John Wisniewski’s people trumpeted the news yesterday that he has secured the endorsement of all 21 Democratic County Chairs. We bit. We wrote about it – because it’s interesting, and people want to know.
But what I want to know, is where Wisniewski wants to take us, and how. I’m less interested in the personalities of who leads the state party than in what – specifically – they’re doing to change party infrastructure and methods. Transparency. Platform. Outreach.
I’ll tell you a story of something I got very wrong, before I got it right. I host Hunterdon DFA, and I’m one of the people who organized the state DFA-NJ. It would have killed Howard Dean if the surging grass/netroots organizing that grew up behind his campaign came to a dead stop after he stopped running, as Democratic organizing so often peters out behind unsuccessful candidates. So Democracy for America was born. And in the early days of it, some of us got a call: What did we think of Howard Dean running for DNC Chair? Well. I was against it – a solid no. I wanted Dean to re-emerge as candidate for president, again.
But when I took the question to Hunterdon DFA, they set me straight: If we don’t have somebody who can fix the party infrastructure, who can change everything, we won’t win anything – not the White House, or the House, or the Senate.
Lightbulb. Really, sometimes I can be so slow.
When Howard Dean ran for DNC Chair, he ran on a clear organizing principle: Reform Democratic spending and focus; less to hidebound inside-Beltway consultants, and more to training and underwriting energetic organizers to fan out and work locally (thank you). End the focus on “target” races only; concede no voter, no District, no state.
He told everybody what he was running on. It was out on the table. And he was right. So, John Wisniewski, I want to know your plan.
Taking my lesson from Hunterdon DFA, the challenge NJ Dems face is every bit as critical as the Bush White House that Dean stared down. The vectors aren’t ours right now. NJGOP has a reason to live for the first time in a decade of looking stupid. They’re high on life, and we are not. We face a GOP executive riding high. And the rootin’-tootin’ corruption shooter Chris Christie is our boots ‘n spurs tough-talking George W. Bush. The wind isn’t going to shift in our direction without change from within. I think we’re owed hearing how Wisniewski is going to be New Jersey’s Howard Dean.
This is in no way an indictment of Joe Cryan, who I like a great deal. And I was in the room for this meeting too, and I agree about the man Wisniewski is. This isn’t personal.
The NJDSC will have a Vice-Chair, too. I’m told in confidence it’s likely to be someone I know. I hope she comes forward with her proposals, too, and I hope I never see anything like this happen again. And Steve Sweeney, with the awesome party power of his office, will I hope also be public about how he can and will change the party’s paradigm.
Assemblyman, that’s what I want to know.
Blue Jersey, what do you want to know?