On Saturday, May 18th North Carolina's 11th District Democratic Party gathered for an annual convention. There were oodles of very interesting resolutions to be considered, there was a sitting Congressman to hear from, and there was a future path to choose.
Luke Hyde, a quick wit and poster child for the Old Guard of the Democratic Party in the area, found out 5 days before the convention that he would have an opponent. Paul Donohue, who's managed 39 political campaigns and won 37 of them, wanted to give Democrats an option. The good ol' boy network has effectively shut out progressive voices for years and refused to alter tactics for a new milennium. Donohue proposed a ten point plan to bring the Party out of the dark ages and into a new partnership. Here's Donohue's 3 minute campaign speech at the convention.
Donohue handed out a 100 day plan:
"In the first 100 days following my election, ten steps will immediately be undertaken to build the most efficient and effective congressional Distict in the State of North Carolina. We are already good, but we can be great. And with all of us working together, we will be great!
1. Provide public relations, fund-raising, and organizational services to the County Parties.
2. Involve District and County Party Officers in all major decisions.
3. Establish a District office and staff it with voluneers.
4. Establish a District newsletter.
5. Begin to raise funds to run an effective District Organization.
6. Initiate a District public relations campaign.
7. Establish a District website.
8. Establish a District voter registration program.
9. Establish a District get-out-the-vote program.
10. Establish District Hispanic, Native American, Young Dems, Teen Dems, Senior Dems, Women Dems, and Afro-American Organizations."
"Surely," you're thinking, "those things must already be in place. What else would a District Chair have been doing all these years?" We don't know exactly what Luke Hyde and his predecessors were busy doing, but it wasn't organizing this district into a juggernaut. It was losing cycle after cycle after cycle until Heath Shuler and the Republicans' No Good Very Bad Year came along.
Luke Hyde, forever gracious, had this to say in response to Donohue's speech:
I'm not sure what the hell he's talking about. There's certainly no ten point plan or anything beyond what he heard once over grace at Ryan's, but folks must've liked it because in the end Hyde was reelected by a narrow margin. Here's the results being announced:
Scrutiny Hooligans would like to draw your attention to a couple of lines from Chairman Hyde's campaign speech:
"Paul Donohue is a good man. He has excellent ideas, and if I should be reelected Chair we hope to use those ideas."
Hyde then went on to talk about folks holding his hand or somesuch nonsense. He essentially told the audience that he'd use Donohue's ideas and then illustrated, by the absolute lack of substance in his own speech, that he didn't have any ideas. It's a good thing he wants to use Paul Donohue's ideas then, isn't it? Otherwise the Party would have just another Old Guard leader who doesn't know how to get organized and open the Party to Progressive voices. Without Donohue's ideas, we'd have a Party Chair who wouldn't do the work necessary to get Hispanics, Blacks, Natives, Teens, and Seniors involved.
So, Chairman Hyde, the clock is ticking. Donohue pledged to get these ideas going within the first hundred days. You pledged support for those ideas. You've still got 89 days to get any of this stuff done, or else people might think you weren't telling the truth when you stated your support.
Congratulations, Chairman Hyde, on your narrow victory. We progressives hope you see the writing on the wall. We hope you see that Paul Donohue's ideas can actually help us to win and that doing politics-as-usual is going to fail.
You have until Monday, August 26th to prove that you mean to lead this Party into a new era.
p.s. Chairman Hyde, I understand, doesn't own a computer or know how to deal with email. So could someone please let him know what's up? If we had a district office, I'd email a link to this post there...