Yesterday I attended the 2nd Congressional District delegate caucus to elect pledged Obama delegates to the DNC convention in Denver. If I have time I'll do a detailed post about the process, but I came away from the caucus somewhat disappointed and dejected, so wanted to get these thoughts out first.
It seems to me that pledged delegates should be chosen based in large part on how much work they do for a campaign. Extraordinary efforts should be recognized and rewarded, and becoming a national delegate is a traditional means of doing so. In addition, the amount of work a volunteer does is a strong indication of how committed and loyal to the campaign he or she is, which is a real concern given the possibility of a fight at the convention this year.
Despite this, several people were elected delegates who, as far as I can tell, have done little or nothing to support the Obama campaign. They defeated superb and deserving candidates who have donated hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to Obama.
The delegate caucus was stacked. Quite legally, but stacked none the less. It looks like all of the Obama delegates who were elected yesterday were political insiders with ties to the Doyle administration. And while some clearly deserved to become delegates, others did not. They won because they had the support of the roughly thirty Doyle folks who were at the caucus.
Unfortunately this is par for the course. Not all all unusual when the grassroots gets rolled by political professionals. But I had some conversations at the caucus that prompted me to think about what happened, and to realize that there's a cost here that tends to get overlooked. A cost to the Democratic Party, and to our candidates.
The Party needs committed campaign volunteers to succeed. But yesterday some of our most active and successful volunteers were kicked out of the way so that politically connected insiders could grab the perks of a successful campaign. We failed to recognize and reward some truly extraordinary efforts, and by doing so we discourage such efforts in the future. Cutting our own throats. It's what Democrats do best.