the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

May 27, 2008

Drinking Liberally in the Politico


The fruits of a couple of visits by Politico people to DC Drinking Liberally have been published in a story marking the fifth anniversary of Drinking Liberally. I’m told that the print version has a shot of the top of my head. I can hardly wait to pick up a copy!

May 9, 2008

Eric Lichtblau at DCDL: Tuesday, May 13


We are pleased to present Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Eric Lichtblau, author of Bush’s Law. Eric Lichtblau is best known for his NYT articles written with James Risen revealing that the Bush administration had been conducting electronic surveillance without a warrant.

We are proudly putting on this event with Fire Dog Lake Book Salon sponsored with our friends at The Seminal.

Here’s the basics:

The facebook invitation is here.

And, for those interested in the DemocracyNow! interview with Eric Lichtblau about Bush’s Law, you can find that here.

April 21, 2008

Pennsylvania Primary Watch at 17th Cafe


Join DC Drinking Liberally and our friends from DC for Democracy and the Seminal as we gather to watch returns from the latest episode in the Democratic contest: the Pennsylvania primary on Tuesday, April 22. We’ll be welcoming some DC4D members who’ll have just come back from days of volunteering for Obama in Pennsylvania, so you can hear their impressions as the numbers come in.

The event will be at what’s become our traditional TV-watching spot: upstairs at 17th Street Cafe (1513 17th St NW, between P and Q, a few blocks east of Dupont Circle). The polls close at 8pm, so some of us will be there by 7:30, and we’ll be hanging out as long as things remain interesting and the restaurant is still open.

April 9, 2008

Meet Russ Feingold Tonight at the Netroots Nation Fundraiser


Tonight (Wednesday, April 9) there’s a fundraiser for Netroots Nation (the event formerly known as Yearly Kos): 6:30-9pm at Mott House (corner of Maryland Ave NE and Constitution Ave, Union Station or Capitol South Metro). Donations start at $35, and special guests include

(Note the presence of our own Natasha as a headliner — she’s everywhere nowadays!)

In addition, I’ll be there, along with local activists like Howard Park and teacherken. For more information and to RSVP, see http://netrootsnation.org/DC_April_9_2008.

March 24, 2008

DC’s Democratic Convention Delegates: Who’s Going to Denver, and How Will They Vote?


The District of Columbia will be sending 39 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this August, and at this point all but 7 of those delegates have been selected. Of the 39, 15 are pledged delegates allocated according to the results of the February 12 primary, and 24 are unpledged delegates, also known as superdelegates.

DC has an unusually large number of superdelegates because a lot of at-large members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) live here. Even though those DNC members are part of the DC convention delegation, they don’t really represent DC. If one moved to Virginia, for example, before the convention, then that superdelegate position would move with them, and DC would lose one delegate while Virginia gained one.

Pledged delegates

The 15 pledged delegates consist of 10 district-level delegates, 3 at-large delegates, and 2 pledged PLEO (party leader and elected official) delegates.

District-level delegates. DC has no vote in Congress, so it has no congressional districts, but the city is divided into two fake congressional districts for the purpose of assigning delegates. District 1 is Wards 1 through 4, and District 2 is Wards 5 through 8. Five delegates are selected from each district.

A pool of possible delegates for the various candidates was selected in the pre-primary caucus on January 19 (photos), and then the final delegate selection was determined by the primary on February 12. Since Obama won 70.6 percent of the vote (after eliminating nonviable candidates) in District 1 and 81.9 percent in District 2, he gets 4 of the 5 delegates in each, and Clinton gets 1 in each. There are also slots for alternates — 1 for District 1 and 2 for District 2 — which all go to Obama. Here are the district-level delegates, as announced by the DC Democratic State Committee (DSDSC):

At-large delegates. An additional 3 delegates are allocated on the basis of the overall vote. Since Obama received 76.0%, he gets 2 of the 3, and Clinton gets 1. There’s also 1 alternate, who will be pledged to Obama. These delegates will be selected by the DCDSC on May 1.

Pledged PLEOs. The 2 pledge PLEO positions are also allocated on the basis of the overall vote. As far as I can tell from the calculation method in the DNC rules, that should mean Obama gets both, but I’ve heard that it’s been decided that Obama and Clinton get 1 each. I’m trying to find out more. The Obama position will probably go to DC Council chair Vincent Gray, as the highest ranking Democrat who doesn’t automatically get a superdelegate position. If the second slot goes to Clinton, that position will likely be filled by the Council’s president pro tem, Jack Evans. The decision will be made by the DCDSC on April 3.

