Thursday, May 29, 2008

Clinton Backers Plan Rules and Bylaws Protest

By Garance Franke-Ruta
The cracks in the divided Democratic Party just got a little deeper.

A group of high-profile Hillary Clinton supporters, Democratic fundraisers
and Florida Democrats is planning to hold a day-long rally Saturday outside
the Washington hotel where the Democratic National Committee's Rules and
Bylaws Committee Meeting will be considering the fate of votes cast in the
Michigan and Florida primaries to call attention to what they say is the
exclusion of women's voices from the democratic -- and Democratic -- process
and the disenfranchisement of Michigan and Florida voters.

"Our purpose is not to divide the party or attack the DNC or Senator Obama,"
said the Hillary Rapid Responders, one of the rally planners, in an online
announcement of it. "At the same time, Hillary's strong support cannot be
dismissed in DNC efforts to unify the party."

The rally is perhaps a more unusual intra-party affair than such words
suggest, pitting powerful Democratic women against a party for which they
have done much.

The event is being co-organized by the Women Count PAC -- founded by five
top Clinton supporters, including longtime Clinton friend and fundraiser
Susie Tompkins Buell and Stacy Mason, a former editor of Roll Call - -and a
coalition of disparate other groups working under the umbrella of the New
York-based group Count Every Vote '08. It will draw together some of
Clinton's most loyal backers and be emceed by Jehmu Greene, the former
president of Rock the Vote who sat on the DNC committee that spent 2005
trying to reform the party's primary process.

Announced speakers so far include National Organization for Women President
Kim Gandy and Florida Democratic congresswoman Corinne Brown. Organizers say
that they expect individuals to come in from 26 different states for the
rally, as well as some major celebrity speakers, and that they are receiving
logistical assistance or other support from the pro-Clinton United
Federation of Teachers and EMILY's List. The group Florida Demands
Representation, organized by James Hannagan, will also be there.

The rally was the brainchild of a young Clinton fundraiser and New York
attorney who is a member of Count Every Vote '08, according to the group's
spokeswoman Karen Feldman, a political consultant from Hudson, N.Y., who
specializes in female candidates. Count Every Vote '08 first came together
in mid-March to lobby Democratic superdelegates on behalf of Clinton. "When
we started we were a group of women primarily supporting Hillary Clinton,"
said Feldman of the initial team, which also included legendary N.Y. Clinton
fundraisers Ricki Lieberman, Pamela Hayes, and Barbara Layton, as well as
Allida Black, the project director and editor of The Eleanor Roosevelt
papers at George Washington University who has known Clinton for years
through human rights circles.

Black also joined together with Tompkins Buell to start Women Count PAC two
weeks ago, along with Clinton fundraiser and Silicon Valley executive Amy
Rao, former Roll Call editor Mason and corporate communications specialist
Rosemary Camposano. The group raised more than $250,000 in four days,
Camposano told The Trail, and used that money to buy ads in the New York
Times, USA Today and four newspapers in Kentucky and Oregon.

In response to the ads, "we started getting e-mails and phone calls -- just
thousands and thousands of women saying, 'How we can stand up?' 'How can we
help?'" says Camposano. "We've been hearing from women who feel like women,
as group, we are 51 percent of the country and we don't have a voice when
getting heard in the media. ... We're hearing from the women who feel
completely outraged about being ignored in this process and being

The latest ad, which ran in the Times over the weekend, called on women
readers to attend the May 31 rally.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When Captain Kirk was a cadet, he was given a choice of alternatives, all of which led to failure. His choice: change the rules. Mr. Spock opined, "It was only logical!"

As Kirk and Spock demonstrate, changing the rules when all other alternatives lead to failure is a sign of enlighted leadership.

Trek on, Ms. Clinton! Live long and prosper. And from a different time and place, "May the force be with you!"

- Anonymous Trekkie