I attended my precinct's caucus on Saturday. Here's how it works. First, people need to become informed as to when and where their caucus will be held. This process weeds out the flibbertigibbets, along with the sick and elderly and the people who have to work on Saturday. Then, people go to the caucus location -- in my case a middle school -- find their precinct room, and sign in. Some people vote and leave, but most people hang around to discuss issues. My room was packed with 61 people.
Our precinct is alloted 4 caucus votes. After the first count, it broke down as 2 votes for Obama, 1 vote for Hillary, and 1 vote undecided. After two people spoke for a minute on behalf of each candidate, the floor was opened for discussion, figuratively speaking. It was exactly what you'd expect. First and foremost, we need to keep Republicans out of office because Bush has done great damage, etc. An avid feminist adored Clinton, and had the nerve to compare Obama's experience with Dubya's (I interrupted her by saying "That's not fair. The lack of experience was the least of Bush's problems!" applause applause -- it was an easy room). People kept saying we have two great candidates, but that Clinton has more experience; or we have two great candidates, but Obama is more inspirational. Who can beat McCain? Republicans hate the Clintons more than we hate Bush. Clinton is a good politician, whereas Obama is a brilliant statesman. And so on.
The only irritating person in the room (besides me, perhaps) was a 22-year-old woman who wouldn't shut up. (Is there a way we can limit these caususes to cigar-smoking men?) She kept babbling about her life and how us old people have driven the country into the ground, and we should just watch what will happen now that her generation is going to be able to vote. Just watch! Someone gently mentioned that election after election, people claim that young folks are going to come out in record numbers, but the bottom line is they stay home in droves. The girl disagreed loudly. Someone else pointed out that if young people voted in the same proportions as middle-aged people, we'd be talking about re-electing President Kerry right now. She talked over that person and then ventured into a numbing Safeway anecdote.
After the discussion, some of the undecideds committed to a vote, and the final tally ended up 3 votes for Obama and 1 vote for Clinton. The Clinton people went out in the hallway to elect their delegate, and the rest of us stayed in the room and picked our 3 Obama delegates. I agreed to be an alternate delegate, but I'm not sure what that means.
I enjoyed the experience, but I deeply regretted not going to a Republican caucus. That would have been interesting. First off, instead of having 61 people in the room, there would have been only ten or so. Second, I could have been a bull in a china shop, just talking out of my ass (it is a Republican caucus, after all). I wonder what I could have said that would have drawn a rebuttal.
"Is there any way we could repeal the 19th amendment that limits presidents to only two terms? Right now, this country needs President Bush in office for at least one more term."
"I just don't like McCain. He seems more interested in doing what's right for the country than in doing what's right for the Rebublican party. Can't we bring in Dick Cheney? Is Donald Rumsfeld busy?"
"For me, this election comes down to three issues. First and foremost, homosexuality has been decriminalized by our leftist justice system. Sodomy laws need to be enforced STRICTLY. Second, we need to build a big wall along the Mexico border and hurl all the Diegos and Sanchos over that wall. And third, we need to return to the gold standard!"
Now that would have been a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon. (Photo from Minette's blog.)