Friday, July 07, 2006

Last Night

(^^^^^^^^^^ sound track for post -- Mar-Keys; this intrusion brought to you by the 'Mute)

So I spent an hour (plus a little) writing about Thursday night. Computers are evil, and I'm an idiot. Long story short, it's gone and not recoverable. I'll attempt a rewrite. Things are hectic so I'll go for speed over eloquence. Just assume that the previous post was much better. Think Pulitzer Prize material if you'd like. Not saying it was that quality, but you're welcome to think it was.

A real man admits when he was wrong, and after watching everything go down at the EC meeting, I was probably wrong about the judicial endorsements. Chalk that up to experience. I’m not as convinced as some that last night was an entirely unmitigated disaster though.

There were two major ways people approached the endorsements. Most people seemed to assume that the other way was moronic, I don’t. They both have merits that I can buy.

The first approach is that judicial races are non-partisan and the parties shouldn’t be involved in them. If they are involved in them, then endorsements should be made based on who is the best qualified candidate. Judges should be fair and independent and there is not a Republican or Democratic way to run a Chancery Court. Most of the election committee and most of the lawyers took this approach.

The other approach can basically be summarized as “We are the Democratic Party. If we endorse Republicans why do we exist? We are in the business of electing fellow Democrats.” This approach was taken by the majority of the EC.

I see merits in both ideas, and my own thoughts are kind of a mixture. I think we should endorse the best candidate. If the best candidate is a Republican, then we should just stay out of it. If there are multiple good Democrats, then we should stay out of it unless doing so increases the odds the Republican we are not happy with as judge wins. If there is an incumbent, I think it should take a higher standard to recommend he or she be unseated than it does if the seat is open.

I agree that the meeting was embarrassing for the party. We were immature and disorganized. I don’t have a problem with the EC not accepting all of the Election Committee’s recommendations. What I have a problem with are catcalls, speaking out of turn, calling people “Republican’s”, insinuating racism, etc. A lot of this came from spectators outside of the committee. The Chairman had his hands full, I understand, but we need to be forceful about putting a stop to such immaturity.

The final results however, were not bad. The only one I had a problem with was Montesi’s. Otherwise, they tended to follow the pattern of voting for Democrats who were also well qualified. Unfortunately, that was not a foregone conclusion. In several races, Mark Ward’s for example, the best candidate only won by a hair. Matt had to break the tie in this race. Mark was appointed by Governor Bredesen as part of an extremely rigorous review process, is well-respected across the board, has the highest ratings by lawyers of all the judges, literally “wrote the book” on the subject of his court, etc. Why did we almost not endorse him? Because he voted in 7 Democratic primaries and 6 Republican primaries. You know what the makes him? A Democratic-leaning independent. You know what might make the best kind of judge? Perhaps an independent person who shares our values? Of course, we’ve learned over the years that we are so talented at winning elections that we don’t need Democratic-leaning independents to win. That’s why we control the county, state, and country. Similar situations happened with other candidates, including one who was held to the fire for voting in a Republican primary 20+ years ago. If having ever voted for a Democrat was the kiss of Death to Republicans, how much power would they hold now?

In the end, it was a hellish meeting, but the results weren’t too bad. We have some great judges to support. Names like Regina Newman, Veronica Coleman, Paula Skahan, etc… I just wish we hadn’t looked like a joke getting there. Heated debates are fine. Arguing for thirty minutes about the order of the votes, name-calling, etc. are not.

Another issue that keeps coming up is race and the future direction of the party. Thaddeus Matthews has taken it to his normal insane extremes (I’m happy to learn that as a member of the election committee I am a white, racist, Republican who probably took money from the Republican judges) but there is a lot of distrust out there from others as well. I want to address that, but this post is too long as is so I’ll separate them. The next will come as fast as I can type when it’s after midnight.


Blogger Mike said...

If judge races aren't partisan, and if the only way you can figure out their party is to guess by looking up which primaries they voted in, then how on earth can you rationalize or justify partisan recommendations on judicial races?

It makes no sense to me. The Democratic Party doesn't owe a loyalty to a candidate that isn't specifically running as a Democrat.

What the Republicans did makes more sense to me, and was more helpful to the voting public (if they care what the party thinks).

Saturday, July 08, 2006 12:11:00 AM  

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