Susan Wood of Aberdeen is a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. A graduate student in the School of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University, she is writing each day of her experiences.
Paul Tsongas addressed his delegates yesterday. There were more than 500 of us in a room.
The Tsongas delegates come from 30 states and are extraordinarily committed. He told us his biggest accomplishment was those delegates from states that held primaries after he had suspended his campaign. Those people, in his mind, are the continuation of his message, he said.
The win in New Hampshire opened the door of opportunity for him, the win in Maryland legitimized him as a candidate, but the continued support after his campaign was suspended was his true success.
His message is one of generational responsibility and economic accountability. He described his delegates as "a person who failed political science but passed ethics." Ouch, Bill.
My curriculum in biomedical engineering and physiology hasn't included either of those subjects, but it think I get the idea.
Our role as Tsongas delegates is to generate support for his planks that will be heard on the convention floor tonight. The planks include the adoption of the 5-cent-a-gallon gasoline tax, the tax credit for investment in American manufacturing, the tax increase for the wealthy and a cap on entitlements for the wealthy. The Tsongas campaign lost the election, so these planks will probably be struck down, but it is important to give these ideas some publicity. (The Brown delegation was instructed to vote for the Tsongas planks tonight, so this could be both educational and interesting to see if any or all of them pass.)
Our instructions are to generate support for the ideas through our respective delegations to try and rally support from the Clinton side. This is what is called pushing Clinton from the right. A huge rally is planned on the convention floor from the Tsongas delegation tonight in support, so stay tuned.
Tsongas's main message to us was one of thanks, however.
He left the campaign more popular than when he entered the race, as a result of the adoption of his message. Tsongas also enforced the sense of unity required to put a Democrat in office and for that reason he endorses the Democratic ticket.