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Published in: on June 30, 2011 at 4:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Burnt Orange Report: Disaster Recovery: A Path Forward for the TDP and Texas Democrats

Burnt Orange Report: Disaster Recovery: A Path Forward for the TDP and Texas Democrats.

A conversation that began a few days ago has quieted down some, but the message that the TDP needs to be revamped it quite loud. Not everyone agrees that the current leadership has been ineffective, but I think the general consensus is that the party leadership could have done better.

It is time to take a serious look at the TDP infrastructure, the leadership and it is time for democrats to put their friendships aside and make some critical decisions as to how and what will move the party from its stagnate state.

It’s time to move over…

Interview with Richie 6/14/2010

“It’s true that of the 29 statewide offices available, the Texas Democratic Party doesn’t hold a single one. The party’s chairman, Boyd Richie, says it’s legitimate to criticize the Democrats for that — but not to blame him for it.”  

http://www.texastribune.org/texas-politics/texas-democratic-party/tdp-chair-faces-a-challenge-from-michael-barnes/

Texas Democrats: The Mission: To Undermine

I found this very interesting opinion on the current state of the TDP. It is not anything that I have not heard before, I was just surprised to see it on this particular blog. I do not subscribe to the blog, nor usually agree with anything posted, but this I found interesting…because it does not sound like the typical voice often heard from the blog.

Click to read: http://www.burntorangereport.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=11222

Now, for my two cents…

Texas Democrats: The Mission: To Undermine

“Demolishing what is hopelessly broken, rebuilding from the ground up, and charting an entirely new course forward is our only hope for recovering from this disaster that has been the Texas Democratic Party for the past 15 years.”

I can think of a couple of individuals that have this same message, but for some reason many democrats are just not buying it. The language is elevated, but the message is still the same. And I believe the reason democrats don’t buy the message is because they don’t accept the messenger as acceptable or viable.

Either way, a few people may believe that we do not need to “reinvent the wheel” as drastically as it is proposed by this blogger, and a few more may agree 100% with what he says about tearing down and reconstructing a new party, but the point is, and it is as plain as can be, enough is enough. This blogger, offers some constructive criticism, but are democrats ready for “any” kind of change? I would like to share my two cents of the many experiences that ruffled a few of my feathers. This particular blogger supported Kinky, so if you did not care for Kinky, just look past that…this guy still makes sense.

First of all, friendship and nepotism is a powerful force to reckon with in Texas politics. And these friendships are undermining the party. The leadership has created a party of the status quo. The status quo has got to go!  The status quo gives rise to the “good ole party” and results in confusion. Besides, is it true representation when democrats support ineffective leadership and where personal friendship carries more weight than loyalty or allegiance to the party, to the very values that democrats purportedly share?  I would say no.

I agree, it is time to demolish the ways of old and chart a course that leads to a brighter future for all Texans, but how are we to accomplish this?  More on that specific issue later…

I can commend Richie for his desire to recruit so-called “winnable” candidates, but unfortunately, I want to choose my own candidate from a list of candidates, as do my voting friends. And yes we did discuss the seven gubernatorial candidates in 2010 and we were all disgusted with the lack of support for all the candidates from the TDP, and the various democratic groups, clubs and such. But let me add, I also loath and find insulting, the idea of pairing Hispanic candidates with a white candidate simply to attract the Hispanic vote. And I disagree that we need to do a nationwide search for talent to create a new “culture” for Texas democrats. There are plenty of willing individuals with the tenacity, the fortitude and the commitment to direct the party in the right direction. The question is, are we all interested in going in the same direction, because it is not about finding democrats to run for statewide office, as much as it is about attracting a “preferred” candidate for statewide office.  What you prefer and what I prefer may be difference, hence the Democratic Primaries. This individual does not need to be an attorney, or have a list of endorsements from elected democrats, the same elected democrats that have failed Texans as far as I am concerned. I don’t think we should use endorsements as a qualifying attribute. He or she only has to have leadership skills, a plan and a means of putting that plan into action. He or she must be able to regain the trust of those that matter and at this point, everyone matters.

At this point we need a new chair that will scour the country for the best and brightest young Democrats who have proven success at the state party and/or state caucus level. 

We should commit to a meaningful search for a free agent that can bring new energy, institute a new culture and enact new policies, procedures and strategies to help us move forward (finally).

In this passage you suggest we hire a “free agent” isn’t a free agent simply someone who does the bidding of the highest bidder.  How is that any different than what we have now? We have plenty of talent in Texas…quite astute as to how Texas politics work. The problem is democrats only want to hear from individuals they can identify as viable.

I was at a recent Summit in San Antonio, and I heard much the same messages: we need to bring out the Hispanic vote? The democratic base is not voting. Hispanics tend to vote democrat. At some previous meeting it had been proposed to conduct a nationwide search for someone experienced in Hispanic outreach.  I find it hard to believe that just because Hispanics vote democrat, that makes all Hispanics democrat. They are not necessarily one in the same?

Nevertheless, the talent is there. The talent is ready, but are “you (Texas Democrat)” ready to accept the talent of someone that does not represent your every desire, your image, and your impression of acceptable or viable democratic candidate? That is the question every democrat should be asking themselves.

