Young <3 Shuler - updated

If I were still giving money to the North Carolina Democratic Party, I'd sure has heck be stopping after reading this comment from David Young:

Young told the Times-News Tuesday that he had not spoken directly with Shuler, but believes it would be positive for Western North Carolina if Shuler ran against Burr. "I think he would be a fantastic candidate," said Young, a former Buncombe County commissioner.

Young to Dome: the NCDP is neutral.


The plot sickens

Looks like another North Carolina invasion by the DSCC. Might be time for a donors strike?

Certainly doesn't work for me

Going from Burr to Schuler is supposed to be better how? One has a D behind their name but acts like an R. Same thing to me.

Not a cent for Schuler. Not a chance.

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

Shuler can win...

...and so can McIntyre. Yes, they are moderate to conservative Dems, but almost any Dem is better than Burr. I would love to see Elaine Marshall enter the race and she could win too, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards.

And why stop giving money to the NC Dem Party because of this anyway? Don't give to the DSCC if you wish, but why penalize the state party, which is, on the whole, a progressive party, because you don't like one statement from the chair (who is from the same area as Shuler, which may account in part for his enthusiasm)? He didn't diss other potential candidates. He might say the same thing about a number of potential candidates.

James, your attitude of ideological purity is what is killing the GOP (fine by me!). Don't repeat their mistakes.

Funny, I thought the Democratic Party

held their opinions close until after the primaries. Where does the people's voice matter more than who we choose from among the population to represent us?

Purity is not a problem we have to worry about

That's a good one Paul.

I agree with your assessment about what's happening in the GOP and the right wing extremists who dominate the party. In the case of Democrats, though, I'm not aware of anyone who would argue that the far left has much say about what happens.

I'm an unapologetic progressive on most issues. David Young doesn't speak for me when he says Shuler would be a "fantastic candidate," not at all. He's certainly entitled to his opinion, though, and seems not to be shy about sharing it. Same here.

We'll have plenty of advance notice if the Democratic Party ever starts sliding too far in the purity direction. I don't see that happening in my lifetime, though I would like more purity around abortion rights. From what I know about Shuler, he is out of step with the vast majority of Democrats on this issue, and would no doubt vote his conscience when faced with legislation that restricted choice. That's a litmus test issue for me, and unless he would commit to upholding abortion rights, there's no way I would ever support him ... or those advocating for his candidacy.

Young didn't endorse him

Where is the endorsement? Might not Young say the same thing about others? He was asked about Shuler. What should he have said? "Oh, well, if that's the choice, so be it" or "Well, I guess we could live with it" or something like that? And Young is not "The Democratic Party" anyway. The Democratic Party does not endorse candidates in partisan primaries at any level.

Now you're splitting hairs

No one said he endorsed Shuler. He said Shuler would be a "fantastic candidate." That may be true, but he would suck as a Senator. (See my other comment on abortion rights.)

But you're right. Young is not the Democratic Party. He's just the public face of it.

My vote

I've thought long and hard about this. Unless I had assurances from Shuler on abortion rights, I'm afraid I would have to sit this one out. Neither candidate would get my vote.

Not at all

Your question is unproductive. You know I have a long history of activism and contributions across a wide range of issues. I put my money where my mouth is every day.

That doesn't mean I'm stupid though. Heath Shuler's positions don't represent my interests on many fronts. Abortion rights just happens to be the straw that would break this camel's back.

Many progressives throughout this country are tired of being taken for granted. Candidates call me for money every week, and I used to be a generous contributor. Not any more. My dollars and my votes are now limited to people I can actively and enthusiastically support.

If the Democrats want to field a pro-life candidate for the US Senate, they'll just have to do so without my help.

How can a question be unproductive?

And you yourself mentioned ONLY abortion as a reason for not supporting Shuler, am I supposed to read your mind and see that there is more there too?

And fine, hold your breath until you turn blue and sit it out while NC re-elects Burr. Well done, James.

And me what?

Sorry, you lost me there with the "And you?" question. And me what?


I wasn't as clear as I could have been.

We're having a conversation in which you asked about mind-reading. I said you didn't need to read my mind, you can find out almost anything about me in two seconds if you wanted to know. I then pointed out that it's much harder to do the same for you.

In the grand scheme, it doesn't matter. Let's just drop it.


No surprise

After all, Young did just appoint one of Shuler's top staffers, Andrew Whalen, to be the NCDP Executive Director.

