Burnt Orange Report

News, Politics, and Fun From Deep in the Heart of Texas

Support the TDP!

May 04, 2005

Atrios makes a silly

By Jim Dallas

The usually-lucid Atrios:

I've never heard of [Kenneth] Baer before, but given that he's described as a "a Democratic strategist and the founder of Baer communications" I assume he's someone foolish candidates pay to tell them how to lose elections. The idea this has anything to do with serious contemporary policy debates is ludicrous.

From Baer Communications, on Baer:

...former White House speechwriter, author, and analyst -- who has extensive experience as a communications adviser to public figures. He was Deputy Director of Speechwriting for Gore-Lieberman 2000 and Senior Speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore.

From CNN:

Gore 50,996,116 Bush 50,456,169

To be sure, there's a lot of Gore team consultants who deserve to be discredited. But Kenneth Baer, DLC-and-all, was one of the good guys.

There's a lot of righteous indignation to be directed at the consultant class, but a little discrimination might be well-advised.

Posted at 10:02 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 26, 2005

DCCC's Role In Lampson's Decision?

By Vince Leibowitz

Sources in D.C. and Texas this morning tell me that, though Richard Morrison withdrew from the CD 22 race on his own and for personal and financial reasons (see earlier post), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and some of its major donors played a major role in getting former Congressman Nick Lampson to enter the race.

Evidently, in spite of the fact that Richard Morrison has a large grassroots base in CD 22 and came closer than anyone has to beating Tom DeLay, the DCCC and some of its major donors reportedly recruited, encouraged and possibly even promised Lampson financial support if he would enter the race. My sources indicate to me that Beltway, D-Trip-types--many of whom couldn't find CD 22 on a color-coded map with written instructions--determined that Lampson was the more "electable" candidate than Morrison.

Interestingly, in his last race, which I'd think the DCCC would consider, Lampson vastly outspent his opponent, former State District Judge Ted Poe, and still lost. However, Richard Morrison raised relatively little compared to DeLay's warchest, and came just as close to DeLay as Lampson did to Poe.

Lampson garnered 42.91 percent of the vote in his district, while Morrison got 41.09 in CD 22.

Furthermore, Lampson, who was a fine Congressman (not trying to attack anyone here, just reporting what the sources tell me), can't be terribly well-known in CD 22. I'd venture to say that, in a name recognition poll, Morrison is more well known in CD 2 than Lampson is in CD 22.

If I were Richard Morrison, I would have given Lampson a challenge similar to one that was brokered but never utilized when Ted Kennedy first ran for U.S. Senate in the Democratic Primary against Edward McCormick, nephew of then-U.S. House Speaker John McCormick (the late House Speaker Tip O'Neill covers it in his book, Man of the House, if you want to read about it):

Why not commission a poll of voters in CD 22--both likely election-day voters and likely Democratic Primary voters in separate polls over separate periods of time. Ask who the the voters are most likely to vote for: Morrison or Lampson. Also, poll on Lampson vs. Morrison name recognition.

After the poll (and, what the heck--both sides can conduct one by the same methodology using their own pollsters), compare the results and the guy with the best chance stays in the race.

To me, that seems like the most fair way to go about something like this.

Posted at 08:50 AM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

April 19, 2005

SDEC Meeting

By Vince Leibowitz

I haven't seen anyone blogging on this weekend's SDEC meeting, so I thought I might share a few thoughts of my own with regard to Saturday's session--though what little I have to say could hardly be considered a comprehensive account. Further--though the journalist in me says otherwise--I firmly feel that most of what happens at the SDEC is private to those of us within the party and probably shouldn't be disseminated except among those in the party.

But, since no one has shared any thoughts, I'll just throw out a few.

First and foremost, you can't attend an SDEC meeting without realizing how full our party really is of vibrant county chairs, activists and party leaders. The full house of people from across the state that attend these meetings is testament to that.

I was priviliged to be at the meeting and sitting with the SDEC as proxy for Dr. Martha Williams, our very capable SDEC SD2 member from Terrell, who was unable to attend. As such, I felt more a part of the "action" as opposed to the "audience," which I was part of in other SDEC meetings.

There were a number of resolutions discussed and acted on, and I was very proud of our party and its leaders for the very classy way it was all handled. Major gatherings of bodies of this sort--whether political or not--can sometimes descend into chaos when it comes to dealing with tough issues. However, the SDEC was able to discuss the issues in a very dignified and appropriate manner.

Although there were a couple of moments that were somewhat tense relating to a committee report, the meeting seemed to go very well.

In the press earlier this year (and on this blog) there was some discussion of party finances, particularly with regard to the $250,000 set aside for purchase of a headquarters building which was instead used on elections. It resulted in some criticism of our party and especially our Chariman, Charles Soechting, for his "command decision." Shortly after the post on the Statesman article, fellow BOR contributor and TDP staffer Andrew put up this post talking about the Chairman and some of his impressions.

I will admit that I was an early critic of Chairman Soechting. And, as a county chair, I nearly flew off of, into and through the wall when he sent all county chairs a letter asking us to raise $5,000 and send it to the state party.

However, time, more experience and interaction with the party, and being a beneficiary of some of the program's Soechting funded as Chair while working on Dr. Bob Glaze's campaign in THD 5 last year have made me--I must confess--a Soechting supporter.

I do believe he is the leader we need right now. And, in saying that, I may be going against some of my east and northeast Texas colleagues who may think--as I did when Soechting took over--that we need a chair from a smaller rural county because, well, most of our counties aren't mega-counties like Harris and Dallas. I initially thought Soechting would be "out of touch," with the people in counties like mine, but I've quickly learned that he's not. He knows what's going on and knows what we're facing out here in the trenches. Whether it's because he researched it, because a staffer or adviser has told him, or because he's been to some of the "non urban" counties, I don't know. But I do know from my brief dealings with him personally, that he seems to have a handle on what's going on--even in little old Van Zandt County.

No one has asked me to write or post this and, I suspect, I'll probably receive some heat over my "conversion." But, that's just the way I feel. The manner in which the way the Chairman conducted himself at this weekend's meeting--sometimes in tense situations--to me speaks volumes about what kind of leader we really have at the TDP. If you do something, "take the heat or get out of the kitchen." Chairman Soechting may have made a decision or two that was unpopular with some folks. But, he's taken the heat, taken steps to make things even better, and he's still in the kitchen--hopefully cooking up a way to make the party even better.

Posted at 02:14 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 16, 2005

Remove Al Edwards from the DNC

By Byron LaMasters

Exactly what Greg said - there is no excuse to allow the one "Democrat" who voted with Republicans for HB 3 - the largest tax hike in Texas history - to continue serving on the DNC.

Update: Via comments and Houston Democrats is how Rep. Edwards explained his vote:

Representative Edwards took my phone call this afternoon and was very gracious in his explanation of his vote for HB3. And he had a very good reason. The conference committee will not include any members that voted against the bill. In order to ensure that the Democratic Party has a voice in crafting the final version of the bill, Mr. Edwards and the Democratic leadership decided one Democrate would have to vote for for the bill, since voting against it would not have prevented its passage. In addition, he feels that a positive aspect of the bill is the broadening of the tax base to include business that currently are exempt from the franchise tax.

Well, this is certainly better than voting for the bill on the merits, but voting for a bill to get a seat at the table in order to get crumbs of what you want, isn't worth giving Republicans even the smallest amount of political cover.

Posted at 01:00 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 13, 2005

Dallas County Dems Get Redesigned Website

By Vince Leibowitz

I hate to be a bloghog, but I guess I've just had several interesting posts to make today, not the least of which is that the Dallas County Democratic Party has a newly redesigned website.

According to my sources, the DCDP's previous webmaster resigned from assisting the party with any functions that aren't fee-paied, though he will continue to host the site.

Not sure exactly what caused the change over, but I understand it had something to do with the party's "Weekly Update" e-mail newsletter.

All of this follows the controversy of a couple of weeks ago which both Byron and I posted on extensively. Perhaps Byron can shed some light on this new development.

Posted at 10:27 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack

March 05, 2005

Regarding Charles Soechting

By Byron LaMasters

I read Andrew's post on Texas Democratic Party Chair Charles Soechting with a bit of confusion, as I did not realize that there was controversy / negative press regarding Chairman Soechting. Apparently, Andrew's comments were in the context of this article in the Austin American Statesman:

Almost two years after Texas Democratic Party leaders agreed to stow away $250,000 toward owning rather than renting their Austin headquarters, campaigns and other needs have soaked up the money.

In April 2003, the State Democratic Executive Committee voted that $250,000 be "set aside for the future purchase of a permanent home" for the party. [...]

Party Chairman Charles Soechting said he made a "command decision" last year to tap the funds for election needs such as legislative campaigns, a bus tour of the Rio Grande Valley, modernized voting records and vital staff pay raises and furniture.

"It's more important to have a viable political party than it is to worry about your address," Soechting said, noting that the party gained ground in the Texas House for the first time since 1972 when it picked up one House seat last year and welcomed local gains in Dallas and Harris counties.

Purchasing a long-term headquarters should be a priority for a state party, or major organization. While a short-term hassle, such moves save a great deal of money. However, in an election year, the number one priority should be electing Democrats. I agree with Kuff that it would be a story if the party spent $250,000 on a new headquarters instead of throwing in another $10,000 or so at state rep races that might have made the difference for people like Mark Strama, Hubert Vo, Mark Homer, Jim McReynolds, etc.

Furthermore, purchasing the modernized voter files and pay increases to ensure a professional staff are critical long-term investments. If there is reason to believe that there has been any malfeasance, an independent audit of the account might be necessary, but I see nothing from the article to suggest as much.

More at Dos Centavos.

Posted at 12:06 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 04, 2005

On Charles E. Soechting

By Andrew Dobbs

I've been meaning to write this for a while, but I haven't gotten around to it until the attacks in the Statesman today finally made me say something. I'm not writing this because of my job, but because I want to say it.

Charles Soechting is the toughest boss I've ever had. For comparison, I'll throw in all the bosses I had at the restaurant I worked at in High School- including some rather tough ones, Joe Trippi, all the people at the Capitol, on the various campaigns I've worked for and I'll even throw in my High School football coaches. He's tough, but for all the times I've been mad at him, he's a good boss.

I think the best example of why he's a good boss and a great chairman is the way I got my job. It all started after his selection in October of 2003 when on October 25 I wrote a piece that began

Well, it looks like the forces of cronyism, institutional short-sightedness and a desire to run our party into the ground once and for all prevailed again here in Austin as the State Democratic Executive Committee selected longtime TDP General Counsel and integral part of the 8 year campaign for obscurity Charles Soechting as the new Chair of the Texas Democratic Party.

Not exactly the thing you want to say about a future boss. Then, two days later Byron put up a post that was nicer, if still skeptical about Soechting. I put a comment that said:

I will say that this story caught my eye as well and that it made me feel a little better about things. Finally, casting your vote for Soechting just because he isn't Mauro is the kind of short-sighted bullshit that threatens to send our party the way of the Whigs and Greenbacks. We need someone with as much fire but a little more independence of the failures of the last 6 years, i.e. Garnet Coleman or any of the other people you mentioned a minute ago. Oh well, here's hoping he'll make it to a UDem meeting so I can ask him some questions myself.

A bit nicer, but still pretty mean. He never made it to a UD meeting (though I'll try and get him to one this semester- no promises), but he did one better. He put a comment up on the post himself. It read:

Hello Andrew and others, this is Charles. If you want to meet me, get ready. I am the Chair and if you are as sick and tired as I am of the lies that the Republicans have told you need to do more than get online and gripe. You need to work with us. Our office number is 478-9800 and we are looking for volunteers. I have monitored your concerns during this election and understand your frustration, it's natural to be frustrated. Change is here and we are ready for your help. Thanks, Charles Soechting, Chair, Texas Democratic Party.

