Never having attended a state convention before, I wouldn’t know: do the bigwigs who speak while the delegates are being counted always stress unity? Of the seven who spoke–Robin Carnahan, Susan Montee, Lacy Clay, Dick Gephardt, Claire McCaskill, Ike Skelton, and Russ Carnahan, only one strayed from that theme. And even she–Robin Carnahan–after berating the voter I.D. proposal, mentioned the need for party unity once a nominee is picked.

Gephardt made it clear he had backed Hillary, but that he was also proud of Obama–of both our fine nominees.  Montee said “they” keep trying to stress our divisions, not only between Clinton and Obama, but between genders, age groups, educational level, what have you. Enough already, she thinks. We’re going to unite because we must.

Lacy Clay mentioned unity, but spent more of his time on other themes. In his gravelly drawl, he reminded us of Blunt’s e-mail retention problems:

“Republicans love to hit the delete button, but that’s okay because in 178 days, the American people are going to delete them. They’re not going to elect a person who wants to serve a third term for President Bush.

Clay hearkened back to Truman saying that Republicans are for homes but not for housing, for labor but not for labor rights, for the minimum wage (and the lower the minimum, the better), for medical care–for those who can afford it. I guess Truman would be shaking his head that we’re still fighting the same battles.

McCaskill combined the unity theme with health care by imagining the dark day after G.W. Blunt was elected where budget problems were discussed. She figures it was all about numbers, with nobody speaking for the people who would suffer from their budget solution: cutting Medicaid recipients. Nobody in that room cared about a single mother getting on a bus, worried that if she got sick and couldn’t get medical care, she’d be unable to work and provide for her child.

Then Claire described in detail a fight she had with her older sister when Claire was in fourth grade and her sister in sixth. They’d been fussing, and Claire deliberately tripped her sister–on a downhill slope–while they were walking to school. Later in the day, a girl in Claire’s class said that her sister was “ugly and bossy.” Claire yanked her hair as hard as she could.

Bet you can figure out the moral of that story as it applies to Democrats once McCain starts calling our official nominee “ugly and bossy.”

We family members need to stand up for our sisters and brothers, including the single moms kicked off Medicaid.

Once the speeches ended, then the bo-o-o-ring part started. Right now the delegates are in there listening to dozens of speakers plead for their votes to be elected as at large candidates for the national convention.  That process started three and half hours ago and is likely, so I hear, to last another couple of hours. It’s complicated, what with the requirements that they have a certain number of each gender and a certain number of each race, and I don’t know what else.

It’s enough to make me grateful that I’m not a state delegate.