The hosts' house is, as I expected, interesting.
I don't know how much breakfast Dennis actually had. I saw him grab a cup of orange juice but I didn't see him actually pick up a plate of scrambled tofu, refried beans, chips, and fruit - which was delicious, by the way. The breakfast itself was very well organized. When I came in I simply took a plate from the table, grabbed coffee and juice, and sat down.
I chatted with fellow fringers for a bit and we had a few laughs. The crowd was limited to 100 and it looked like that's about what was there, and that most of us were older. Which does not mean that young people do not support Dennis, of course. In this case it may simply mean that they didn't know about this breakfast (it wasn't well-advertised) or that they couldn't afford the contribution.
Dennis and his wife Elizabeth arrived a little late and started talking a little late, so I expected he'd say a few words, shake a few hands, pose for a few pix, and run. He was scheduled to be in Templeton at nine. I guess, though, that punctuality is the first real casualty of a campaign. Just as truth is supposed to be the first casualty of war, as I recall.
Dennis started with his primary position: Strength through Peace. He pointed out that he was turning the neocon position, Peace through Strength, on its head. He moved from the war in Iraq, when he pointed out that our Democratic majority should mean that we are getting out of Iraq now - but doesn't, to health care, immigration, and climate change. There were several good, thoughtful questions. One in particular came up more than once in different ways: how do you think you can get de-marginalized? Why doesn't the Democratic party support your candidacy? Why don't you just threaten to become a third-party candidate?
This guy (in the apron) was one of the first to ask the question. Passionately.
Sometimes Dennis deferred to his wife.
She's more than a pretty face. She speaks well and intelligently. If she weren't British she'd make a good candidate herself. She mostly spoke on how to get the word out. Of course she mentioned the resources we have, including our many blogs. So I am doing my part here.
Gotta admit: Dennis looks over the moon here.
Dennis spoke eloquently and from his heart. It is no wonder he isn't getting anywhere, although you would not know it from the crowd's response. He paid attention to us, to our questions, and he gave of himself. It's hard to believe that he's been doing this over and over and nothing sounds canned. On immigration, he said we have to stop scapegoating immigrants. On healthcare, he pointed to his single-payer plan (which a member of the audience said is available online and is terrific). On war, he said peace. Get out of Iraq, don't go in again unless requested by a legitimate Iraqi government.
The man on the far right is Dan Koberg, host of this event. His house. More on that later.
Our very own version of Ed Begley Jr.
Dennis and Elizabeth spoke and answered questions for over a half-hour, which took them well past nine o'clock, when he was supposed to be about 20 minutes away, in Templeton. He said this is the first time he has been to this part of California and that the natural beauty here suggests what we all can attain, if we can get out of the clutches of our own consuming ways and of the corporations that increasingly control our government. When he was asked about his health care plan and why the other candidates did not support a single-payer nonprofit, he said that he had been told by the Democratic party leaders that the party has taken too much money from insurance companies. Again, of course, telling the truth. Again, of course, the death-knell of any candidacy.
Ken Haggard, local architect, on right. Big on solar and straw bales.
I know how cynical I sound. In my wildest dreams I wish for a candidate like this to win the presidency and, more, to have the support of congress and most of us on the ground, so that he can actually make the changes that so desperately need to be made. In my less-wild dreams I hope that his candidacy falls on the ears of other candidates, that his position, that the Democratic Party needs to offer a real choice, is heard. I am not interested in Republican Lite positions. I am one of many who want a real difference.
A side note: the hosts' lovely residence has many religious-like symbols as art on its walls and shelves.
I didn't have a chance to ask about these. They look like they could all be by the same artist or artists. They certainly all have the same degree of profanity to them, and of course that intrigued me.