And by the way, I resent the reference to bright young democrats being the ones that can create change; we should be attracting democrats, and individuals with a passion to do what it takes to create change in Texas.  Then again, there is a huge population of voters D/R that suggest we keep our change.  The 2008 campaign over did it on the change theme. 

You want young. I don’t want young. I want someone who knows where the TDP has been and where it needs to go, and today, it is far from where it needs to be and today’s young democrat is not prepared to get the party where it needs to go. The Democratic Party has a less than an appealing history and it must be remembered so it does not digress from its objective. I tend to believe that is why the party remains fragmented.

As to whether Richie did his best, I would disagree. I say that only because his political director was quite boisterous about the party simply wanting to improve the numbers for a future win. For me that was a reflection of his leadership as was one of the presenters showing up in flip flops, torn jeans and a thin tank top.  Come on! Is that the mind set of someone who wants to win an election, a person who only wants to finish in second place? I am all for getting rid of the whole staff. I have been hearing that message since before Chris Bell. Twenty-ten was going to be year! We must be ready for 2012! Now, it’s 2014. I think his biggest downfall was not being able to create solidarity, or any kind of cohesiveness among democrats or democratic groups, and lack real desire to actually win statewide elections.  And across the state there is too much fragmentation, but much of that fragmentation, as I said, has always existed.

Further, with a fragmented party, it would be unlikely that someone from another part of the country could create a new culture, or change the political landscape in Texas. First, they have to get past the Republican voters. We want to forget that Republicans work of ideology, and that democrats do not. From my observations there is nothing that creates commonality among Texas democrats, democratic groups or democratic voters, not even electing a democratic candidate for president. I cannot express my displeasure upon hearing that Bexar County precinct chairs had resigned after Obama won the Primary; that speaks volume about the influence of the party.

I know people were supportive of what transpired in Bexar County, but Richie should have supported the Bexar County Chair and sought out an amiable resolve rather than joining the lynch party and dragging a county chair through the media mud.  As far as I am concerned, the entire BCDP should be ashamed for trampling over the majority vote. The democratic voters of Bexar County should have been given the opportunity to vote in another or keep the current chair, but instead only a select few were able to vote. The entire incident was a disgrace for democrats and democracy.

I think my biggest beef is with the mentality of the democrats that participated…in reference to asking SDEC members to suggest Richie step down early this was one of the responses.

"when you start slinging "mud" re: "record of indifference" you totally turn me
off. You are beganing to sound like that loudmouth and very vulgar Dan
Ramos formerly the Bexar County Chair till we took a stand and ousted him. If
you want to build any type of following you need to temper your speech." 
Referring to Richie's record as "indifferent" is hardly hostile. Ah, but the power trip that comes from ousting anyone can be intense and give one illusions of unquestionable power.

That is just the way it is. Democrats do not need a new culture; they just need to accept the culture that is Texas. Texas is a growing, very diverse and conservative culture, whether people like it or not. It will take a couple of generations to change it, and it may or may not change. And it is the Hispanic population that is creating a demographic change in Texas. Hispanics, whether people acknowledge it or not, are more traditional, more conservative in family matters, but not completely intolerant. They may accept difference, but might not be quick at acknowledging those differences. And you will find that Hispanics from the south are more influenced by the Hispanic culture because of proximity than Hispanics in northern parts of the state. So there will be differences in how they react to certain situations.

Blogger, I do not agree with all your points, but you are right on target on many of them. That we desperately need a new path forward, perhaps, but we just need to move forward.  Everything democrats have been doing has failed, failed, and failed, as you say, and they will continue to fail if Richie has his way and he has already started.

Your reality check, getting the perfect candidate, finding all the money we need, (there is never enough money for a democrat to get elected) developing a narrative that makes any sense at all, and winning East Texas, well, I totally agree, forget it all. Some democrats are never going to accept certain representation, they will never accept change and they are socializing their children likewise. That is the reality that many Texans and democrats live with, and are determined to change, but they also realize they have an uphill battle.

I don’t believe the Democratic Party knows what their weaknesses are, or that they even have any. So, to chart a new course, to turn the corner and move forward means they need to recognize, confess and identify those weaknesses. For the most part, the TDP leadership, the influence, the deep pockets are still hanging on to their past glory and simply do not want to let go. So, I believe the best place to start evaluating is from the top down and not the bottom up. We know what is at the bottom, but we also know what is on top and it is not going to give up without a real ideological battle.

As I said, people may or may not agree with your opinion, but one thing I always wait for – are the critics, because they will come to tear down anyone who attacks their world view; these critics attack people on personal attributes, rather than reflect on their own beliefs, practices, opinions and such. At this juncture, there does need to be a time of reflection – if – Texas democrats truly want to change the political landscape. But again, unfortunately we have two types of Texas democrats, so which one will make a stronger show of power? Which one will have to compromise so the party can move forward?

There is an old children’s rhyme that seems to fit so adequately with the dilemma facing Texas democrats…

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the King’s horses

And all the King’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again!

Will this be the fate of the TDP? More later…