January 20, 2006

Whither now, local Dems?

The RI County Democratic Party was built in the late sixties by John Gianulis and a few pioneers who rolled up their sleeves and decided they were tired of Republicans dominating in key areas (Congress, county board, etc.). So along came a generation of new leaders and new energy (Gianulis, Evans, Jacobs, etc.)

That worked in the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties -- 4 decades -- but is anyone even addressing the inevitability that there must be a change? Is it respondible to continue to largely ignore the need for some new and challenging Democratic Party leaders to assume positions of responsibility in the party?

Where is the transition program? Any good corporation, any good political party knows that you need to work on transition plans to help usher in new leaders to replace those who have been in powerful positions for a long, long time and who will inevitably need to move on involuntarily, if they shouldn't have moved on of their own volition already. John G, now 83, Lane Evans, in declining health, and so on.

Where is the transition effort? Once these fine leaders move out of the scene, is the party going to be left grasping at whomever happens to be standing around and then thrusting them into the public eye? Why is there no discernable effort to at least have younger figures at the sides of these elder leaders in order to be groomed and mentored to make future success more likely? Would it not be wise to have people ready and able to take the reins when the time comes in order to ensure that the workings of the party continue as seamlessly as possible?

The success of the Democrat or Republican Parties is not based on individuals, but ideals and values and a grassroots army to support election victories. The minute our politics becomes focused on personalities -- whether that's Lane Evans or Denny Jacobs or whomever -- we begin to fail. The party is bigger than individuals. When a forest is full of older trees, they crowd out the new growth. Shouldn't we be planting some younger trees to ensure that they'll be strong and well rooted by the time the old trees finally topple? (to use an inelegant analogy)

It's time for change in the RI Democratic Party. Our incuments have done a great job, it's time to say thank you, thank you, thank you for the service -- but it's time for new leadership, new faces, new blood.

What's disturbing is that these leaders aren't moving aside to make way for new and energetic hopefuls. They are holding on to their positions far beyond what might be considered prudent or in the best interests of the future strength of the party.

When politicians don't have the grace, selflessness, or foresight to step aside after long and illustrious service, and their staffers seek to prevent any thought of retirement out of self-interest, the larger interests of the party are harmed. This inertia and putting self-interest ahead of the party will likely come back to haunt the party in the future.

When too many party leaders seem interested in nothing other than running out the clock until they're forced to leave due to death or illness, in essense staying firmly in place for life, and compound the damage by devoting little or no effort whatsoever to seeking out, identifying, mentoring, and supporting new leaders, the party is headed for serious problems in the not too distant future.

The time will inevitably come when the party needs strong, experienced leaders to run for office and to lead the party. Not planning ahead for that eventuality is irresponsible. When that time comes will it be left to chance, struggle, and infighting? Will these figures in power for many decades simply walk off the stage in essense saying, "See ya, good luck.", leaving the party in shambles and setting the stage for opportunists and factions to battle it out? This would be disasterous.

It has gotten to the point where it is approaching or past time for party leaders to step aside, and beyond that, it is irresponsible of them to have no established efforts to attract and groom their succesors.

Your thoughts?

24 Comments:

At 1/20/2006 7:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great points and great observations. The one thing I think Dems need to do is get everyone on the same page- at least publically. We don't have to love each other or be on each others speed dial, but we need to work together and communicate. First, my opinion is that every democrat elected official must pay into the tap. 20 years ago if you did not, a candidate was found to run against you and you lost. Today, I beleive that 4 of the eight county officials in RI (All Dems) do not pay into it. We must make sure the 3 state elected officials, the US Rep, as well as any future officer holder all pay into the tap. That should be the first litmus test for any potential candidate in our party if they are looking for support, down the road, from a very procative and effective county organization that history shows we have here in RI County. We fail as individuals, we survive, and thrive as a team. Secondly, after the primary, John G needs to gather all the candidates together, as well as the future candidates (Mc Neil, Darrow, O'Brien, Schwiebert, Lack, etc, etc) and put together a game plan. Say what you want about Denny Jacobs, Don Johnston, Phil Hare, and Stewart Winstein, but they need to be involved in that conversation as well. Our party has strengths we need to articulate, and weaknessess we need to improve on; recognizing this is our first, and best step. Nice first post of the day, Dope.

 
At 1/20/2006 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is apperant that Denny and Mike Jacobs are two different people. And to suggest that they are not is crazy talk. You can see the progressive ideas that "BIG" Mike Jacobs has brought about in such a short time like WIU and now the High speed train. Mike sat through a UAW strike and saw his generation have to leave this community and that has shaped him to want his young son and his friends to have a better opportunity to stay in this community. That is his drive to work for the people of the 36th. I for one like the work and commitment the Jacobs family has given the QC area.

 
At 1/20/2006 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget Mike Darrow

 
At 1/20/2006 8:26 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Please people, can we keep this on topic and not turn it in to some sort of jr. high student council race assembly hall?

This really makes me nuts.

