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State Democrats Heading to Convention Say Choice in November is Stark

The Wisconsin delegation is looking forward to nominating the nation's first African American president for a second term. They say the choice between another four years with Barack Obama and the Romney/Ryan ticket will be a stark one for voters this fall

When the Democratic National Convention starts Tuesday in Charlotte, NC, Democrats will have their chance to tell their story to the country and explain why they think President Barack Obama is still the best choice come November.

The convention opens only , with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leading the Republican ticket and . With Ryan on the ballot for two offices — he's also running to retain his seat to represent the 1st Congressional District — and Gov. Scott Walker a featured speaker, the Republican convention perhaps should have been held at Lambeau Field.

Despite not having a Cheesehead on the ticket, the Badger State will be well-represented in Charlotte by a solid group of delegates and a scheduled speech Thursday by U.S. Rep. and Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin.

A stark choice of two paths

With Ryan on the Republican ticket, there is an even sharper definition of the differences between the candidates, said Mike Tate, chair of the state Democratic Party.

"There is a stark choice facing Americans," said Tate. "Are we going to choose a path where we invest in the middle class and education, or do we want to continue lowering taxes for the very wealthiest citizens and raising taxes on the middle class?"

This will be Tate's fourth convention, and he said the difference between 2012 and 2008 is that the stakes are higher now.

"The Romney/Ryan ticket is the wrong path for the country, and this convention is a great way to talk about the differences in the president's ideas and where to take the country," Tate added.

Sachin Chheda, chair of the Milwaukee County Democrats, has been an active Democrat for years, but is headed to his first convention this year.

He said he is enthusiastic, especially after seeing Paul Ryan “deliver lie after lie” and watching Clint Eastwood’s “strange artistic monologue.”

“We’re very excited,” he said. “This week was more energizing because we saw what we’re up against and what they’re willing to do. We have a positive story to tell, and we’re going to talk about our record on jobs, health care and civil rights. We think we’re going to have a huge bump coming out of the convention.”

Making history again

Members of the Wisconsin delegation are also excited about making history again by nominating Obama for a second term.

Meg Andrietsch, secretary of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said 2008 was going to be historic no matter what. They were either going to nominate the female candidate for president — Hillary Clinton — or the first person of color.

"What we did four years ago, nominating a person of color, was historic," said Andrietsch. "And now we get to make history again by nominating the first African American president for a second term."

Tate agreed.

"Nominating the first African American president was exciting," he said. "And now we get to nominate that president for a second term and give people a chance to hear the nominees tell their story to the country."

First-time experience

Kenosha businessman Rob Zerban is attending as both a delegate and congressional candidate running again Ryan in the 1st District. This is his first convention, and he's not sure what to expect, other than he will be busy.

"My schedule will be full of caucuses and meetings," he said. "I'm most looking forward to being on the convention floor and nominating Barack Obama to remain the president of the United States."

Gerard Maciejewski, a Glendale resident who has worked as a field construction boilermaker for 33 years, said he has been to Washington, D.C., on behalf of his local union, but he has never been to a national convention before.

He said he’s looking forward to the experience.

“From my experiences in Washington, the idea of meeting President Obama or President Clinton would be as exciting as meeting someone like Brett Favre,” he said.

He said the issues he cares most about are access to health care, a strong education system and moving the country forward in a bipartisan manner.

“I’m going with an open heart and open mind, and to do what I think is best for future of my children and grandchildren,” he said. “I’d like to see the future of the United States pushing forward in a positive direction.”

Are conventions still relevant?

A recent commentary by Scott Rasmussen of Rasmussen Reports called into question whether or not conventions are necessary since the primaries decide the nominees weeks ahead of time. He cites the lack of interest in the conventions among the general public and the enormous price tag as two additional reasons for question their existance.

"The reason for the declining interest is simple. Conventions used to matter. They actually decided something," he writes. "Now primaries select the major party nominees. The conventions are just a relic to confirm what has already been decided."

Andrietsch thinks conventions still have their place on the political scene.

"Sure, we could do this electronically, but there is still something to be said about the personal connections," Andrietsch said. "It helps to get together because there's energy, and the media coverage allows citizens to be part of it,  so it's more inclusive rather than exclusive."

Tate agreed, saying Americans are more polarized than at any time he can remember so the conventions give people a chance to hear the stories of and from the candidates.

"I don't know if this election features the greatest difference between two candidates, but certainly it's the most polarized the country’s been that I can remember,” he said. “At no time in our history has an incumbent president been treated with such little respect and high disdain. It’s been a tough four years, and we’ve been through a lot so people are engaged more than ever before.”

Former Waukesha mayor and Waukesha County Board Supervisor Larry Nelson also thinks conventions have their place, especially with undecided voters. He's no stranger to Democratic conventions; this is his fifth one since 1984.

Nelson said he thinks the race will be hotly contested nationwide and in Wisconsin, and the conventions and debates are key in swaying undecided and independent voters.

After watching the Republican convention on television this week, Nelson said he thinks Democrats have the advantage of addressing claims made by Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and other top Republicans.

