Monday, July 11, 2005

Our story continues...

David Upton was most assuredly upset at my assertion that he and other supporters of David Cocke were scared by the MSDIA/DFM folks. He has advised me that he met with Desi Franklin and Ann Sandberg in Nashville to encourage them to get involved with the party and bring folks out. OK, that I didn't know, so I'm sorry for any misunderstanding.

There also seems to be confusion about last year's campaign. When John Kerry's campaign threw Tennessee under the bus, Kathryn Bowers and the committee took it upon themselves to set up a coordinated committee for the Shelby County ticket, focusing on 4 legislative districts where the incumbents were facing tough competition. Despite having NO national money, and focusing on 4 districts (one of them being Mike Kernell's, thank you) they still managed to win Shelby County by the largest margin for a Democratic presidential candidate in history. David Upton and David Cocke were a part of that; they are extremely knowledgeable about winning campaigns, and I never meant to imply that they were not. This was the correct course of action to take, because Shelby County could not offset the redness of the rest of the state.

Upton also said to me that David Cocke asked that no one's credentials be challenged based on whether they had voted in the most recent GOP primary. David understands the quagmire that would cause.

That having been said, I still want change. Why? 1) I don't want the Chism folks in charge, for the reasons I noted in the post below. 2) This party is about more than whether Harold Ford is elected to the Senate or not. 3) Even though I believe that EVERYONE is innocent until proven guilty, it's going to look awful to the average voter if we elect people close to the legislators involved in TENNESSEE WALTZ to lead the party.

Lots of people are watching what this party does right now, and if we are going to get some of these folks back in our fold, we have to elect someone not connected to either side. That's not really fair to David Cocke, but that doesn't change the reality of the situation. He just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it's a shame, because he is a loyal soldier to this party.


Anonymous said...

Cocke asked that people who had voted Republican before not be challenged, but Upton supported it. Whatever David Upton might have encouraged people to do in the past, he is most assuredly scared now, judging by the negative comments he often makes about members of the new group. Members of the coalition might be more inclined to support David Cocke and his undeniable wealth of his experience if many of his supporters weren't constantly deriding the group's members.

Brad Watkins said...

I am loathed to comment on this sad state of affairs for fear of escalating
current tensions, but as my mother always said, "you never could just let
things slide". I, for one am sick and greatly disappointed by the flurry of
hurtful negative attacks on members of our coalition partner Mid-South
Democrats In Action. These men and women are working very hard to add their
voice, energy and support in our collective goal of helping to move this
local party beyond factional divides and a chance for real party unity. This
is something that should be commended and encouraged, instead Desi
Franklin, and others within that group, have been the victims of
mudslinging, that not only makes the party as a whole look bad, but is
totally counter productive to what should be the goal of every delegate, to
work for a strong united party with a strong and effective chair. I
understand that politics is at times a contentious and aggressive affair, but
i think that everyone should take a brief moment to ponder this question.
How can anyone claim to want an inclusive and open executive committee,
while slandering the very people whose support you claim to want?
Let me make our position clear, Democracy For Memphis, began this endevour
hand in hand with the coalition and will end this endevour with the
coalition, period. I may not have been around forever, but i was not born
yesterday, and neither are the members of this group.
We support Desi and the members of MDIA, and think that those who want to
gossip and spread thinly veiled rumors questioning their party loyalty are
at best misinformed "possible", and at worst people of poor character, "also
possible". This process can sometimes bring out the worst part of all our
natures as everyone feels so strongly about the Democratic party, and what
direction we are all heading in. This is uncharted territory for all of us,
and the unknown can sometimes be frighting, however we cannot forget that
after this is all over we will still have to get back to the business of
building a stronger local party. To do this we want an executive committee
that is staffed with active and committed members who will work for the
greater good of this Party, I constantly hear that from various sides in all
this. So I challenge everyone who claims to want party unity to put their
money where their mouths are. Lets remember that while no one is expecting
us to hold hands and sing "We are the World", that we will need to be able
to work with one another after this is over. Right now all this is
accomplishing is creating new feuds on top of old ones, and the result of
that is a weak chair and a deeply divided executive committee, which no one

I also want to take issue with alot of the subtle race baiting that i have
heard bantered about.
This is another case of actions speaking louder than words. How are we going
to be one party, if we always have to have knee jerk racial driven
politics?...How can one unite a multiracial party, if you do not want to
reach out to those who are different than you?.racially,and ideologically,
etc. I am a proud African American man, but i am not blind to the fact that
only a united party, black and white can hope to be effective, and isn't
that the point of all this, to be effective?
The Democratic party has always been the party of the Big Tent, involving
and including people and groups from all over the landscape of this nation.
i hope that we despite all our differences can remember that.
Now any reasonable person can see that this whole "Republican mole" nonsense
is without merit, after all, most people work for republicans...I do, my
boss is a die hard republican, does that make me a suspect now?
The fact that back in the fifties many African Americans voted for
Eisenhower, a republican, so by the logic of those who say these things many
blacks would and should have rightfully been barred from the internal party
process in the sixties and beyond. "How's that for race baiting?"