Just so you'll know, that is still the number for the party (512 area code, of course) and we are always looking for volunteers. But I digress. I called that number and emailed him and he got back to me. He set up a meeting with Byron, Jim and me and gave us each a couple hundred bucks (out of his own pocket) to create the Yellow Dog Blog, which has since withered away. A couple of months later, I was broke and needed a job so I called him up. He gave it to me on the spot and I've been here ever since- more than a year later.

All this to say that Charles Soechting isn't the kind of guy to hold grudges against anyone except Republicans and their allies. He doesn't try and make enemies- he even brought David Van Os and Garry Mauro into the process (his opponents in the Chair race) because he realizes that we have enough enemies on the opposite side that we don't need to be making them amongst ourselves. He wasn't an insider- he had a low level party post and had been fighting for change for years. He was General Counsel, and let me say that we talk to our current GC- the talented, intelligent and friendly Chad Dunn- maybe once or twice a month. Charles was exactly what we needed, even if we didn't all realize it.

Having said that, he is tough to work for at times. There have been times when I have wanted to give him the finger and tender my resignation. But when I cooled off and thought about it, he is usually right. He tells us to keep our offices clean, because part of winning is looking like a winner. He gets mad when we aren't working, because he is a person for whom "tenacious" is not quite strong enough a word ("take no prisoners" would be better perhaps). He wants to know what we are doing to elect Democrats, because that is his singular goal in life. He is intense, to say the least.

A lot of it probably has to do with the fact that coming from nothing to everything is the story of the guy's life. He grew up dirt poor in San Marcos- his childhood house stood where the median between I-35 and the access road is today- and worked hard to try and get into a community college. He got top grades there, because he couldn't afford anywhere else, and when he graduated near the top of his class he went on to be an officer in the US Navy. After that, he served for 10 years as a State Trooper. Ask anyone who knows what DPS training is like and they will tell you it separates the men from the boys. My Dad is in law enforcement training and has known men who were Marines, who were even in Army Special Forces and they said that DPS training was considerably tougher. Soechting thrived in that environment and became a respected agent. After a decade of the low pay and thankless work, he began studying to go to law school. He got a scholarship and went to South Texas College of Law, graduating near the top of his class again. He is now a top dog at the super-firm of O'Quinn, Laminack and Pirtle where he has distinguished himself as a trial lawyer. And after decades of Democratic activism, including stints as a candidate for State House, Hays County Chair and General Counsel for the State Party he was elected Chairman. During the first year of his term he had major back surgery and was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After both surgeries he was back in the office about 2 or 3 weeks later.

The theme of his life? Work. The guy knows what its like to start out with nothing and the only way to move up is to work harder than everyone else. As chairman he started out with nothing and he's working his way up. He has very little patience for people who don't work as hard as he does, and that can make things testy at times. He woke me up at 6:30 this morning, telling me to get to the office. He's done the same thing on weekends and in the middle of the night. I don't mind though, because I care about this party and I'm proud to serve it. I can do so because Charles Soechting gave me a chance.

I don't mean for this to sound like a puff piece- the guy is as imperfect as any of us, in some ways more than a lot of us. But he is perfect for the job. In the post where I decried him that led to him giving me a job, I said

We need someone who will shake things up, rebuild our grassroots, develop a much better GOTV effort, recruit candidates, raise money, hone our message and disseminate it and convince people who have voted for the GOP over the last decade or so that they ought to come back home to the Democratic Party. Perhaps Soechting can do this, but I have my doubts- he has been an insider and is rooted in the sort of fuzzy-headed dwelling in the past that plagues our party leadership.

Here’s hoping I’m wrong about all of this.

I was very wrong. Targeting bad Democrats in the primary shook things up. Getting on the case of lazy SDEC members and County Chairs has rebuilt the grassroots. Our GOTV effort was good this year and it will only get better next time around. We had some phenomenal candidates this year, many of them ran because Charles asked them to. He's hard at work on 2006. He's raised money and has recently hired a professional fundraiser and has promised that if she doesn't raise enough to cover her fee, he'll pay it out of his own pocket. Our message is clearer, tougher and spread better than ever before and people are starting to come back to our party. Charles Soechting proved me wrong and just to rub it in he let me be here next to him while he did it. I'm proud to say that I was wrong and I'm proud to work with him.

Once again, no one asked me to write this, I just felt that I had to say something. Next time someone says something rotten about Charles Soechting, show them to this post (especially if it is me).

Posted at 10:17 AM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Statesman Gets It Wrong Again About "Dream Home Fund"

By Andrew Dobbs

The Austin American-Statesman, a bastion of sensationalism, has seen fit to bash the Texas Democratic Party and its chairman in particular, trying to suggest that doing our job is tantamount to corruption. The paper claims that a $250,000 "dream home fund" was spent up in the pursuit of those not-so-Democratic goals of winning elections and looking professional. They are being disingenuous and sensationalist.

Let's start from the beginning.

In 1999 a 91 year old woman in Dallas, Martha Hughes, died and left her $1.9 million estate to the DNC and TDP. Part of the money was "set aside" at the time for the purpose of buying a permanent headquarters rather than renting one, as we have always done. I put "set aside" in quotes because it was more rhetoric than reality- the money was kept in the same bank account that was drawn from on a regular basis for all mannner of party business. So it wasn't "set aside" at all.

But since then our fundraising has become an even more uphill battle. With no statewides it was tough, when we lost the House in 2002 it became even harder. We were in a catch-22: we had to win some races to raise money, but we had to raise money to win races. What were we supposed to do? Charles Soechting did what he was elected to do: he made a tough decision. This summer we moved from our old offices, which were cozy if a little bit on the funky side, into new offices just across the street that are professional, spacious, much newer and not that much more a month. Our landlord was the same for both places- a great local Democrat named Alfred Stanley- and he is fair and helpful to us. Since we had new, far more professional offices that might just qualify as a "dream home," Charles decided, as he said in the article that "I could watch a party go down or I could step in and make a difference," Soechting said. "I'll bet that Miss Hughes, God rest her soul, is a lot happier winning elections. She'd rather see that than have (the money) spent on a pretty place to hang out."

Not a bad decision. Which do you think the SDEC would be more upset about- losing 5-10 seats in the legislature, 5 in Congress and all the statewides while sitting on $250,000 that an almost wholly different committee voted on 2 years ago; or to spend every penny we could on all of the important races and end up with the first net gain in legislative seats in 32 years, keeping Chet Edwards in Congress and expanding our statewide performance by 4 points in just 2 years? I think the answer is clear.

This money wasn't spent on champagne and strip clubs, it was spent on important stuff. We spent it on legislative campaigns, giving some 5-digit sums of money (and it has paid off in dividends). We spent it on a bus tour of South Texas that rallied thousands and helped us keep at least one Congressman in office and elect two embattled Democrats in open seats. We spent it on our new voter file, which has finally brought us up to speed with the GOP 20 years later- it is state of the art and helped us from losing too much ground on the county level (the only level of government in Texas where we still have a majority, and a significant one at that). And yes, we used it on furniture- not some ostentatious mahogany office fixtures and crystal sculputures or something, but important things for a professional office. We replaced the decades old chairs in our conference room with some nice black leather ones. We replaced the cheap wicker couch in our lobby with a leather couch and chair and long before all of this Charles purchased a leather chair for his desk. All the rest of our furniture is old- come to our offices at 707 Rio Grande in Austin and take a look. We wanted to look just a tad more professional because to be a winner you have to feel like a winner and to feel like a winner you need to look professional. Same reason we don't send candidates out in bermuda shorts and a wife-beater: it looks bad.

So this money was never "set aside" in a meaningful way, it seems as though it was more rhetoric from the former chair than anything else. We moved into a much better office, so we decided that the money would be better used getting 13 votes for Hubert Vo and a few hundred for Mark Strama and a handful for Lupe Valdez (we didn't give her money as far as I know, but Dallas County did benefit from our voter file) rather than buying a fancy new building to house a dying party. But a resurgent and smart Democratic Party doesn't sell newspapers- scandal and heartbreak does. So throw a headline like "Democrats' dream home fund is gone" on a story that cherrypicks its facts and you have a grade A paper-pusher right there. But just like the Barton Springs story and the racial profiling article, they just aren't true. The Statesman might be the worst daily in Texas, and it is all because of this sort of nonsense.

I wanted to close by saying that on January 1 the Texas GOP began their year in their rented offices looking at a $100,000 debt and a net loss in the legislature for the first time since McGovern vs. Nixon. We began in our rented offices in the black and with Hubert Vo, Mark Strama, Rafael Anchia, Marc Veasey, Yvonne Gonzales-Toureilles, Veroncia Gonzales and a number of other great new House members who likely would not be here (Rafael and Veasey had no general election opposition) without the $250,000 Mrs. Hughes gave us. The real scandal isn't that we spent this money, its that we'd ever surrender a single available penny to anything other than winning races.

That's our business, and business is good.

Posted at 09:32 AM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 02, 2005

Kate Hubener Just Called...

By Vince Leibowitz

I was privileged just now to have concluded a lengthy conversation with former State Rep. candidate Kate Hubener.

Many of you will recall from my earlier post that I commented on some of Ms. Hubener's actions during the Dallas County Democratic Party Executive Committee Meeting the other night.

Having never before met Ms. Hubener, I found her insightful and very passionate about the Democratic Party and the grassroots activism in Dallas County. She was also very outspoken about the current situation involving County Chair Susan Hays.

At any rate, we had a lengthy discussion and Ms. Hubener shared with me her thoughts and the thoughts of many others in Dallas County on the situation. For the most part, I won't share them here because our discussion was not one "for the record." Plus, much of what she mentioned is already posted in various places here on BurntOrangeReport.com.

What did astound me was the number of calls Ms. Hubener said she recieved with regard to my statements in the previous post about her actions during the meeting. I won't requote the passages here. If you want to read about it, go to the other post.

After speaking with Ms. Hubener, though, I do believe I owe readers of BOR and Ms. Hubener a clarification.

As I mentioned previously, I discussed Ms. Hubener's approaching the floor mic and speaking, I did not hear what was said before her which would have prompted her actions.

According to Ms. Hubener, some remarks were made by Dallas County Chair Susan Hays that were specifically insulting to Ms. Huebener and her family, as well as other grassroots activists in Dallas County.

Since I did not hear the remarks, I will make no comment one way or the other about the remarks themselves or mention them specifically. I will note, however, (and I told Ms. Hubener this) that if similar remarks were directed at me, I would have probably responded in like fashion.

Further, I was very concerned that Ms. Hubener believed that the comments I made in my earlier post were hurtful to her and her continued actions as a Democratic activist in Dallas County.

In that regard, I must note several things. As a former journalist who has won a number of awards, I have often quoted people on things or discussed behavior of individuals at public meetings. Many times, such is not flattering and may be hurtful to those people. Sometimes, especially in the cases of Republican politicians saying and doing stupid things, yes, that may have hurt their positions.

However, in the new business, writers and editors consider things for inclusion in their stories based on "news value." In other words, is it newsworthy? Were Ms. Hubener's actions more newsworthy than those of others at the meeting? In my view, at the time, they were because of her position as a former candidate. Though a Weblog isn't always considered journalism in the strictest sense of the word, I will say that I stand behind mentioning what I did because I believed it had news value.

Nevertheless, I must also note that my post Monday night wasn't, in the strictest sense of the word (or possibly in the most lenient sense of the word), a "news" piece. I hadn't intended to go to cover the event. As such, my piece was really more of an opinion column.

