DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: Are you a veteran Democratic activist? I believe you said this will be your first national convention; have you been a delegate to MN State Conventions? Have you worked on campaigns there in MN?
LINDA MALONEY: I've never held party office, but I've attended
precinct caucuses, and been a door-to-door, phone, etc. canvasser and whatever
else needed doing in various campaigns since 1968, when (from my then-home
in Illinois) I went campaigning for Gene McCarthy in Wisconsin, Indiana,
and Nebraska (and Illinois). I campaigned for Barbara Boxer and Diane
Feinstein in California, and hit the ground running when I moved to Minnesota
in December 1995, working for Paul Wellstone's re-election. I've
also campaigned for local candidates for city council and state House and
Senate, and I attend my (state) Senate District DFL monthly meetings whenever
I can. I've gone as far as the Senate District/County Unit conventions
a couple of times before, but that was because in the past there was hardly
anybody at the precinct caucuses, so we always had more delegate slots
than people to fill them. This year was different: three to five
times as many people turned out as usual, and at both the Congressional
District and State Conventions, fully 2/3 of the delegates were there for
the first time -- myself included.
DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: You supported Gov. Dean initially?
LINDA MALONEY: When Paul and Sheila Wellstone died, it seemed
as if the light had gone out of politics -- until there was Dean. (Considering
that Howard Dean is said to have been a pretty lack-lustre speaker when
campaigning for Governor in VT, I sometimes wonder if he's been channeling
Paul!) "I represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic party"
is a Wellstone line. I was so furious and depressed that the Democratic
Party seemed to have succumbed totally to "me-tooism," trying to out-Republican
the Republicans, and I hated it that Paul Wellstone was the only Senator
running for re-election to vote against the war in Iraq. (I still
have a problem with Kerry about that.) So Howard Dean spoke for me,
as Paul Wellstone had done, and I would have followed him through fire,
as I would have done for Paul. I was part of his field team here
in Minnesota, helped raise money, campaigned in Iowa and Wisconsin.
It was because of him that I volunteered to convene my precinct caucus,
and went to Senate District/County Unit convention determined to call a
walking caucus for Ecology and Equality. I did that, and was elected an
alternate delegate to the Congressional District and State conventions,
in both of which I managed to be upgraded for all or part of the meeting,
DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: What was the process for becoming an at-large delegate? Did it start at the March 2 caucuses? Did you have to file a form by such and such date? Can you describe the meeting where you were selected and what you said there?
LINDA MALONEY: The distribution of our state's delegates was determined by a vote taken at the precinct caucuses. Kerry got the largest share, and there are delegates for Edwards and Kucinich, too. Some were chosen at the Congressional District conventions, and the at-large delegates at State. I tried for a slot at the former, but fell a couple of votes short, so I determined to try again at State. (Other Dean people had worked for Edwards after Dean dropped out of the race, but I didn't, so I didn't participate in the Edwards caucus. Howard Dean has asked us to work for John Kerry, so that is what I am doing.)
The selection of the Kerry at-large delegates at State Convention was as democratic as you could wish. Anyone who wanted to run could submit a form -- we received them with our delegate/alternate packets, to be mailed in, but people were allowed to fill them out at convention and submit them right up to the time of voting. In all, there were 80-90 submissions for the three male slots (plus an alternate) and the same number for the six female slots (plus an alternate). But only between 30 and 40 people actually showed up to speak for themselves. Each speaker got 30 seconds; some of us had also brought flyers to distribute. (I cheated a little by putting a picture of me holding my granddaughter on mine!) I also got good help from some people in the DFL leadership who are friends of mine, and for whom I have campaigned in the past. (Note: our party in Minnesota is the Democratic Farmer Labor Party, in case "DFL" looks strange to you.)
What I said: "I'm Linda Maloney; I've been a teacher most of my life and now I am an Episcopal priest. What I want to know is: who made George W. Bush the Pope of the Polarized States of America? I want to go to Boston to stand up for John Kerry against the so-called religious people who are trying to tear him down. Because the values we have talked about in this convention, the values we hold dear as Democrats, are the real American values, the right values -- and the Religious Right is wrong!"
I was wearing my clerical collar and my MoveOn.org T-shirt when I spoke!
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