Could Brian Moran cost the Democratic Party the Presidency and the U.S. Senate in 2012?


    Paul Goldman has an interesting post up at Blue Virginia suggesting that some Obama officials may be complaining behind the scenes about the attempt by certain Democratic insiders to anoint Brian Moran as DPVA chair.

    Once again, the power of the blogs, through their ability to convey information to the Mainstream media in this particular case, has been proven. My sources, generally reliable but to be fair, not big fans of Congressman Jim Moran, tell me that the Obama White House, admittedly through intermediaries at the capo level, has made the following clear as “crystal” to quote Tom Cruise in his great courtroom scene with Jack Nicholson:  if Brian Moran gets to be Virginia Democratic Party Chair and he dares continue to lobby against the President or be associated with those lobbying against the President, then as Clemenza said in Godfather 1, “it’s time to go to the mattresses.”

    Mr. Goldman’s information is interesting, but I don’t think he’s gamed out the possible consequences properly.  Goldman suggests that if Moran takes the DPVA post while continuing to lobby against the President’s stated position on for-profit education, then Obama will somehow act to have Moran removed from the chair of DPVA.  It won’t happen that way.  

    Obama doesn’t have the ability to remove Moran surgically from the DPVA post once Moran attains it. Here’s how it will actually play out.  If Brian Moran is chosen as DPVA chair and continues lobbying against Obama, Obama will probably decide he can’t work effectively with the DPVA and will likely write off Virginia in 2012.  Obama’s path to victory would be much narrower without Virginia, and he will have to focus more of his time in states like Ohio.  Without Obama’s energy and coattails in Virginia, Senator Jim Webb will probably also lose to George Allen or Bob Marshall.

    Barack Obama and the DPVA need each other in 2012.  For DPVA insiders to short circuit the Democratic process to anoint Brian Moran as the chair of DPVA is a slap in the face of Barack Obama.  Brian Moran, if chosen, would likely be an absentee landlord for the DPVA.  How much time would Moran spend reorganizing DPVA?  How much time would he have left to devote to the party after working a full day on Capitol Hill undermining Obama’s positions on for-profit schools?

    Members of the DPVA’s central committee need to seriously weigh the possible consequences of their choice.  Are DPVA members willing to hand a Senate seat back to George Allen or Bob Marshall in order to oblige Brian Moran’s friends?  Do they want the Obama 2012 campaign to actively target Virginia, or do they prefer to sit on the sidelines and watch those campaign resources go elsewhere?

    Brian Moran is a nice guy, but the price that could potentially be paid in order to do him a favor seems a little steep to me.

    • To fight the Republicans in 2011, 2012 and into the future, we need the strongest DPVA possible. That’s why I support Peter Rousselot for chair, because he’d help make that a reality. With a weak DPVA, it’s going to be an even tougher lift for Democrats to make gains in the 2011 General Assembly elections, let alone for Barack Obama to carry Virginia again in 2012.  As for Jim Webb, he only won by 9,000 votes or so in 2006, when we had the wind at our backs.  In 2012, assuming a wind in our faces or maybe a becalmed environment, Webb’s going to need a super-strong effort at all levels, including the DPVA.  Let’s start now in building towards that goal, and let’s start with a chair who has the vision, energy and values to make that happen!

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      It is imperative that the Democratic Party of Virginia find a new way to relate to the citizens of the Commonwealth, one that emphasizes the concerns of the working people who need to have their issues addressed by the party leadership. An excellent start would be for the party to choose a chair who has worked with the grassroots, who understands the importance of growing local committees, and who has a record of achievement. Peter Rousselot is such a person. I strongly support his candidacy for chairman of the DPVA.

      If we do not change the direction of the DPVA, we will lose the momentum we got from the 2008 election. It’s time for the grassroots to “take back their party.” Otherwise, it’s back to the 18-state national party strategy and the writing off of Virginia yet again.

    • somethingblue

      Neither Obama nor his staff has shown any inclination to retaliate against anybody for anything–even “Democrats” who endorsed and campaigned for his opponent in 2008. Now we’re supposed to believe that he’s going to “go to the mattresses” against the putative chair of a state party organization for “daring” to lobby against the administration position on for-profit schools at his day job?


      Obama’s going to write off thirteen electoral votes because he doesn’t like a state party chair’s position on for-profit schools?

      I’m sorry, but I find that very hard to believe.

    • Teddy Goodson

      The grassroots has to put a stop to the good ol’ boys’ establishment, the barnacle-encrusted bunch running things as if it is still the 19th century (they haven’t made it to the 20th yet). Why would we place a lobbyist in charge of the people’s party, for heaven’s sake? Talk about same ol’ same ol.’ Do the Democrats want to commit party suicide? This may be our last chance to turn things around.

