Time is slipping away

| May 28, 2013

jeanne.in.raleigh_250x250by Jeanne Milliken Bonds

North Carolina is a politically centrist state. Depending on the personalities that emerge and the economy, it can lean right politically. Republicans and conservatives, armed with a web of 527s, 501( c) 4s, and PAC money from their gains in 2010,  were able to boom a louder message across more channels and take over state government in total in 2012. I don’t know that their message was better. But the fact is they had more money and resources to move it out to more people and repeat it. In swing districts where Democrats should have run centrist candidates, a necessity to even give progressives a seat at the table, the slot was open or the conservative message was backed by resources to run their candidate as an appealing moderate, outspending the Democratic candidate. The result is the supermajority at the NCGA.

Rumor has it some Democrats are focusing efforts on a sharp turn left hedging their bets on a future growing urban population that is more liberal. Focusing that far in the future is leaving North Carolinians in the present behind.

In the past, North Carolinians looked to the Democratic Party for practical, common sense innovation and solutions. With small caucuses in the NC House and Senate, the Democratic members in the NCGA are basically hog-tied to do anything but speak out on the floor. A handful of Democratic legislators in the House have managed to remain relevant, predominantly the Mecklenburg Delegation of which the Speaker is a member.

Our State is facing challenges. The Party in power is making the law. The NAACP has effectively broadened its base and amassed a growing diverse army to object. They are taking the message on the road. The NAACP effort is helping educate North Carolinians about the policies. Rev. William Barber has stepped up his game and is inspiring conscientious objectors. Republicans can shake their heads but they see the crowds growing and they cannot deny it is effective. The NAACP is effectively changing its brand.

Democrats should be working in tandem with the protests to pitch alternatives to current policy. Instead the Party Chair is non-communicado except to roll out robo calls to the Party’s State Executive Committee. He has a team of seven is rolling out attacks, many vicious, on anyone who dares to question or comment on the current state of Party affairs. The attacks often come from an “anonymous” Voller supporter. Those are the strategies of kids in a 7th grade election for student council.

Tax reform, the budget and education are big ticket items in the NCGA that can change the playing field and the face of NC for years to come. They are on NOW. It is well past time for Randy Voller to speak for himself and speak to all Democrats about working together instead of driving the Democrats into factions. It is well past time to communicate about an alternative policy solution instead of robo calls and releases about how well he is doing.

The more time that passes without Voller making a concerted effort to listen to Democrats beyond his “yes”  team, the less chance he has of doing anything but barely surviving in the role. And, the less chance North Carolinians have of hearing an effective alternative to current policies from the NC Democratic Party.

Jeanne Milliken Bonds is an NC Spin panelist, Host of Plain Talk Politics, PR Consultant and former Mayor.

Category: NC SPIN Perspectives - Opinions from NC Leaders & Organizations

Comments (5)

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  1. Judith Robb Bullock says:

    Here is an example of the type of vicious attack sanctioned by Chairman Voller:

    After I commented on the May 24, 2013 Under the Dome story, “Robert Dempsey to take helm at N.C. Democratic Party”, a post appeared in another blog (Chatham County On-Line) by “Kleigh”, a political surrogate for Chairman Randy Voller. “Kleigh” stated that she made Voller aware of my comment. She also stated that Voller recorded a phone conversation with me (in 2006) and retained a copy. This was news to me. She proceeded to belittle me on topics ranging from my father’s suicide to my own struggle with major depressive disorder—information I shared with Voller during that private conversation.

    What Chairman Voller failed to realize is that I am not ashamed for people to know that I struggle with depression. Nor am I ashamed for people to know that my father also suffered from this illness, which eventually led to his suicide. What IS shameful is that the Chairman of the State Democratic Party recorded a private telephone conversation in which I shared this sensitive information with him, retained the tape of this conversation for almost seven years, and then divulged it to a political surrogate for vindictive dissemination. Shame on him!

    Judith Robb Bullock
    Cary, NC

    • dj anderson says:

      Bravely said! Speaking the truth, being a loyal friend and maintaining confidences are character strengths. Lies and betrayal are not.

      I think of myself as an Adlai Stevenson democrat, who was of high moral character, which is what the NC democratic party needs now more than ‘tricky dicky’ behind the scenes manipulation. Let’s let the slick characters slide right out of our party!

  2. dj anderson says:

    Yeap, Rev. Barber seems to be leading man of the democrats right now and protests leading to arrest to make the news is the image of the party.

  3. Chris Telesca says:

    Jeanne: I cannot agree with your description of those who defend Voller and the Democratic Party (SEC members and activists) against attacks from the “status quo” Dems.

    I for one always sign my name – and so does Watt Jones and Bill Franklin. We don’t resort to defaming folks on your side of the aisle by name by creating fake Twitter accounts and claiming that Randy and others (including myself by name) are stealing from the Party.

    If you want to stop the 7th grade antics, I suggest you talk with some of your friends. Because that’s not what’s going on over on the Voller side. We have serious issues to attend to – like which consultant got an NCDP contract staffer to perform a Lexis-Nexis search on Jeffrey Starkweather, Randy Voller and Gwen Wilkins back in December or January, and then passed it onto consultant-supporters of the Mansfield campaign? Don’t deny that it happened. Also don’t deny that the same thing happened to Linda Coleman during the primary, with the information also passed onto the Mansfield campaign.

    That’s the sort of thing that Randy was elected to reform. And that’s the sort of thing that the more mature members of the SEC want Randy to deal with – basically by taking our Party back from the less mature folks who ran it into the ground during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. Free from the distractions of staffers playing “dress up” in Goodwin House and having their pics taken in all their creative costumes posted on Facebook.

    • dj anderson says:

      This speaks loudly of the state of the Democratic Party in the state of NC.

      NC Democrats need a leader, and I don’t think the de facto face of the party, Rev. Barber, is that needed leader, tho he isn’t afraid to stand up and speak out.

      Bev. Perdue was the face of leadership, and if the economy had remained fat, she would have been a great governor, but she went slipping and sliding downward with the economy, and then, decided not to run too late for Dalton or anyone else to prepare a properly funded campaign. Maybe behind the scenes Obama wanted her off ‘his’ ticket, but whatever happened, happened, leaving all three houses of government in Republican hands. Not since Democrats handed over Raleigh to Sherman has such a change of power happened, statewide, anyway. We’ll see if the Moral Monday crowd will create a C-arab-lina Spring by pitting the righteous government dependent against the evil rich. White Democrats pulled off the only coup de tat about a hundred years ago in Wilmington to get the rich black folk out of power and back in their place. That ain’t gonna happen this time.