I have strong opinions, but i always try to keep an open mind when I speak
to someone. Before I met Del Gill,"Sorry if i misspelled" i heard some
negative things about him, but when i met him for myself, guess what?...i
found that i kinda like the guy. we disagree on things,"alot of them" but at
least i know where he stands on things. I hear negative things about
David Upton, but i like the guy, we disagree, "on some big things"...but
that is all it is, a disagreement. I judge people based on what I know
not what i hear. I ask those attacking Desi to do the same.

I have a life, wonderful friends, who
have been supportive and kind, a good family and loving parents...why would
i waste time and energy and emotion on a group of near strangers. I do not
hate anyone on the SCDP, i have much more important things to occupy my mind
and time with. So I propose that before someone makes a charge fueled by
racial bias, or makes a nasty negative comment, slandering someone's
name,without merit that they take a break. Go out, watch a movie, go on a
trip, call up old friends and go do something fun.
In other words, get a life.

Brad Watkins
Democracy For Memphis

LeftWingCracker said...

Wow. That pretty well sums it up for me as well, Brad. I appreciate all that you and Desi are bringing to the party with these new people, people who have EARNED a spot at the discussion with their efforts.

David Holt said...

Here, here, Brad! That pretty much sums up my take on things as well. There are a lot of great people on the executive committee now, a lot of great people with DFM, a lot of great people with MDIA, and a lot of great people with whatever faction we want to lump people in. I for one, hope we can all keep this whole convention in perspective. We all want to beat Republicans in this county, state, and nation. We want to fight for the values we hold dear. The rest of this is just chump change.

David Holt

anonymous2 said...

Ann Sandberg and her very active group, Women for Kerry (now called Midsouth Democrats in Action), were responsible for registering and following up on around 6,000 new voters in the last Presidential election, not David Cocke/David Upton. It's sad and ironic that at the last forum (sponsored by those who did get the vote out), David Cocke seemed to be taking credit for the large Kerry turnout. In fact, at the Shelby Co.Democrat Headquarters, there was a large stack (at least 6 inches high) of volunteers who wanted to help with the Kerry campaign in many different ways. That stack of volunteers was never contacted because of Cocke's inability to organize volunteers.

LeftWingCracker said...

I'd like to address that for a moment. This was a coordinated campaign for the ticket, and much of what was done was at the state house district level due to lack of funds.

Remember that Kerry essentially wrote off Tennessee and no money came from the national campaign.

In addition, there was always stuff going on at the HQ that needed to be done for the ticket.

Here, if you work for one candidate, you wind up working for all of them.

I say that as someone who is NOT supporting Cocke for chair, as I have already stated below.

renee said...

First of all, David Cocke was not soley responsible for "organizing volunteers." He did however, find people who could purportedly do just that - one of whom was Leester Redmond, a MDIA memeber - and she worked very hard to keep a volunteer data base and organize volunteers. (she herself volunteered for this enormous undertaking). In addition Vicky Lyon worked tirelessly to help keep the headquaters open and make sure volunteers were solicited and kept informed. Joe weinberg did an incredible job of running a very efficient and effective phone bank for weeks on end. Jody Patterson and others worked night and day to make sure that your local elected Democratic officials held onto their positions.

So . . . I am SICK and TIRED of hearing bellyaching about the lack of volunteer efforts at headquaters by people who (a)NEVER stepped foot in the building, or (b)were hateful, rude and well simply nasty to other volunteers when they did.

When many of those, who now are complaining the loudest, did grace the Shelby Co. Dem. Party Headquaters with their presence, the hardworking volunteers that met them at the door were treated with complete and utter disrespect. I personally can recall one occassion when I was screamed at by Ann Sandberg for not dropping everything to attend to her every whim. This as I was trying to help organize a massive weekend long canvassing event and had been had headquaters for almost forty-eight hours straight -that's right 48 hrs.

Like countless other volunteers, who had no affiliation with the Women for Kerry, I was there for a portion of the day -almost every day for the last five to six weeks of the campaign- and every day that I was there - I saw David Cocke working along side other volunteers- to help organize canvassing and literature drops; discussing ways to raise more money and working with State Party leadership; helping set up robo-calls and media activities; assisting with GOTV activities; checking on the progress of various projects etc.

Was it a perfect organization, I'm sure it was not - but we are not talking about people who were paid political operatives - we are talking about an all volunteer organization of people with jobs and families and concerns of their own. So to now declare with haughty indignation that nothing got done at headquaters is simply wrong and disresptful to the scores of volunteers who gave of their time every time the doors were open. And to declare that Kerry somehow lost the election due to David Cocke's alleged failure to make volunteer phone calls is preposterous.

As Steve points out, it was no small feat to win Shelby Co. by the largest margin of any Democratic Presidential Candidate on what essentially amounted to a shoestring budget. And while no one person deserves the credit for that, neither should the efforts of certain persons or groups be dismissed simply because you don't "like" them. Moreover there are nearly 48,000 newly registered voters in Shelby County. While I applaud the hard work this group did, they were NOT the only one's out there working to register voters.

I agree with Brad - the greatest blessing to come out of both Dean's campaign and the eventual Kerry campaign was a re-birth of grassroots politics - but local Democrats are on the verge of squandring the potential of that force.

I hope people vote their conscience when selecting a Chairman. While I am not advocating one person over another, I will not remain silent while a man who has long served this community and this Party with honor and integrity is attacked by "small-minded" people who would rather play the blame game than the winning game.

Good luck to all the candidates.

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