As such, and given Ms. Hubener's statements to me tonight, I do believe I may have treated her a more harshly than I should have. In defense of my "journalistic integrity" (do we have that on Weblogs?), however, I will say that, whether it was Katy Hubener or anyone else I had written about in this fashion and later recieved additional information to amplify my story, I would still be writing a similar correction. I am not writing this clarification/amplification because Ms. Hubener is a former candidate for public office. I am writing this correction because I felt it only appropriate to extend Ms. Hubener the courtesy of doing so in light of additional information she provided to me which I did not have at the time of posting.

Once again, it is proven that, while the mainstream media may not consider Weblogs as news or news sources, we must take care to insure that we do report facts and do not paint individuals in an inappropriate light. While it was a fact that Ms. Hubener delivered impassioned remarks from the floor microphone Monday night, I believe now that my use of those remarks painted Ms. Hubener in an inappropriate light and placed her actions somewhat out of context given information I now have.

I regret any error on my part and that Ms. Hubener's actions were portrayed out of context. I will, however, once again state that the piece I wrote was more of an opinion piece than a news piece. Still, though, I believe it is important to place individuals and their actions in the appropriate context at all times. Inasmuch as this was not done in this case, I am truly sorry for any sorrow this has caused Ms. Hubener or her family.

In turn, I will also ask Ms. Hubener, her family, and Democrats in Dallas County to understand that to error is human. I believe that, in making this clarification, I have done the responsible and appropriate thing. Any regular readers of this site, my previous Weblog, or Political State Report is no doubt aware that my posts are usually fairly absent any significant controversy (aside from a misspelled word here and there), and I trust that those readers will take it to heart that a clarification has been made, understand that we all make mistakes, and that my earlier or future work won't be impuned as a result.

Posted at 11:10 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (35) | TrackBack

March 01, 2005

Dallas County Democrats: Behaving Badly

By Vince Leibowitz

I, too, attended the meeting of the Dallas County Democratic Party Executive Committe at the CWA hall in Dallas tonight.

Being a county chair in a nearby county and concerned Democrat, I thought it might be an appropriate way to spend a Monday night. Plus, having heard about the conflict in Dallas County from people on both sides, I wanted to see what would transpire first-hand.

Unlike Byron, I wasn't liveblogging or even taking notes. I was standing in the back of the room with some SDEC-types and Dallas Democrats watching things unfold. So, I don't want to steal Byron's thunder, as he'll no doubt have a quality blow-by-blow post of the whole thing up soon.

In fact, I hadn't planned to actually blog anything at all about the meeting until about the very end, after I'd seen and heard so many things I had decided I just couldn't keep my mouth shut any longer.

I was fundamentally disgusted with what I saw at this meeting tonight. Among other things, for at least the next week, I'll have the image of former State Representative candidate Katie Hubner playing in my mind as she childishly shouted through a microphone at Dallas County Chair Susan Hays. More on that later.

Before I go any further, I want to announce that I am fully aware I'll probably be flamed to Hell and back in the comments of this post for what I have to say here. And, that's fine with me. Flame away. In fact, I feel so strongly about what I have to say I'll even publicize my email address so you can send your venom directly to my inbox. I'll also note that I am sure Byron and I will have different takes on the meeting (and possibly different versions, since he was far closer to the action than I was and I could not hear everything that was said).

So, I hope those reading the two divergent opinions will allow both of us our due and respect what we both have to say and understand that we are both blogging from two very different viewpoints.

In general, I was appalled at the conduct of some of the participants in this meeting. I have always believed that, even in a contensious situation like the one in Dallas tonight, there are ways to air grievances without lowering the discourse and acting inappropriate, immature, or childish. Sadly, I am not sure many of Susan's opponents ever thought to take a lesson from that playbook.

I was also amazed how the "opposition" was willing to, on one hand, use the Party rules and Roberts Rules of Order to their advantage to get what they wanted and, on the other hand, be so willing to disregard them (and even attempt to make up rules as they went along) when things weren't going to suit them.

On one hand, the meeting was a fine example of Democracy and grassroots activism within the Democratic Party being utilized to the best possible extent. Or, at least it was for about five or ten minutes at least an hour into the meeting. Aside from that, it was all shameful.

For one thing, regardless of whether or not I agree with their overall "agenda" (not the one on paper, but their real agenda), Chair Hays' opponents followed the rules and got the meeting called by petition. If there is a grievance to be aired, that's an appropriate step one can take. I'll give them that and even points for making use of a seldom-used rule. Second, they were successful in utilizing Party rules and Roberts Rules of Order to adopt their own "Petitioner's Agenda." Fine. "Democracy in action," and so forth.

They even successfully passed two major resolutions concerning party governance off that agenda--a major accomplishment given the circumstances.

For the most part, much of the debate surrounding the petitioner's agenda and even the adoption of the resolutions was under control. The second resolution was even modified from the floor to correct some conflicting language, all without too much bad behavior.

It's what happened before all of this and what happened after that made my stomach turn.

For one thing, before the Chair could call the meeting to order, she had to be sure a quorum was present. A lot of people around me were saying that was a "delay tactic," because she was answering a lot of the allegations put forth in a three-page front-and-back handout. However, I don't see it as such. For one thing, determining exactly who is there and who is not there and how many precinct chairs are still in good standing to constitute a quorum when you have as many precinct chairs as Dallas County has isn't a five-minute ordeal. I don't know how this was organized and perhaps it could have been organized to work a little faster. But, it was something that had to be done. However, a several people loudly and sometimes obnixously objected to the Chair answering the allegations before the meeting was called. She said she was doing it to save time. I think that's a valid reason for her to have done what she did.

Furthermore, those in opposition should have realized that being certain there was a quorum was actually more beneficial to them than to the chair. For one thing, if they had passed their resolutions and continued with other business and there not been a quorum, all of the action would have been null and void, and their efforts would have been in vain.

Second, when it came to swearing-in newly appointed (not elected) precinct chairs, there was a great deal of controversy because the Chair wanted to follow Texas law, which requires that a majority of the Executive Committee be in attendence in order to fill the vacancies. Evidently, swearing in the newly appointed precinct chairs would have been unlawful. Thus, if they had been sworn in and become voting members of the body, any decisions of the body could have been voidable. Once again, this is something that could have caused a great deal of problems for the opposition. But, they seemed to want to proceed with it anyway.

In addition, once the Petitioner's Agenda was adopted, I found it very tacky that the body wouldn't allow Sheriff Lupe Valdez to address the group. In the initial agenda submitted by the Chair, which was overridden by the Petitioner's Agenda once adopted, Sheriff Valdez was slated to give an address. I have no idea what she was going to address and, to me, it isn't relavent. Of course, the opposition evidently thought she was going to give an oration supporting Chair Hays, since she had previously signed a letter supporting her. Either way, this was the first opportunity the popular, newly-elected Sheriff had to address her core constituants, and she was denied that opportunity. A vote to allow the Sheriff to speak early was handily defeated. Of course, opponents pointed out that in item six of their agenda, they had a spot for "remarks of elected officials." Of course, given that everyone--including the petitioners/opposition knew this was going to be a maratnon meeting, the least they could have done out of courtesy to the Sheriff was to have allowed her to speak. This small courtesy wasn't even extended, and the wrangling over the issue, in my mind, cheapened the opposition. If Sheriff Valdez wanted to dedicate a portion of her address to supporting the Chair, that's her right to do so. I just have difficulty believing that, in a room where Sheriff Valdez was clearly greeted like a rock star and reveared like a saint, she was shunned in the name of party bickering.

Later on in the evening, the issue of whether or not a quorum was present reared its ugly head again. Clearly, it's possible to anyone standing in the back that a quorum might not have been present given the number of people with blue precinct chair voting cards in their shirt pockets or in their hands that kept walking out of the meeting.

Some of the ugliest debate and behavior was exhibited during this episode. And, when one precinct chair called for a roll call from the floor and the Chair tried to conduct it, all Hell seemed to break loose. Either side can utilize the rules to their gain, that's a given. I have no idea if the young woman who called for the roll call was an opposition person or a supporter of the chair--I wasn't watching how she voted. But, that person followed the rules and called for a roll call. When an attempt was made to conduct that roll call, nearly everyone in the room--especially the leaders of the opposition--seemed to forget, yet again, their manners.

One opposition leader even claimed the rules of the Texas Democratic Party included a provision that would essentially mean that "once a quorum is deemed present, it's always present" regardless of if it walked out the door. Such is nowhere in the rules.

Granted, it was a little strange when the roll was called and the name of a deceased precinct chair was called. But, all of the ugly remarks from the floor following that incident were unnecessary. I have no way of knowing if the Chair knew that person was dead, was looking at a list on which that person hadn't been marked out on or what. Sure, it was a mistake--even, I'll grant, a mistake that shouldn't have been made. But, there was no need for the ugly remarks that followed.

Sometime during the roll call, it got even worse, and at this point, I became engaged in conversations with some of the Democrats at the back of the room, so I wasn't privy to everything that followed as opposition leaders scrambled for a turn at the side microphone and chaos generally descended over the union hall.

During this time, I was talking to a Democrat who was part of the opposition. Even he said that the leaders of the opposition were doing their movement a disservice with their childish behavior, and that he couldn't believe what the meeting had become.

About this time, I ended my conversation and my attention was attracted toward the side microphone where the opposition leaders had taken control. Because of the loud noise in the hall and my postion, I couldn't clearly make out every word that was being said. But, I was appalled at the behavior exhibited by former State Rep. candidate Katie Hubner, who gained control of that mic and was evidently hurling demands at the chair to quit or resign. If I'm not mistaken, I do recall hearing a "damn" or "damned" as part of her remark, after which came much caterwalling, and such disorderly conduct that the Sargent at Arms (a union member evidently helping make sure this rowdy crowd didn't stage a bloody coup within CWA walls) declared that the meeting had become too disorderly to continue and was thereby adjourned. Of course, this didn't stop others from trying to sieze control of an already adjourned meeting and attempt to plow through the petitioner's agenda. It even got to the point where the Chair's mic was cut off (I understand by the party's own secretary) when she tried to urge everyone to leave the hall because the Union president had requested that everyone get the hell out of his building.

What was so interesting to me is that, following Hubner's Academy-Award callibur performance, the guy standing to my right turned to me and said "she just lost a lot of respect by doing that."

I cannot believe that an ex-candidate for State Rep would descend to such a level--even in the heat of a passionate argument. Not only is it bad manners, out of order and just plain inappropriate, it makes one wonder what she would have done had she made it down to Austin. Then again, watching her sieze control of the House mic and demand Tom Craddick's resignation might have been a good thing. But, Monday night in Dallas County, it was not called for. I was so appalled by it, I have to admit I turned to a nearby SDEC member I know and described her behavior with a couple of choice expletives. Of course, I wasn't at the mic, and I was speaking conversationally to the person next to me, not standing in front of a hall crowded with people seemingly ready to riot at any moment.

What was most disheartening to me was the man standing next to me early in the meeting. He was a new precinct chair and had come to be sworn in. He knew nothing about the interparty bickering and asked me if I knew what was going on. I told him I wasn't from Dallas County, and that I probably wasn't a good person to ask. After a while, he bemoaned the entire saga, and said he was ready to withdaw his name from consideration, saying, quite simply, "I don't need this."

No, he didn't need that. No one in Dallas County did. The Democratic Party didn't need that. Had the petitioners/opposition behaved a little better, they might have gotten a little farther. In fact, I'd dare say that they might not have lost the support of a few in their own crowd. The Chair appeared amenable or at least accepting of both of the opposition's resolutions, which ultimately passed. It was after that point that some healing should have begun, rather than continued activities that did nothing more than fractionalize the party.