Unpledged delegates (superdelegates)

Unpledged delegates need not declare which candidate they support until it’s time for them to vote at the convention. Many do endorse a candidate earlier, though they can always change their minds. DC’s unpledged delegates are made up of 4 elected officials, 18 DNC members, and 2 unpledged add-on delegates.

Elected officials. Since the DNC convention rules treat DC like a state, the mayor counts as a governor, the two shadow senators count as full senators, and the delegate to the House of Representatives counts as a full House member. All are automatically superdelegates as long as they are Democrats, which they all are. All four have also endorsed Obama (Mayor Fenty was his campaign chair in DC):

DNC members. Like the states, DC has representation on the DNC, including the chair and vice chair of the DCDSC. There are also 14 other DNC members who happen to live in DC now. Some of the DNC members have expressed their support for Clinton or Obama, and others have not declared one way or another, as shown below (my information comes from DemConWatch):

Unpledged add-ons. The remaining 2 unpledged delegates are the add-ons, who will be selected by the DCDSC on April 3. There’s been some confusion about whether one of these slots is reserved for the shadow representative. In 2004, shadow rep Ray Browne went as an add-on, and Mike Panetta, the current shadow rep, hopes to do the same.


As things currently stand, it appears that the 39 delegates from DC will include 19 Obama supporters and 14 Clinton supporters. The positions of the remaining 6 — the 4 undeclared DNC members and the 2 add-ons — are unknown.

Update (25 Mar, 10:13am): Clarified last sentence.

March 20, 2008

Media and Democracy Coalition at DCDL


On Thursday, March 20, come out and discuss the role of independent media as we host Beth McConnell, executive director of the Media and Democracy Coalition as our speaker at our regular Thursday meet-up.

Date: Thursday, March 19
Location: Timberlake’s, 1726 Connecticut Ave NW (Dupont Circle Metro)

6:30-7:30 Happy Hour
7:30-8:15 Talk Q&A
8:15-9:00 People hang out, etc.

Happy Hour discounts ($1 off all drinks) until 9. Appetizers will be provided.

More on Beth McConnell here.

March 12, 2008

Ferraro in the Bunker


Last night I got together with a couple of other DCDL folks to watch the Mississippi returns (yet another smashing victory that Hillary Clinton says doesn’t count). Naturally at some point the conversation turned to Clinton surrogate Geraldine Ferraro’s recent repeated comments about how lucky Barack Obama was to be born black man and how little Clinton had done to distance herself from them. The political analyst at the table suggested that this was part of a strategy to reach out to a certain segment of the white blue-collar vote in Pennsylvania, people who feel resentful of affirmative action. Today I see that Will Bunch is calling it the Archie Bunker strategy.

If Clinton really wants to win over those voters, I say she should hire the guy who made this ad in 1990:

I doubt it will improve her numbers among Democrats in North Carolina, but then North Carolina doesn’t count, right?

Update (4:03pm): Wow. She probably actually does have “the guy” in her contact list. It turns out one of the people involved in making the Helms ad was Dick Morris, who has worked for the Clintons extensively, though he’s not now:

Helms media man Alex Castellanos accused [Morris] of grabbing credit for a TV spot Castellanos had made, the infamous ad showing a pair of white hands crumpling a job-rejection notice while a voice said, “You needed that job … but they had to give it to a minority.”

March 10, 2008

Dream Team?


On NPR this morning, Cokie Roberts talked about the possibility of a Clinton/Obama ticket, describing it as “the Dream Team”. She’s hardly alone.

But a Survey USA poll released last week shows that two thirds of Americans — including 61% of Democrats, 70% of independents, and 77% of Republicans — do not want Obama and Clinton to run on a ticket together.

Whose dream is this, exactly?

While I’m at it, Roberts also said that “depending on what count you look at”, Obama is leading Clinton in delegates by 50 to 100. This is true only if by “50 to 100″ she meant 99 to 110. Is it too much to ask that people who appear on national news programs to talk about the presidential election actually know the most basic facts about what’s going on?

March 3, 2008

Primary Watch March 4


It’s political March Madness!