“I’m looking forward to seeing some of the charges that don’t fit the facts rebutted at the Democratic convention,” he said. “I think there will be quite a contrast on some of the issues discussed at the Republican convention.”

John Feia September 06, 2012 at 07:09 AM
Hoffa is a partisan shill. Just look at his posts regarding the Kennedys, Ciintons and Obamas. He is also a non apologetic label er of people who disagree with his positions. His beliefs are something that should be disregarded.
CentralScrutinizer September 06, 2012 at 12:48 PM
@John Feia. Of course, as any good "partisan shill" SUCH AS YOURSELF, A LEFTIST, if someones opinions don't match YOUR BELIEFS they're wrong. The biggest problem in politics today is NEITHER side listens to its constituents. They are, when preaching for the common good of ALL, have their own agendas that by no means are unbiased. If we got back to being a country governed by our own constitution, removed the super pacs from the process and FIRED those elected officials when they under perform, we would ALL be in a better place. Facts are facts...Obama has UNDER PERFORMED. He has not done what he promised (unemployment under 8%--which he himself said if he didn't get it below that should NOT be re-elected). His bail outs did nothing CLOSE to what he said he would do and the auto bail out was ONLY to protect the union lackeys whose votes he so covets. Obama is in over his head. He has no background in dealing with the type of finances this country has and he doesn't have the people around him fighting for the common good...all reasons to help him pack. Bottom line...as long as unions throw the switches for the dems and big corporations pull the levers for the republicans our country is going to spiral under even faster. What we are seeing today is just the beginning.
morninmist September 06, 2012 at 05:41 PM
It is a good snapshot. KRXA profile KRXA RT DNC Charlotte: Here's a Very Cute Photo of Hillary Clinton Watching Bill's Speech - @Gawker gawker.com/5940926/heres-…
James R Hoffa September 06, 2012 at 06:03 PM
@morninmist - Why wasn't Hillary invited to speak at the convention?
James R Hoffa September 06, 2012 at 06:06 PM
@John Feia - So says the man who can't even back up or explain his own statement!
morninmist September 06, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Hoffa You, the self identified intellectual (or maybe it is that 3rd person you id as the intellectual????) should know that since she is the head of State Dept, the law forbids her presence at a political convention.
James R Hoffa September 06, 2012 at 07:48 PM
@morninmist - The 1993 amendment to the Hatch Act, 107 Stat. 1001, removed the prohibition on participation in "political management or political campaigns." So as long as Hillary wasn't on 'active duty' and as long as she wouldn't be a on federal property when engaging in political activity, she'd be free to do so without violating federal law. Want to try again?
John Feia September 06, 2012 at 10:05 PM
@ Bewildered Here is the answer you were looking for "And even with football on NBC, the 10pm hour of the DNC’s night two still topped night two of the RNC a week ago: 20,622,000 vs. 20,049,000" http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/category/ratings "NBC averaged 20.6 million viewers" http://www.zap2it.com/tv/ratings/ "According to Nielsen, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo drew in over 3 million viewers during the 10 o’clock time slot. The RNC, meanwhile, only managed to ensnare 1.7 million during the same" http://www.inquisitr.com/321727/honey-boo-boo-thompson-family-isnt-getting-rich-from-reality-tv/
James R Hoffa September 06, 2012 at 10:22 PM
@John Feia - Why do you insist on perpetuating LIES? Your comparison of 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' to the RNC Convention only pits TLC against one network, and a cable network at that, Fox News Channel (FNC). FYI - People were watching the RNC Convention on more networks than just FNC. So Here Comes Honey Boo Boo did not beat the RNC convention in total viewership, as your grossly misleading propaganda suggests. As to which Convention will receive a total larger viewership, let's wait until they're completely over to compare!
John Feia September 06, 2012 at 11:57 PM
@ Hoffa "Why wasn't Hillary invited to speak at the convention?" Because she in China doing her job. You need to get your facts straight though. "In 1974 Hatch Act restrictions on state and local government were watered down, and in 1993 the advocates for removing or reducing restrictions on the political activities of federal employees carried the day. The Hatch Act Reform Amendments of 1993 (107 Stat. 1001) removed the prohibition on participation in "political management or political campaigns." Federal employees are still forbidden, however, to use their authority to affect the results of an election. They are also forbidden to run for office in a partisan election, to solicit or receive political contributions, and to engage in political activities WHILE ON DUTY OR ON FEDERAL PROPERTY. The Merit Systems Protection Board and its Office of Special Counsel are responsible for enforcement of the Hatch Act" William V. Luneburg. Hatch Act (1939). enotes.com
James R Hoffa September 07, 2012 at 12:18 AM
@John Feia - Hoffa said all that, in case you didn't realize it. Is your reading comprehension really that bad? So essentially you're saying that she couldn't have scheduled a vacation during the week of the convention. Or are you arguing that the stadium is federal property, because I don't believe it is? Could it be that you're trying to make two faulty arguments at the same time? Seems awfully convenient to Hoffa! But believe as you will!