As Executive Director, Whalen will oversee the day-to-day operations for the Party, and develop and implement the Party's strategic plans for the 2009 and 2010 election cycles. Immediately prior to joining the State Party Whalen served as Communications Director and Senior Advisor to U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler. Whalen is credited as being one of the chief architects of Rep. Shuler's re-election, considered by many as one of the best run congressional campaigns in the country. In the 2006 election cycle, Whalen worked as Deputy Campaign Manager for Shuler's successful congressional bid. Prior to working for Shuler, Whalen managed several state house campaigns and served as communications director for another congressional campaign. He is a graduate of Denison University.

Just to look at one measure of ideology...

Shuler's ADA rating last year was 75% (Ethridge and McIntyre were 85% and the rest of NC Dems were 100%). Burr was at 5%.

Don't tell me there is no difference b/w Burr and Shuler.

Just to clarify...

I too disagree with Shuler on abortion and he would not be my first choice in a primary, probably not even my second or third choice, depending on who runs, of course. I would support Moore, Marshall, McIntyre, Grier Martin before Shuler. And, of course, we don't even know if Shuler is running.

But it does no good to bash him now and give ammo to the GOP. He MAY be the nominee and if he is, he would be a strong candidate. And it simply astounds me that you don't think he'd be better than Burr.

I didn't say he wouldn't be better than Burr

Of course he would. He just wouldn't be good enough to get my vote.


PS This is exactly the right time to speak up on candidates. In fact, this particular discussion would even help Shuler in a general election.

It's like the old Bob Orr days. Orr liked it when we slammed him because it burnished his conservative credentials.


Either I'm being really dense today ... or you are. In either case, we've reached the end of the rope. Enjoy that half loaf.

That depends

But it does no good to bash him now and give ammo to the GOP.

on what we bash him about.

If we express our lack of enthusiasm about his conservative tendencies, I don't see the GOP trying to use that against Heath. They're going to try to focus on what liberal tendencies he has, in an effort to paint him as being too far "to the Left" of average North Carolinians. I doubt they'll touch anything that reveals Heath's moderate/conservative leanings.

Now, us complaining about these things might hurt Heath in the Primary, but it may also force him to reevaluate his positions, as well. Kay Hagan weathered a pretty harsh storm, and (I believe) evolved into a more progressive leader because of it.

I'd put him ahead of Shuler too

But he may be a bit young considering he has not held office above state lege. Of course, that is true of Grier Martin too.

Let's distinguish

between treating a candidate as legitimate and promoting that candidate.

It seems to me that James is taking issue with the appearance that Mr. Young is actively promoting the candidacy of Rep. Shuler. If that is taking place, I think James' concern is entirely appropriate. Mr. Young is the NCDP chair and has an obligation to remain neutral in an active party primary, which seems to be shaping up here.

James is also expressing his strongly held personal views on a key policy issue, reproductive choice. (That's broader than abortion per se, as well.) That's legitimate too--James is speaking as a private policy advocate, not as a party officer. I personally share the commitment to reproductive choice as public policy.

On the comparative merits of the prospective candidates, I have to agree with the conclusion that Rep. Shuler would be far superior to Sen. Burr on other key issues like the environment. As a result, there would be no question that I'd vote for Rep. Shuler over Sen. Burr in a general election.

However, I think it's fair and reasonable to remind our party officials that any challenge to Burr is going to be an extremely expensive and hard-fought campaign. (Remember that there's a world of difference between casting a vote and working hard for a campaign.) In such a race as the Burr challenge, can they afford the loss of enthusiasm and active support from such a large part of the base of statewide Democratic activists--those for whom reproductive choice is a (even the) leading policy passion?

They should think very hard about that question before attempting to intervene in a potential primary. Let the candidates prove themselves in an even-playing-field primary in which all candidates explain and defend their positions on issues like choice.

There's another world of difference between recruiting a genuine consensus candidate, and creating a controversy by trying to ignore a real, key, policy debate between potential nominees. If entities like DSCC fumble that distinction, and artificially tilt the playing field now, the consequences may come back to bite us all in the fall of 2010.

Dan Besse

I agree

They should think very hard about that question before attempting to intervene in a potential primary.

There's a big difference between a Democrat who is "business-friendly" like Kay and one who has beliefs that could turn off a big chunk of Democratic voters across the state, especially in an "off-season" election.

I personally hope that the

I personally hope that the party will abstain from blessing a candidate, although too often that does happen. We need an open primary in North Carolina - I personally like both Cal and Kenneth Lewis.

On the topic of Choice

I'm too busy to put a lot of research into this but...

In 2003 Mike McIntyre got a rating of 0% from NARAL and in 2006 he got a rating of 100% from the National Right to Life Comm.

