Friday, April 14, 2006

Georgia Democrats Go Boom!

Yesterday, Democratic Party of Georgia chairman Bobby Kahn stopped to make some comments at Blog for Democracy. Don't these people watch West Wing?

It is no great secret that the DPG is reeling from the double blow of Sonny Perdue's unexpected victory in 2002 and the thrashing of Denise Majette the 2004 U.S Senate race. Perhaps the most damaging blow was losing control of both legislative sides of the state house for the first time since the civil war.

From Mr. Kahn's comments and the responses by the Blog For Democracy members, it is apparent that a disconnect exist between the state headquarters on Spring Street and the grassroots organizations in the counties. Even the metro Atlanta party members sound disenchanted. You would think that the party could at least keep people within 30 miles of HQ excited. If this can't be accomplished, how do they ever expect to win back the Republican bastion rural south Georgia?

Many on the blog blame Mr. Kahn, Chief of Staff for 2002 loser Roy Barnes. Maybe that is fair. He is the head and on the head the crown uneasily sits. However, I believe the problem is much broader and more serious.

While King Roy and the democrats sat on complacency built by a century of electoral wins, I travelled the roads of south Georgia and noticed that "flagger" signs were popping up like mushrooms after rain. In pre-2002 Georgia, it was a given that a Democrat would always win the big ticket races. The "flaggers" were perceived to be just a slightly loony minority. How wrong they were.

Now, the Democratic party holds none of the glamour positions in state government. The Republican hold on the state house has resulted in lavish pork with the reciprocal campaign donations. State and local offices appear to be incommunicaido.

After ten generations of the assumption that voters would just pull red all the way down, the Democrats in Georgia actually have to build a political infrastructure. Hopefully for them, what we are seeing are just normal growing pains. I'm sure the Republicans hope that it continues to look like a goat rodeo.

In 2002, Mr. Kahn and the party ignored the "flaggers" to their dismay. It would be a potentially painful error to do the same with internet socieities in 2006. Mr. Kahn is bothered by the anonymity of some of his critics. It's not a hopeful note that the chairman of the state party is behind the curve on something as pervasive as internet communities.

Internet handles have been around for ten years. Yes, many use this cloak of darkness to fire invective with scatter gun effect and accuracy. But many use this convention as a costume that allows them to display a part of their personality that might not be easily expressed in the real world. If the message is reasonable and rational, the identity of the individual should not be important.

Faceless flaggers or anonymous bloggers. You may agree or disagree with a groups positions or their methods. Not understanding them however is potentially political suicide.

P.S. Mr. Kahn, you are welcome to call me griftdrift. No need for Mr. griftdrift. Of course after this, you probably will just call me GD.


Richard Campbell said...

"You would think that the party could at least keep people within 30 miles of HQ excited."

1) Will Rogers.[1].
2) 1/3 of the state's population lives within 30 miles of HQ.
3) To improve any organization, it's important to be able to give and take criticism. In an organization that theoretically is open to all, the discussion should be open to all as well. In this day and age, that pretty much means the Internet.

[1] "I am not a member of any organized party — I am a Democrat."

Richard Campbell said...

4) Attracting the rural South Georgia voters and keeping the people within 30 miles of HQ excited are usually mutually exclusive.

5) The more cogent comments came from non-anonymous posters.