Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Thinking Past Saturday

One thing is certain, on Sunday, the Democratic Party of Georgia will have new officers. Certainly, the chair and first vice-chair will be new to their offices and, unless Hattie Dorsey is elected, new to the top offices of the party. I think that any of the candidates for those offices could win on Saturday, and while I prefer certain combinations above others, after Saturday, we do have to figure out how to move forward and do a better job of electing Democrats in this state. To do that successfully, we might want to consider not killing each other off before the election.

The chair's race, in particular, has become a nasty contest both in terms of things that are being said overtly about candidates and powerful whisper campaigns that really seem to be doing the most damage. For instance, word on the street is that Berlon wants to exclude elected officials and that Kidd is only interested in serving the needs of elected officials. Neither of those statements are true. Likewise, folks are saying that Kidd represents only the Democratic 'establishment' while Berlon is beholding to labor and progressives. Again, neither of those statements are entirely true. There are worse things being said about all the candidates, and I don't care to repeat those here.

To make matters worse, in the last few days, supporters of one candidate or the other have been attacked in blog-land. A couple of those rants have been directed at friends of mine. While Melanie, Page and I may not agree on who should be chair, I know these women and respect the time and energy they give to the Party and to candidates. They do not deserve to be bashed personally for who they choose to support. Burn-out is facilitated when hard work is not just ignored but instead criticized without mercy. Thank goodness one of the more mean-spirited rants was deleted by the administrator of a site. But all this begs the question: Are we thinking past Saturday? Really?

Someone said that the chairs race feels like Cox/Taylor all over again and that it has the capacity to further divide the party. If we learned anything from that race it is that the potential to do long term harm to the Party is very real. Folks have said that they had heard that some people were going to bail if certain people are elected. I do think that some donors and others will walk away if they do not trust the leadership to do the job at hand, but I also think that those same people will continue to support Democrats in another ways, and perhaps over time the Party will regain their trust.

Gov. Barnes told me a long time ago that "politics is a bloodsport." He's right, but for a party in desperate need of a transfusion as it is, we cannot afford to write folks off just because they are not supporting who we are for chair. I have several friends,who I respect, who are supporting each of the candidates for chair. Most of the people who are plugged in enough to care about this race already donate time and money to the Party and to Democratic candidates. All of these candidates are doing us a favor by offering themselves for service. After Saturday, we have to work to build a Party that can successfully elect Democrats, and doing that will take all of us.


griftdrift said...

Good stuff Amy.

danielf said...

well said. thank you, amy.

Amy Morton said...

You're welcome. I think that substantive and vigerous discussion of the issues does not need to include attacks like the ones we have seen.

Kathy said...

Bless you, Amy! You are absolutely right. One of the most discouraging aspects of my relatively recent involvement with Democratic politics has been the bloodletting among fellow Democrats. If we are ever to pull our state into the 21st century, the time to pull together is now.

Tina said...

They will all need to help each other and work together after the DPG election. Democrats will need the help, friendship, and cooperation of every single person who has offered service to the state party. Each is a good Democrat and each has something unique to offer. The Democratic Party is an aggregate of individuals, none of whom have an inborn tendency toward rubber-stamping. As a group, we don't march in lock-step (praise be !!), but we share a common direction.
We can't forget that.