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Gary Pearce: On Democratic dysfunction

"Someone asked the obvious question: “Why do Democrats elect fools like David Parker and Randy Voller chairman?” writes veteran Democratic consultant Gary Pearce in his blog Talking about Politics.

"It’s a “governance crisis,” said one thoughtful Democrat and former statewide candidate. “The chairman is selected by 600 people on the executive committee, most of whom know nothing about getting elected statewide.”

"There always has been tension between Democratic activists and Democratic elected officials. Party people blasted Governor Hunt for his “keys” organization, built around people who were leaders in their cities and communities, but not necessarily party activists.

"Back in 1992, one of his opponents thought that would be a real vulnerability when Hunt was making his comeback to the governor’s office. The opponent promised that he would restore the 100 county party chairs to their rightful place at the head of the table. He learned how effective the chairs were: he got 30 percent of the vote in the primary.

"Today, many party activists are idealistic and ideological. They are true believers. Like the Republican right-wingers, they are determined to root out any deviancy from the True Faith – which is far more liberal than North Carolina’s voting population. Many of them got involved in the party through the Howard Dean movement in 2004. Remember when Dean jump-started his campaign by pledging to represent “the Democratic wing of the Democratic party”?

"Jerry Meek, who emerged from that group, gets credit for nevertheless bridging the gap between activists and elected officials. Then came David Parker, who exploited the split to keep himself in the chairmanship.

"The national Democratic Party has made this mistake before. After the 1968 Chicago convention, activists threw the old bosses out of the temple. A lot of that was healthy. But they also ignored people who knew something about how to get elected, which is what political parties are supposed to do.

"Over time – through a Commission on Presidential Nominations that Hunt chaired and the Democratic Leadership Council that Bill Clinton led – the party rebalanced itself. And it started winning again.

"It’s easy for an idealistic activist to criticize a Governor or legislator – or President – for compromising and moderating and tacking and doing all the things politicians do to get the ship of state headed the right way.

"It’s hard work to win an election and govern. You have to marry idealism with political reality. You have to mix energy with experience. You sometimes have to take a half-step ahead instead of a great leap forward.

"If you don’t, you’ll stay where Democrats are today: getting repeatedly run over on the field of play, helpless to stop the Republican blitzkrieg.

"To paraphrase a noted Republican, Barry Goldwater: “Grow up, Democrats.”


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who is doubtingtonya

Anonymous attacks are hard to believe or respond to without a real name behind them - especially when you feel that the only people who matter have been paid to work on campaigns.

Chris Telesca

Eveyrone becomes a hasbeen at some time.

Whether a consultant or a pundit - you can become a has-been when you constantly lose elections, give bad advice, or are seen as pushing opinions to get you or your special friends jobs/campaign money.

I know Gary is an author. He wrote a book, and he used to write for Hunt. He writes a blog with Carter Wrenn - politics does indeed make strange bedfellows. Hunt won four terms, but he failed to win a Senate election.

Gary isn't perfect or omnipotent. And if he and his friends want to get money for contracts from the NCDP, they better realize that it's a new ballgame. They don't have the same rich folks automatically giving the NCDP or the candidates money to pass laws that allow them to make even more money - they have the Republicans for that now. And the consultants and contractors seem to think they can still operate the same expensive and ineffective campaigns they always did - and that money and other party resources will be left out for them to take and do as they please because they are so "special".

Wake up - this is a new day. The grassroots accomplished a lot during the tenure of Howard Dean and Jerry Meek. We lost so much when DNC and SEC members allowed themselves to be rubber stamps for Barack Obama and Beverly Perdue. The jury is still out on DWS, but here in NC, we aren't gonna be rubber stamps for any elected public official, candidate - or consultant.

Chris Telesca

You think that you only have value if...

...you have been elected to public office or have worked as a paid consultant?

First off - all elected public officials are nothing but public servants. They seem to forget that in the everlasting hunt for money to feed their campaigns.

I am in the grassroots. We can't all be elected public officials. Do you really think that all political consultants are worth what they are paid? How many big cheese consultants took valuable campaign resources in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and pissed them away on campaigns which they lost?

As a volunteer in 2008, I consulted with every campaign for every candidate on the ballot. I worked hard to help everyone from Barack Obama on down to dog-catcher, and most of them won election. Consider what I do more like logistical support. You may scoff at that, but have you ever heard the phrase "an army marches on its stomach"? Meaning if you don't take care of the basics, the greatest army commander in the world couldn't win a battle or war. And I have lots of credibility to hammer away at the idiots who get paid big dollars to consult with candidates and campaigns who have tried to destroy the volunteer base of the Democratic Party so they can earn more money selling services whether the candidate wins or loses. They get paid either way!

At least I didn't have the balls to charge the Wake County Democratic Party $27K for mailers with a massive typo on them that were sent out so late that many arrived AFTER the election!

Chris Telesca

You think that you only have value if...

...you have been elected to public office or have worked as a paid consultant?

First off - all elected public officials are nothing but public servants. They seem to forget that in the everlasting hunt for money to feed their campaigns.

