Thursday, August 11, 2005

"Vision" or Killer Instinct?

"Our elected officials .... must be allies in the formulation of our vision."

Thus spake N.C. Democratic Party Chair Jerry Meek at the Progressive Democrats state convention a few days ago. (Extended excerpts can be found on the Tar Heel Dems site.)

Couldn't agree more, but, alas & alack, therein lies the rub. There's not a state-wide Democratic office-holder at the moment, save Roy Cooper, who seems to be operating with a vision that extends past the bounds of their own self-interests. Or I dare you! Show one to me ... the "vision thing" in any N.C. Democratic "elected official" who represents more than a single county. We are woefully devoid of what Jerry Meek says we must have: elected officials who are active "allies" in "the formulation of our vision." Cf. The Guv.

Meek went on in his prepared remarks before the "Green Dog" convention of progressives: "[Is there] some relationship between strategy and vision[?] The cynic would argue that the electoral strategy should create the vision. In other words, you say what you have to say in order to get elected. Others would contend that the vision should be independent of the electoral strategy -- that there should be no relationship between strategy and vision. I would take it a step further. I believe the vision should drive the electoral strategy. In other words, what we stand for and how we campaign should be inextricably intertwined. So I speak to you today with the premise that we should be a party of vision; that it should be one vision, sufficiently abstract to unite but sufficiently concrete to be meaningful; and that our electoral strategy should be the product of, rather than a factor in, our vision."

Gosh. Meek's thinking out loud is valuable, and I would have wildly applauded much of what he said. I do sincerely believe that my own strategies to win an election are deeply an expression of my vision of who & what Democrats ought to be. But I ain't waitin' for voices on high to speak. If somebody should come up with a good elected-official-assisted "vision" for the N.C. Democrats, I'll be the first to stand up and salute it. I might even try to shape my electoral strategies to it. Otherwise, this kind of talk reminds me of too many candidate committees I've been in where the candidate was headed for sure defeat.

Give me a Paul Hackett any day! Was it "vision" that made him so attractively sure of who he was and what he thought of El Presidente? Or was it killer instinct?

Just too many people -- Democrats, especially progressives -- want to talk "vision," who have no appetite for actual politics. I think I'll take killer instinct.

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