By way of contrast in 2003 Richard Burr also got a 0% from NARAL and in 2006 he got a rating of 75% from the National Right to Life Comm.

Edit- In 2008 Shuler got an 85% from the National Right to Life Comm. and a 0 from NARAL.

"Keep the Faith"

NCDP response

David Young just asked me about this thread (I work for the NCDP). He said something like what Falduto said: What do they want me to say, 'I guess he's okay?'

If that had been the response fellow Democrats who support Shuler would be justifiably angry.

Regarding Cal Cunningham and Kenneth Lewis, David said "I think they are great." (great as in great candidates to defeat Burr)

It sounds to me like David Young has resolved to support all of the candidates.

David also wanted to reiterate that the North Carolina Democratic Party is neutral in primaries. We will support the candidate who emerges in May.

Let me know if you have questions and I'll do my best to get answers.

Thanks, Jerimee

I don't think David could have said anything that would please everyone ... and maybe he should have said nothing. It's a tough job to have, but I guess that's why he gets the big bucks.

(Just kidding, David.)

To be clear, this really isn't about David. He simply provided an opening for an important discussion about who expects what from our next Senator.

For my part, I don't want that next Senator to be either Shuler or McIntyre. They don't come anywhere near meeting my expectations for leadership and forward-thinking. And truth be told, neither cares what I think. In the general election, they would be counting on progressives to continue to vote for Democrats no matter what.

That's what always happens, and it will happen with most progressives in the next cycle too. It just won't happen with me.

Very good.

Thanks Jerimee. I'm glad David is paying attention and playing by the rules here. I hope that the same can be said of the DSCC.

I hope that it's clear from the content of my comments that I'm not trying to say to Rep. Shuler that he shouldn't run. However, if he chooses to run he should be prepared for a primary in which he will have the opportunity to explain and defend his views on reproductive choice, and how they will affect his votes on matters such as confirmation of judicial nominees.

I believe that a strong majority of North Carolina Democrats are pro-choice and believe that this is important to our families and society.

Dan Besse

I don't see it.

Where does the opinion come from that he's such a DINO? I read the paper religiously every Sunday and I read the roll call votes which are printed. More times than not, Heath votes with the Democrats. So where's the beef?

The DSCC, while an arm of the national Democratic Party, is run by the Senate Democrats. They want to increase their numbers and they obviously go after and support those favorable candidates from the primaries to the general election. And they have every right to do so as they are looking to elections and gaining more support. They did this with Kay Hagan. I had no problem with this as I was already supporting her.

I'm a yellow dog and I want Burr out.

Some Shulerisms

Here are some Shuler quotes:

"I am a pro-life Democrat and I believe that all life is sacred."

"As a member of Congress, I will always defend your Second Amendment rights and oppose burdensome regulations that attempt to limit the Constitutional Rights of law-abiding Americans."

"America is a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws. We should not reward those who come to our country illegally."

"The United States must remain vigilant in seeking out and destroying terrorist organizations, like Al Qaeda, that seek to do our Nation harm."

And then there is this, from the N&O:

"A teetotaling pro-life Democrat, Shuler hews to the middle in his votes and his public life. He recently was honored by the National Federation of Small Business for his pro-business voting record. The NRA likes him."

Are some of these positions more nuanced than the sound-bites I have posted here? Sure. But when my candidate for a Democratic Senate seat fall even to the right of moderate Republicans on several issues, how am I supposed to get excited over his candidacy?

Plus, and this is most important to me, we have a Democratic White House, a filibuster-proof Senate, and a Democratic House, with all signs pointing to bigger gains in 2010.

This is our one opportunity to not only clean up the Bush mess, but to finish the job the last Democratic president attempted but was unable to do with a Republican Congress.

I'd much rather have a Republican obstructing the agenda than a Democrat doing so, because that gives other Democrats cover to buck the agenda.

This all sounds reasonable to

This all sounds reasonable to me. If pro-life means wanting to see as few abortions as possible while recognizing the legal right of a woman to do so that sounds reasonable to me. Has he expressed an interest in overturning Roe v Wade? His second amendment stance sounds constitutionally sound. Small business should be encouraged. I just don't see what is so negative here.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

He and I disagree

Heath believes very strictly that life begins at conception. He has voted against every pro-choice bill in the House, and has even voted against stem cell research. I have very serious concerns about how he would vote on huge issues like Sotomayor's confirmation (or the next justice our President appoints).

"Keep the Faith"

Some Thoughts

I've been thinking about this thread all day and much of what I wanted to say has already been said. Dan, as usual, was spot-on.

