…A DEMOCRATIC CHIEF EXECUTIVE IS TRYING TO HELP POOR KIDS FROM BEING RIPPED OFF BY THE SYSTEM; AND ONCE AGAIN, A TOP DEMOCRATIC OFFICIAL IS SUING TO STOP HIM!
by Paul Goldman (DPVA chair, 1990-1993)
What do the first African-American Governor and the first African-American President now have in common? Let me explain how it may look to strong backers of both men. I have seen this up close; perception is important in politics, particularly today when turnout is so important in close elections. Anyone who thinks this kind of perception can’t grow is wrong, especially in today’s climate, where the polls show huge cynicism about politics on all sides.
“They’ve decided that total war is the way to go” the Huffington Post reports, quoting a college association official on the lawsuit that Democratic Party Chair Brian Moran’s lobbying organization has filed against the Obama Administration.
No, this isn’t an SNL skit, but it will be part of a Republican press release at some point. We know the Virginia GOP is cheering him, since Republicans have attacked President Obama for the same thing.
Let’s be clear what’s at stake here: The President is trying to protect students, African-Americans, veterans, and single moms from being ripped off by practices the NAACP has said “ruin students’ lives,” as well as poor African-American communities. Brian Moran’s clients disagree with this assessment.
Let me ask you this: Do you think it is fair for people to ask whether Brian Moran or the Democratic Party of Virginia would permit this kind of thing if President Obama were white?
Don’t blame me for asking the question I know is going to be on the minds of a lot of grassroots Democrats if this lawsuit gets ugly. Forewarned is forearmed as the saying goes.
When Doug Wilder became Governor, Democrats began attacking him in ways they had never attacked a Democratic Governor before. For example, Democratic Attorney General Mary Sue Terry sued Wilder, or I suppose his Administration in a technical sense (but that’s not how the politics comes out, as she knew, and as Mr. Moran knows). Stuff happens all the time in politics that gets out of control.
In 2002, Governor Warner asked me to help defuse a situation between him and AG Jerry Kilgore. I was able to do it with the help of Bob Blue, the Governor’s counsel. A possible law suit, or at least embarrassment to the Governor, was avoided.
In my mind, the way Wilder felt treated by his fellow Democrats led him to challenge Robb the next year in the 1994 Senate race. Wilder felt he had not been given the deference previously given Governors. It also led Wilder to stop talking to me when I decided to help Robb after speaking with Warner about it. We knew Wilder had some legitimate grievances. But that was for another day, not for a time when Ollie North might become Senator. The Terry law suit killed her chances, in my view.
No Governor had ever been sued like that, ever, by a member of his own party in the modern area (there were some suits over segregation if I remember my history). Former Democratic AG Andy Miller also sued Governor Wilder (again, the state technically, but he knew the politics) in an unprecedented case. Wilder literally begged him not to, arguing that it would upset Wilder’s efforts to help poor children get a better education by reforming old allocation formulas. Miller refused, supported by other Democratic officials. I tried to talk them out of it too.
As Wilder predicted, the suit was thrown out of court, and the changes that could have been made have not been made even today! Another generation of poor children got hurt unnecessarily.
NOW, ONCE AGAIN, A DEMOCRATIC CHIEF EXECUTIVE IS TRYING TO HELP POOR KIDS FROM BEING RIPPED OFF BY THE SYSTEM; AND ONCE AGAIN, A TOP DEMOCRATIC OFFICIAL IS SUING TO STOP HIM!
As Yogi Berra said: Some things may be too coincidental to be a coincidence.
Look, I don’t blame Brian Moran for wanting to keep his (highly lucrative) job, or for doing what he’s paid to do. I don’t much agree with his organization, but I accept his duty to do what he thinks is necessary to protect his clients.
However, Brian is also chair of the DPVA, and that organization only further marginalizes itself by allowing a Democratic Chair to sue a Democratic President in court. A press dust-up is one thing. But a lawsuit says the President is acting in a lawless manner, and that a court needs to step to protect citizens from their (Democratic) President.
I might expect this kind of move from Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin. I do NOT expect – or accept – such a move from the head of the Virginia Democratic Party!