Earlier this week, I attended the Gov's/Dems Day events in Springfield, IL. This included a brunch with Gov. Richardson from NM as our keynote speaker, the opportunity to observe the state party convention and a rally at the state fair grounds.
In the weeks and months leading up to this event, I've heard and read countless reports of rifts in the party... at the state level and between Obama & Clinton supporters. But, here's what I saw and overheard as I mingled with a few thousand of my fellow Democrats:
At the convention, I saw Speaker Madigan and Gov. Blagovich seated next to one another on the stage, quietly conversing and laughing with another.
At the brunch and at the rally, I overheard countless conversations about the Presidential primaries and how fortunate those conversing on the topic felt having so many good candidates to choose from, how hard it was to pick just one over others they liked, and how great if felt knowing that even if the candidate they voted for did not win the nomination, someone else they were excited about would. I heard several participants in these conversations mention who they'd chosen as their top pick from the broad field and I heard almost as many names as there were primary candidates. (The only two names I did not happen to hear were Dodd and Gravel.)
I also heard numerous people discussing the Edwards scandal. These discussions ranged from speculation as to the paternity of the child to some humorous off-color joking (nobody will have more fun with this than we Dems will.) But, as the day wore on and the conversations continued on the topic, one thing became very clear... we think John Edwards' penis is none of our business. If Edwards had run on a genitalia platform instead of an economic platform or if he'd written, co-sponsored or in any way supported an ammendment or bill criminalizing adultery, effectively making the sex lives of private, consenting citizens his business, only to be caught having an extramarital relationship, fling or one-nighter, THEN it would have been our business. But, he didn't. So, we don't care. The lying -- frankly, we think he shouldn't have been asked and because he shouldn't have been asked, was under no obligation to answer, much less answer truthfully.
At all three events our speakers, including our Governor, Gov. Richardson, Senator Durbin, Speaker Madigan, etc. move all of us to our feet amid thunderous applause, whistles and cheers. We are a party of individuals, we have as many unique positions on any given issue and how best to reach the goals we do set in common, as we have members. But, we agree on Barack and we agree that we would be just as enthusiastic and supportive of Hillary if she had won.
I've spoken with a few die hard party-loyal Republicans who are planning to vote Libertarian, this year and who call it a "hard choice." Whether they'll actually cross party lines when the curtain closes behind them in November... I have my doubts that they'll do it in those final seconds, but that remains to be seen.
By contrast, I've talked with a LOT more Democrats, from yellow dogs down to casual supporters and I've yet to meet even one self-described Democrat who's planning to cross party lines to vote for McCain, as the press and the RNC are going out of their way to make people believe.