Hey, I've been really out of the loop here, why is there so much bad blood between the DCDP and Progressive Dane? Both parties have their pluses and minuses, but generally, I mean, isn't this like a feud between people who like their toast butter side up and people who like their toast butter side up with a dash of jelly?
Ye Olde Blogosphere has been exploding in the last few days with debate over who should win the DCDP chairmanship, incumbent Wayne Bigelow or challenger Russell Wallace. Honestly, I didn't know a lick about this before a few days ago, so my opinion on the matter is pretty malleable.
But I do have a bit of an opinion about how the debate has been carried out. Poorly. Which is a shame, because most of the people involved have similar, progressive goals and just want to be on the winning side of an election for once (2006 being a notable but rare exception, but only in terms of people, not policy). If we're this divisive and divided for a simple party chair election, imagine what we'll be like when the big one roles around next year?
Here are a few of the choicer comments from area blogs:
The Critical Badger is feeling pretty critical of Wallace.
A source has informed me that Russell Wallace dropped off over 40 new memberships ($10/piece) to the Dane County Democratic Party last night, just before the deadline to ensure he will have a healthy majority in the race against Wayne Bigelow. A typical PDesque way to ensure victory. Unfortunately, it’s widely predicted that Wallace will win.I've been gathering that PD makes it somewhat of a habit to employ these kinds of methods come party elections, and they seem shady to me, but that's the extent of my opinion. Someone would have to help lay out any other past alleged transgressions by PD members for me to get a better idea as to whether such criticism is warranted or not. Also, it should be noted that apparently, Wallace isn't even a member of PD. Huh.
Caffeinated Politics doesn't much care for Wallace, either.
Wayne Bigelow understands that driving the car off a cliff does not encourage others to be passengers. He cares about the county party and deserves to be elected again.
Russell Wallace is smart and energized, but the wrong choice for Democrats who wish for more than a litmus test on political purity.
OK, so that's a bit more reasonable of a response. But what about Bigelow? Is there anyone out there who doesn't think he's the bees knees? Apparently so.
This comes from TDP forums, courtesy Vicky Selkowe:
It would indeed be nice to have a DCDP Chair who is actually focused on building a stronger local Dem party and who does more than continually foam at the mouth about Progressive Dane.It strikes me as supremely silly that such a rift exists between PD members are Bigelow/the DCDP. I'm glad there are two distinct parties, because having more than a 2-party system generally makes for a healthier political climate. But I'd rather they be fighting over major differences in policy than in personality. Neither one of these guys comes off looking particularly clean. Then, you also have to consider that anyone who so actively seeks a position of power in the first place may not be someone you'd really want to see in that position at all. But that's a debate for another day, I suppose.
Yet another example of Wayne's blinders-on obsession with PD can be found in his response to an email I sent him and others on the Dane Dems E-Board titled "New Member Outreach," in which I asked Wayne what was being done to reach out to and engage all of the people who had recently joined the party as a result of the spring elections. A snippet of his response is below, am happy to share the full email exchange with anyone who's interested.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Wayne Bigelow
Date: Apr 22, 2007 5:17 PM
Subject: Re: New Member Outreach
To: Vicky Selkowe [and others]
Let's cut to the chase up front: It's about PD members flooding our meeting to take over endorsements and now you want them them to take over more. I'm not sympathetic. What PD can never achieve on its own you want to take over and run for yourself -- even though it was achieved by the endless labors of Democrats. Success you could never achieve on PD's own.
In the end, I'm left feeling more confused than ever. I'll be curious to see how the vote goes tonight, but I'm not a member of the DCDP (or PD) so I have no say in this anyway. As to why I'm not a member? Because of petty rivalries like this taking up more time than the actual important issues of our day. Because a lot of the "leaders" we've been getting are more interested in their own egos than they are in seriously unifying like-minded folks who want to work for a better city, county, state and country.
I think that's why, when I look at my friends (in their early twenties to mid-forties), very few of them are officially affiliated with any one party. They're politically and socially active, but they (wisely, I think) don't pledge allegiance to any one group. Heck, I'm about as liberal as can be, and I've voted for a few Republicans (gasp!) in my day.
So here's what I wish: I wish that the DCDP and the PD would both get over themselves and learn to work co-operatively when it was possible, and to disagree constructively when necessary. I wish that whoever wins tonight's vote really does work to solidify the party and point it in a progressive, smart-minded, daring, Greater Good direction free of petty in-fighting and finger pointing. And most of all, I wish upon a freakin' star that people would stop leaving ridiculous anonymous comments like this one. Yeesh.