Our guest TAPster is Mark Ezzell, long time political observer and founder of Englewood Planning Group, a Raleigh-based public affairs firm:
I love a good Barack Obama speech as much as the next Democrat, but I always cringed when he used the banal sounding line “we are the ones we’ve been looking for’. What the heck does that mean?
After watching the race to find a new State Democratic Party chair, it makes more sense.
You see, the State Democratic Party, after a decade or so of relative neglect by Democratic Governors, is shockingly rudderless. Normally that wouldn’t matter because the Governor, House Speaker or President Pro Tempore of the Senate would speak for the progressive cause. Not this year. With Republicans in control of every branch of government, the press, seeking a response from the loyal opposition, will trotting down to Goodwin House every day, cameras and notepads in hand. And suddenly, shockingly, party leadership matters.
Only very few people are stepping up to take what seems in this particular year the political equivalent of a layup. Camera time every day. Press releases actually used in news stories. And the chance to lead a party that has no place to go but up. Why aren’t ambitious Democrats lining up for this role?
There have been a few up and comers interested. One candidate, Former Senator Eric Mansfield, one time Lt. Governor candidate and the favorite of the business and insider wing of the party, left the race last week due to family concerns. As of this writing that leaves Randy Voller, Mayor of Siler City and a favorite of the party’s Occupy Wall Street wing, as the sole candidate for chair.
Randy’s gifts for grassroots organizing may be just what the party needs, but the question remains: What’s behind this dearth of interest in serving as party chair?
Several reasons, including the common belief that “party elders” will meet in some (now) smoke free room and pull strings to provide ways out of the party’s deep problems. Newsflash, folks- there ARE no party elders. There are no powers that be.
President Obama was right. We’re the ones we’ve been looking for.