Monday, March 27, 2006
Democrats in general, and David Van Os in particular
Just a note about the whistlestop and some observations. (ok, in retrospect, 'note' is misleading!)
If you're not from Texas and don't know anyone from Texas and don't give a flip about helping Texas recover from DeLay's Republican Majority PAC, then you needn't read further.
The meeting, on Saturday, March 25th, was not as well attended as one would have hoped. Frankly, for the Democratic candidate for State Attorney General to draw only enough people to fill about half the room, I'm very disappointed in Democrats in Texas.
I don't hold David's effort accountable; I hold the Texas Democrats organization (and I'm being generous to call it an organization), the Harris County Democratic Party (which should be leading the Texas Democrats - despite what I will say about them), Barbara Radnofsky's campaign, Chris Bell's campaign and local workers accountable. Even if the only people that had turned up were all of the local workers for the various campaigns, the room at Drexler's would have been overflowing. Where were all the SD (state senate) campaigners and their supporters?
One can argue that this was one of several whistlestops for David, but this was still an important meeting. EVERY meeting for Democratic candidates is important! David's run for Attorney General holds profound consequences for the state. The Attorney General has a raft of powers that could dramatically alter the pollution landscape in our state, the funding of schools, the repeal of regressive taxes via challenge from David's office, and on and on. The Governor is the only position more able to affect immediate policy, though I think that can be argued.
And so, David comes to Houston and is essentially blown-off by the Democratic structure. There were notable exceptions. Richard Morrison, the 2004 challenger to DeLay, was there with his wife and kids, as was Hank Gilbert, the Democratic candidate for Commisioner of Agriculture. Melissa Taylor, the Executive Director of the HCDP was there, along with Kay Green, the candidate for Family Court (if memory serves) 248.
And, naturally, Phillip McNutt (HCDP) was there. Are there, like, 5 of this guy? He's at every function I go to!
I think that if Melissa and Phillip and the other, loyal HCDP workers that have been at every function that I've been to can show up, so can a lot of other people.
Enough about that; back to David.
I had written back and forth with David and his wife, Rachel, for months on the firstname.lastname@example.org newsgroup, but hadn't previously met them. I was not disappointed. I spoke only briefly with David, as he really needed to make the rounds, but I was impressed. He comes across just as strong in person as he does on the net and in his campaign literature.
Rachel and I, though, spent a lot of one-on-one time talking. I had no idea that she and David were such activists -- although David's speech also changed my mind on that.
For example, Rachel was watching the 2000 Florida mess on TV when she decided to go and protest! So, she hops on a plane and goes for 4 days. I may have the timeline a bit wrong, but as I recall, while she's there, she turns from protester into backup judge at the Palm Beach recount. She also had the dubious honor of having John Bolton be nasty to her; however, to say John Bolton is a mean, nasty person is to be redundant: Bolton/nasty/petty/etc.etc. All synonyms.
Before becoming a judge (I think that's the term she used), she protested outside; even brought her own signs! The Rethuglicans were getting in the Dems faces during the protests; Rachel had a thug spitting in her face while he screamed, "Baby killer" at her. Now, don't ask me what a recount has to do with abortion. I think it's just that two or three phrases is the limit of Rethuglicans vocabulary -- if you can call that a 'vocabulary'. I wish I had been there; that 'gentleman' would have been arrested on assault charges.
While she was certifying hanging/pregnant chads (and I won't go into the other type of chad that she developed a unique name for!), she had a Republican goon standing over her, challenging every one. It was obvious to everyone that the Rethuglicans were doing everything in their power to slow down the recount.
She came back home and gathered up David, and they flew back out for 4 days, where she counted votes while David did legal work for the Gore team -- all on their nickel. Now, THAT'S what I call being aggressively interested in the future of your country.
Rachel is well spoken, but doesn't spare the language, when appropriate. I found that refreshing! Emotional and intelletual honesty in our political system -- what a concept!
Now, on to David.
David's speech was, to say the least, enthusiastic. (and too loud; someone should really use an $80 Radio Shack db meter to set sound levels) The thing I most took away from the speech was David's repeated amazement that we have had no demonstrations in the street about our government being hijacked and our Constitution abrogated by these Nazis. (Ok, he didn't use the word Nazis, but they are, in fact, exactly that. 'Fascist' is not, technically, the correct term.
And I mean repeated, emotional amazement. He sounded positively Wolverine!
