The Rossmoor Democrats

I received an email from Clyde Rich who is President of the Rossmoor Democrats rescinding an invitation that he had previously extended for me to speak before the group. It was a short message which said “We’re supporting Joan Buchanan”. So that’s that. Maybe if he were supporting Hillary Clinton, they wouldn’t allow Barack Obama to speak. Clyde had already told me he supports Joan. He’s the only person from the organization that I’ve ever met. It seems he calls the shots. I really would have liked to have had a chance to speak to the whole group.

I met Clyde only once. It was for coffee at the cafe in Rossmoor a few weeks ago. He is a person of strong opinions. An 80-something ex-Marine, Clyde told me he fought with the Marines in Korea. He was part of the Inchon landing and was at the Chosin Reservoir when the US forces were surrounded by 300,000 Chinese troops. How they fought their way out is recounted in David Halberstam’s recent book, “The Coldest Winter”.  Clyde also told me about his daily table tennis games. I’ll bet he’s a fierce competitor. I like Clyde, but I wouldn’t want to be on his wrong side. I hope he’ll take these remarks with good humor. I noticed he had an Obama sticker on his car, just like me.

THe Rossmoor Democrats are the largest Democratic organization in California. They vote in high turnout and are important to any Democratic candidate and so I am dismayed that Clyde and his colleagues on the Board have shut me out without a hearing. I suspect my views are very close to theirs and I think I would be a strong candidate. Clyde seemed to care little about my views. It was all about electibility. He told me “the big boys” in Sacramento, specifically Fabian Nunez and Art Torres, were supporting Joan.

My theory is that Nunez and Torres directly intervened in January and told the local Democrat organizations to get behind one candidate who could win and to force the others out. That way there would be no primary fights and the one candidate could conserve their resources for the fall contest against the Republicans. There had been as many as seven candidates in this contest. In late January early February, all but one dropped out. I popped up at the last moment, a citizen candidate. Clyde had been supporting Steve Filson who, according to my theory, was eased out, possibly by Clyde himself. If Clyde had to force his own candidate to walk the plank, he certainly wasn’t going to give me the time of day.

I have been thinking of contacting Joan and asking her to intercede with Clyde. Joan and I have a pretty good rapport, or at least I think so. It’s not a very adversarial campaign. We agree on about 70% of the issues. When we have been together at these forums, it has gone well. We make our points. There has been some good humor, and a bit of banter between us and the crowd. I think it’s good to have such interaction and a bit of debate. It keeps us on our toes and focused; the audience enjoys it; and it will have the effect of making the eventual candidate stronger and more effective in the general election in the fall.  

Joan and I have appeared together three times so far. Next week, we are in a TV debate with the League of Women Voters. There’s another event scheduled in Livermore the following week. Both the Chronicle and the Contra Costa Times are interviewing us for possible endorsement. Debate is healthy and part of the process. I hope the Rossmoor Democrats get with it and invite me to appear with Joan on April 24. Maybe Joan will give Clyde a phone call and encourage him to loosen up a bit. http://electtedford.com

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