I am in the grassroots. We can't all be elected public officials. Do you really think that all political consultants are worth what they are paid? How many big cheese consultants took valuable campaign resources in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and pissed them away on campaigns which they lost?

As a volunteer in 2008, I consulted with every campaign for every candidate on the ballot. I worked hard to help everyone from Barack Obama on down to dog-catcher, and most of them won election. Consider what I do more like logistical support. You may scoff at that, but have you ever heard the phrase "an army marches on its stomach"? Meaning if you don't take care of the basics, the greatest army commander in the world couldn't win a battle or war. And I have lots of credibility to hammer away at the idiots who get paid big dollars to consult with candidates and campaigns who have tried to destroy the volunteer base of the Democratic Party so they can earn more money selling services whether the candidate wins or loses. They get paid either way!

At least I didn't have the balls to charge the Wake County Democratic Party $27K for mailers with a massive typo on them that were sent out so late that many arrived AFTER the election!

Chris Telesca

The precincts are the BASE of the Democratic Party

All the elected public officials are but public servants. And those that run for partisan office run to have that "D" behind their names. But many seem to forget that getting the nomination of the Democratic Party means that they have something to do for us when they get elected. They are trying to convince other Democrats that they will be the best standard-bearer for the Party to turn our party platform into public policy. Many of them seem to forget that.

Nothing is above my level - especially when it comes to public servants. That is my point.

Chris Telesca

Tubal Reversal

I made a search on the issue and found nearly all peoples will agree with your blog.

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Stay in the precincts

"I actually have a great track record of bringing in volunteers. I've had several people tell me that I am one of the best precinct organizers in the state. So if so many people think I organize precincts well"

There is your role. The rest of this appears to be above your level. Sick with what you do. What is your point ? A defense of several anonymous posters and two or three repetitive crunchers who appear to have no track record upon googling is not helping Randy Voller.

K leigh

What office have you been elected to? Who have you consulted for? Did you help anyone win anything? Name an office. Critiquing with no references. Looks like you and Telesca have no credibility but repeatedly hammer pthers who do. You are sad defenses. You do know you make Voller look desperate. The same people playing the same song, hammering others. That is a pathetic defense. You are losing points. Hit the coffee shops. Your defense is hurting him

Ballsy

Calling Gary a has been. Who the heck are you? I have never heard of you. You appear to be pompous with no reference to anything done as a consultant pundit or anything in between. You know Gary is an author rIght? You know Jim Hunt four terms right? Guess that just isn't enough for the big precinct chair sign shop guru. Do you know how absurd you look? Get out of the weeds man

Critiquing Hunt

You critique Gary and explain Hunt? Were you here? What are your references for campaigns you managed? What is your research and consulting experience? Where do you work now? Are you paid by NCDP? Are you paid by Randy voller?

Which campaigns

Which campaigns have you managed Telesca? What were the outcomes? What political positions have you held that were paid? Who are your political consulting references?

Critiquing Gov Hunt.

How long have you lived here? What has your role been? Have you run for elected office in NC? And not as a precinct chair.

Do you know the cycles in the state, the polling on issues. Were you here for Hunt-Helms?

Who is k leigh

If you know so much and have no trouble talking about someone's credit card by calling out her name, why can't you use your real name? Anonymous defense that you ask us to believe is hard without a name with integrity.

How much did he raise?

He says he raised $200k since starting. How much spent since he started? How much raised on trip? Jefferson Jackson cost how much? How much was raised?

How much did he raise?

He says he raised $200k since starting. How much spent since he started? How much raised on trip? Jefferson Jackson cost how much? How much was raised?

The taxes owed to the IRS go

The taxes owed to the IRS go back to the economic crash of 2008. Voller paid his creditors, and planned to borrow against his property to pay his taxes. Banks quit extending credit at that time, still don't. So the taxes have been paid on a schedule of payments set up by the IRS, which Voller has met, and will be paid by year's end. This is normal, if he filed, which he did, legally, and on time. Meanwhile, he had a NCDP fundraising job to do, which he did. The two situations do not overlap.

He used his own credit card to organize a fundraising trip, which was highly successful for the NCDP. He introduced several large donors to the NCDP, and the nationally recognized political fundraiser he met with out west. Vagas is a city of conventions centrally located for national business conventions. -k leigh

When you are late on your income taxes

When you are late on your income taxes it makes sense to fly off to Las Vegas. I doubt they teach that in Personal Finance 101 but times are changing and you must be innovative.

Gary's linking of Meek to Dean...

...is also bogus.

Jerry Meek was involved in the Democratic Party LONG BEFORE Howard Dean showed up on the scene. Jerry had come up in the Party over the years and wanted to run for Chair in 2003 challenging Barbara Allen. They made a deal then to have Meek run for and win 1st Vice Chair, with the promise that he'd get the Gov's endorsement for Chair in 2005. Then John Edwards got the Veep slot in 2004, and after the loss the Edwards people wanted one of their own in there - and they wanted Turlington. So they decided to screw Jerry Meek - so Meek appealed to the base that was fed up with business as usual in NC (and in DC). It just so happened that Howard Dean supporters were feeling the same oats after the 2004 loss. Jerry was there before Dean, but Jerry won partly because of Dean. And Dean helped Jerry accomplish his mission. Then OFA worked to kill off the Democratic Party starting in June 2008.

