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Virginia election

Reform Handbook Mojo

by: Teddy Goodson

Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 20:08:56 PM EST

( - promoted by Teddy Goodson)

UPDATE: We've been having a lively discussion on how progressives want to reform the Democratic Party, not to mention the political process, starting here, starting now (NOTE: such seemingly overweening self-confidence is not to be considered over-the-top; it is necessary to accomplish anything given the environment in which we struggle).  It's all preserved in original form, comments included, at
where you can check out what's been said, which should spark more ideas, reminding yourself of something you may have thought about (comments: good, bad, or a smoking fumarole) during the recent election and aftermath.

To bring it together for further comments and to keep the job on track here are a list of incomplete projects plus a distillation of the many thoughtful comments and ideas so far. I expect I've left out or mis-interpreted something you liked, so speak up here.  What we need now are your additions, embellishments, "hey, you forgot this," "what about that?" and even, "forget that," as well as a start on action plans... designed for right where we live. This exercise is not over by a long shot as we move on from brainstorming to execution. (Yes, we intend to get off our hindquarters and do something. Ha! Did you think this was a sophomoric gripe session?).  

There's More... :: (9 Comments, 961 words in story)

Where Do We Go From Here?

by: Teddy Goodson

Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 23:17:59 PM EST

( - promoted by Teddy Goodson)

Good news for all of you who read and commented on the diaries concerning the recent ah, disappointing election.  These diaries are now preserved separately on BlueCommonwealth under the Tag "Reform Handbook" and can be accessed as a group at:

It is my hope and intention that you and I, our group of progressives, starting from the foundation of this Reform Handbook, can begin to create some changes in the Democratic Party of Virginia.. Don't laugh, mighty oaks do grow from little acorns just like this. We all clearly felt changes are necessary, and I can think of no better way to get started than right here among ourselves.  Based on the many good comments made on the diaries in the Reform Handbook, I believe no one expects the Party organization to reform itself, so it is up to us.

There's More... :: (23 Comments, 190 words in story)

Hard Lessons, III: Finals

by: Teddy Goodson

Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 18:22:33 PM EST

( - promoted by Teddy Goodson)

Dawn does arrive, maybe a few clouds obscure the sun at first, but it is there and it shines on both the just and the unjust, whether they deserve it or not. The test then becomes: are we ready to carpe diem? We've glanced at the forest rather than the trees in being frank about the UN-INCLUSIVE BIG LIBERAL TENT, political PHILOSOPHY UBER ALLES, then OBAMA AND THE BASE, and the curious CANDIDATE-CENTRIC, SHORT-TERM LIFE CYCLE of the Party. Now, a quick finish:


If Democrats really feel they have something to offer, and if they want to win future elections, they cannot fall into a coma between elections. The Republican Party, always more organized and disciplined and usually better funded, has mutated from a similar election-timed, candidate-centric operation into an ideological machine that looks and acts more like a "movement."  

Increasingly rabid, ideologically-based elements keep pulling the Republican Party further toward what is often referred to as "far right." These elements may struggle with the still powerful neo-conservative block (which, ironically, originally sprang from a group of parlor-pink intellectual Marxists in mid-20th century), or with Big Money global corporate sponsors, but all manage to agree with the apocalyptic, Revelations-based, Bible-thumping evangelical Christian wing on a super-patriotic, militaristic Wild West capitalistic Free Market world view that hates taxes and "big government," loves "personal responsibility," and seeks to establish a mythical Constitution-based society as envisioned (they say) by Our Founding Fathers---- oh yes, and by Jesus.  

There's More... :: (45 Comments, 1420 words in story)

Hard Lessons II: Master Class

by: Teddy Goodson

Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 20:44:18 PM EST

After hours is a little creepy, when they turn off the lights, put the chairs on the tables, and bring in the undocumented with the mops. Now, reality arrives. Okay, man up folks, our side just wasted a great opportunity and threw away our advantages.  And lost. In the first installment we acknowledged that:
1) Democrats squandered a great opportunity when the Party failed to integrate all those new Obama voters into the Party, turning them into lifelong Democrats who could have made the difference in the recent election, and
2) Democrats must immediately cease pretending to be Republican Lite, stop making obeisance to disastrous Feidman Free Market economic theories, and fight openly for a coherent alternative economic philosophy with better political implications. That is, quit sucking up to the Conventional Wisdom. But wait, there's more:
There's More... :: (16 Comments, 1571 words in story)