On another note, I recognized many of the key players in the opposition movement from my service on the Permanent Credentials Committee at the 2004 Texas Democratic Party Convention. As you may recall from my post this summer at my old blog, there were some problems with the Senate District 23 caucus. Many of these people who were tonight taking (in many cases) improper advantage of party rules and Roberts Rules of Order and generally behaving badly were among those same people who came before the Credentials Committee asking us to insure that they were protected by the party's rules. I and others on the PCC stood up for those men and women. I, in fact, made the motion that resulted in an entirely new SD 23 caucus because I believed the rules had not been followed and that the interests of democracy and the party weren't served by the initial caucus. Given the allegations they proffered at that time, I can't see how what happened Monday night in Dallas was any better than what they were subjected to at the State Convention.

On a much lighter note, I was pleased to finally meet new Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. She seems like a very nice lady. I also got to speak briefly with State Representative Terri Hodge, one of my favorite Democrats in the House. Also, after I was informally introduced, a lot of folks recognized me from posting here and over at the Political State Report, which was quite flattering. Of course, some of those folks may not be so glad I was there after reading this.

And, since I think it is appropriate, a sort-of disclaimer: I know Susan Hays and have served with her in various capacities related to Senate District 2 and the Executive Committee for the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas. I have read all of the allegations against her and talked to Susan and others on both sides. Susan has admitted that she made some mistakes, like sending out a letter supporting a federal judicial nominee on party letterhead. I am not defending Susan. Susan can, and has, ably defend herself against these allegations. However, I will note that the majority of the allegations facing her seem to me to be pretty petty. The argument of her opposition is that, when taken as a whole, they amount to a lot. I guess the case could be made for that. Several of the allegations are simply unbelievable (threatening to denounce Ron Kirk because his campaign didn't give the party a room at its victory party in 2002?) and others seem to simply be administrative difficulties any party of Dallas' size is likely to experience. However, the fact remains that some things are going right in Dallas County: Susan has raised a lot of money for the party, and did, contrary to one allegation, run a coordinated campaign. However, because of new laws, not one like the party has seen in the past. I will go on record as saying she probably should have called an executive committee meeting before the election. Nevertheless, her not doing that and these allegations aren't a good enough reason for her opposition to engage in counter-productive activities like tonight's meeting. As opposed to doing party building, this is something that will destroy the party. A lot of this seems to be about personalities and, perhaps, a little "old Dallas vs. new Dallas." Whatever the case, it's time to move forward, build on the party's success in Dallas County in 2006, and end the infighting.

There. I've said my piece.

Posted at 12:10 AM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

February 22, 2005

Watering the Grass

By Jim Dallas

Chris Bowers of MyDD wins the Dallas Award For Best Use of The Word "Ontological" with this post.

I adhere to the theory that each individual voter is cross-pressured, and has many different components of his/her identity that are politically relevant. Engaging different voters involves hitting them in the right identity "sweet spot." Taking a one-size fits all mentality runs the risk of swinging... and missing, like the Iowa Perfect Storm did. These "network" theories of organizing are interesting to me.

Fact: for most Americans, politics is intrusive and disruptive. That's why it used to be good manners not to talk about politics in mixed company. Now that it's all too easy for voters to simply turn the channel (mentally speaking), expanding our campaigns is going to be necessary.

One concern, though, is how far you want to take this. If it's done ham-handedly, it'll come off as oafish. If it's done too effectively, people will worry that the traditional seperation of the public and private sphere that we value in a liberal society such as ours has been breached. Chris titles his post "How Democrats Can Seize The New Civic Space." The problem is that "civic space" is a very blurry concept to begin with, and any attempt to replace the traditional institutions which have defined "political space" with ones that extend politics into "civic space" (one which, while still conceivably in the public sphere, is considerably more intimate) inevitably will step on some toes.

Anyway, this is probably the future of politics; the subversion of the Democratic Party as an institutional hierarchy and a new reality of the party as a community of communities. Get used to it.

On second thought, I'm wondering why I thought this was all so revolutionary: there's a far-left-wing wannabe-academic inside of me that's screaming that this is more confirmation of the effects of late capitalism or post-modernism or whatever.

On third thought, I am reminded that, even after stumbling across some nutshell summaries of Habermas's Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere years ago, I have yet to get around to checking out a copy from the liberary and attempting to read it. I'm probably not smart enough to understand it, but it might help me pick up hot dates.

Posted at 12:22 AM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 16, 2005

Where do you draw the line?

By Byron LaMasters

A question worth exploring came up in the comment thread of my post yesterday on a possible primary challenege to State Rep. Vilma Luna. I stated that I would support a primary challenge to Vilma Luna based on her vote for the redistricting bill in the 2003 session. Luna, along with Ron Wilson were the only House Democrats to support the Tom DeLay re-redistricting scheme. Luna is also a member of the Craddick House leadership team. She represents a reliably Democratic district, where a generic Democrat can expect to get at least 55-60% of the vote.

Some commenters argue that she should be given no more of a pass than those Democrats who voted on other Republican bills such as the CHIP-cutting bill, etc. I argued that Luna voted for bills that cut CHIP as well - I disagree with her vote, and that of other Democrats on that issue, but I don't see that as grounds for defeat in a Democratic primary. Her position on the redistricting issue, however, is something that I find unforgivable. That vote not only ended the careers of SEVEN Democratic congressmen, but also chopped up my neighborhood in central Austin into three congressional districts, deprived the state of Texas of decades of seniority in Congress, and most likely will make it impossible for Democrats to regain a majority in Congress until the next redistricting cycle. That led commenter JW to ask this question:

Should an ideological outsider (a) play the game, gain influence and make a real difference, even if it's just at the margins; or (b) play the role of loyal opposition and fight every fight, even if your cause may be harmed in the long run? There are two schools of thought and both have some merit. Let's see what your readers think.

Personally, I'm typically a proponent of the latter approach, because I find that usually - particularly considering the leadership tactics of the modern day Republican Party - those who "play the game" end up doing more to legitimize the opposition (Republicans) than they do in affecting positive legislation. Thus, in my opinion, the negative effects outweigh the positive ones.

I would say that approach (a) offers a short term gain (i.e. crumbs of positive legislation), but a long-term loss (enabling and legitimizing a governing party that is not in our best interets). Whereas I would say approach (b) offers short term loss (less pork for your district or positive legislation), but is a long-term gain - as it allows to opposition to point out the abuses of power and corruption of the governing party in order to win elections - the tool that will ultimately change the equation.

Anyway, I got to run, but let me know what you think...

Posted at 05:56 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 15, 2005

Frost an FNC contributor

By Nathan Nance

According to TVNewser, former Dallas congressman Martin Frost has been hired as a contributor for Fox News Channel, much like former Democratic senator Zell Miller.

I don't want to get into an argument on whether or not Frost is a "conservative Democrat" and a DINO. We can save that vitriol for other places. Frost's record speaks for itself and he's no DINO. In fact, he came very close to being the chairman of the DNC.

I really want to know what people think of the fact that both Miller and Frost were branded as it were (Miller for a very good reason) as "GOP-lite" and now both are contributing to FNC. I'm sure some might think that maybe we should be more lenient on some withing our party who reach across the aisle to get things done. I'm sure others will think that Martin Frost was too close to the Republicans and its good that he's not the chairman and that he's relegated to appearing on a conservative network. I'm looking for a debate here on what, exactly, you think about this.

I'm also interested in hearing what you think the chances are that Frost can influence coverage that is more favorable to the Democrats on FNC.

If you must have vitriol, here's more at dKos.

Posted at 07:52 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack

February 14, 2005

Recap of the DNC Meeting - Part Two

By Byron LaMasters

Texas DNC member David Holmes has posted twice on his Yahoo Group recapping the events of the DNC meeting over the weekend. I posted his thoughts from the first day here, and this post is part two of his experience over the weekend. I know that I join many Texas Democrats in thanking David Holmes for his accessibility and responsiveness to the concerns of the grassroots throughout this process of selecting a DNC Chair.

I sent a message Friday describing the events of that day – I thought I would also comment on the rest of the weekend.

I should go backward first – to the Thursday night gala to say goodbye to McAuliffe. It was a very nice event.

The highlights of the evening were Al Franken, John Kerry and Bill Clinton, with two out of the three being motivating or entertaining at least.

The rest after the jump.

Al Franken was his normal funny self – the best part of his emceeing of the evening was a terribly off-color riff he went through with the deaf interpreter – he spoke in third person to give the impression that the interpreter was ad-libbing and talking bad about Franken, saying things like, “Al Franken hates deaf people. When the event is over let’s kill him.” Maybe you had to be there...

Bill Clinton was his normal inspiring self. He gave a captivating speech rallying Democrats to move forward from the election and truly, subtly paving a pathway for Hillary in ’08.

The awkward moment of the evening – and not only for me – was John Kerry. While his speech was fairly flat and received with polite indulgence by the crowd, it was not until I saw clips of it the next day on CNN that it registered what I heard him say:

"This great party of ours doesn't need a makeover," Kerry told the dinner, adding he came "within inches" of winning the presidency. "This great party of ours doesn't need some massive shift."

In an attempt to give him the benefit-of-the-doubt, I first thought that perhaps he meant that we don’t need an ideological shift – that we need to remain who we are. If that was the message, however, he did not declare it very clearly for the discussion of the last several weeks has been one of reforming the party. Either he has not heard the discussion of the need for infrastructure reform or he was disagreeing that it is needed.

The speech was ill-conceived and out-of-touch. Surely, he will not run again.

Saturday the election of the DNC officer positions was held. Dean was elected by acclamation and gave a speech regarding his vision for the Party.

There was strong contention among the Vice Chair candidates and in the end a strong slate of officers was elected. I am confident they will all work well with Chairman Dean.

The weekend was an energizing set of events that left me convinced that the party is on the verge of great and positive change that will lead to more Democrats being elected in both state and federal elections.

I hope you were able to see some of the event on CSPAN.

Posted at 02:38 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Donate to the DNC

By Byron LaMasters

Howard Dean wasn't my first or second choice for DNC Chair, but he's the DNC Chair now, and he has my support, so if you feel so inclined, send the DNC a donation. If I had any money to donate, I'd send some to the DNC, but I promise that I will once I graduate and get a job. I'll have some final thoughts on Dean and the DNC later this week.

Donate through ActBlue here:

Contribution amount: $

A few weeks ago, I was considering trying to find a way to get up to D.C. to liveblog the DNC race. Of course, the DNC race ended up becoming a non-race, and I lost my interest in spending money that I didn't have to liveblog the event. However, there are some recaps over at MyDD, BOP News and The American Street (continued here).

Posted at 12:22 AM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 13, 2005

Early Report from the DNC Meetings

By Byron LaMasters

Texas DNC member David Holmes posted to his DNC Yahoo Group yesterday his summary of the DNC events on Friday. Here's his summary of the events:

The 2005 Winter meeting of the DNC would feel familiar to those of you who attended the Texas Democratic Party convention. While quite a bit smaller than the state convention, everyone here is covered in stickers and buttons and campaign material of the various candidates for DNC officer positions.

This morning the full DNC met to hear speeches from a number of distinguished Democrats - and two possible 2008 Presidential contenders.

John Edwards gave a great version of his 2004 campaign speech with a few new personal stories thrown in and more energy than I had noticed from him in a while. He said that his wife is doing well.

Bill Richardson gave a good speech about the policy and campaign innovations that have been going on in states - and outside of DC. He did get booed when he said that we need to change the law to allow Governor Granholm to run for President - only because of the California situation. Overall, he was well received.

Most of the rest of the day has been filled with constituency caucus meetings and time to meet the candidates.