(Mike, you would have loved it!)
David spoke quite a bit about how our Constitutional Democracy (though, it can be aruged that we are really more Republic than Democracy -- but we do, in fact, encompass both aspects) has been replaced by BushCo. I say BushCo because Bush is just the puppet; the man couldn't tie his own shoes without Laura helping him, I'm sure, so the real machinations fall to Cheney and Rove.
David repeated this theme about our government, which is supposed to be governed by the consent of the people, being now a government over the people, not of the people, as well as his continuing amazement at how we are just letting it happen.
The people in Germany, 1933, also died the death, as a people, of a thousand cuts. The only difference is that Hitler was elected.
David is being outspent over 1,000 to one. Rachel said it was 10,000 to one, and it may be, but -- regardless -- it's a lot.
David needs more people who, like Julia, give every month. We don't have much time. David needs air time in Houston and Dallas and San Antonio. He needs full-page ads in the major papers and he needs more Internet work done, like this e-mail.
Of course, the other candidates, like Chris Bell, Nick Lampson, Ted Ankrum and Barbara Radnofsky also need more of our support, as well as Hank Gilbert and every one of the other Democratic candidates.
Rachel and I agreed that this election will not be won from the top down. The Texas Democats (the organization. What a stupidly named group; couldn't they make it distinguishable from Democrats in general in Texas?) seem to have this illusion that Barbara Radnofsky will pull Texas Democratic candidates along with her; we (and David) think that is just bullshit. This is a bottom-up election. It is the slate of state candidates that will pull locals along and power the Congressional candidates, though the state candidates had best get their act together and start working harder, like David is.
Maybe Chris Bell had other things to do; I don't know, but unless Ted Ankrum had his own function (and why would we, at Texas Kos, not know this if he did???), Ted lives just up 290 a bit and could have made it to David's whistlestop to show support and to draw more people by publicizing his appearance. And where was Barbara? Why isn't this stuff being publicized better on the Texas newsgroups, with Texas Kos being one of the lead groups?
Where the hell was the Texas Democrats organization? (TxDemocrats.net) Is every candidate being forced to go it alone? (with the notable exceptions of attendees, er.. noted... at the top)
Ted Ankrum has a newsgroup on Yahoogroups, but I got kicked off when I asked where their organization was, and if they had one, would they please let me -- and everyone else -- know. Ted, as CD10 candidate, is essential to recovering Texas, but his campaigners lack the intestinal fortitude to withstand criticism (granted, mine was a bit sharp, but not wrong) -- and I don't know if Ted realizes this. I don't mean to pick on Ted; I think he is one hell of a great guy and will make an outstanding Congressman, but I think that his organization's lack of organization is an example of what's going on statewide. They have a go-it-alone attitude that is hurting Ted, and by association, the entire state party. They are also a bunch of amateurs (their own phrase) that seem unable to reach out for experienced assistance.
For example, at the HCDP kickoff a couple of weeks ago, Barbara had a table right in the food line. David had display, but one of his children, I believe, was sick, so he didn't make it. Nick Lampson's group had a table. Several others had tables, but Ted came alone -- as far as I could tell. Not one person from his campaign staff?!
So, in closing (ok, ok! Hold down the cheering, will ya! Sheesh!), let's get out there and not only support the candidates, but let's try to dig up groups for them to speak to. Let's also encourge these Texas cowboys (mostly, the campaign workers) to put aside their go-it-alone thing and work as a group, with people from every level (local, state, Congressional) showing up at every other level's functions. Imagine how empowered some schoolboard candidate's team would feel if Chris or Ted or David showed up. Just remember; schoolboards are where the Republicans almost own this country, and this determines what our kids are taught.
We cannot afford to wait 2 more years to impact national politics. Incrementalism failed in Vietnam; it's failing in Iraq (though, you'd have to blow the entire country up to 'win') and it will fail in re-gaining our country. Even if you don't live in Texas, please contribute what you can, and encourage others to do the same. If you write or blog, please write about Texas candidates. A Texas Congressperson or Senator votes - in every vote - to affect the life of everyone in this country. Just look what DeLay has done to the nation. (shudder!)
Like David says, "Fight them till Hell freezes over, then fight them on the ice."
BTW, yes; I know Ted has a Democratic run-off, but when you compare the 2, there is no comparison. Ted is The Man!
posted by snarko! at 12:53 PM
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