I can not count the number of times the Jaocobites have come around here whining and bitching and trying to say that all I ever talk about is Jacobs and I do it to get "ratings" , etc. Besides being untrue and ridiculous (as are everything they post) Jacobs or his supporters arer why Jacobs comes up so often.

Jacobs' favorite subject is Jacobs, and no matter what subject or issue a post is about, they can be counted on to jump on in with bullshit hyping his supposed accomplishments or some childish and dishonest smear attempt against his opponents.

But one thing is absolutely clear. Jacobs or his rabid supporters don't have a single thought on, or simply couldn't care less about any of the important issues raised here, as they've never had an intelligent word to say about any of it.

It doesn't matter what the issue or topic is, they find a way to ignore it and hype Jacobs. It's nauseating.

Listen....

If you're incapable of forming a thought or opinion on any issue whatsoever and all you've got to contribute is stupid, lame, phoney over-hyped campaign ads, then get your own website and post the crap there, other wise, please stick to the topic at hand or get out of the way for those who can.

 
At 1/20/2006 8:56 AM, Blogger Tom Benson said...

John Gianulis already understands that we must plan for the future. I have been working with him to draft a set of bylaws to be adopted by the RI County Democratic Central Committee. It is my intention to propose this plan very soon so that it can be voted on at the County Convention after we elect John Gianulis to another term as Chairman.

These bylaws if implemented will increase the participation and require the leadership of a new generation of Democrats and provide for a smooth transition of power when the time comes. It is a model organization that I hope to see adopted across the 23 counties that make up the 17th District.

I also want to correct your misinformed statement regarding Lane. Lane's health is not "declining." He has a condition which is under control and he works hard each day to overcome the difficulties and he is able to effectively serve our District. However, we all must plan for the future and someday Lane may choose to retire.

That is the other motivating factor for getting the 17th District organized and united. We cannot afford to lose this seat in Congress and RI County will need to lead the effort to support a future Democratic Candidate.

 
At 1/20/2006 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dope, excellent post. I was at the Xmas parties this year and noticed a lack of young faces. Something needs to happen, but who will lead the charge? I'm fairly young myself and a lot of my dumb friends think they're republicans.

Hey Mike, nice post. Is your son going to be groomed to work at the hog plant?

 
At 1/20/2006 11:21 AM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

The problem is not incumbents staying around too long in office. I feel Democratic incumbents should continue to serve as long as they wish and continue to be elected.

However, I do agree that there is not enough recruitment for future party leaders. (Although there is also a lack of individuals willing to do party work.) There has been little attempt to really fill the ranks of precinct committeemen, in particular, who are committed to putting in required work on and before election day. That is where the real "tap" is paid. When you've shivered and sweated in getting every last vote out, or made yourself hoarse with phone calls in the last days of an election, you have made an important contribution to the party.

That said, monetary contribution is essential, too, but it cannot be forced upon candidates who, for whatever reason, feel the county is no longer working for them. Those concerns need to be addressed and discussed, rather than dismissed out of hand. As usual communication continues to be key.

 
At 1/20/2006 3:05 PM, Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

I assume Sen. John Sullivan will be the next Congressman from IL17. He's not exactly a Quad Cities guy, but it seems like he'd be a lock in the general election.

He's already won across the Republican center of the district. He'd merely have to nail down the Dem areas in Quad Cities, Springfield and Decatur.

 
At 1/20/2006 4:17 PM, Blogger billyclinton said...

Very thoughtful and insightful, Ms. Dope. I think there is substantial merit in your assessment of the RI County Democratic Party. But I also think that the trend you address is the trend that afflicts both parties throughout the nation.
Incumbents stay in office too long, ahd while I'm not a term-limits supporter I think ten years in any office is enough. You have to replenish the roots of our party.

 
At 1/20/2006 5:12 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Tom,
That's very good news indeed, and you are to be commended for implementing this.

While Lane may be doing well in coping with his health challenges, the fact is that it is unrealistic to presume that the affects are not or will not continue to be incresasingly hard to contol. If nothing else, his ability to communicate verbally has gotten progressively worse.

Does this affect his ability to be an effective representitive? Most definitely not! But the difficulty speaking affects his ability as a candidate. It is irresponsible to ignore the obvious.

 
At 1/20/2006 6:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not so sure that John G will be in another term.... his health is far more in question than any other office holder in our party, and his extreme "old" age is a factor in his continuing to work as Chairman. Stu Winstein stepped down at about the same age from his State Central Committeeman post - wisely. John should groom someone and retire - adding his advice to the new Chair as Stu has done to the Party upon his retirement.

Once we see someone younger than John G as our Chairman- we will see a lot of positive changes and maybe a little more energy in the recruitment of precinct committeemen/women which has been very poor the last few years....

Please someone talk to John G about what is good for the party. He could even keep his $80K job if he needed it ---

 
At 1/20/2006 6:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You nrought Jacobs up in this post so who are you crappin.

 
At 1/20/2006 6:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where does Paul Rumler fit into this mix.

 
At 1/20/2006 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe you Dope bringing up Lane Evans health. He has been a strong leader and for you to imply that he is to ill to carry on is a terrible insult to people with disabilities.