Hard Lessons: First Take

by: Teddy Goodson

Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 21:34:46 PM EST

( - promoted by Teddy Goodson)

I can't say the Republican landslide came as a surprise, at least to us Virginia grassroots and political junkies, and it's no use pretending otherwise.  I'm mostly just glad it's over with and would like to get through the "I told you so's" as fast as possible so we can begin analyzing the take-away lessons - there will, I suspect, be some who will draw all the wrong conclusions from this electoral cycle, especially among the pundit crowd and Powers That Be.... you can already hear the comforting mantras: "Deeds was weak and just plain ran a terrible campaign," "Obama was not the issue, it was local factors," "Democrats were over-confident and history was against them," and the ever-useful, "Democrats were exhausted by the Presidential campaign last year and couldn't whip up any enthusiasm, whereas Republicans were angry," and "Time to move on."

All are undoubtedly in some measure true, but these are more tactics than strategy, superficial rather than profound.  Fixating on them is to pursue nit-picking, taking us down a side channel, so we avoid addressing the Democrats' fundamental difficulties. What follows is an initial stab at winkling out some macro problems, what I believe are systemic reasons for the debacle---- the forest-not-the-trees lessons, IMO (In My Opinion) of course.

There's More... :: (26 Comments, 1789 words in story)

Corollary to the Economic Crisis in Virginia

by: Teddy Goodson

Mon Nov 02, 2009 at 09:48:25 AM EST

Let's take another look from a different angle at the recent article "Next Governor Faces Economy in Crisis" in Virginia:

It has always been the objective of adherents of the anti-big government philosophy as espoused by the no-tax Republicans to lower taxes but also to raise government expenditures to the point where government can no longer afford to operate at all because there is not enough revenue available to fund its many obligations, and borrowing to spend has added to interest payments to the point where such payments eat up all revenue. This would ultimately force government to shrink itself repeatedly until (as Norquist famously said) it could fit into a bathtub and be drowned.  If you listen carefully to the Norquist crew they actually say things like this.  When government has become so bloated (in their eyes) that its costs can no longer be covered by revenue, then it must cut services---- and this will inevitably lead, especially in the case of the feds, to the closing down of government and its withering away.  That is exactly the intention of the Norquist crew, and of the Reagan-Bush economics which Bob McDonnell professes to love.  

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 454 words in story)

GOP Candidate Boasts of Political Espionage

by: Teddy Goodson

Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 23:49:49 PM EDT

UPDATE at end of article
Delegate Todd Gilbert (R., Woodstock, 15th District) sounded as though he's in the running for WTOP's "stupidest criminal" (also called "knucklehead of the week") award when he boasted on Facebook that he stole a copy of a soon-to-be-mailed negative campaign piece his Democratic opponent John Lesinski had just prepared---- he even proudly displayed a copy of the mailer on his own wall, boasting:
My opponent is dropping a negative mail piece in the mail in the morning...No need to worry about how we got a picture of it in advance

Mr. Gilbert had his comment and the photo up before the mailer was delivered by the US Postal Service to a single house, but, significantly, after the piece had been printed and delivered to the mailing house to be addressed. The mail house prepares mail for other Democrats besides Lesinski, and party officials are naturally concerned that Democrats' microtargeting lists may also have been compromised.

How serious is such a breach of a political party's special mailing lists?  Very serious, according to Professor Matt Hindman, who teaches information technology and politics at Arizona State University,

In the modern day and age, the microtarging list is probably the most sensitive campaign document. If they cross reference with their own list, they'll know a lot about who the campaign is contacting. This list is a powerful window into campaign strategy.
There's More... :: (2 Comments, 887 words in story)

Positive Deeds Talking Points

by: Teddy Goodson

Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 18:24:09 PM EDT

( - promoted by Teddy Goodson)

The City of Fairfax Democratic Committee has produced its own hand card of talking points for Creigh Deeds. The joint effort is being printed and distributed for use in door knocking and conversations (like in the grocery store, for example).  The Committee, dissatisfied with the hand cards and flyers offered by the campaign, put their heads together and the following is the result. Included are points for Creigh Deeds, Jody Wagner, Steve Shannon, and David Bulova (Delegate for Fairfax City Area, 37th House District). It's copyrighted but other interested Democrats are welcome to use it. Talk with Joe Harmon, Chair, at if you have questions or comments.
There's More... :: (19 Comments, 567 words in story)

