'Through the Looking Glass'

Editor's note: Democratic National Convention delegate Paulie Brading of Medford offers her impressions of the convention, which continues through today in Denver. Republican National Convention delegate Donna Cain of Rogue River will write from that convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul on Sept. 1-4.

Like Alice in "Through the Looking Glass," I'm pondering the world of the Democratic National Convention from the other side of the mirror. I'm a newcomer to party politics, joining the Jackson County Democrats during Gov. Kulongoski's campaign a couple of months before the November 2006 election. This is the first time any of the delegates of the 2nd Congressional District (all from Jackson County) has ever been to a national convention.

Tuesday night's speech by Sen. Hillary Clinton was the public finale of the Clinton campaign for president. Behind the curtain, aides were running up and down the aisles delivering signs to hold up during her speech, providing signals for when to raise the signs and finally delivering large poles with the word "Unity" written on both sides. The "McCain more of the Same" signs were literally scooped up in a matter of minutes by many delegates.

The "Democrats Divided" narratives delivered by some media just don't represent the Oregon delegation. In the interest of full disclosure, there is one very, very bitter Clinton delegate from up north who is still threatening to vote for McCain. I usually carry Oregon voter registration forms with me and I wish I had one now to hand over to her.

Personally, I struggled with the Clinton campaign relying so heavily on Bill Clinton's legacy. Perhaps the Clinton campaign could have run on her record in the Senate. Having played many sports I know that when you lose, you lose.

Just before Clinton's speech, Jeff Merkley, candidate for U.S. Senate in Oregon, joined the Oregon delegation on the floor with his wife, Mary. The Merkley campaign is housed within the Jackson County Democrats' office at 40 S. Central Ave. in Medford. One of the two field representatives for Merkley's Jackson County campaign is a South Medford High School graduate with experience in other campaigns. Drop by and pick up a Merkley lawn sign or volunteer.

Oregon State University fans, take note that Craig Robinson, OSU's new men's basketball coach, visited the Oregon delegation Tuesday. He is the brother of potential first lady Michelle Obama.

Robinson created a ripple through the crowd during his visit but not nearly the ripple retired pro basketball player Charles Barkley caused when he walked by the Oregon delegation surrounded by press and fans.

Wednesday morning while I waited in front of the hotel to be driven to a National Public Radio studio in Denver for a radio interview, I saw, in less than 10 minutes, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the DNC and Clinton's campaign manager, and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin leave the hotel. Since Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly are also part of the Fox crew staying in the hotel, I hope to see them, too, before the convention ends.

Most of the Oregon delegates are finding it absurdly difficult to find time to eat between light rail trips to the convention center and the nonstop action at the convention. I enjoyed a Cobb salad at 10:30 Tuesday night in my room.

More later.

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