Wow. Just . . . wow.

As a Progressive, what were you doing in 1990?

I was 19 and in France on JYA, and even I remembered to vote for Harvey Gantt against Jesse Helms.

Most North Carolina Democrats were working their hardest to dethrone Jesse Helms. It was an all hands on deck moment for Progressives in North Carolina.

Hampton Dellinger was a law student volunteering on that campaign. I'm willing to bet Walter Dalton and Pat Smathers were trying to help as well.

I would bet everything I have on this: none of those three men donated $1,650 to a Republican in a year when all available Progressive and Democratic resources were being thrown at Jesse Helms. And none of them harbored the fantasy that the North Carolina Republican Party has ever been anything but controlled by the Jesse Helms machine.


According to Under the Dome,
Dan Besse, the candidate claiming a "lifetime" of work for Progressive values and endorsement by the Progressive Democrats of North Carolina, did those things in 1990.

I'm glad Dan became a Democrat. He's done a lot of good in North Carolina.

But this is surprising. And probably something that should have been acknowledged up front.

I wouldn't hold a conversion against a politician once he proved it authentic. We're all hoping Chris Mintz wins in his State Senate race, and he didn't switch until 2004. Moderate Republicans becoming Democrats is a sign that we are winning the battle for the middle ground in American politics.

But Chris Mintz will tell you right up front he used to be a Republican. And, it is worth noting, Chris never claimed to be more authentically progressive than Ty Harrell.

Wow.

Comments

This should generate some comments

I'll have to join in this evening. But I saw this on Under the Dome and thought it should be discussed here.

Have at it.

"Hampton Dellinger would make a great Lieutenant Governor." - Al Gore.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

Not that this shouldn't be discussed, but I think you...

should separate the two things into two posts. Here, you talk about which party he was working for in the 1970/1980s. As Dan says in the Dome Article:

He joined the GOP when the mountain moderate Republican tradition was still alive, he wrote in an e-mail. He hoped to help make the party "an effective moderate alternative to (Democrats') one-party control in the state."

"Well," he wrote, "that didn't work out."

I should point out that I grew up in a mountain, Republican area and had it not been for my Democratic Mother would probably have registered as a Republican as well. I've made no bones about the fact that I used to be very pro-Death Penalty, very pro-military, very pro-gun, in many ways very moderate. In fact, if my Dad hadn't been killed by the Reagan era I'm not so sure I wouldn't have been one of those "Reagan Democrats".

Anyways, what you bring up though is this:

....Dan Besse, the candidate claiming a "lifetime" of work for Progressive values and endorsement by the Progressive Democrats of North Carolina...

There, you crossover into the experience issue, attempting to disparage Dan's actual record on Progressive Issues. To which I bring you some information I've never posted, a comparison of the records from publicly Googleable webpages and cached webpages when necessary.

Hampton Dellinger:

1989 - University of Michigan (B.A)

1993 - Yale Law School (J.D.) Editor and Senior Editor, Yale Law Journal.

1993-1994 - Judicial Clerk to Honorable J. Dickson Phillips, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

1994-1996 - Associate, Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, Washington, DC,

1996-1998 - Special Counsel to the Attorney General, North Carolina Department of Justice.

1997 - Lecturer, Campaign and Election Law, Duke University School of Law and Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy

1998-1999 - Of Counsel, Smith Helms Mulliss & Moore, Raleigh, NC

1999-2001 - Deputy Attorney General, NC Department of Justice

2001-2003 - Chief Legal Counsel, NC Governor's Office

2003-Present - Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice Practice Areas: Appellate Practice; Litigation; Business Litigation.

Dan Besse:

1973-1977- Bachelor of Arts (Political Science)University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

1977-1980 - Juris Doctor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law.

1978-80 - Executive Coordinator, Conservation Council of NC: While completing law school, managed routine administration; represented group in education and advocacy forums; planned meetings, workshops, and conferences; recruited and directed volunteers.

1980-81 - Co-director, NC Public Interest Research Group; Trained and assisted college students in research and public education projects on consumer and environmental issues.

1981 - N.C. League of Conservation Voters: Co-organizer, member, board of directors, during 1980-s and -90-s.

1981-82 - Attorney, Lobbyist for CCNC: Represented organization before administrative and legislative forums dealing with energy, utilities, and environmental issues.

1982-83 - Officer and Attorney, Solar Access and Resources; Worked in all phases of small business building and installing solar heating systems.

