Monday, September 19, 2005

Real Leadership vs. Monumental Mediocrity

Sometimes the tension between challenger Democratic congressional candidates and the Democratic Congressional Candidate Committee (DCCC) is strained at best. This was not noticeable 5 minutes into the meeting at 9 a.m., Thursday September 15, 2005. Tim Bagwell’s Illinois-based Democratic Commitment Conference Political Action Committee (DCCPAC) led a delegation of committed Democratic candidates in meetings with the DCCC and D.C. political action committees (PACs). Staff members of PACs know only too well that a meeting with Rep. Rahm Emanuel's entire staff in a room and having his undivided attention for more than 10 minutes just does not happen. To have that kind of meeting for 45 minutes is an unprecedented event.

Dr. Bagwell’s unconventional wisdom got the job done and made history at the same time. He unified Democratic challengers. He realized that as a unified group, it would be possible to meet with the Washington Democratic leadership. No one had ever traveled to DC representing a group of challengers before. Why not?

The Democratic congressional candidates completed three days of Washington, D.C., meetings between September 13 and 15. The candidate delegation consisted of 11 candidates from 8 states. As a delegation, the group represented 35 candidates in 20 states. The candidates also met with the leadership of the following PACs:

  • International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
  • Communication Workers of America
  • United Electricians
  • 21st Century Democrats
The combined efforts of Dr. Bagwell’s DCCPAC, the NovemberVictory online discussion group, and the candidate leadership formed the delegation. The candidate leadership included Steve Porter, David Gill, and Tim Bagwell.

Dr. Bagwell and his delegation completed an unprecedented agenda with a meeting with the DCCC leadership on Thursday morning. The candidates in attendance is below. Most of them also ran in 2004:
Dr. Bagwell ( created the DCCPAC in Illinois in March 2005 to support Democratic congressional challenger candidates. Dr. Bagwell began working with the NovemberVictory online discussion group in April and organizing the meetings in June. His PAC achieves its goals through an integrated network of state chapters. Dr. Tim Bagwell chairs the DCCPAC. Dr. Bagwell ran against Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) in the 2004 Election. Richard Morrison, Rep. Tom DeLay’s 2004 opponent, is the DCCPAC Vice-Chairperson. The current chapters are Illinois, Texas, and New York with more to follow soon.

According to Dr. Bagwell, the candidates sat side by side with the DCCC and PAC leadership in open discussions on re-taking the U.S. House in 2006. At the DCCC, the candidates met with Rep. Rahm Emanuel (IL-05). The congressman spoke of the challenges facing the party and the candidates. Each candidate’s has a role as an ‘agent of change’ within the Party’s ‘campaign for change’,” said Rep. Emanuel. He also promised support for all candidates.

Rep. Emanuel took questions and comments from the delegation of mostly second attempt candidates from the 8 states. The DCCC’s key management staff also participated in the meeting:
  1. Executive Director
  2. Political Director
  3. 3 Regional Political Directors
  4. Public Relations Manager
  5. Internet Manager
Having that much of the DCCC present for candidates at this stage is unprecedented – yet it was not that hard. Dr. Bagwell knew there was strength in numbers and followed through. He led the candidates as they took full advantage asking the hard questions of the DCCC leadership. Their concerns included incumbent Democrat support within their states, support for second time around candidates, and low or no-cost support of candidates. They also explored Initiatives toward veterans including requests for veteran demographics for their individual congressional districts.

The DCCC accepted a draft of a proposed party platform from the candidates. In a breakout meeting with DCCC staff, candidates established channels for that support with the DCCC staff.

The Labor Union meetings were also receptive and supportive of the candidates’ efforts. The 21st Century Democrats have invited the candidates to a retreat to help them continue forging ahead in a new direction. They are looking toward serious progressive goals by the year 2024.

If Dr. Bagwell’s delegation of committed Democratic candidates had not made the trip to DC, no one would know their thoughts and heard their voices. Therefore, no one would include candidate input in an ongoing dialogue for change. The real change will come from the grassroots that requires nurturing before the DCCC will truly listen and change.

For now, Dr. Bagwell’s delegation of committed candidates has proven themselves to be a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully, the candidates that could not attend realize this and know that someone proudly gave them their voices. Like all Democrats, they are members of Thomas Jefferson's political party. They believe in the underpinnings, the true spirit of the Party. They will work to benefit the public trust.

As for the IL-19 CD’s abnegating incumbent GOP representative, John Shimkus (aka “Shamkus”), leadership is a foreign concept. The public trust has done nothing to deserve the current Republican incumbents. The public trust absolutely deserve better people than duplicitous representatives who do nothing more than kiss their reflection in the mirror while hugging themselves during a mantra of “You love me! You really love me!” The public trust deserves better than monumental mediocrity.


At 19 September, 2005 06:32, Blogger Jeff Wegerson said...

Great article. I assume that you didn't front page it at SoapBlox is because it would get double listed at Lefty Blogs? Have you crossposted this at dKos? If you do, hows about including a plug for SoapBlox? Ok I'm just jealous.

At 19 September, 2005 06:54, Blogger Jeff Wegerson said...

Or maybe Mydd is a better place than dKos. dKos is getting so scattered.

At 19 September, 2005 13:15, Blogger Randall Sherman said...

It takes a lot of hard work and preparation to make an impact in Washington, particularly when you have to deal with a Mayor Daley apologists like Rahm Emanuel who probably wouldn't normally give a hoot for any Democrat in Illinois south of I-80.


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