This morning, a number – not sure how many – of Virginia Democratic activists received a letter from DPVA chair Brian Moran. I’ve posted that on the “flip,” and I recommend that you read it. The gist of the letter is that DPVA is supposedly “applying the lessons of the past year to our 2012 campaign effort to build a more aggressive, effective and responsive Democratic movement across the Commonwealth,” and wants to tell us all about it on a conference call with Brian Moran “on Thursday, December 1st at 7:30pm.”
In addition to the email, many of us also received a short note from DPVA 1st Vice Chair Gaylene Kanoytan, as follows (I left the bad formatting and typos – “insure?” – as is):
Good morning…hope you had a good holiday.
I want to insure you received this Town Hall Conference call invitation from Chairman Moran. Hope you can join the call.
Since then, several invited Democrats have contacted me with their responses. One of these people is former Arlington County Democratic Committee chair Peter Rousselot. According to Peter (who asked me to print this with attribution):
The main reason I am not going to participate on this call is that I consider this a deliberate effort to distract attention from the many, many criticisms by many, many different people about:
—DPVA and the way it is run
—Brian Moran and his leadership of DPVA
—All the other strategic failings of which VA Dem leaders were guilty over the last 3 years
Rather than directly addressing each or all of the petition signers, and engaging in a public and transparent discussion of all the issues raised by the petition and all the posts on BV and NLS, Brian and DPVA want to quickly change the subject by focusing on how to help elect Tim Kaine, pretending either that all these other problems don’t exist or that, to the extent they do (something Brian and the DPVA insiders would like to hash out in secret), DPVA will be fixing them in secret and let us know what they decide.
I am a strong supporter of electing Tim Kaine to the U.S. Senate in 2012, but I am not going to let my strong support for Kaine be used by DPVA to try to mask its own problems. DPVA first needs to restore its own credibility by involving grass roots activists in a meaningful and open discussion of all the issues that have been raised before trying to pivot to the critical task of carrying Virginia for Kaine.
I couldn’t agree more, which is why my response to Gaylene began with the line, “With all due respect, is this a bad joke or something?” I then echoed much of what Peter said, concluding, “why would I – or anyone else with half a brain – fall for this?”
Another invitee emailed me her response to Gaylene. Let’s just say, if you thought Peter’s and mine were rough…ha. According to this Virginia Democratic activist – and former Brian Moran for Governor supporter, by the way – she will not be participating in the call for two main reasons. First she cites “the disturbing actions by Dick Saslaw in both redistricting and in the primary here in NoVA for the 31st Senate district…[and the] travesty the redistricting plan was…As for the 31st race, I simply have no desire to work for a party whose entrenched leaders are trying to discourage voter choice and are pouring money into primaries between quality candidates.”
Second, she points to “our DPVA chair’s day job,” that “it is embarrassing and disgusting that the current DPVA chair’s day job is to SUE THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION and to actively lobby on behalf of an industry that preys on the poor, on minorities, on military members, and on tax payers.”
Even worse, she adds, Brian Moran is “abdicating his responsibilities in favor of actively lobbying against our Democratic administration and against the very people our party purports to defend.” She asks, “What could the justification possibly be for selecting such a person as our party chair?” The bottom line: “Both of these items stem from the same sickness at DPVA: We have an entrenched, small group of crony leaders who don’t care about their party but care only about themselves. This has to change.”
Bizarrely, the response to this scathing email from Gaylene Kanoytan was “Thank you for your response, we need you to win in 2012!!!” Seriously? Kanoytan continued, “Can I suggest you have a conversation with the Chairman? He’s easy to talk to and need to hear from other people. He was able to clear up some of my concerns. I can set it up for you.”
My god, what can you even say to this pablum? As the Democratic activist quoted above wrote, “I really don’t see what having a conversation with Brian will achieve, so I will decline your suggestion, with thanks to you for your interest.” I couldn’t have put it better myself and have nothing more to add. Your thoughts on all this?
P.S. Here’s the original email, as I mentioned at the beginning of this (lengthy) post.
With the 2011 elections less than a month behind us, next year’s races are already ramping up. I want to thank each of you for the outstanding effort you made on behalf of our candidates all across the Commonwealth this year. With your help we elected Democrats to the General Assembly and to local offices all around the Commonwealth.
As we move forward, the Democratic Party of Virginia is already applying the lessons of the past year to our 2012 campaign effort to build a more aggressive, effective and responsive Democratic movement across the Commonwealth.
A major component of that effort is to open a conversation with Democrats like you who are out there everyday fighting to make Virginia more equal, just and prosperous for every person. That’s why I hope you will join Tim Kaine for Senate campaign manager Mike Henry and me this Thursday for a conference call on how the party is already working to send Governor Kaine to the U.S. Senate next November and how you be the difference in this importance race.
We may be just a few weeks past the last election, but the Republicans aren’t skipping a beat and neither are we. In 2012 we have the chance to make history. Not only by driving President Obama, Governor Kaine and our congressional candidates to victory, but also by continuing to build on our successes and build the infrastructure that will serve our candidates and grassroots Democrats for years to come.
I hope you can join Mike and me on the call on Thursday, December 1st at 7:30pm. You can reserve your spot on the call by clicking here and filling out the form provided. Once you’ve done that we will call you at the number you provide with instructions to stay on the line and join the conversation.
I look forward to hearing from you about working together to move our party forward.
Thank you for all that you do,