1982-84 - Guilford County Advisory Board for Environmental Quality,

1983-88 - Staff Attorney, Pamlico Sound Legal Services; Represented low-income clients in civil cases in administrative, judicial, and legislative forums; conducted legal clinics and other community education programs.

1985-1993 - (Chair, 1985-90). N.C. Coastal Resources Commission,

1987-92 - N.C. Emergency Response Commission,

1988-90 - Managing Attorney, Pamlico Sound Legal Services: Supervised legal staff; assisted in program management; handled full legal caseload.

1992-93 - Special Project Director, Pamlico Sound Legal Services: Organized and directed Northeastern North Carolina Workplace Safety and Health Outreach Project (WorkSHOP), which conducted attorney training and public educational events on workplace safety and health laws and programs.

1991-96, 2003-present - Private Practice, Attorney/Consultant Undertake policy analysis, research, writing, training, and advocacy projects for clients (primarily private, non-profit organizations). Major clients include Planned Parenthood Health Systems.

1991 - Fellow, North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership.

1992-93 - North Carolina State University: Adjunct Faculty, Environmental Law and Policy, Division of Multidisciplinary Studies.

1992-93 Arbitrator - Served as an arbitrator for the court-ordered arbitration program in District Court Judicial District 3B (Craven and Pamlico Counties).

1993 - N.C. State Parks Bond Referendum Committee: Chair,

1993-2005 - N.C. Environmental Management Commission,

1994-2002 - N.C. Sedimentation Control Commission,

1994-95 - Guilford College: Visiting Lecturer, Environmental Policy, Management Department.

1994-96 - Forsyth Technical Community College: Adjunct Faculty, Political Science, Arts and Sciences Division.

1995-97 - Duke University: Visiting Lecturer, U.S. Environmental Policy, Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy.

1995-present - N.C. Democratic Party Executive Committee member:

1996. Piedmont Conservation Voters: Co-organizer,

1996-98 - Director of Public Affairs, PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF NORTH CAROLINA-WEST: Coordinated agency-s public education, media, policy advocacy, and security functions.

1998-2000 - Associate Executive Officer, PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF NORTH CAROLINA-WEST: Acted as deputy director overseeing multiple agency functions, as delegated by CEO. Areas of responsibility included public affairs, education, and other administration.

2000-2003 - Political Director CCNC: Directed candidate evaluation and assistance processes, including operation of CCNC-s Conservation PAC; assisted in volunteer recruitment and training, fundraising, media relations, and policy advocacy.

2001-present - City Council Member, CITY OF WINSTON-SALEM

2002-present - Winston-Salem Urban Area Transportation Advisory Committee,

2003-present - Editor, Conservation Insider Bulletin

2003-present - Piedmont Triad Early Action Compact, Chair, Stakeholders Group

2004 - Winston-Salem State University: Adjunct Faculty, Political Science, Department of Social Sciences.

2005-present - Piedmont Triad Partnership, Board of Directors,

2005-2006 - N.C. Democratic Party Study Commission on the Environment: Chair,

2006-present - N.C. Climate Action Plan Advisory Group,

Dan has explained his stint in the Republican party, what he was trying to accomplish and how it fits in with his long-held, and hard-fought-for beliefs. Dan's record speaks for itself.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

fair point, but

and this really is the only commenting I can do on this, but this is certainly worth a response,

Dan's record is his record, and he is justifiably proud of it, as I have said over and over.

Don't you think, though, that it might have been worth noting, if you are going to run as THE authentic progressive in the race, that you once gave money to Bev Perdue's Republican opponent, and that you were yourself a Republican until 1993?

I don't question the authenticity of his views. I question why this fact had to be brought up by Mark Johnson, and not Dan himself.

I understand the mountain Republican thing, but by 1990, that ideal was good and dead. 22 years after the Southern Strategy came to full fruition, 10 years after the rise of the "Reagan Democrat."

Sure - it's a long time ago now, but Dan has gone clear back to the 70s to show us how authentically progressive he is. And he IS.

But I sure wouldn't have held it against him if he had started out by saying - "I left the Republican Party in 1993 when I gave up on it." Why didn't he?

"Hampton Dellinger would make a great Lieutenant Governor." - Al Gore.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

In response to "Don't you think, though, that....."

Yes.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

thanks

Just trying to make a fair point, here.

I've always said Mr. Besse has an admirable environmental record.