But to address those who disagreed with James's point, what good are we as a progressive community if we do not press and press hard for progressive candidates?

Yes, Shuler would be better than Burr. But he could be much better if we let him know in no uncertain terms that unless he assuages our concerns or at least gives them due consideration.

Politics is about compromise. If Shuler could move toward us a bit, maybe we could move toward him a bit. Otherwise, like James, I will not donate, I will not volunteer, I will not blog about Burr.

That's my two cents.

Maybe I'm The Opposite of "Purity"

Maybe I just don't support the notion that only liberals should be elected because I support a big tent. Maybe I'm not supporting the idea of liberals having a monopoly in this party (and I'm a liberal) because of what I've seen regarding pushing moderates and liberals out of the GOP.

No problem then

The probability of liberals having a monopoly on the Democratic Party is less than the probability of a rogue asteroid hitting the earth in the next thousand years. Sure it could happen, but the chances are infinitesimally small.

North Carolina is nowhere even remotely near having a Democratic Party where only liberals are elected. The number of legislators in Raleigh who would define themselves as liberal can be counted on one hand with a thumb to spare.

This is a terrific thread

Personally, I give David Young some slack. I think he entertained a question abotu Shuler, and without stepping out of line, gave a great endorsement to a friend and Democratic Representative from North Carolina. Would he have done this if asked about Mike McIntyre/Bob Etheridge/Cal Cunningham/ Walter Dalton/anyone else whose name is being floated as a potential 2010 Senate candidate? Almost assuredly.

I know us BlueNC folks have a lot of issues with Shuler and, in many cases, those feelings are understandable, legitimate and well presented. However, I think we are slightly off topic in the focus of this thread. David Young did not come out and announce support for Shuler to run in 2010. He simply stated that Shuler would make a great candidate. Don't we want a party chairman to say good things about any and all potential candidates? In some ways, I think David and the rest of the NCDP were a bit shocked at how this took off.

Personally, I have no problem with what David said, but, I understand why many progressive North Carolinians would. That being said, I think our party chairman was simply trumpeting the virtues of an elected Democrat and, frankly, what else should he do?

Like James and so many others have said, if Heath wants to run, then it is our duty, as those whom he would represent, to truly discover exactly where he stands in an open primary, should that occur. For the time being, let's embrace the fact that in these most dormant of politic months, that our community can still have such spirited debates and remain so committed to the Change we helped usher in last November. Let's keep this up.

-- A liberal originally from Yadkin County. Did I just blow your mind?

Defeating Richard Burr

Richard Burr is a constant reminder of the North Carolina's shameful collaboration with the Bush-Cheney Era. If he is re-elected next year, the possibliity that North Carolina might undergo a red-shift in 2012 becomes a lot stronger. Selecting the right candidate to defeat Burr is crucial. In 2008, the conventional wisdom was that Hillary Clinton would do well in the NC primary. That theory exploded when a new demographic emerged in NC's primary -- a new demographic that united young, women and blacks in what was deemed an unlikely coalition that gave Barack Obama a very strong victory over the heavily favored Hillary Clinton. That demographic gained momentum in the presidential election and delivered the state to Obama over McCain for the first time since Carter ran in 1976. A candidate that can appeal to the new Democratic demographic: young, women and black -- will defeat Burr. It is difficult to see how some candidates who are hobbled by their pro-life position on Roe versus Wade could activate what is now the core demographic in the Democratic base in NC. Let us hope that a candidate will emerge who will appeal to the Democratic base and defeat Burr in 2010. North Carolina's status as a blue state depends on the outcome of the battle against Burr next year. Burr is running scared and his aides have announced plans to raise $60 million. Even that sum won't be enough if we have a candidate who can appeal strongly to our base: young, women and blacks.

Michael Carmichael

What about us old white guys?

There are plenty of us that are loyal to the party and we helped turn NC blue too! I hate to see us ignored. The candidate should be someone that will appeal to all of us. Don't make us the red headed stepchildren. :>)

I'm a moderate Democrat.

That's all that's being mentioned now, right?

Besides Kenneth Lewis who am I missing that's still "interested" publicly at the moment (Shuler, McIntyre, Cunningham)?

I know this post is a bit tongue-in-cheek and was probably not meant wholly this way, but a plea for more old white guy representation in the US Senate is a bit much.


It was an appeal for us old

It was an appeal for us old white guy voters not to be ignored. If we are a party of diversity we are one of the many diverse groups. The writer of the post I commented on spoke of the young, African-Americans and females as being the driving force turning NC blue. We helped too! I kind of felt left out. And yes it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek.

I'm a moderate Democrat.