Hillary's California Boo Birds

The Democratic presidential candidates descended upon the Republican city of San Diego this weekend to stump at the California Democratic Party state convention.

As the state's Republican Party chairman (a San Diego resident) noted, it's been more than a decade since the Dems have held a convention in San Diego, despite its being one of the most beautiful, temperate locations in California. "I suppose they finally found enough rooms among the small number of unionized hotels that labor officials allowed the party to come back to our fair city. Good for them," wrote the GOP chairman in a statement to the media.

The real news to come out of the San Diego convention — if there was any, which usually there isn't at these events — was Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) getting booed by liberal activist members of the CDP for not taking a strong enough stand against the war in Iraq. The lefty bloggers were aghast that she (still) didn't apologize for her vote to authorize the war. But surely Mrs. Clinton and her savvy team knew she risked such obtuse heckling at a convention where signs reading "Out of Iraq! Don't Attack Iran!" were in full display, not just by the granola caucus but by the relatively mundane suburban types as well. 

So was the booing anticipated? Surely. Even welcomed? Possibly.

Mrs. Clinton isn't the first female politician to get booed onstage at the California Democratic Convention. In 1994 Dianne Feinstein, running for U.S. Senate against Republican Michael Huffington (remember him? No, I didn't think so), was widely
booed onstage by the delegation for her support of the death penalty. She then turned around and used the footage in a campaign ad to promote her tough-on-crime position in a state that passed the "Three Strikes" law with 72 percent of the vote. (Note that despite being a Democrat majority state, California voters are law-and-order types. In 2004 they defeated a measure to weaken "Three Strikes.")

Admittedly, Feinstein was a shoo-in for her party's nomination in the primary, unlike Clinton, and could afford to take a strong position that ran contrary to the liberal base of her party. And yes, the death penalty holds far greater support among voters than the war in Iraq. But I do not believe the American public wants a commander in chief who fears war in general. Or who shirks at boldly defending this nation against real and serious threats.

The California Democratic Convention has come to an end, though we may not have seen the last of the booing.