As for Hampton's record and the length thereof, it was enough of a record to secure the support of the AFL-CIO this week.

As cordially as I know how,

DFL

"Hampton Dellinger would make a great Lieutenant Governor." - Al Gore.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I think

that you're grasping at straws.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Santorum

It was around that time I was registered as a Democrat in Pennsylvania, but I voted for Rick Santorum, because I believed he would be a clean, honest legislator. I was wrong.

Everyone has the right to be wrong about stuff.

Someone's past is not as important as someone's future, especially if they're honest about it. You're really reaching for stuff now, DFL. Jeebus.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

17-18 years as a Democrat

......or so. It would bother me if he switched to win an election. Otherwise, I take it as proof he saw the light.....and he's taken it upon himself to make the light of the Democratic party shine that much brighter.

Oh Lordy how corny that sounds. :D

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

With republicans like these...

But again, an episode from Dan's deep, dark, republican past:

And seriously, Dan's not running on the basis of being a party STOOGE anyway...as Robert demonstrates, there are more compelling aspects to his resume.

hey, hey Frank

Who's running as a STOOGE, anyways.

Anyways, the party doesn't succeed unless people dedicate themselves to getting its candidates in office (and a lifetime of that should be disparaged). Since Jesse Helms had came to power in NC, its been pretty clear what the stakes of Republican control are.

stooges

I was just saying that "stooge" wasn't on his resume, not that it was on anyone else's.

And I like caps. Sorry for the confusion.

But you've made a Freudian slip there:

the party doesn't succeed unless people dedicate themselves to getting its candidates in office (and a lifetime of that should be disparaged).

haha, good call

on the slip. But now i can't change it. My "edit option went away. WHAT?? Did someone do that on purpose to me. I know the editors use their power to raise their views and stifle others but that would be too much.

Frank, please let me know how i can edit it if you have a sec. thanks!

Excuse me?

I know the editors use their power to raise their views and stifle others but that would be too much.

You are so getting your views deleted for that bit of nonsense.

Comments are editable right up until the point someone replies. At which point, you're stuck. For instance, you'll never be able to take back the pissy attitude in that comment because now I've replied to it.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Come on now, Robert

You could have just explained it to me nicely with out getting "pissy". Do you really think it's outlandish to think editors do what they can to make their views the loudest?

For crying out loud

No, this is as silly an "issue" as I've seen raised on this blog. The idea that Besse should have "disclosed" this sinister information earlier and that his failure to do so is somehow worth a finger-wagging strikes me as absurd -- especially given the moderate history of the GOP mindset in the mountain area of NC.

Geez, can't you do better coming up with something to smack the boy with than THIS?

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Public Disclosure

Just so there will be no confusion in the future, I want to, for the record, disclose that I have only been a Democrat since 2005.

I left the party in 1986 and was registered unaffliated for 19 years. During this 19 years I became very active with the Greens, eventially becoming national co-chair of the party.

There, I said it, now everyone knows my shameful secret.

"jump in where you can and hang on"
Briscoe Darling to Sheriff Andy

Pishhhhhh

.....now I don't have anything on you to bend you to my will.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

oh, there is more.....

I got suspended in 8th grade (Albemarle Rd. Jr. Hi) for putting a smoke bomb in the the air conditioner

"jump in where you can and hang on"
Briscoe Darling to Sheriff Andy

Gee, now you've got me thinking.

I actually registered "Without Party Affiliation" for my entire time in graduate school.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

You can't be that young.

I can't be that old.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Well, I can honestly say

I've been a registered Democrat since the day I turned 18. I've always voted for the Democrat in the race, except for Santorum, as I mentioned above. I must have had different kool-aid that year. :) I might have voted for Anderson in 1980, but I'm not sure. I remember talking about it, but I honestly don't remember how I voted. I should have voted for Jimmy Carter, because he's proven that he is a super-human beast who can solve all of the world's problems.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I voted for Carter

in the general election...........but I still have my Anderson for President buttons. He was big on college campuses and I was in college.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I was in college, too,

and I remember sitting and filling out my absentee ballot, and deliberating as to whether or not to vote for Anderson or Carter. I honestly don't remember what I did. But there were Anderson signs and such all over our campus, too.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Thanks for the defense all.

John, if Hampton wants to engage on the issue of our overall records, he is welcome to do so.

