As a voting member of the DPVA central committee (no, I do not feel I am part of a commie “politburo”) and a strong supporter of Peter Russelot for the next chair of the party, I was quite surprised by the virulence of some of the comments made on the live feed of the committee that Blue Virginia provided. Look, I knew when I got into a car at 4:30 a.m. for a four+ hour drive to get from southwest Virginia to Newport News that our efforts for Peter were going to fail. I am sure that Peter knew that as well. However, I don’t believe in quitting before a game is played out. Nor do I believe in quitting now because I didn’t get my way yesterday. I’d rather stand my ground, knowing that there will be another chance to win on another day, that some day I will prevail.
The fact that we had vigorous, contested elections at the last two state central committee meetings – one for first vice chair and then for chair of the party – is a giant step forward for the DPVA, which, like every other political group I have ever been involved with, is an “insider’s game.” Both of the “outsider” candidates in those contests can be proud of forcing new ideas to the forefront of party deliberations, of proving to the insiders that there are other ways to do political business, that those of us who believe that aren’t going to go away.
Proof? Peter Rousselot insisted that state Democrats needed to have candidates to contest every seat in the 2011 legislative elections. That forced Brian Moran to go on record, saying in a letter to all committee members, “We need to recruit and support candidates in every jurisdiction and district. No Republican goes unchallenged and every open seat has a Democratic candidate running.” Would he have put a commitment like that in writing without a strong challenge from Peter? Of course not.
The support for Brian Moran was not centered in just one area of the state. I had felt all along that the more rural parts of Virginia would be fertile ground to garner votes for Peter, especially since both candidates were from NOVA and would split those votes. I was dead wrong. It was obvious to me long before I went to the meeting that the fact that Mark Warner had suggested Brian Moran for chair carried enormous, insurmountable weight with most committee members.
Sure, I may joke around and call Sen. Warner “Saint Mark, the apostle of Va politics,” but he is – without a doubt – the most popular and the most influential Democrat I can remember, certainly since the demise of the old Byrd machine. As I talked to people from my district and other parts of the state before the meeting, it was clear to me his endorsement had sealed the deal for Brian Moran.
I would strongly encourage those people who insisted that they were going to “drop out and tune out” because of yesterday’s result to listen instead to some very wise words also contained in the comments:
“We need both [grassroots and party organization], and we each excise the other at our greater peril. Although I would have liked to have seen a different result…I am hopeful that the simple act of change of leadership at the top will bring with it a period of new ideas. I wish Brian Moran the very best of luck, because if he does his job well, the benefits for those of us in the trenches will be rewarding as well. (And vice versa, I might add!)” – GretchenLaskas
Once, a long time ago (1968), liberal and progressive Democrats made a fatal decision to get angry at the “party hacks” who controlled things and who shut out the wishes of the grassroots. Hubert Humphrey, the champion of liberals and the Democratic candidate for president, had – in the opinion of some – sold out his supporters by endorsing the war in Vietnam. So, they sat on their hands and refused to vote. Result? We got eight years of Richard Nixon. Indeed, “excise the other at our greater peril.”
By the way, the auction that so incensed some people raised funds for the DPVA Women’s Caucus, a portion of which will go to help Ginger Mumpower capture Morgan Griffith’s open seat and keep yet another right-wing ideologue out of the House of Delegates.