Kaine: The Eyes of the DNC are Upon Texas

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Democratic National Committee Chairman, and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, brought the Organizing for America listening tour to Dallas today where he intimated several times over that a competitive 2010 election cycle across the United States for Democrats includes the Lone Star State.

Kaine mentioned the positive dynamics of Democrats winning a gubernatorial seat here in Texas, especially if Rick Perry is the Republican nominee, and also took a moment to mention the potential of picking up a U.S. Senate seat with a special election upon the expected fall resignation of Kay Bailey Hutchison.  Kaine spoke as if he was well aware of some emerging competitive statewide races on the horizon here in Texas.  

Overall, Kaine articulated three goals that the Democratic National Committee has:1) To be the political arm for the White House

Everyday that staff arrives at the DNC the question is asked, how can we support President Barack Obama today?  That's a question that Democrats everywhere should be asking themselves too.  

2) To strengthen state party infrastructure across the United States

I personally felt that Governor Howard Dean was snubbed by the Obama administration once he took office, which wasn't a surprise considering the rocky relationship he shared with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.  Having said that, Tim Kaine went out of his way to praise Howard Dean and his fifty-state strategy as being responsible for the numerous gains that Democrats have made from 2006-2008.  Kaine's goal is to continue and strengthen state party infrastructure so as to make even more extensive gains in 2010 and beyond.  Texas, as Kaine indicated, is very much part of that equation.

3) Embolden and strengthen the grassroots

Kaine went into great depth about how important citizen activism at the grassroots level propelled Barack Obama to the White House.  Citizen activism and grassroots activity will not only sustain this presidency, but expand Democratic majorities in Washington–and, in places like Texas, overtake Republicans and begin a new Democratic majority.

I was impressed with Tim Kaine.  He is very articulate, intelligent, and appears to have a clear vision for the DNC that certainly marches to the tune of the Obama White House.  That shouldn't be a surprise considering President Obama is the head of the Democratic Party.  It remains to be seen how much money and resources come to the Lone Star State, but if words are met with action over the coming months then my skepticism will fade into optimism.    

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  1. Robert Ryland on

    #1 is problematic
    for a number of reasons.

    First, many Democrats voted for Obama because they took him at his word on a number of important issues. On several of those issues he's already backtracked and/or made complete reversals (at least on the face of things). Asking the rank and file and activists to blindly support a president on every issue regardless of his position is preposterous, nevermind that it's a recipe for trouble in the Democratic party. Obama works for us, we don't work for him.  I won't go to bat for a half-assed health care proposal that doesn't bring meaningful change to the cost structure and offer a public option, and I dare say thousands of his supporters will feel betrayed if he buckles to the insurance lobby and the Blue Dogs on these key points. Trying to placate Republicans, given what we've seen from them since election day, is only a recipe for disaster and will fracture his coalition.

    Second, Obama needs to be a Democrat and support other Democrats. Fawning over the likes of Arlen Specter and attempting to bury his potential primary challengers, while Specter thumbs his nose at working families and in general gives Obama's agenda nothing in return, is foolish and makes the president look both overbearing and naive at the same time. While there may certainly be instances in which the President should use his influence to circumvent self-destructive intra-party skirmishes, as a rule he should butt out of statewide primaries, particularly when an unprogressive DINO is being held to account.

    As far as targeting Texas, i'll believe it when I see it. We don't have a viable candidate for governor yet, but if we get a real Democrat in the race, i'm not gonna hold my breath waiting for the DNC to lend real support to them, and I hope other Texas Democrats don't count on it either.

    • Well put
      1) Agree.

      2) Disagree, it is the position of National Committees to support incumbents, because incumbents are one of their top fundraisers to keep the committees functioning. Right attitude, and this is probably correct for the DNC, but definitely not for the DSCC and DCCC

      3) Strongly agree with every word you put out there.

      • Yes, well put
        I don't disagree with much of what Robert Ryland said.

        Let me be clear that Kaine made a point to comment that the DSCC and the DCCC are responsible for candidate recruitment.  The DNC's role is party infrastructure to support candidates, not picking or choosing them and who to support.  

        As I point out in my post, I too will believe much of what was said when I see it.  Having said that, and as the comments have intimated below, there is every reason to believe the DNC will do what it can to influx resources into Texas due to the fact that if we take back the state house, redraw the congressional lines, and with Texas set to pick up 4 congressional seats outside of what we already have, you are talking about maximizing a congressional majority in DC.  That's real power.  Lets hope it doesn't absolutely corrupt them.

        Todd

    • dnc targeting texas
      I agree that it's unlikely that the DNC will actually target texas in the statewide elections.  However, they would be foolish to ignore Texas altogether in the 2010 cycle.  Specifically, they should be targeting state house races in competitive districts.  If the DNC can help secure a State House majority for Texas Democrats, they can help control the redistricting process after the 2010 census. How many seats does Texas stand to gain after those results are ready? 4? 5?

      That's going to have to be a major priority for the DNC.  I'm excited to see this upcoming cycle unfold.

  2. Kaine
    I'm a big fan of Tim's. I was proud to have been a staffer on his 2005 Governor race and managed a winning state house race there in 2007. I think he'll be a friend to Texas Dems, and not just suck money out of the state. I know the DCCC and DSCC have been active in the state already.

    We need a majority on the legislative redistricting board, which means we need at least two of the LG/AG/Comptroller seats plus the Speakership. We also need to hold the suburban marginal state house seats we've gained in the last 4 years, and win seats like HD105, and keep all the WD40 districts. The LRB will likely redraw the lege districts in 2011. Whatever happens with the Congressional districts will go on the the courts.

    The grassroots need to stay energized and hopefully the listening tours and the town halls have contributed to that. It's not a Presidential year but it's a pivotal year for Texas. It will likely shape the next 10 years just like the 2002 elections have.

    Too bad I couldn't get off work to hear him.

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