Friday, January 19, 2007

Per Request: Butler, Un-Cut

Per request, this is the original email from Jim Butler. There were a couple in the stream, but this was first:

Demographic and political trends strongly suggest that Democrats should be able to return to power by the 2010 elections, if not before. Certainly it appears that Bushism may relegate the Republicans to Hoover days, and Americans' revulsion about the Bushist mismanagement of foreign policy, domestic policy, fiscal policy, and trade policy will eventually percolate in to Georgians' views. Perdue's legacy of inaction and negative actions won't be much better, if any.

I can't see much standing in the way of a brighter future for Democrats and all Georgia citizens other than Democrats' own failure to seize the opportunities to broaden the appeal of the Georgia Democratic Party and its candidates.

One of the candidates for Party Chair has advocated separating the Party from elected Democratic officials. That's very unwise and counter-productive, in my view. It reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of past Democratic history in Georgia (when the relationship between the Party and elected officials was based upon the fact Democrats controlled the state and the fact there was no really organized Democratic party, nor much need for one). It also reflects a failure to understand fundamental truths about fundraising. Such a Party organization will simply not be able to raise money effectively. Money isn't everything in politics, as we all know and have been reminded in recent years, but it is nonetheless important.

In the first place, who knows more about how to get Democrats elected to office than someone who has managed to get elected to office in Georgia as a Democrat? Not many of the rest of us, that's for sure.

More importantly, it is clear beyond doubt that most county party organizations need to be reconstituted, and the obvious most logical place to start is with elected Democratic officials in each county. State Party officials should go to them and enlist their help in reconstituting the County party. The goal should be to make being a Democrat in that county socially acceptable to a broad cross section of the community.

What are we missing in most counties? Everyone knows the answer to that. Elected Sheriffs, County Commissioners, Tax Commissioners, and Clerks can, if they will, encourage and enlist local business folk and others widely respected in the community to become the local 'face of the party'.

The experience of Democrats in western states should show us the way. Pick the target groups who have not been willing to consider voting for Democrats. Become acceptable to them, and you cobble together a majority of the votes.

In much of Georgia, many voters today will simply not even contemplate voting for someone with "Democrat" beside their name. THAT is the main issue. That is what Georgia Democrats must overcome. I hope the State Committee will elect as State Officers folks with whom a broader cross section of Georgians can readily identify.

Jim Butler
Columbus GA


Steve said...


Thanks for posting this.

There are so many issues with what he has said I'm not sure where to start.

This has gone from a weasely whisper campaign to a full blown attack.

For someone who I have heard is very smart, he has said some really dumb things here.

He doesn't even have the guts to say who he is talking about.

It seems to me that some elected officials, insiders and candidates would rather concentrate their meager power to protect their own hide rather than truly expand the base and encourage MORE people to participate. The DPG should not be beholden to a few elected officials.

Candidates and elected officials come and go but Democratic activists work their entire lives doing the real work of digging up volunteers, making calls, holding signs, spreading the word, etc.

I'm not on the cental cmte but I am supporting Mike Berlon.

Lyman Hall said...

Thanks for posting, Amy. I don't see what is so controversial about his statement. A political party is about electing people. We can't educate our children, provide healthcare, and get the other issues Democrats care about into law through a series of social clubs across the state. We have to win elections.

I value the friendships I have made through party activities, but I know the main goal: keep elected officials elected and get others to become elected officials. I dont think this is such a radical idea.