NCDP: Will The SEC Vote For A Problem Solver or A Cheerleader? The Chair is Too Important to Be A “Good ‘ol Boy” Post—It Should Be Like A Job Interview.

A recent post by Matt Hughes in Blue NC smacks to the heart of the NCDP issue.  Will the SEC vote for a cheerleader or a problem solver as their next Chair.

Frankly, I think we’ve seen too many cheerleaders, both within the NCDP and as candidates running for office.  I’d be more inclined to accept a Democratic leader who, not only understands the issues we face in North Carolina, but also has a plan to fix problems.

At this point in the game, I don’t need someone to tell me we need to band together as Democrats, much in the same way as I don’t need a candidate telling me we need to fix the economy.

How should we come together and why?   In the same way that if you’re a candidate, how will you try to fix the economy?

Electing more Democrats isn’t the answer—as painful as that may seem to some.  Electing good Democrats with the right message and the right plan is the answer.

If you’re running (or thinking about running) for NCDP Chair, what are the issues you think are more important and why?

You want us to band together and be one driving force, then why and how?  How to you plan on raising money? Who will you use to do it?  Just saying we need to elect more Democrats isn’t going to get donors to cut a check.

How well can you work with others and do you have a track record of working with others?  If so, who and when?

If you want to be inclusive and believe all fractions of the Party should have a voice, then how to you plan to carry that out?  Who will you use to get it done and what groups do you intend to bring to the table?

Another issue I’d like raised is what do you not have?  One single person can’t be everything the NCDP needs to fix all our problems.  Tell me what you’re not good at doing (I can handle the truth—I’m a big boy) and how and who you will use to minimize those weaknesses.

In other words, don’t just tell me we need to work together to win the ballgame—show me how you plan to win the ballgame.

The same can be said for candidates thinking about running in 2016: show me what you want to do.  Give specifics and show me a plan—not just a cheerleading script.

Below is a response to Matt Hughes’ post that I think speaks to the issue in more detail.  The Chair shouldn’t be a beauty contest—it should be about the real issues that face NC.


Matt: Thank you for your laying out some thoughts on this issue – though I find it mostly filled with platitudes and things we have talked about for quite some time. You did not find the Philosophers Stone, useful as some things you cited may be. It is time for very sober reflection and not rah-rah and shallow platitudes.

The Democratic Party in NC cannot effectively win comprehensively and widely until it can cause redistricting in 2021-2! Do you concede that? Hope so, these are irrefutable facts. There are three things NCDP can do: (1) engage in a process to bring about an independent commission for redistricting in 2021-2 and (2) educate the party widely in an effort to make it much more effective including rural areas, and (3) adopt Vollers ten points, at minimum, asap – with a paid and experienced MANAGER as Chair! The duties of chair are not (1) fund raising personally, but managing those who do, and (2) running campaigns, but rather supplying the support the candidates need. Voller was accused of not doing those too things by people with highly parochial and spiteful motives. He instead focused on what little success we were allowed IN SPITE of a dissident and vindictive movement.

One thing needs to be settled going foward: Gov. Jim Hunt and his faction, in an attempt to control the party, did real injury to NCDP when he (1) announced publicly big donors should not to give to NCDP, implying he did not trust or like Randy, and (2) give money directly to the candidates (of course through him and a few others in PACs and other devices) in attempt to starve the party of money – it was said that was because Voller could not be trusted. That is plain old BS covering for his want to control the party. Well, we now have clean audits which put lie to the insinuations of Beth Wood of “problems” last earlier this year when she demanded her money back because she did not trust Voller. OBTW, this provided the cover needed for Hagan to take her campaign to Wake County instead of NCDP – and it also helped block fund raising from NCDP. So, Voller did a great job in spite of people dedicated to his personal, professional and political assassination and destruction with no regard to the damage to the party.

Matt, I never heard you flinch in the least when Voller was under attack and money was being denied to NCDP!! Did you, and please cite where? Instead, you seemed to work with Governor Hunt to inflict damage on the party these past two years. Is it possible you could convince him to make a public apology to the member of the NCDP, all million or so? Would be a nice thing to do, just as having Senator Hagan attend the SEC meeting on Saturday to thank the representatives of all the “little Democrats” for their hard work and money on her behalf.

So, while you are painting a fantastical picture going forward, there is unfinished business in the body politic. And yes, we need a unified Democratic Party, but: will it be the Blue Dog Triangulation of Hillary Clinton (and Kay Hagan) or the open party of Elizabeth Warren? Do we want it where we have surrendered totally to the Wall St crowd (apparently) or we want our own autonomy? The argument that any and all elections require money, so we have to chase it first, foremost and always, and that it becomes our total wrongful focus. That lack of foresight has driven the people who tried to kill Voller, money, money, money and to hell with any and all principles. So, Matt, what are your principles – win at any cost, money, money, money. All the nice points you make are just that, they have to be turned, along with many, many, many other considerations into things operational and effective by people with principles, real principles.

Will Governor Hunt, and his people, understand and admit they should not have cut off the NCDP in an effort to defenestrate Randy Voller starting in February, 2013, thereby truncating the ability of the Party to properly support the many candidates? Will you undertake to do this heavy lifting, or are you just fine that some folks can decide to fundamentally damage NCDP abritrarily? And, the rot goes back some ways, to include the Council of State’s attack on and neutering of David Parker in 2012 – with some of the same players who went immediately after Voller. The biggest issue is the inability of our erstwhile political leaders to build and maintain a viable bench of candidates – back into the 1990s, and refusing to look at change which was coming and could be seen. That is why I am not for accepting some pleasing fantasies when I see many years of blood, sweat and tears and brutal honesty ahead, which will require real leadership and not just cheer leading.

So Matt, lay it all out, including the wrong and bad things which influenced outcomes and cost us elections, directly through denial of funds to the Party. Take responsibility for your roles in that if any, mostly as cheerleader. Ask your mentor to step up and perhaps think he may have been wrong.

I offer this a very close and acute observer and 45 years of successfully managing organizations small and large with a variety of missions, often under great stress and even fire. The way will be hard and harder, and we do need no Summer Soldiers who ride in victory parades and vanish when the Winter Soldiers step up to the tasks before them.

At risk may well be extinction as the Republicans continue and accelerate environmentally disastrous laws and policies. Much at stake, and not something to blithely treat as if it affected just some cross section of political hyper-actives in North Carolina. Above all, we need Public Virtue – look it up because we do not have much now – comes from the Roman Republic. It means do the right things for the right reasons and do not shirk or lie. Easy to say, hard to do.



About George Fisher

George is a freelance writer, an author and a Democratic political consultant. He has worked as Deputy Communications Director for a Senatorial campaign and Campaign Manager for several NC House races and one congressional race. He previously worked as a news producer for a local television station.
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