There are very heated campaigns going on for a couple of the Vice Chair positions, while at least half of the total number of positions are uncontested. All of the candidates, though, were available to meet with DNC members for a couple hours this afternoon, including Governor Dean.

Tonight the Young Democrats of America are having their big fundraiser of the year with Mark Strama keynoting the event.

I'm sure David will have some more thoughts on the entire weekend coming soon...

Posted at 11:59 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How 'bout some flying monkeys?

By Jim Dallas

Vince is certainly correct that Howard Dean's DNC Plan is exciting because it addresses a number of widely-recognized genuine institutional problems we've got.

And naturally, if I were a Republican, I'd share Thomas Lindaman's view:

Conservatives and Republicans have been licking their chops at the prospect of a Dean chairmanship, but I would urge a bit of caution here. Howard Dean has the potential to be the Democrats' version of Newt Gingrich, and if we overlook the potential impact he will have on the Democrats as a whole, we could see a Democrat Revolution in the near future, possibly as soon as 2006.

Granted, I've taken more than a few shots at Dean in my columns, but behind the scenes I've grown to respect him. He is not a typical modern Democrat by any stretch of the imagination. Instead of focusing on short term personal political goals, he sees a bright future for his party if Democrats are willing to follow him.

And personally, I think he has the ability to do it.

Soon? All in good time, my pretties.

But while we're rebuilding our state parties and modernizing our technology, why don't we take the next logical step - training a swarm of flying monkeys? Just think about how they'd improve our operations - reduced costs for lit drops, and the ability to literally, umm, knock and drag our voters to the polls!

At this point you are wondering... no doubt... did Jimbo have a little too much fun this weekend? What's the point? Is there a point?

In rapid order, no, yes, and yes. The point is this: The Dean plan focuses heavily on infrastructure and institutional reform. But it seems to ignore that other key issue - persuasion. And while I certainly don't intend to join the Chicken Little Wing of the Democratic Party, I'll note that Dean's ascendency probably isn't turning on the un-evangelized.

Having the best marketing infrastructure in the world isn't going to help us one iota if there's not a market for what we're marketing.

This is, I think, my singular critique of the plan so far, but it's important. Our sales pitch needs work. As in, it needs to be employed.

By "work," I don't mean turning tail and pretending that, by golly, if we just have enough Sista Souljah moments the people will trust us again! (and boy howdy, do I absolutely loathe re-running the same tired plays out of the Clinton playbook) but rather, that we need to work on fundamental things like the elevator pitch and... by golly... actually going out and using selling door-to-door.

Howard Dean, I think, is going to do a good job as chair. But at some point we're going to have to start addressing that credibility gap (yes! It's frustrating to admit that millions of Americans still trust those assclowns in the White House!) that's putting a crimp in our persuasive ability. I'm not sure handing over message and policy to the Congressional wing of the party was the best decision... bless their hearts, despite some promising developments in the last few months... I'm still not convinced our Congressional leaders could fight their way out of a wet paper sack.

Posted at 02:48 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Missing In Action

By Nathan Nance

I want to thank Vince for taking the slack on all the posting, especially since I was no help.

It should come as no surprise that I am overjoyed that Gov. Dean is now Chairman Dean. I supported him all along because I thought he would do the best job for a number of reasons which we've all gone over more times than anyone cares to remember.

I won't list why Howard Dean is going to make a good chairman. Instead, I want to remind everyone why we make a great party.

We are the party of FDR, JFK, Andrew Jackson and Bill Clinton. Our politics and our beliefs, as a whole, have changed a lot through all the years. While Jackson may have hated the idea of a national bank, it was Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA and ushered in the century of global free trade. While Democrats in the 1860s may have supported slavery, Democrats in the 1960s made the Civil Rights Act law. We are the oldest party that represent the newest ideas. We are always evolving, making ourselves better. We learn from our mistakes.

Our friends on the other side of the aisle do not. The party of big business and of the rich and elite in the 1890s was the party of the rich in the 1990s. The Republicans do not change, do not learn. Failed economic policies like cutting taxes for the rich to the detriment of the overall economy keep getting reused without a second thought. Cold War-era policies to fight the Soviets are used to fight a much different enemy in the 21st Century.

While the Republicans use scare tactics and falsehoods, we Democrats use the truth. As Harry Truman said, "I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell." That's what makes us great. That's why we represent what is best with America and why we are going to win. The Republicans can't hold off the inevitable. People will see through the misleading words and the bad results.

Dean is the new chairman. It's his job to help us prepeare for that time so we can be ready to do what it is we do best, help America reach its full potential. Let's do all we can to help him to help ourselves and to help our fellow Americans.

The title of this post is Missing In Action. It was meant not just to describe where I've been, but where we've been. Too often, some Democrats attack others because of a particular ideology or group association.

I know I've taken my fair share of shots at the DLC and others have taken shots at us Deaniacs. Today is the day that ends. Today is the day when we start evolving; start to better ourselves. Today we are not missing, we are found. Today we have a new beginning. Today we are Democrats, pure and simple.

Today, we start the journey, together, toward winning back our government and repairing the damage caused by the Republicans.

Posted at 04:31 AM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 12, 2005

Soon, Very Soon

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Vince is right in the fact that us old guys have not been up to peak posting capacity of late. I will later tonight post my "Post" about Howard Dean as our new Party Chair. I will also have set up some fundraising links.

I know some of you want to donate as soon as you got the word that Dean was Chair, but I have a feeling that all the major e-mails from all the major lists will go out soon enough and they are still coordinating how to best keep track of the dollars and not crash anybody's servers, as has already happened with the Act Blue donation page that Kos set up earlier today. The next couple of days will likly be as high traffic for donations and signing up for DNC services as during the Presidential Election so some patience may be in order.

If you want, try out the Act Blue page since it is a blogosphere wide effort with the best tracking capability. If that is not working, I have set up an ePatriots donation page with the DNC which I would encourage you to use otherwise.

Posted at 05:36 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 10, 2005

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers

By Jim Dallas

John Kerry's sending out e-mails asking Democrats to stand behind Howard Dean:

Let's send an unmistakable message to George Bush and his allies: In 2005, the Democratic Party is strong and united.

Again, it is just two days until Howard Dean becomes chairman. Please join me now in getting his efforts to strengthen our Party off to a record-setting start.

Posted at 12:33 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 06, 2005

Give Dean A Fair Shake

By Jim Dallas

There've always been intraparty feuds, but the sky-is-falling rhetoric over Howard Dean's apparent success (here and otherwise) in winning the DNC helm is way off the charts.

Howard Dean was not my first choice to be DNC Chairman; my first choice was Simon Rosenberg, because I believed he'd be the most capable leader/manager/guru. But that isn't to say I thought anyone would be patently incapable of the job, with the exception of Tim Roemer (whose unfavorables among the Democratic intelligensia probably surpass Dean's by a considerable amount).

I share the anxiety of many people about Dean; like most of us here, I was in Iowa last year. If the Dean DNC will look anything like Dean for Iowa, then every quote in Garance Franke-Ruta's piece in the American Prospect will look prescient. (At the same time, from what I've heard, the New Hampshire organization was brilliant).

On the other hand, Franke-Ruta, who covered the Dean campaign last year, felt compelled to back-peddle from the shrill Dean-bashing in the recent pieces by Jon Chait and Ryan Lizza.

I can't agree with Greg that there's anything amiss with giving money and power to state Democratic party's.

Look, the next four years could validate every fear of the Stop Dean caucus. On the other hand, it could very well shake things up. And on the third hand (I don't really have three hands, but you get the gist), it could end up meaning very little.

I, for one, choose to be an optimist, or at the very least, a realist. And if I could say "let's give Bush a fair shake" (I did, by the way; he just kept acting like a jackass, so that was the end of that experiment), then I ought to be able to say the same thing about Dean.

(Or, for the cynics, I am beholden to take my talking-points from the editors of the American Prospect (also here), instead of from the editors of The New Republic.)

Posted at 04:31 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 05, 2005

Fowler, Rosenberg Endorse Dean

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Though Rosenberg already endorsed Dean the other day, his statement got a bit jumbled. Fowler just announced his late today.

Donnie Fowler said, "Today it became clear that Howard Dean has the votes to become DNC chairman.

"I got in the race because I wanted to see change in the Democratic Party. I know from experience that local people know better and that strong state parties and successful elected officials should teach the rest of the Party their best lessons. I want to see the DNC get back to its real mission: to help each candidate and assist state and county parties to achieve new standards or performance.

"With Howard Dean as its next chair of the DNC, the Party will have someone who not only understands change, but knows how to make it happen.

"As a presidential candidate and as a candidate for Chair, Dean has brought with him a grassroots movement that will reinvigorate the Democrats with new activism and new voters. As a former governor and former Chair of the Democratic Governors Association, Governor Dean also knows the value of respecting and including those who are most loyal to the Party. It's the best of the new and the traditional. And the Democratic Party will be better for it.

"This is why I endorse Governor Dean for DNC Chair and hope to contribute to his and the new DNC's successes."

"I am honored to have Donnie Fowler's support to be chairman of the Democratic Party. Donnie should be proud of the integrity, momentum and energy he brought to this race," said Dean. "The support he was able to achieve from all levels of the Democratic Party and all regions of the country is a testament to his political skill and commitment to the grassroots. I hope to be able to count on Donnie's help in the future as I work to build our Party so that Democrats can win elections again."

And Simon Rosenberg...

"Effective today, I am ending my campaign for chair of the Democratic National Committee. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to share my vision with Democrats around the country, and I remain encouraged by the depth and thoughtfulness DNC members have brought to this important process of picking our next chair.

Today, I am endorsing Governor Howard Dean to be the next Chairman of the DNC. While we have not always agreed on every issue, I believe his passion for our Party, his remarkable fighting spirit, his direct and powerful way of speaking, and his commitment to bringing regular people back into our Party will allow him to revitalize our Party and help us win again in the 21st century.

I call upon my supporters, and Democrats from all parts of the Party and all parts of the country, to join me in supporting Governor Howard Dean as the next DNC chair.

Though my campaign is ending, my work and my commitment to the Party that I love will continue at NDN. There I will continue to focus on the three priorities for our Party that I spelled out in the campaign - crafting a better agenda for our Party, investing in and building a better infrastructure for our politics, and leading a new national commitment to nurturing the grassroots. If we can do these three things and do them well in the years ahead, we can once again become a vibrant, dynamic and winning Party.

Finally, I want to thank my staff and my supporters across the country. Their faith in me inspired me each day to fight just a little harder in this important and tough race."

Posted at 01:21 AM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 04, 2005

Dean Over the Top

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

After first seeing this morning that the Georgia Delegation is on board, and that the New York delegation is on board, I get word that as of this morning, Dean has secured enough votes to become the next chairman of the DNC.

Stay tuned for an endorsement from Simon Rosenberg today. Update: (This is now in the extended entry)(ABC's The Note has already published the fact that Rosenberg is making a "major announcement" on a conference call with reporters at 1pm Eastern; my source tells me it's going to include an endorsement of Gov. Dean.)

It's over folks (and that includes you, the overconfident Mr. Fowler). For the first time in my five years of political awareness and involvement, I can experience what it's like to have my guy win.... Gore, John Courage for Congress, Dean, Kerry...

Dean. Let a New Day for Democrats begin, god knows we need it.

Statement from Simon Rosenberg on the Campaign for DNC Chair

"Effective today, I am ending my campaign for chair of the Democratic National Committee. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to share my vision with Democrats around the country, and I remain encouraged by the depth and thoughtfulness DNC members have brought to this important process of picking our next chair.

