Show goes on without out-of-town keynoter for Palm Beach County Democratsby George Bennett | November 15th, 2009
One of the biggest laugh lines at Saturday night’s annual fund-raising dinner for the Palm Beach Democratic Party turned out to be this:
“It is a true honor to be one of your keynote speakers tonight.”
State Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, delivered the line, then paused knowingly, drawing laughter from the audience of about 350 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.
Aronberg and state Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, stepped in as last-minute speakers after the party canned its original keynoter, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, because many local activists were upset by her stance on health care reform.
Landrieu’s replacement, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, withdrew after several local elected officials complained about his stance on Israel.
Some Dems wore Kucinich buttons or stickers to the dinner as a form of protest.
“I was very disappointed,” said Tom Conboy of West Palm Beach, co-chairman of the local Democrats For America chapter. He wore a “Rep. Dennis Kucinich for Peace & Health” badge and a sticker that said: “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace, Pro-Dialogue, Pro-Kucinich.”
Aronberg joked to the crowd that he got the speaking gig by answering a want ad for a speaker. Pretending to read from the ad, Aronberg listed the prospective keynoter’s qualifications: “Must be a Democrat who is pro-Israel, pro-public option with no felony convictions in the last five years.”
Later, Aronberg said, “I’ve never been happier to be someone’s third choice to be their dinner speaker.”
Deutch, speaking a few minutes later, called it “a real honor to be your choice as keynote speaker 3-B.”