Mr. Begala:Kos adds:
"What he has spent it on, apparently, is just hiring a bunch of staff people to wander around Utah and Mississippi and pick their nose." -- Dem strategist Paul Begala on DNC Chair Howard Dean's spending, CNN, 5/11
This statement hitting on the eve of our convention, where we are about to nominate Congressman Jim Matheson for re-election, is not helpful. And, the "pick their nose" comment is hurtful to Democrats who are truly on the frontline. An apology to my hardworking staff is in order.
By leaving the GOP unopposed in places like Utah, it frees them up to concentrate on making inroads in marginal districts. Congressmen in tough places deserve support, too. Jim Matheson, Stephanie Herseth (keynote speaker at tonight's pre-convention dinner) and even a potential pick-up like Gary Trauner in Wyoming deserve the support they are getting from the DNC.
"Win for today" as a long-term strategy has left many areas of the country without a healthy dialogue. The April 29 canvass where we put the DNC message on 15,000 registered Democrats doorsteps was a first for Utahns. They have never heard from the DNC. When Clinton was in the White House, he never made a public address to the people of Utah. Democrats have become outsiders who do things to us, not insiders who do things for us. The 50 state strategy is one way to turn it around.
Even in Utah, there are thoughtful Democrats elected to office like Congressman Matheson, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon. The DNC's investment here will make sure that they retain their seats. I expect it will help Mayor Corroon get a majority of Democrats to support his policies on the Salt Lake County Council. That will show Utahns for the first time in a decade that we have the ability to govern.
I wish I had more time today to be thoughtful. But this fight is disheartening, and not productive. Chairman Dean is not going to change what he has started. Too many DNC members appreciate it. (And, they are Dean's electorate.) I encourage you and Congressman Rahm Emmanuel to move on, and find a way to make it work for the DCCC.
Wayne Holland, Jr.
Utah Democratic Party
There were Democratic Parties around the country that didn't even have a full-time staffer to answer press calls. We are now building the infrastructure to support candidates at all levels of government. The Republicans have had no controversy in building their machine from the ground up, in all 50 states. Why are our DC Democrats so afraid of doing so?