The following is a letter from David Van Os to one of his core supporters following last week's SDEC meeting, where the existence of a campaign/GOTV budget of $400,000 for the 2006 cycle was discussed by finance chair Dennis Speight, prompting questions from several SDEC members.
I asked DVO for permission to reprint it here. I removed only the name of the party to whom it was addressed in order to preserve that person's confidentiality.
I would be interested in BORers' thoughts regarding the ideas advanced here.
The statement that the $400,000 raised by Boyd Richie was “for the statewide candidates” is a falsehood. Whoever told you that lied to you. I am not trying to fight with you, ______. I am informing you that someone lied to you. I have my supposition as to who that someone was — let's just say the individual is probably one of the SDEC standing committee chairs and part of Boyd Richie's leadership team.
This lie about the $400,000 is one of the party lines they have come up with to try to deflect the grassroots anger over the state party's nonsupport of the statewide ticket. The money was used to support the races of the reportedly 17 state rep candidates who were selected by the TTLA, HDCC, and/or the Trust, i.e., the consultantocracy of Ed Martin, Russ Tidwell, and Matt Angle. The statewide candidates' names, with no message information, were perfunctorily added to “vote straight Democratic” fliers in those districts to give the lip service it was felt would be needed to deflect the anger.
The other party line the insiders are using as a deflection tactic is, “there just wasn't enough money to give any to the statewide candidates.” It's not about the party giving money to candidates! It is about the party promoting an environment of support and confidence about the candidates and their messages through its public and press communications. In politics, money follows excitement and hope. It wasn't the TDP's job to give money itself to the statewide or any other candidates. (Though it no doubt did so to some of the favored 17.) But it was the state party's job to build an atmosphere of excitement and hope to motivate potential donors. Some who read this will try to insult my intelligence — and the intelligence of the fellow statewide candidates to whom I am cc'ing this email — by claiming the TDP did use its communications abilities to promote the statewide candidates. My fellow statewide candidates and I say that it consciously and deliberately did not seriously do so. I will publicly debate this point, with evidence, anytime and anywhere the insiders want to do so. Ideally, it should be debated in front of the SDEC at the next quarterly meeting. So to anybody who's ready to challenge me publicly and in person — I'm ready; let's get it on.
I am not talking about promoting just Chris Bell for governor. I am talking about promoting the whole ticket, all the statewide candidates. They were all selected by Democratic voters in the Democratic Primaries. No party officer or staffer has the prerogative to decide that any Democrat nominated by Democratic voters in the Democratic Primary is not worthy of his/her candidacy and message being promoted by the party with vigor and confidence.
Every election the inside consultants and staffers decide which Democratic nominees are worthy of support and which aren't. The party then promotes press coverage and donor interest for those who are selected and tells the others, you're on your own. The process is the most closely guarded ugly little secret in Texas politics.
And what happens? Year after year, good Democrats who offered themselves up for the intense level of activism involved in running for office see that their participation wasn't wanted, so they go away instead of staying around to contribute what they learned in their campaigns to the party's store of knowledge and experience. Likewise, their networks of supporters and volunteers, discouraged at the way the party treated their candidates, go away and don't come back.
And so the downward spiral of non-inclusion goes on and on, and eventually Texas Democrats find themselves unable to defeat an incumbent Republican governor who can't top 40% when a large number of should-be Democratic voters record their accumulated frustration over insider politics by voting for independent candidates.
The issue that arose toward the end of the January 8 SDEC meeting is at the heart of the matter. The Texas Democratic Insiders Consultant Money Party is going to fight tooth and nail to try to beat the pending motion to put the TDP's general election GOTV campaign strategy and budget in the hands of the SDEC. If the SDEC takes control of the process on behalf of the Texas Democratic Party of the People, the favored consultants won't be able to deliver the goods — favored targeting — to their principals. If the SDEC takes control, the big money special interests — such as the mega-trial lawyers — won't be able to control the party's political expenditures. And — heaven forbid! — we might end up with grassroots-directed general election campaign strategies that actually make a whole lot more people who don't have special interests in the process but just want to take our state back feel included and get involved. Then statewide Democratic tickets might actually carry the whole state!
THE TEXAS DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS AND WILL REMAIN A WORTHLESS ORGANIZATION UNTIL AND UNLESS IT KICKS OUT THE INSIDE CONTROLLERS AND CONSULTANTS WHO UNDEMOCRATICALLY PASS JUDGMENT EVERY ELECTION YEAR ON WHICH DEMOCRATIC NOMINEES ARE WORTHY OF PARTY SUPPORT AND WHICH AREN'T.
David Van Os
Fight 'em on the ice.