If, like us, you find the Democratic primaries to be like Christmas, New Year’s, and the Oscars all rolled into one, we have a primary watch party for you:

When: Tuesday, March 4, 6:30pm-10:30pm
Where: 17th St. Cafe, 1513 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 234-2470
Metro: Dupont Circle
Who: DCDL, The Seminal, and DC for Democracy.

Facebook invitation here.

February 28, 2008

Talking Is Embracing


Two questions from Bush’s press conference today, presented without comment:

Q […] I’d like to ask you about another issue that’s kind of come up on the campaign trail, in terms of discussion, which is, this is a point of view that has been espoused, that we would be better off if we talked to our adversaries, in particular, Iran and Cuba, you know, without preconditions. And as President, you have obviously considered and rejected this approach. And I’m wondering if you can give us a little insight into your thinking about this, and just explain to the American people what is lost by talking with those when we disagree?

THE PRESIDENT: What’s lost by embracing a tyrant who puts his people in prison because of their political beliefs? What’s lost is it will send the wrong message. It will send a discouraging message to those who wonder whether America will continue to work for the freedom of prisoners. It will give great status to those who have suppressed human rights and human dignity.

I’m not suggesting there’s never a time to talk, but I’m suggesting now is not the time — not to talk with Raul Castro. He’s nothing more than an extension of what his brother did, which was to ruin an island, and imprison people because of their beliefs.

I had these wives of these dissidents come and see me, and their stories are just unbelievably sad. And it just goes to show how repressive the Castro brothers have been, when you listen to the truth about what they say. And the idea of embracing a leader who’s done this without any attempt on his part to release prisoners and free their society would be counterproductive and send the wrong signal.

Q No one is saying embrace him, they’re just saying talk –

THE PRESIDENT: Well, talking to him is embracing. Excuse me. Let me use another word — you’re right, “embrace” is like big hug, right? You’re looking — I do embrace people. Mike, one of these days, I’m just thinking about — (laughter.) Right, okay, good, thank you for reminding me to use a different word. Sitting down at the table, having your picture taken with a tyrant such as Raul Castro, for example, lends the status of the office and the status of our country to him. He gains a lot from it by saying, look at me, I’m now recognized by the President of the United States.

Now, somebody would say, well, I’m going to tell him to release the prisoners. Well, it’s a theory that all you got to do is embrace and these tyrants act. That’s not how they act. That’s not what causes them to respond. And so I made a decision quite the opposite, and that is to keep saying to the Cuban people, we stand with you; we will not sit down with your leaders that imprison your people because of what they believe; we will keep an embargo on you; we do want you to have money from people here in the homeland, but we will stay insistent upon this policy until you begin to get free.

And so that’s the way I’ve conducted foreign policy, and will continue to conduct foreign policy. I just remind people that the decisions of the U.S. President to have discussions with certain international figures can be extremely counterproductive. It can send chilling signals and messages to our allies; it can send confusion about our foreign policy; it discourages reformers inside their own country. And in my judgment, it would be a mistake — on the two countries you talked about.

Some questions later:

Q […] In China a former factory worker who says that human rights are more important than the Olympics is being tried for subversion. What message does it send that you’re going to the Olympics, and do you think athletes there should be allowed to publicly express their dissent?

THE PRESIDENT: Olivier, I have made it very clear, I’m going to the Olympics because it’s a sporting event, and I’m looking forward to seeing the athletic competition. But that will not preclude me from meeting with the Chinese President, expressing my deep concerns about a variety of issues — just like I do every time I meet with the President.

And maybe I’m in a little different position. Others don’t have a chance to visit with Hu Jintao, but I do. And every time I meet with him I talk about religious freedom and the importance of China’s society recognizing that if you’re allowed to worship freely, it will benefit the society as a whole; that the Chinese government should not fear the idea of people praying to a god as they see fit. A whole society, a healthy society, a confident society is one that recognizes the value of religious freedom.

I talk about Darfur and Iran and Burma. And so I am not the least bit shy of bringing up the concerns expressed by this factory worker, and I believe that I’ll have an opportunity to do so with the President and, at the same time, enjoy a great sporting event. I’m a sports fan. I’m looking forward to the competition. And each Olympic society will make its own decision as to how to deal with the athletes.

I see AltHippo has a related post on his blog.


DCDL is a blog by Washington, DC-area members of Drinking Liberally. Opinions expressed are the writers’, not those of Drinking Liberally, which provides no funding or other support for this blog.

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