Today, I am endorsing Governor Howard Dean to be the next Chairman of the DNC. While we have not always agreed on every issue, I believe his passion for our Party, his remarkable fighting spirit, his direct and powerful way of speaking, and his commitment to bringing regular people back into our Party will allow him to revitalize our Party and help us win again in the 21st century.

I call upon my supporters, and Democrats from all parts of the Party and all parts of the country, to join me in supporting Governor Howard Dean as the next DNC chair.

Though my campaign is ending, my work and my commitment to the Party that I love will continue at NDN. There I will continue to focus on the three priorities for our Party that I spelled out in the campaign - crafting a better agenda for our Party, investing in and building a better infrastructure for our politics, and leading a new national commitment to nurturing the grassroots. If we can do these three things and do them well in the years ahead, we can once again become a vibrant, dynamic and winning Party.

Finally, I want to thank my staff and my supporters across the country. Their faith in me inspired me each day to fight just a little harder in this important and tough race."

Posted at 10:25 AM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dean Dean, yeah, you know

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

I havn't been keeping up with every endorsement that has been coming out for Dean now because I think that today or tomorrow he is going to exceed 224 votes for the win.

But I did want to note that the United Steelworkers endoresed Dean, the Young Democrats of America (3 DNC votes) endorsed Dean, the NEA endorsed Dean, and I'm wondering how long it takes for the College Democrats of America to follow suit (3 votes).

MyDD has the latest vote totals up, with Dean at 215 of the 224 needed to win. Unless there is an unexpected blast of Roe-mentum, the only momentum is Ho-mentum at this point.

Posted at 03:47 AM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 01, 2005

Roemer Is Out

By Andrew Dobbs

I didn't see the page for a while today, but I just wanted to let everyone know that we got a call at work today from Roemer's camp saying that they were dropping out but didn't want to conflict with Frost's announcement. So Fowler and Dean essentially, and after this Politcal Wire post today, I suppose Dean is the best we can do.

Posted at 10:33 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ruminations: Roemer & Rosenberg Out

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

From a source in the know, "Roemer and Rosenberg are out now too. That leaves just Fowler still pecking around the barnyard. Also, I'm not sure if this has hit the press yet or not, but the DNC Hispanic Caucus voted this afternoon to endorse Dean."

Of course the DNC Hispanic Caucus has endorsed Dean before, back in 2003 for President.

Update!: After another e-mail from said source, I am willing to put my weight behind it that Roemer and Rosenberg are out of the race and it is just a matter of time before this hits the public media and confirmations pop up here in the blogosphere. This person has been ahead of the curve of every development in the past week and it was only my class schedule that didn't allow me to get things out such as the Webb endorsement and such in advance.

Will Donnie mount a last man standing challenge? Will there be a sudden surge of Mary Beth Malcolmentum? Give us a few more hours and this whole thing could be over.

I doubt Fowler will stay in with the whole Michigan debacle now hitting the mainstream press in that state as of right now. It's not a smear campaign, it's something that has been developing over time, but it could hurt his chances of party leadership under the Dean banner if he is stained by it, which is a shame because I think he and Rosenberg would make a couple of really great organizers for the DNC.

UPDATE:: First confirmations coming out. Donnie Fowler himself lets one cat out of the bag on his blog, saying that only Dean, himself, and Roemer remain in the race. And to think that he thinks he's ahead of the curve... heh, we'll see.

In the last two days, several candidates have withdrawan from the race for chair -- David Leland, Martin Frost, Simon Rosenberg, and Wellington Webb. Only three remain, including Governor Dean, Former Congressman Tim Roemer, and myself. And only I and Dean have proven that we have the message and organization to gather any substantial support. It's a two-man race.

I am still in this race for the reasons I first outlined after the November election....

Brewer said the complaints against him are really an attempt to tarnish the Michigan director of the Kerry/Edwards campaign, Donnie Fowler, in his campaign for DNC chairman.

"It's my belief that this is nothing more than a smear against Donnie Fowler, and the only reason this is being raised is because he's become a candidate for DNC chair," Brewer said. "If this was such an important issue, why did we not hear about it for over two and a half months, until Donnie becomes a serious candidate for DNC chair?"

Fowler's bid appeared to lose momentum Monday after the Association of State Democratic Chairs endorsed former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who now appears to have the best chance to win the DNC chairmanship. The association's executive committee had voted the day before to recommend endorsing Fowler.

Brewer said he didn't vote with the committee or participate in Monday's vote.

Fowler declined to return phone calls Tuesday. But he issued a statement recently in which he tried to distance himself from the Michigan campaign spending dispute, saying that he and other Kerry/Edwards state directors did not manage or set up tracking processes for campaign budgets because of federal laws.

But Fowler legally could have participated in discussions about how the DNC money should be spent and would have been aware of how the DNC money was being handled in Michigan, especially since the Kerry campaign office shared quarters with the coordinated campaign.

Posted at 05:33 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Charles Soechting Endorses Dean for DNC

By Byron LaMasters

Texas Democratic Party Chair Charles Soechting has endorsed Howard Dean for DNC Chair. Soechting had previously endorsed Martin Frost along with 13 other members of the Texas delegation. Martin Frost withdrew from the DNC race today. Read Soechting's letter to his fellow DNC members in the extended entry:

Dear Fellow DNC Members:

It's no secret I think we need a major shakeup at the Democratic National Committee. For too long, the DNC has treated Texas like an ATM machine, raiding our most generous donors for millions of dollars while we struggle to remain competitive here in state and local races.

We need to change this attitude in Washington. And that's why I'm supporting Gov. Howard Dean for DNC Chair. He believes in a 50-state strategy, which is the only way we will ever Take Back Texas -- and our country.

Gov. Dean's message of mainstream values is all about helping the people we fight for and represent improve their lives. His political career is all about change. And he agrees with me that our party must change, too -- not to forget our principles, but to fulfill them.

Many of you may have heard by now that former Congressman Martin Frost is dropping out of the DNC chair race. Martin ran a strong and clean campaign that made all Texas Democrats proud.

Now I hope you will join me in giving your enthusiastic endorsement to Gov. Dean to lead our national party in the years ahead. I'm convinced that he is the best candidate to reflect our commitment to securing our future, balancing the budget, providing health care to every eligible child, protecting the environment, and making sure
America looks, once again, like America.

Chairman, Texas Democratic Party

Posted at 04:41 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Frost Withdraws

By Byron LaMasters

On Withdrawing from the Campaign for DNC Chair Today

WASHINGTON - Today, former Texas Congressman and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Martin Frost released the statement below. Withdrawing from the race for DNC Chair, Frost did not endorse any candidate.

"I am calling my supporters to thank them and to inform them of my decision today to withdraw from the race for DNC Chair. I have also called Governor Dean and congratulated him for running a strong campaign. The challenge ahead for Governor Dean will be to unite the Party, rebuild the DNC and win elections in every region of the country.

"This campaign was never about me or any other candidate. It was about rebuilding the Democratic Party so that we can better present to the nation our strong, hopeful alternative to the dishonest, corrupt and elitist Republican Government that keeps selling out the nation in order to reward its few, privileged friends.

"Make no mistake, Democrats are the party that can best meet America's challenges - challenges like keeping our people safe and winning the war on terrorism, stopping the Republican attack on Social Security, solving the health care crisis, and ensuring that all Americans have good jobs and the opportunity to build a better
future for their children.

"With a strong, unified Democratic Party, a real 50-state party structure, and a commitment to working together and speaking directly to Americans' concerns and values, I am confident that we can and will elect Democrats at all levels and in all parts of the country. I look forward to continuing to play a constructive role in those efforts."


Posted at 04:30 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Leland Drops Out, Dean +53 DNC votes

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Though the far bigger news is the departure of Frost from the DNC Race, David Leland is out of the race for DNC and has endorsed Dean for Chair.

Leland, who had been publicly endorsed by the Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party and others in the 10-member Ohio DNC delegation, said he would encourage these members and his other DNC supporters to vote for Gov. Howard Dean for DNC Chair. "Gov. Dean has demonstrated his ability and commitment to build our party from the grassroots up."

Democracy for America has also announced 53 new votes publicly for Dean in an expansive list. That includes six entire state delegations, 12 state chairs, 12 vice-chair as well as Mayor Wellington Webb, a voting member. The six states are Colorado, American Somoa, Minesota, Nebraska, and Oregon

Posted at 03:33 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Donna Brazile to Dean: It's Healing Time

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

In what seems to be a cascade of events right now... Donna Brazile, Gore's campaign manager, basically says it's over and gives some tips on how to unite the Party. I have pulled the best quotes out and bolded them and such, but I really advise you to read the whole thing into the extended entry. This is one of the most amazing open letters I have ever read.

February 1, 2005
By Donna L. Brazile,
Roll Call Contributing Write

Dear Governor:
I have known and admired you for more than 16 years. As you recall, we first met while working on the Dick Gephardt for President Committee back in 1987. Although Gephardt lost in the primary, your unwavering
support of a little-known Congressman from the Midwest was crucial and helped validate his campaign proposals on health care.

Since announcing your candidacy for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, you've been the talk of the town. Everywhere I go, people (not just Republicans, but even some prominent Democrats) are asking me how the Democratic Party could turn to Howard Dean after John Kerry's defeat last year. My simple answer, as a neutral observer in the race for chairman, is "because we can reconstruct our party to stand for something again." Now that you have secured the endorsement of the state party leaders, it's time to heal old wounds.

The truth is, the race for party chairman should never have been about you. But unfortunately the defeated, the dejected and the delirious wings of the Democratic Party have made this, like the 2004 presidential primaries, an "anybody but Dean" race. For whatever reason, your candidacy left a mark and the wound continues to fester. In going forward, win or lose, take some time and care to make sure it heals.

After listening to the candidates for chairman and vice chairmen this past weekend in New York City, I truly believe you have the ability to become a great leader of our party and could shake things up enough to make sure Democrats lay a foundation for future elections. But the chance, like in 2004, may elude you because of what you stand for. As I write this column, some labor leaders are still debating the merits of your candidacy.

At a time when Democrats were demoralized after losing control of the Senate and for failing to win back Congressional and gubernatorial seats, your candidacy gave Democrats a much-needed jolt and got our hearts beating all over again. Your candidacy caught fire, a new generation of activists found a way to be players and used the Internet to create a buzz. And, man, did you make fundraising seem easy for a party dreading the impact of McCain-Feingold.

Suddenly, you were on the cover of major newspapers and magazines. Political pundits followed your every move as you electrified the masses yearning to have a voice at the table. Your name was on every tongue inside and outside the Beltway. This led some people to suggest that Karl Rove was salivating at the prospect of the party nominating an ultra-left, anti-war liberal to take on a wartime president. But just as you appeared to be on the verge of catching fire in the Iowa caucuses, the winter turned harsh. People loved you in their hearts, but they became frightened of what it would mean for the Democratic Party to have you serve as our standard-bearer. Some of those same people are now involved in a last-ditch effort to stop your candidacy.

Your youthful, tech-savvy supporters were new to the game of hardball presidential politics. They were playing in a league where the rules change based on who's in the game. Soon, some party insiders flush with cash went to work to cool your jets. You haven't quite been the same since the moment they made and paid for a video comparing you to Osama bin Laden.

Perhaps this time you will make it to the top. But, as you have experienced, the climb up the ladder from ex-governor, ex-presidential candidate to chairman can be steep. The hurdles now, like the obstacles you confronted in the Democratic primaries, are mainly about ego. For all its talk about inclusiveness, the Democratic Party is extremely turf conscious. Thus, it's incumbent on you to reach out and bring these people, the very ones who went to the mat to stop you, into the fold.