Huge Rally for Deeds With Obama

by: Teddy Goodson

Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 22:01:06 PM EDT

( - promoted by teacherken)

Well over two thousand enthusiastic supporters rallied for Creigh Deeds, Democratic candidate for Governor, at the McLean Hilton this afternoon, 6 August.  In addition, around three hundred more attended a special fund raiser reception where Governor Tim Kaine introduced President Obama, who had helicoptered in from the District to speak for Deeds. The President discussed his personal affection for Virginia based on Tim Kaine's early endorsement of his presidential candidacy, back when most people couldn't even pronounce Obama's name.  He said there were similarities between him and Creigh Deeds today: both had been Senators for 8 years before running for executive office, and both had "funny names," a remark that drew laughter
There's More... :: (17 Comments, 225 words in story)

Take-Downs A-Comin'

by: Teddy Goodson

Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 11:56:32 AM EDT

( - promoted by teacherken)

Given that the Conventional Wisdom is that the Virginia gubernatorial election is Creigh Deeds' to lose, what campaign tactics can we expect from the masked radical-conservatives who are running as Republicans to overcome the Deeds advantage?  Well, given that Republicans have a history of mud-slinging which far exceeds the mud-slinging of most (but not all) Democrats over the past decade or two, we can no doubt expect a two-pronged campaign.  
There's More... :: (14 Comments, 956 words in story)

Lurking Latent Lethal Issues

by: Teddy Goodson

Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 17:18:09 PM EDT

(This was written prior to the murder at the Holocaust Museum; that event makes the observations below even more appropriate)

The Conventional Wisdom is that local issues always end up deciding elections on state or lower levels, especially in "off" years when nothing national heads the ticket---- except, of course, when they don't.  The upcoming statewide contest in Virginia, pitting the Democrat Creigh Deeds against the Republican Robert McDonnell,  may well be one of those in which one or more not-so-local, nastily covert issues cast a spell.  By this I mean something other than the obvious fact that pundits will try to cast the two state elections of '09 (New Jersey and Virginia) as a referendum on the Obama presidency and the entire Democratic economic and political philosophy as it plays out over the next few months on the national stage.  

There's More... :: (13 Comments, 1167 words in story)

Gossip about McAuliffe by Plotkin, Wilder, Sabato

by: Teddy Goodson

Fri May 15, 2009 at 12:39:27 PM EDT

Mark Plotkin on his "Politics" show on WTOP radio Friday 15 May interviewed former Governor Doug Wilder and others about the upcoming Virginia gubernatorial election. Several times Plotkin lamented the absence of Terry McAuliffe, who, he reminded us, had agreed to appear on the show, and even confirmed only to withdraw because he was "re-arranging his schedule." So, those who were on the show (Plotkin, Wilder, Larry Sabato, Josh from "Politico," and Shapiro from the Richmond Times Dispatch) ended up gossiping mostly about McAuliffe.

As often happens, Mr. Plotkin could not seem to ask a short, straight question, shut up and let his guest actually answer it, but a few points did manage to emerge from the fog. Doug Wilder was, well, typical Doug Wilder and coyly refused to make any endorsement for governor, noting that neither had Governor Kaine nor former Governor Warner, although he did point out that he had never ever endorsed any Republican. What he did make crystal clear was that he had so far not heard any candidate say anything that really resonated with Virginia voters in the sense that the candidate gave real specifics about what he would actually do about any issue.  Mr. Wilder pointed out that recent elections in Northern Virginia certainly did not show it was "aces up" for Democrats.  

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 754 words in story)

Candidates Speak at "The Brigades"

by: Teddy Goodson

Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 15:10:43 PM EDT

( - promoted by teacherken)

Political junkies, members of The Brigades, a grass roots activist group dating from the Webb campaign, heard several Democratic candidates speak at their monthly meeting on the evening of Tuesday, 7 April, at Neighbor's Restaurant in Vienna, Virginia.

Leading off was Andrew Roos, manager of the Brian Moran campaign for Governor, who tailored his talk to his political junkie audience, giving an update on the campaign rather than a stump speech. The Moran campaign is going well said Roos, pointing out that a campaign consists of far more than a series of tactical maneuvers, and has different characteristics depending on the time line (Example: first, getting signatures on petitions, then door knocking combined with getting endorsements in a primary race).  Moran has more endorsements from Democratic leadership and elected officials than any other campaign.  He was the first to talk policies, Roos pointed out.  

There's More... :: (5 Comments, 1229 words in story)
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