CentralScrutinizer September 07, 2012 at 12:29 AM
@John Feia...keep telling yourself she was in China doing her job. EVERYTHING the Clintons do is a political calculation. If you haven't noticed, she ties NOTHING she does to the administration. Her position, is probably the most unpolitical biased position on the administration and she wants NO TIES to Obama.
Bewildered September 07, 2012 at 12:49 AM
So, Mr. Feia, final Neilsen numbers from last nite are in: NFL. 23, 890,000 viewers DNC combined 9,030,000 viewers Guess Bubba and the Giants both lost last nite. Not surprising. Live football or Clinton reruns. Must be a Bush conspiracy.
Bewildered September 07, 2012 at 01:03 AM
BTW, my question was which will have higher ratings, DNC or NFL. As usual, Feia creates his own question (RNC vs DNC) , refusing to answer orig question. I'll answer my own question ( damn, I sound like you).... NFL in a landslide. Go Pack !
Bewildered September 07, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Feria, so Hillary is in China. Didn't the Chinese VP just snub her, refusing to meet with her? Hmmmmm...great job ( real question is why China doesn't bother negotiating with Obama).
John Feia September 07, 2012 at 06:18 AM
You really are bewildered. The SOS is doing her job. Hoffa, if she had done as you suggested you would be lambasting her for that. Where was Condy in '04? She was doing her job as she should have been. Get a grip.
morninmist September 07, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Hoffa Hillary keeps good ethics during the convention. You need to get a grip and stop crying about where Hillary was during the convention. You sound desperate!
morninmist September 07, 2012 at 03:55 PM
We had an inspiring Dem convention. Mark Pocan ‏@MarkPocan #TheWIweKnow will elect our state's first woman Senator @TammyBaldwinWI #wipolitics #fem2
James R Hoffa September 07, 2012 at 04:52 PM
@morninmist - You guys were saying the same thing about Falk being the first woman governor of the state during the recall election. How did that one work out for you guys again?
James R Hoffa September 07, 2012 at 04:54 PM
At the time, Condi Rice wasn't considered to be the future leader of the party, unlike Hillary Clinton. Big difference!
morninmist September 08, 2012 at 01:33 PM
@Progress2day Breaking: Gallup Reports Major DNC 'Bounce' for Obama http://www.thenation.com/blog/169807/breaking-gallup-reports-major-dnc-bounce-obama #wipolitics #lyingRyan #wiunion
morninmist September 08, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Smart folks! ,,,Breaking: Gallup Reports Major DNC 'Bounce' for Obama Greg Mitchell on September 7, 2012 - 1:23 PM ET UPDATE New Reuters-Ipsos poll tonight joined Gallup in finding an Obama bump from the DNC. It had not seen much before, but today revealed a 2 percent spike for Obama, and a 1 percent decline for Romney, along with some favorable metrics for the president, up about 4 percent. Obama now leads there 46 percent–44 percent. They suggest there could be more gains tomorrow.,,
WEACHATER September 08, 2012 at 02:27 PM
How much of a bump with Obummer get from the latest jobs report. Clue - None.
Ann Wright September 08, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Why weren't GW and Cheney invited to the Republican convention? If you all were so proud of their policies why were they nowhere to be seen? Loved Clinton's line, "Double down on trickle down."
morninmist September 08, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Walker promised that the jobs in WI would pour in once the recall was over. ha ha.
James R Hoffa September 08, 2012 at 04:50 PM
@Ann Wright - This conclusively proves that you didn't listen to a single RNC convention speech.
James R Hoffa September 08, 2012 at 04:54 PM
@morninmist - That was assuming that Obama would do his job properly - obviously he hasn't. Less people are working today than when Obama took office. Yesterday it was confirmed that another 360k are so discouraged that they just gave up and dropped out of the work force. While that's a record that you're proud of for some reason or another, any one with half a brain would conclude that it's time for a change! ROMNEY/RYAN 2012!!!
James R Hoffa September 08, 2012 at 05:01 PM
@morninmist - Hoffa supposes that it's easy to get Gallup to front for the Dems after the Dems threaten Gallup with a DOJ lawsuit! http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/06/justice-dept-gallup-lawsuit-came-after-axelrod-criticized-pollsters/ My, my, my - how desperate and thuggish have the Democrats become! Just goes to show that the slimy Dems will do anything to try and steal an election! America isn't buying the left/Dems Saul Alinsky tactics anymore! ROMNEY/RYAN 2012!!!
PaulRevere September 08, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Ann Wright! Are you related to the "wright" brothers? So yo want to know why GW was not at the RNC and the best line you can remember is CLINTON's. Now that makes you an informed voter. Ever ask yourself why over 7 prominant Democratic Senators , like Claire McCaskill did not attend.
PaulRevere September 08, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Ann Wright! Are you related to the "wright" brothers? So yo want to know why GW was not at the RNC and the best line you can remember is CLINTON's. Now that makes you an informed voter. Ever ask yourself why over 7 prominant Democratic Senators , like Claire McCaskill did not attend.

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