Hunt's "keys" were good for Hunt - they failed to deliver the state for the Democratic nominee for Governor in the 1984 election, or for Hunt when he ran against Helms in 1984. Sort of the same way that OFA methods only help Obama when he's on the ballot, and no coat-tails for any other candidate. Not very "democratic" either.

Chris Telesca

Yes I do expect people to work

It's too bad I have been elected to fill the terms of two people who ran for office but were not able to fulfill their term.

I also was able to get signs bundled and out to 100% of Wake's 198 precincts in 2008, and get poll greeters out to about 99% of the precincts (think we missed 14-01 and 14-02). Hardly something that a person could do if they scare off volunteers!

Chris Telesca

I have won several races.

I have won every single race I have ever won running for Precinct Chair. I have also won election to the SEC, and been elected 13th District Chair twice. I even won election as Vice President of my high school photography club.

You are aware of the "Hunt Commission" that established superdelegates at the Democratic National Convention. You do realize how undemocratic that was?

History will judge how non-corrupt Hunt was. Most certainly the Republicans wouldn't agree with you. And most certainly the folks who supported the Wilmington 10 wouldn't agree with you - they don't understand why Hunt didn't pardon them.

Hunt was criticized for allowing Darryl Hunt (no close relation known) to remain in prison for twenty years after the wrongfully convicted Winston-Salem man was exonerated by exculpatory DNA evidence which pointed to another perpetrator. Geeze - even Easley pardoned Darryl Hunt!

I even know some good Democrats in the labor movement who didn't see Jim Hunt lift a finger to help labor in this state. And most certainly Jim Hunt had to know that Jimmy Green and other Democrats in this state were corrupt. Or are you saying that it was OK if Hunt looked the other way while Green and others were corrupt?

Not saying that Hunt was perfect, and not saying that he was crooked. Just saying that he's not perfect and certainly not a candidate for sainthood!

I actually have a great track record of bringing in volunteers. I've had several people tell me that I am one of the best precinct organizers in the state. So if so many people think I organize precincts well, how and why do you claim that I drive people away?

By trying to make the Party more inclusive & diverse, by empowering more volunteers by turning them into party officers with a say in party policy, I actually am making the tent BIGGER not smaller. What I am trying to do is remove the corrupting influence of big money into politics, and keep the string-pullers from taking over (again) and ruining the Democratic Party. As Howard Dean said: "if you want to take back your country, you first have to take back your Party."

The 1% may own many politicians and may own much of the country, but as long as they don't own me and the number of people who reject their plans keeps growing, the more likely we will be able to take our state and nation. But we have to take our party back first. That's what I am doing - and that's why I support Randy Voller and am working to defend him.

Chris Telesca

Telesca is a District officer

And at least he knows how to spell, and use a spell checker.

By last competent governor, I'll give you Easley. But Bev knew how to swing a veto stamp.

And if by bullying you mean he expects people to actually work, well yes. Democrats work. Now they do. It will be a real change for Goodwin House, especially the staff.

The people in the Democratic Party tent these days are there to work for the people of NC, not feather their own nests.
-k leigh

With No Due Respect...

You (Telesca) have never won a single race. Gary Pearce helped elect the last successful, non-corrupt, competant Democratic Governor.

You just shoot your mouth off and bully volunteers, and drive people away.

If Dems do things your way (making the tent smaller, not larger) they will be relegated to permanent minority status. Look at Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, etc etc.

Gary Pearce must be getting old

Apparently he forgot that there was another NCDP Chair right in between Jerry Meek and David Parker. One picked by the Governor who she told us she needed to have in place in order to run and win again in 2012 (at least that's what she told us when we had coffee at the Exec Mansion in early 2010).

That NCDP Chair was David Young, and pundits like Gary Pearce and Thomas Mills seem to forget that he was Chair for two years while we let the upper-level electeds (Obama's OFA and the Governor of our own state) run the show. How well did that work for us?

Chris Telesca

Maybe he knew how to win a while back....

..but how did Gary Pearce help Terry Sanford win? Or anyone else since Jim Hunt?

Do you really want to listen to a has-been? What about all these other so-called experts who led our candidates, Party and state over the cliff in 2010 and 2012?

Chris Telesca

Seriously? Jim Hunt? That makes Pearce a 'winner'?

Why not James K Polk? He made it to President.
Or Richard Caswell? Or Zeb Vance?

My point is, Gary Pearce never got elected to any state wide office at all, ever. He never governed for one day.

He was what you call a consultant. Was. Past tense.

Now he calls himself a pundit. His minions and groupies point to Jim Hunt? When was that, 30 years ago? We are still, as a party, digging our way out from under that pile of corruption and the hangers on and advisors and 'media experts' still can't let go of that money flow.

Let the party go back to its roots, we elected Randy Voller as the reform candidate we need, to win again.
k leigh

There is one...

...compelling reason to heed Gary's words: he knows how to win.

See; Hunt, Jim.

I think the only one making Thom look good

is Vholler.

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