If you or he had been active leaders in the citizen environmental movement in North Carolina, you would probably have been aware of my past Republican registration. I maintained that registration for several years after it had become clear that I and other moderates and progressives had failed in our effort to block a total right-wing takeover of the GOP. I did so specifically to have the chance to push responsible environmental stewardship within the state Republican policy debates in the '80's. That is how I was in a position to help protect our coastal resources protection program during that time. You can ask long-time leaders of the N.C. Coastal Federation about that, if you'd like.

Was this a buried secret? No, don't be foolish. I even used my Republican registration one last time in 1992, by campaigning for the Clinton-Gore ticket as a "Republican for Clinton". In fact, I was introduced as such at a state Democratic rally featuring Al Gore as a guest during that campaign.

On my contributions to Phil Walker: Phil was running explicitly as the clean water candidate in that campaign, and about as far away from the right-wingers as you can get. That too was a part of my efforts--which as I said, ultimately didn't work out--to maintain some modicum of good sense within the GOP. It did cause some tension between Bev Perdue and me for a while, but that's long since water over the dam between us.

I sure do live and learn. I hope you and your candidate do too.

Dan Besse
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor
www.danbesse2008.org

Dan Besse

Not an inconsequential truth

Wait a second. I think folks are missing one of the biggest points. Besse, a then Republican, gave $1650 to a Republican state senate campaign during the same year (1990) that a GREAT Democrat, Harvey Gantt, was trying unseat Jesse Helms in the US Senate. Who one stands with in monumental battles like this really shows something about a person.

And let's be clear on another thing: the GOP of 1990 in North Carolina was not the party of black's rights it was a hundred years prior. Instead, led by Jesse Helms, the GOP in our state represented unwillingness to make progress on a variety of fronts and, quite frankly, unabashed bigotry. I'm not saying some "Mountain Republicans" might not have been more Moderate, but they were still part-and-parcel of the GOP machine that elected Helms and his cronies year after year. A sad history. If people like Dan Besse--who I believe is a good progressive at his heart and has done good things for his area--had stood up to the Republicans and their constant fight against equality, i think we could have ended Helm's reign years earlier.

I think A LOT of Dan personally, and I like some of his policies, but, people on here often talk about his past accomplishments. In that spirit, I think it only fair to not ignore other aspect of his past. Who and what party you've supported is important. It shows judgment. Being from the West , it would have shown admirable metal for Besse to have stood up against the GOP and worked to elect good democrats--and most importantly, to help good candidates, like Gantt, defeat horrible hacks like Helms.

In that case,

Who and what party you've supported is important. It shows judgment.

my 29 years as a Republican vs my 8 months or so as a Democrat means I have absolutely no business promoting progressive causes, I guess.

Promote away, sc.

You actually do it better than most of us who've been living it for 30 years.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

argumentum ad absurdum

I'm glad you're a Democrat. I'm glad Dan's a Democrat. I'm glad Chris Mintz is a Democrat.

You have all the business in the world promoting progressive causes.

But the Besse campaign ridiculed the notion that NARAL would support Hampton over Dan. I remember warning then about the dangers of running a "purer than thou" campaign.

I think it's a legitimate post, and the N&O thought it newsworthy.

"Hampton Dellinger would make a great Lieutenant Governor." - Al Gore.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I'll tell you what's absurd:

believing that the following words were not intended to color the reader's perception of Dan Besse:

Unabashed Bigotry

Racist

Sexist

Xenophobic

Homophobic

I'm a writer, and I've spent a great deal of time exploring the use of words to generate a response in the reader. It may be a subliminal effect that the reader is often unaware of, but associations are made.

You can tell me that I'm overreacting, and that the intent wasn't there. But if you're trying to convince me, don't waste your time.

those words

are not in my writing.

"Hampton Dellinger would make a great Lieutenant Governor." - Al Gore.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I know they weren't your words, Doc.

I was actually trying to be efficient by answering your "argumentum ad absurdum" charge by making an apparently ineffective and confusing connection to your later statement:

You're trying really hard to make this thread about something it isn't. Nobody is associating Jesse with Besse.

I said I was a writer, but I didn't say I was a "great communicator". Sorry. :)

P.S. nobody is associating Jesse

Helms with Dan Besse. Are you crazy? I believe Dan 110 percent when he said he abhorred Jesse. We were talking about what people were doing during the crucial mid-term election of 1990. Besse did a good job below of explaining that he was telling his friends that Helms WAS terrible and not to vote for him. I solute that.

DrFrank is right

they are not his words. They are mine. And I'm sorry you find there use offensive.

