the next two years.


One of the most important civil rights issues facing our country today is the question of "coercive interrogation." To me, this is a relatively simple question: Will we be a nation that tortures its prisoners, or will we be a nation that follows due process? What with the atrocities at Abu Ghraib and black sites across Europe, combined with the Bush administration's recent assertion that waterboarding, a practice which amounts to controlled drowning, has been used on detainees, it is clear that the GOP and the current president are veering in the other direction. I will do my utmost to restore America to the strong anti-torture stance that, until recently, was generally accepted by all parties.

Mike Simpson voted to allow the government to wiretap conversations and engage in intrusive investigations without a warrant, even from a secret FISA court, whose decision would remain private and therefore would not danger national security. It is my understanding that the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution provides protection against search and seizure without a warrant. Every Idahoan and every American ought to enjoy the protections of the Constitution. It's time to send a message to Washington that our rights are not negotiable. We can and must preserve them at the same time as we provide for national security needs. Maintaining this balance is not the easy way out, but it is necessary.

Whatever one's opinion of same-sex relationships might be (and I believe that such relationships are perfectly valid), it is not our business to pass moral judgments on the victimless lifestyle choices of other individuals. It is certainly not the place of an employer to do so; sexual orientation does not affect a worker's job performance. If elected I, unlike Congressman Simpson, will support extending civil rights protections in the workplace to include those involved in same-sex relationships. It is not the place of the government or corporations to determine family values.


Many in this country believe that it is time to desert the public schools, and establish a program of vouchers, in order to encourage student to bail out of the public system. I could not disagree more. Rather than deserting the public schools, we need to reform their administration. The standardized testing regimen imposed by the current administration has done nothing to help. Schools are punished for underperformance under No Child Left Behind through the withholding of necessary funds. The NCLB program, which Congressman Simpson supported, fails to account for the obvious. In order to improve education, we need to put money into failing schools, not redistribute this much-needed funding to schools which are already successful. I support the replacement of No Child Left Behind with a system that actually gauges students on an individual level, rather than judging schools as a whole, and gives money (with oversight) to failing schools rather than taking it away.

Anonymous said...


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