 
At 1/20/2006 7:21 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

In response to carl nyburg's post, Sen. Sullivan would be a great congressional candidate, but barring a favorable redistricting in 2010, he would have to move in order to run. As far as I know, he currently resides in Ray LaHood's district, which would also be a good seat for him to run for if LaHood ever leaves. Sen. Sullivan is well suited to voters in Central Illinois.

 
At 1/20/2006 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You ARE a dope, no, actually a Jackass and this site is stupid. I found it by mistake and started snooping around. I hope the people in your little area don't actually listen to you...IDIOT !!!

 
At 1/20/2006 10:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well your at it again.


"I can not count the number of times the Jaocobites have come around here whining and bitching and trying to say that all I ever talk about is Jacobs and I do it to get "ratings" , etc. Besides being untrue and ridiculous (as are everything they post) Jacobs or his supporters arer why Jacobs comes up so often."

Well, two out of three blog stories today focus on Jacobs.
What do you expect.

You keep poking that bee hive and you are going to get a whole lot of angry bees.

Give it a rest already!!!

 
At 1/20/2006 11:54 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon at 22:13 writes:
"Well, two out of three blog stories today focus on Jacobs.
What do you expect."

WRONG-O, Chester... try again.

Mike Jacobs is only mentioned in exactly ONE of the my last NINE posts, let alone being the "focus" of any of them. Where do you get this "two out of three blog stories today focus on Jacobs" fantasy?

If you're going to bitch, get your facts straight first.

Thank you.

 
At 1/21/2006 12:01 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Thanks for your little outburst of name calling. I'm sure we're all enlightened by it.

Guess you were just too much in a hurry to actually leave any reasons for your warm feelings, or why exactly I'm a "jackass", "stupid", and an "idiot"? Maybe later, huh?

Looking forward to your reply.

 
At 1/21/2006 12:05 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon sez:

"I can't believe you Dope bringing up Lane Evans health. He has been a strong leader and for you to imply that he is to ill to carry on is a terrible insult to people with disabilities.

20/1/06 18:51"

You shouldn't believe it. Because I never implied that Evans was too ill to carry on, and if you think so, you're willfully distorting what I wrote (Hi Mikey) and trying to distort things as usual.

Here's what I actually said...
"While Lane may be doing well in coping with his health challenges, the fact is that it is unrealistic to presume that the affects are not or will not continue to be incresasingly hard to contol. If nothing else, his ability to communicate verbally has gotten progressively worse.

Does this affect his ability to be an effective representitive? Most definitely not! But the difficulty speaking affects his ability as a candidate. It is irresponsible to ignore the obvious."

I stand by that statement, which states clearly, "Does this affect his ability to be an effective representitive? Most definitely not!"

What part of that did you not understand? Or is it more important to try to smear me, since that's the only thing you're capable of? More Headusher nonsense. They just never learn.

 
At 1/21/2006 12:21 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

...and my favorite....

Anonymous said...
You nrought Jacobs up in this post so who are you crappin.

20/1/06 18:46

What a gem, eh? Only one tiny problem, which readers are probably already aware of. I never brought Jacobs into this conversation. So this is yet another stupid lie to try to make me look bad.

It only takes a few seconds to look over the comments and see that almost immediately, Anon 7:44 (HeadUsher) jumped right in to started tooting Jacobs' horn. (they're simply incapable of doing anything else.)

Jacobs could certainly be seen to be a part of the younger generation of Dem policitians in the area in respect to his age, and the assertion that he's not Denny is no doubt true, (though that cuts both ways)

But the nepotism that is so prevelent in the area is a matter for debate as to whether it's good for the future or whether it serves to block the way for other candidate with fresh ideas and fresh visions for the future.

 
At 1/21/2006 4:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't let the ankle-biters get you down Dope.

Interesting, is it not, that the mere suggestion of changing the guard causes such outbursts of mindless rage and even moved one rather dim-bulb to issue a physical threat in the post above this one?

Since these cavemen commenters are likely are old-time enforcers who blindly fear change, and depend on the entrenched powers for their sense of worth, if this doesn't prove that the party is in dire need of a change, I don't know what does.

They really ought to have a few more stiff ones and realize that the mere suggestion that plans should be made for the future is no need to errupt into spluttering, mindless rage.

 
At 1/21/2006 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you may not have mentioned "BIG" Mike Jacobs by name but the impression is clear. You are a real jem to smear the Jacob's good name and then pretend differently.
Real mature.

See you at breakfast this morning!!!

 
At 1/21/2006 10:18 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I regret it, but I didn't make the breakfast, which is going on at the moment.

Funny how I can be two places at once, since some particularly dim commenters have asserted that I'm actually Paul Rumler himself. (in comments which of course were immediately deleted)

You write:
"you may not have mentioned "BIG" Mike Jacobs by name but the impression is clear."

Um, no, your enormouse EGO made YOU think that "the impression" was clear.

I didn't mention, allude to, or even think of Mike Jacobs.

The little game of your injecting him into every topic then whining that I bring him up too often is over.

There's been some great thoughts and opinions left on the issues I set out in the post. Any others?

 

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