Monday, March 05, 2007

Washington Days

I attended the Kansas Democratic Party Washington Days events March 2 and 3 in Topeka.

Former President Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker Friday night. He spoke to a crowd of about 1500 and raised over $200,000 for the state party.

Josh Rosenau of the Thoughts from Kansas blog has a nice round-up here and some nice photos here.

The Topeka Capital Journal report is here.

Steve Kraske of the Kansas City Star compared Clinton's speeches in Topeka and earlier in the day at Kansas State University in Manhattan to campaign stops.

In Topeka, he followed party tradition by offering his tie for auction.

The winning bid: $26,000, far above the $8,000 offered for last year’s speaker, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.

Clinton barely referred to his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, who is a contender for the Democratic nomination for president.

When praising Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, he said: “I think we ought to just elect women to everything;” a line that got a rousing applause.

Another time and another (blog) space, a critique of the shortcomings of the Clinton "third way" triangulations will be in order, but I'll save those for later.

There was a packed, enthusiastic, and productive meeting of the Labor Caucus on Saturday morning.

Saturday's luncheon speaker was Lt. Governor Mark Parkinson. He gave a very effective speech. Parkinson is a former Republican legislator and state GOP chairman. He did a good job of explaining how his traditional moderate Republicanism had made him increasingly uncomfortable in today's right wing, social conservative party and led him to switch parties. He riffed on how true conservatism and true progressivism could work in tandem. He was also very persuasive in proclaiming that's he's now a Democrat for life.

One suspects that there is a political future for Parkinson in Kansas, whether running to succeed Sebelius in 2010 or against Senator Pat Roberts in 2008.

Maybe by then, he'll evolve a little more and embrace Democratic principles more fully.

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