Making History in Philadelphia



Inside Independence Hall. At the tables sat the representatives from the Colonies. On the dias was George Washington.


Historic actor in front of Starbucks in Center City, Philadelphia

The art of compromise was never more apparent than during a trip to visit Independence Hall the day after the official nomination of Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic presidential candidate. After evenings of booing and chanting and protests, Independence Hall seemed a civil way to spend a late morning.

The visit is free, but you do need to get timed tickets at the Visitor Center, a simple matter. Once you pass through security, the Park Service will guide you into an air-conditioned room to go over some of the basics of American history – such as how the British instituted a tax on the American colonists to pay for the French and Indian War. The main taxes were sugar, tea and stamp (paper). Here we were reminded that the states at that time felt like individual countries, but one uniting factor was taxation against representation.

We were instructed about how Thomas Jefferson was chosen by the Second Continental Congress to write what became the Declaration of Independence because he was diplomatic, unlike some of his Northern brethren. He learned how he wrote it in less than three weeks, but there were more than 80 revisions made during the meetings ultimately led to the signing on July 4. There were issues that weren’t resolved, such as slavery. Benjamin Franklin wanted wording abolishing it; but the language wasn’t included because it would cause the Southern states to revolt. Thomas Jefferson, in fact, had a slave with him in Philadelphia. So compromise was in order for the greater a good, an issue that would be revisited 80 years later when Abraham Lincoln visited the same spot. Perhaps knowing this was the intent of some of the founding fathers.

I was thinking about this an hour later as we sat down to lunch at the City Tavern, a reconstruction opened in 1976 and on the same site where George Washington once met with the Marquis de Lafayette. The menu isn’t original to the 1700s (thank heavens), but you can feel how parties with different opinions would gather and resolve their differences over drink. Behind us were supporters of Bernie Sanders (who dined at the same restaurant as we did the night before) who were going to leave before Clinton gives her acceptance speech on Thursday. This too parallels what we heard at Independence Hall. There were representatives from the states who left and declined to sign the Declaration of Independence. That is our right in this country – the right to express our differences.

“However hard it may be to picture the founders resorting to rough-and-tumble tactics, there was nothing genteel about politics at the nation’s onset,” wrote Ron Chernow in the Wall Street Journal. “For sheer verbal savagery, the founding era may have surpassed anything seen today. Despite their erudition, integrity, and philosophical genius, the founders were fiery men who expressed their beliefs with vehemence.” Ron Chernow is the author of “Washington: A Life” and “Alexander Hamilton.”

Chernow wrote that in 2010. I anticipate that 2016 may come close.

Signing off in Philadelphia





DNC: First Lady saves convention


Two-hour bus ride to the Wells Fargo Center


Convention Day 1

The train hadn’t even pulled out of Union Station in D.C., when the news that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the DNC, wasn’t going to resign until the end of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. It was hotter than you know what in D.C., and apparently the Democrats didn’t mind stewing in boiling water.

I’m not a delegate to the DNC; I’m a guest of a Superdelegate. I do, however, have a lifetime of work experience with the media and personal understanding of the issues. I’m a single working mom, supporting a teenage daughter and am thankful that Obamacare has allowed us to be insured for a major medical condition and prescription drug coverage. I pay a price, but at least I can buy it. I am looking at paying for college. I have experienced job loss among family, friends and personally as a result of the changing global economy. And, as a woman and mom, I certainly would love to see, and have my daughter see, a woman elected president of the United States of America. My first political experience was working the phones for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy when he ran for president.

That said, I was stunned by the tin ear the Clinton campaign has to what seems to be common sense. Schultz had to go. And she certainly shouldn’t be gaveling in the convention. Instead, Superdelegate tells me that neither the Obama folks nor the Clinton folks are going to force her out. Instead, they are going to let an entire news cycle focus on DWS instead of party unity, which is a major issue.

Indeed, the next morning after the PA delegate breakfast, Superdelegate tells me the Clinton folks want to focus on this being the work of the Russians in support of Trump when the point is DWS should apologize and resign immediately. Instead we spend the day with her fighting to gavel in the convention at 4 p.m.

Maybe it’s all the partying that has been going on. The night before U.S. Rep. Brady of Philadelphia hosted an exclusive nonpolitical bash at the SugarHouse Casino, with a spread of Philly foods (roast pork, cheesesteaks, soft pretzels), and music (Bobby Rydell), and more politicians than I saw in D.C. This was under the umbrella of nonprofit Phantastic Philadelpia and there were more than 1,000 people registered. I spotted Ryan Bizzarro from Erie, but one of the most photographed men in attendance (besides Brady) was Ben Franklin (the man under the wig is quite good). Since the party was stretching into the wee hours, I’m sure the delegate meetings at 8 a.m. were a hard wake-up for many.

DWS was booed at her own delegation meeting. Finally, there was an intervention and she did not bring the gavel down at 4 p.m.

Getting there was quite the trip. The protesters, mainly Bernie Sanders supporters, blocked off streets. After a 2-hour ride that was supposed to take 20 minutes, we walked the remaining mile in 97-degree heat, passed through Secret Service security and Superdelegate took his seat, actually he stood because there were no seats left for the PA delegates. I had a seat in the nosebleed section.

Fortunately, a bus driver gave me the tip to take the subway back to the hotel – a 15 minute ride, tops. Here I could watch Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders speak (and actually hear and see them). FLOTUS was amazing. Much more inspiring than Hillary. I hope HRC can at least have a small glimmer of that type of inspiration on Thursday, when I will stay at the Wells Fargo Center to see her speak. Mainly to feel the reaction of the crowd, without the media interpretation.

The Bernie supporters, however, still aren’t buying his support of Hillary Clinton. His speech was impressive. He outlined what his agenda had actually accomplished – pushing Clinton more toward the anti-establishment than the middle, which is where she would like to go.

Today’s roll call will be telling. That’s when HRC will become the nominee. I expect the protests to continue.