The bigger fish in the Democratic pond (the party is still swimming upstream) are truly bottom feeders eating away their young, casting aside callously their base and ignorant of the sharks circling our old coalitions. They have dismissed an entire generation of potential leaders when they held power by failing to lift up those who were coming behind. With you, some of the people who have been kept down found their voice. No matter what happens next week, keep fighting for them.

Following a bruising loss in 2004, I am truly ashamed of my party for making the most important decision facing it a contest based on who not to support rather than who can help us rebuild. But, luckily, the state chairmen have temporarily put an end to the "anybody but Dean" crusade. No matter what happens to Dr. Howard Dean, M.D., I urge you to continue to heal the wounded. Stay positive and just try to remember why some of us are still loyal Democrats.

Donna L. Brazile, the campaign manager for Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore in 2000, runs her own grassroots political consulting firm.

Posted at 02:29 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Ewww... yuck

By Byron LaMasters

Just when I was starting to warm up to the probability that Howard Dean will be the next DNC Chair, I read this Roll Call article on Kos:

Pelosi and Frost met last week to discuss the persistent talk in Democratic circles that she was telling DNC members and other party officials that it would be difficult for her to work with her former rival if he was elected chairman. The two have met three times since Frost declared his candidacy, and each time Pelosi had refused to support the Texan.

Though Pelosi assured Frost that she had no problem with him as head of the party, her daughter Christine, who is chief of staff to Rep. John Tierney (Mass.), circulated a proposal via e-mail last week that would install Dean as chairman with former Rep. Tim Roemer (Ind.) handling the day-to-day activities of the committee.

No, no, no! Tim Roemer is great to speak for Democrats on National Security, but he shouldn't be in charge of day-to-day opperations. If Dean wins, he should put Rosenberg or Frost in charge of that. Both of them actually have experience running a Democratic organization, and would be able to hit the ground running. It should not be a patronage position to Nancy Pelosi's friend Timmy.

Posted at 02:16 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

DNC: DFT Poll and the AFL-CIO Non-Endorsement

By Byron LaMasters

The organizers of the DFT poll of state convention delegates claimed that they contacted via email each state convention delegate as to their preference for DNC Chair. According to a post on Texas DNC member David Holmes's yahoo group, that was not the case:

I am writing because I am puzzled about the so-called poll of State Convention delegates. I was a delegate to the State Convention and am also chair of Travis County Precinct 326. No one has ever asked me who I support for DNC chair (that is, until yesterday when I found your poll on the txdnc yahoo group site ... which I learned about from you at the meeting Saturday). Was the claimed poll of State Convention delegates only of delegates committed to Howard Dean? I was a Kerry delegate and prefer Simon Rosenberg for DNC chair and believe that it would be a huge mistake for the Democratic Party to choose Dean (even though I agree with Dean's positions ... the problem is that most of America does not agree with those positions and the public's perception of him is very negative).

Keep up the good work!

Bill Morrow

I'm sure that if this delegate did not receive the DFT survey, then there are surely many others who did not receive the DFT poll as well. I doubt that there was a concerted effort by DFT to exclude those who did not support Dean, but it's common sense that DFT would have the most accurate contact information for DFT members, and their contact information of non-DFT members was probably significantly less accurate - thus skewing their poll heavily towards Dean.

Finally, here's a teaser... I just got word from one source that the AFL-CIO has just declined to endorse in the DNC race. Good news for Dean, bad news for Frost. Look for it to hit the AP wire soon....

Update: Ok, it's hit. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

AFL-CIO leaders decided Tuesday not to make an endorsement in the race for Democratic National Committee chairman, a move that could make it harder for any of Howard Dean's rivals to stop his push for the party leadership.

"The AFL-CIO political committee decided Tuesday not to make an endorsement for DNC chair," said Christy Setzer, a spokeswoman for the labor group. [...]

Former Texas Rep. Martin Frost has pushed hard for labor backing that could give him a chance to derail Dean.

Posted at 12:40 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 31, 2005

Full ASDC Endorses Dean

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Just in from MyDD

The Chairs and Vice Chairs rejected the recommendation of the Executive Committee to back Fowler. They then did a roll-call vote, which Dean won:

The ASDC ballot

Dean 56
Fowler 21
Frost 5
Roemer 3
Rosenberg 3
Webb 3
Leyland 0
Abstain 5

That's 58% for Dean on the first ballot among the 96 ASDC Chairs and Vice Chairs that voted (Hotline)... I have class now, so debate and such later.

Update: [Byron] Webb drops out, endorses Dean. [MyDD]

Posted at 12:39 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Texas DNC Member David Holmes Responds

By Byron LaMasters

I emailed Texas DNC member David Holmes earlier this week to write a guest post on BOR in order to personally address two questions that have come up here on BOR and on other blogs. First, I wanted his opinion on the poll commissioned by Democracy for Texas of 2004 Texas State Convention delegates, and second I asked him to respond to accusations that there is a “disconnect” between the activists in Texas and the Texas DNC members. Here is his response:

I have been following the DNC Chair race discussions on this and other blogs very closely over the last couple of months and I have a few comments regarding the race and specifically comments made on this site.

I just started my second term on the DNC. During the first four year term, the only way to find out what was going in with DNC politics and activities outside of what they sent the members in press releases was to stay in touch with other DNC members. Blogs have changed that dramatically and have already made the party and candidates more transparent and responsive.

I have very little criticism of anything on this site – I read it as frequently as I can and appreciate seeing various people’s views and opinions. As a whole, the writers are very articulate, informed and accurate, including Karl-Thomas with whom I’m about to take issue on two matters: Texas DNC members’ connection to the grassroots and the now famous DFA survey of Texas Convention Delegates.

[Take the jump for the rest...]

I’ll discuss the non-poll first. To be accurate, a poll must be conducted by certain standards, almost none of which were followed in this poll. First, the poll was sent by an organization that many recipients recognized as biased toward one of the candidates. Second, the respondents were self-selecting rather than random, destroying any accurate reflection that might have been derived from the Delegates as a whole.

I am friends with the Dean supporters who conducted the survey and we have discussed the survey. They insist - and I believe them - that they thought Dean might come in second among Texas Conventioneers when they sent it out. But the “poll” actually means very little.

They did not publish these numbers with the results, but of the emails they sent out, 14% responded. That is not a bad return, but there is no way to rationally determine the degree to which those respondents represent the whole. It could mean, for instance that the other 86% did not like or know any of the candidates enough to vote for them – and Dean would obviously be the most well known of the candidates.

Regarding Texas DNC members and their connectedness to the “netroots” or grassroots: Not all of the DNC members who represent Texas are very connected to the netroots of the Party – in fact a number of them have probably never heard the term or read a blog.

It disappoints me, though, when I see people – particularly those as well informed as Karl-Thomas – conclude that to disagree with a portion of one of the many constituencies that make up the Democratic Party means that Texas’ DNC members are out of touch or non-responsive to their constituent’s desires.

I am probably more connected to the netroots and young people in the party than any of the other members in Texas. The DNC members chosen by the Black Caucus are probably more in touch with the members of that caucus than I am. The results of a play-poll do not have any bearing on who is in touch with what. I wanted to comment on those items and let everyone know that I have started a Yahoo Group with the purpose of maintaining a dialogue between Texas Democrats and their DNC members. On the new Group, you will find contact information for DNC members, web links to the DNC chair candidates, and informal polls.

I look forward to continuing the discussion…

David Holmes

Posted at 01:15 AM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 30, 2005

A Three Four-Way Race?

By Byron LaMasters

Wow. This is an upset. The executive committee of state party chairs endorsed Donnie Fowler today, via MyDD. The executive committee is the twelve member ASDC executive committee, not the entire ASDC.

People will debate the significance of this. I think it's obviously a disappointment for Howard Dean, as the frontrunner, but also a setback for Martin Frost as he missed an opportunity to clearly establish himself as the "anti-Dean" candidate in the race. Then again, this could all be overblown. The Fowler endorsement was only of a majority of the 12 member executive committee, and some of Fowler's voters are due to Michigan connections that he established as Fowler managed Kerry's 2004 Michigan campaign. Endorsements should be coming fast and furious over the next week, so the next few days ought to give us an indication as to whether this means anything.

Posted at 10:11 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

The News from Blanco

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

I managed to find a more official statement on the County Chairs from my Senate District endorsing Howard Dean for Party Chair. And look what I came across over at the American Prospect...

POLLING THE 447: WAY DOWN IN TEXAS. The Democratic Party chair of Blanco County, Texas (LBJ’s birthplace) relays news that's sure to bring a smile to the Howard Dean campaign.

On Jan. 6, 12 Democratic County Chairs from the rural Hill Country west of Austin met and unanimously endorsed Howard Dean for National Chair. We have communicated our decision to Charles Soechting, Texas State Chair, and the entire voting delegation to DNC.

We let them know we are tired of seeing the same old policies and same entrenched people lead our party to defeat after defeat…Dean arouses enthusiasm among a wide spectrum of Democrats, will stand firm and push back against Bush and the Congressional Republicans and would be an articulate spokesman on television and in person. Plus, his use of the internet both to fund his campaign for President and to interact with his supporters is the single most innovative technique to emerge from the election.

Though the writer is not one of the 447, this rural, west Texan unanimity for Dean bodes well for the Northeastern doctor.

Posted at 08:40 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Some Background Notes

By Byron LaMasters

Southpaw has some background notes of the 2004 Frost race from someone who had a first-hand perspective of it all. It's definitely worth a read if you're from out of state, or did not have the chance to follow the Frost/Sessions race, along with the other Texas congressional races this cycle.

Posted at 03:44 PM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 29, 2005

Labor and DNC

By Byron LaMasters

I'll try to make this my last DNC post of the day. Karl-Thomas noted how Dean rolled out a new batch of DNC member endorsements including a few affiliated with labor. One can look at that development several ways. Is it the begining of a trend? Or is it an attempt to preempt a move by labor towards Frost or another candidate?

One of the key issues for labor appears to be the Fowler Amendments. The amendment would reduce the number of appointments made by the DNC Chair of at large DNC members from 75 to 25, and give the remaining 50 seats to the four regional memberships for appointment. Frost and Rosenberg oppose the amendment because they fear that it decrease diversity among the DNC membership. Dean, Fowler and Webb (I believe) support the amendment.

Also taking sides on this issue is ASDC - the group of state leadership types, which of course, support the decentralization plan. Interests groups, notably labor, oppose the plan. I personally have mixed feelings on the proposal. It's important to have some at large seats in order to ensure racial diversity, and ensure that various factions receive fair representations, i.e. labor, GLBT, youth, etc. On the other hand, I'd like to see power decentralized from D.C. I think the most sensible idea would be a compromise of some sort.

I think that the system that the Texas Democratic Party uses for its executive committee makes a lot of sense. The SDEC (State Democratic Executive Committee) is made up of a male and a female member from all 31 state senate districts, then there are add-on members for various groups, i.e. Stonewall Democrats, Young Democrats, African-American and Latino Democratic groups, etc. The top ranking male and female officers in such groups have an automatic seat on the SDEC. Such a system could be used similarly with the DNC , for example, allowing decentralization, but giving the regional groups "diversity goals" in order to maintain a diverse DNC.

Anyway, as it is currently writen, Labor opposes the Fowler amendment, and the UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers) endorsed Frost yesterday. This may be a sign of movement of labor towards Frost, or it could just be one individual union bucking the trend, but the I've posted the endorsement in the extended entry...


One of the nation's largest worker organizations, the 1.4 million member United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), is backing Martin Frost in his fight to rebuild the Democratic Party as chair of the Party's national committee.