I don't find them offensive per se,

but I do find them inappropriate when used on a thread about a guy like Dan. And the fact that you mentioned Jesse Helms by name ten times in this thread makes for pretty strong proof you were working towards some kind of (maybe subliminal) connection between the two.

But frankly, it could simply be that you hate Jesse Helms. If you're hammering a nail and accidentally bang your thumb, do you say, "Jesse!"

If so, I apologize.

edit: make that thirteen times.

Close, but not quite my point

My point is not to call into question Dan's accomplishments, but I do think there is a point to be raised here, as Robert P conceded upthread.

It also shows that there is more than one way to be progressive - something others probably should keep in mind when criticizing a guy because his record is one of distinguished service on high level government staff.

Just imagine if the shoe were on the other foot. Or if Senator Dalton had done the same.

"Hampton Dellinger would make a great Lieutenant Governor." - Al Gore.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

That's fine.

But Dan has pointed out that he contributed to the Walker campaign on his standing as the clean water candidate in the district he was voting in.

It seems to me that you guys (and a commenter on the Dome), are trying to equate that with campaigning against Harvey Gantt, which is simply not the case.

it's really about what

he did NOT do to help Gantt. Any progressive in their right mind would have given what they could financially and with volunteer hours to help Gantt win that race (which Jesse won by a pretty close margin). $1,650 is a lot of money. In that important year i would have just liked to see it go to Gantt.

I'm glad that Besse has been fighting for clean water and supported the Republican state senate candidate for that reason, but there were other huge issues at stake that year and in other years.

So...

you're saying that because he chose to make his contribution to a candidate who was championing a cause that was closest to his heart instead of Harvey Gantt, he's somehow not as progressive as he says he is?

Or are you saying he should have given his money differently?

Man. I'm calling bullshit on this. Everyone has a right to contribute money as they see fit, and support the campaigns they want to support. If this is all you Dellingerites can find to poke Besse with, you are desperate indeed.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I guess it's hard to say what issues

are more important, but when you see Jesse Helms spouting racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic remarks in the United States Senate, and sponsoring and supporting corresponding measures, and you live in North Carolina (and especially if you are involved in politics), i think it's incumbent upon you to fight him hard.

This is an effort to associate

Besse with Jesse?

You really ARE desperate.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

You're really good

You're trying really hard to make this thread about something it isn't. Nobody is associating Jesse with Besse.

But this is a Democratic Primary. And three of these guys were in the right party during that election year.
Sixteen hundred bucks is a heck of a lot of money to give to the GOP attempt to wrest control of the State Senate away from the Democratic Party.

I'll say it again: I'M GLAD DAN BESSE BECAME A DEMOCRAT IN 1993.

"Hampton Dellinger would make a great Lieutenant Governor." - Al Gore.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

Wow

This effort to knock Besse is wow-worthy in its absurdity. In fact, it's so absurd that I'm inclined to think it's cynical.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

the funny thing

is that this is not even an "attack". It's just fact, fact, fact. I understand you're rebutting the facts because you support Besse, and i have done the same things when people have brought up things about Dellinger that i did not want to hear, but that does not mean the Besse/Republican issue is unfair to bring up. I don't shout absurdity when people go after Dellinger, unless people are making utterly ridiculous statements. And bringing this Republican problem into the light is definitely not ridiculous. Our two-party structure, like it or not, is real in North Carolina. And if someone is "gaming" it, as they have just claimed (though in slightly different words), it is fair to say something.

It's not a "Republican Problem"

It's history - from a long time ago. The man made a contribution of $1650 to a candidate who was championing environmental issues. That doesn't surprise me.

Seriously - y'all need to find something else. The next thing you're going to tell us is that Pat Smathers listens to Speed Metal or something like that. Come on. Stick with today's issues. It's 2008.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Thank you.

I'm steering clear for fear of blowing a gasket over this bulloney.

I wonder if Dellinger wants this sort of "support"

Brunette said it best....

In fact, it's so absurd that I'm inclined to think it's cynical.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

What would you do

if something like this came out about Dellinger? You'd be all over it, because it matters. Don't try to fool me or anyone else, if Hampton had been a Republican for a large part of his life, Robert P et al would be the first ones to post a big bad blog about it on BlueNC. And i'd venture to say the terminology used would be a bit less civil than how we've been handling this today (i.e. with logical, non-vitriolic, fact-driven arguments).

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