    • Old Redneck

      . . . Rick Boucher for DPVA Chair?

      Talk about someone in touch with working people.

      Oh, wait.  I forgot.  In the view of the DPVA leadership, Virginia stops at Roanoake.  Boucher is from a foreign country.

      Never mind.

    • Despite the fact that I share a last name (although we are no relation) I’ve never been among the Morans’ strong supporters (although I voted for them when I lived in Alexandria) and I’m a big believer in the netroots, and have been disappointed by all of the king-making chatter that has gone on about this topic.

      But I’m having a harder time believing that the appointment of a Chair of the DPVA has become some big conspiracy reaching all the way to White House.  Let’s keep in mind that Obama (and Webb) won Virginia mostly because of their own teams on the ground, not because DPVA did such a stellar job for them.  (For the record, although I’ve been active in Democratic politics for years, I was recruited into FCDC because of my own work for Obama during the primary, so I’m an example of how Obama supporters came into the party leadership, not the other way around.)

      Is Brian Moran the right person to lead the Democrats forward?  I don’t know (and even if I did, I don’t have any official say.)  But I certainly don’t think that he is out to sabotage Obama or the party in any way.  And I really don’t think that most of the party thinks that either.  Republicans often jeer at us because while they may be too tied to authority in their own party, we too often eat our own young.  If you don’t want Brian Moran as Chair (and I’m not sure that I do) fine — say so.  But this type of innuendo that implies that he’s become some sort of almost traitor to the party is starting to get a little too silly for my taste.

    • cvllelaw

      I can’t figure out, from this post or the comments to it, just exactly what the problem is.  Paul Goldman’s post doesn’t say so either.

      Do I infer that Brian Moran has lobbied for a client against President Obama’s position on some issue?  Do I infer that it has something to do with for-profit colleges?  If that is the problem, it would be really nice if the post had explained it clearly.  

      Could someone answer me the following questions:

      1.  What lobbying client does Brian Moran have that raises a problem?

      2.  What position has Brian advocated that conflicts with what position that the President has taken?

      3.  Why is this an earth-shattering issue?

      4.  Assuming that other state Party chairs over the years have taken positions on issues that conflict with what a Democratic President might want, and that the world did not come to an end when that happened, why is this different?  

    • K in VA

      For a few seconds, I thought I had wandered over to the “Onion” site by mistake!

      Jeez, this is an extraordinarily puffed up little tempest in a great effin’ big teapot!

      Anybody with half a brain knows Obama’s chances in Virginia in 2012 are very, very, VERY slim (barring a major change in the country, of course). Brain Moran’s impact on that? Minuscule, at the largest.

      Jeez, Democrats can waste more time on the slightest slights … maybe that wasted time and energy explain why we can manage to throw away so many elections?

    • Catzmaw

      piling on by some within the netroots who are still really, really pissed about the Democratic gubernatorial primary.  That’s what I saw yesterday at this site, and it’s what I’m seeing today.  I not only call BS, but think it’s ugly, uncalled for, and ultimately very destructive to Democratic aims.  I mean, seriously, is THIS what we want, a smear campaign being run by angry people with long memories determined to make Brian pay for dissing Terry McAuliffe? Plus, I’m sorry, but the fact that Brian might have spent 8% of his time lobbying for “for-profit” higher education doesn’t make him: a) evil; or b) unsuitable for the post he’s been nominated for.  Moreover, there are other far less destructive ways to address the concerns about lobbyists and their place in a political party without turning it into a battle over good and evil.  

      I’m looking at a very nice, straightforward, and positive comment here from Lowell about Rousselot’s suitability for the position.  It would have made a far better impact on me if I hadn’t also read his diary trashing and vilifying Brian Moran for being a lobbyist.  It was so over the top I had to navigate away from and ignore it because I had too many other things to do and didn’t want to get dragged into a fight.  But I will caution you, Lowell, and others who think the way to go is to vilify a strong Virginia Democrat just because you don’t like him.  I don’t give a damn if you think he done your candidate wrong almost two years ago, or that he’s being hypocritical about lobbying, or any of the other crap you want to push about him.  This ISN’T a primary and we’re NOT supposed to be here to attack other Democrats.  Keep up the attacks and you will only succeed in alienating Brian’s strong core of supporters.  Maybe you can tell me how THAT supports our aim to get Webb and Obama reelected.  

      Here’s a suggestion:  stop with the faux outrage about Brian Moran’s lobbying – quel horreur!! – and see if you can manage to support your favorite candidate without seriously angering people like me whom I assume you’d want in the DPVA’s corner come next election.  Let’s stop the Democratic party’s habit of eating its young.