"Working America needs a political action program that respects it values, is based in its community and addresses its needs from good jobs to affordable health care. Martin Frost has the plan to build the national Democratic Party from a grassroots base, reconnecting the party to its core beliefs, and to its state and local leaders. The UFCW enthusiastically supports Frost for Chair of the Democratic
National Committee," said UFCW International President Joe Hansen.

The union's decision focused on Frost's background as a successful elected representative with a pro-worker agenda from the heart of Texas. His grassroots campaigns stripped away political labels, and concentrated on the people and their issues. For 30 years, Frost was a thorn in the side of the anti-worker establishment who could not figure out how to drive a wedge between Frost and his constituents, or how to beat him in a fair election. Only after rigging the election district could they take his seat in Congress.

The UFCW is America's neighborhood union with hundreds of thousands of members in neighborhood grocery stores. "UFCW members are part of the community. With their work at the meat counters and checkout lines at thousands of supermarkets across the country, they are connected to daily life of America. So is Martin Frost., and so must be the future of Democratic Party," said Hansen.

The UFCW is urging other unions and the AFL-CIO as well as allies at the DNC to also support Frost. His platform to build a small donor base on the Internet, develop a strategic communications plan, and to develop a new generation of leaders and candidates from the ground up is in line with union efforts to activate workers with neighborhood and workplace programs.

The UFCW is one of the largest unions in the AFL-CIO, and is one of the most active unions in member mobilization for political and issue action.

Posted at 11:19 AM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Soechting's Letter

By Byron LaMasters

I saw this post over at MyDD. Apparently, Martin Frost has angered some people by claiming that Dean "could hurt Democratic efforts to compete in less liberal areas of the country". While I don't think that Howard Dean is too liberal to be party chair, the perception of him by many Americans is firmly in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

It's interesting that Martin Frost has the opposite perception. He's a progressive Democrat with a more conservative perception based on his past campaign. Furthermore, Martin Frost may be confronting Howard Dean in this campaign, but that's what these campaigns are for. As long as it's not too negative, I can understand the need for all of the candidates to make distinctions and comparisons of their records.

Finally, there is so much blogosphere outrage when Martin Frost makes a distinction between himself and Howard Dean, but where is the outrage of anonymous front groups like "DNC Chair Fact Check"? I don't hear it.

Anyway... take the jump for the full letter by Charles Soechting to DNC members.

From the Desk of Charles Soechting

January 27, 2005

Dear Fellow DNC Member,

Please take a few minutes to read this brief message. Like you, I am tired of the avalanche of mail, e-mail and phone calls, but I ask you to make room for just one more. This is worth your time.

In the past few days, you may have received an inaccurate, cowardly email attack from a front group misleadingly named "DNC Chair Fact Check" that tries to smear Martin Frost by distorting both the context and effect of two TV ads aired by his campaign for re-election last year in a 65% Republican district.

And today, we read that "prominent [Howard] Dean supporters have begun to distribute" descriptions of the same ads, according to ABC News's "The Note" (1/27/05). As much as I may like Governor Dean, this is just wrong. Let's spend our time fighting Republicans, not smearing each other.

To rebut this dishonest, dishonorable campaign, let me very clearly set the record straight.

  • The purpose of the ads - as any Democrat who has tried to win in a Red State will immediately recognize - was to demonstrate that Martin's GOP opponent, Pete Sessions, is a dangerous extremist well outside the mainstream, more extreme than even George W. Bush and other Republicans.
  • The ads focus on an airline security vote on which Frost voted with every Democratic member of the U.S. House and Senate, while Sessions was in a minority of only 9 - again more extreme than even George W. Bush and other Republicans.
  • The ads do not praise any Republican, and they do not attack any Democrat. The cowardly email attacks circulated this week are simply inaccurate attempts to mislead you.
Perhaps even more important is the fact that where these TV ads actually ran, the Democratic base was energized and the campaigns of other Democratic candidates benefited from the Frost campaign, contrary to the implications of this cowardly attack.

In fact, Martin's 2004 campaign could serve as a model for Democrats who are running in equally tough territory around the country. The campaign involved hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteers, including Democrats of all races, union members, and many of the most ardent progressives in a tough, aggressive grassroots campaign.

Martin refused to back down against enormous odds - standing up to DeLay and Rove by refusing to retire when their illegal redistricting scheme forced him into a 65% GOP district.

Martin showed the kind of strategic skill our Party desperately needs by challenging Republicans on security issues while seeking out and energizing Democrats in both base precincts and hostile territory. In the process, he put together one of the strongest grassroots Congressional campaign ever - finding, organizing and turning out
Democrats in both low turnout Hispanic precincts and some of the most Republican precincts in Texas. - building the Party and scoring historic Democratic victories in local races below him on the ballot.

My point is very simple: in Dallas, where these ads ran, Martin's campaign did not discourage Democrats, it increased Democratic turnout.

Here in Texas, we're used to Republicans like Karl Rove and Tom DeLay using damned lies and dirty tricks to launch character attacks against tough, effective Democrats like Martin Frost. Whoever made this attack clearly has no idea what it takes to win in tough districts - in "Red States" like Texas or anywhere else in the country.

I trust that you know better. Most of you have had the opportunity to get to know Martin Frost, to talk to him about his vision to build a stronger DNC, and to talk to those of us who can personally testify to his unparalleled track record as a proven manager, winning strategist, innovative organizer, and disciplined national
spokesperson who can represent Democrats in every region of the country.

No one in this campaign has done as much to elect other Democrats in tough races than Martin Frost. Over the past 26 years - reinventing and then running the most successful DCCC in modern history and driving Newt Gingrich from Congress, directing our efforts to preserve Democratic power in Texas during the height of the Bush era,
and organizing Democrats at the state, county and national levels - Martin's credentials as a successful partisan fighter for Democrats have been unmatched. And his 2004 campaign was no exception. (His campaign is rightly credited with electing the first Democrats to Dallas County office in 20 years.)

And finally, using George W. Bush in TV ads to discredit his Republican opponent as a wide-eyed extremist - more extreme than even Bush himself - did nothing to slow down our efforts to elect Martin or any other Democrat.

Not too long ago, Howard Dean said on national TV, "So there's some agreement that I have with the President. I daresay other Democrats find some common ground with the President." I know for a fact that Martin Frost does not agree with George W. Bush on much, and that he has fought and beat him on behalf of Democrats for years; but on the
occasions when Bush is with other Democrats, Martin knows how turn that into another one of the tools he uses to elect Democrats in even the reddest of Red States.

If you have any questions about Martin's unmatched record of success for Democrats, please do not hesitate to call on me.

Charles Soechting
Chairman, Texas Democratic Party

Posted at 10:41 AM to Intraparty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 2005
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    

About Us
Andrew D. - contact
Byron L. - contact
Jim D. - contact
Karl-T - contact
Advertising Policies


Tip Jar!

Recent Entries
BOR Edu.
University of Texas
University Democrats

BOR News
The Daily Texan
The Statesman
The Chronicle

BOR Politics
DNC Blog: Kicking Ass
DSCC Blog: From the Roots
DCCC Blog: The Stakeholder
Texas Dems
Travis County Dems

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett
State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos
State Rep. Dawnna Dukes
State Rep. Elliott Naishtat
State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez
State Rep. Mark Strama
Linked to BOR!
Alexa Rating
Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem
Technoranti Link Cosmos
Blogstreet Blogback
American Research Group
Annenberg Election Survey
Polling Report
Rasmussen Reports
Survey USA
Texas Stuff
A Little Pollyana
Austin Bloggers
DFW Bogs
DMN Blog
In the Pink Texas
Inside the Texas Capitol
The Lasso
Pol State TX Archives
Quorum Report Daily Buzz
George Strong Political Analysis
Texas Law Blog
Texas Monthly
Texas Observer
TX Dem Blogs
100 Monkeys Typing
Alt 7
Appalachia Alumni Association
Barefoot and Naked
BAN News
Betamax Guillotine
Blue Texas
Border Ass News
The Daily DeLay
The Daily Texican
Dos Centavos
Drive Democracy Easter Lemming
Get Donkey
Greg's Opinion
Half the Sins of Mankind
Jim Hightower
Hugo Zoom
Latinos for Texas
Off the Kuff
Ones and Zeros
Panhandle Truth Squad
Aaron Peña's Blog
People's Republic of Seabrook
Pink Dome
The Red State
Rhetoric & Rhythm
Rio Grande Valley Politics
Save Texas Reps
Skeptical Notion
Something's Got to Break
Stout Dem Blog
The Scarlet Left
Tex Prodigy
View From the Left
Yellow Doggeral Democrat
TX GOP Blogs
Beldar Blog
Blogs of War
Boots and Sabers
Dallas Arena
Jessica's Well
Lone Star Times
Publius TX
Safety for Dummies
The Sake of Arguement
Slightly Rough
Daily Reads
ABC's The Note
BOP News
Daily Kos
Media Matters
NBC's First Read
Political State Report
Political Animal
Political Wire
Talking Points Memo
CBS Washington Wrap
Matthew Yglesias
College Blogs
CDA Blog
Get More Ass (Brown)
Dem Apples (Harvard)
KU Dems
U-Delaware Dems
UNO Dems
Stanford Dems
GLBT Blogs
American Blog
Boi From Troy
Margaret Cho
Downtown Lad
Gay Patriot
Raw Story
Stonewall Dems
Andrew Sullivan
More Reads
Living Indefinitely
Blogroll Burnt Orange!
BOR Webrings
< ? Texas Blogs # >
<< ? austinbloggers # >>
« ? MT blog # »
« ? MT # »
« ? Verbosity # »
Election Returns
CNN 1998 Returns
CNN 2000 Returns
CNN 2002 Returns
CNN 2004 Returns

state elections 1992-2005

bexar county elections
collin county elections
dallas county elections
denton county elections
el paso county elections
fort bend county elections
galveston county elections
harris county elections
jefferson county elections
tarrant county elections
travis county elections

Texas Media
abilene reporter news

alpine avalanche

amarillo globe news

austin american statesman
austin chronicle
daily texan online
keye news (cbs)
kut (npr)
kvue news (abc)
kxan news (nbc)
news 8 austin

beaumont enterprise

brownsville herald

college station
the battalion (texas a&m)

corpus christi
corpus christi caller times
kris news (fox)
kztv news (cbs)

crawford lone star iconoclast

dallas-fort worth
dallas morning news
dallas observer
dallas voice
fort worth star-telegram
kdfw news (fox)
kera (npr)
ktvt news (cbs)
nbc5 news
wfaa news (abc)

del rio
del rio news herald

el paso
el paso times
kdbc news (cbs)
kfox news (fox)
ktsm (nbc)
kvia news (abc)

galveston county daily news

valley morning star

houston chronicle
houston press
khou news (cbs)
kprc news (nbc)
ktrk news (abc)

laredo morning times

lockhart post-register

lubbock avalanche journal

lufkin daily news

marshall news messenger

the monitor

midland - odessa
midland reporter telegram
odessa american

san antonio
san antonio express-news

seguin gazette-enterprise

texarkana gazette

tyler morning telegraph

victoria advocate

kxxv news (abc)
kwtx news (cbs)
waco tribune-herald

krgv news (nbc)

texas cable news
texas triangle

World News
ABC News
All Africa News
Arab News
Atlanta Constitution-Journal
News.com Australia
BBC News
Boston Globe
CBS News
Chicago Tribune
Christian Science Monitor
Denver Post
FOX News
Google News
The Guardian
Inside China Today
International Herald Tribune
Japan Times
LA Times
Mexico Daily
Miami Herald
New Orleans Times-Picayune
New York Times
El Pais (Spanish)
San Francisco Chronicle
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Times of India
Toronto Star
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post

Powered by
Movable Type 3.15