Thursday, November 5, 2009

Do Democrats Eat Their Young?

I've talked already about the problem with marbles - how people in the Northern District seemed to pick theirs up and go home when the primary was over. Another problem we had was simple party unity in the county. And the lack of party unity managed to eventually be personified in one Charles Vernon.

Before I go on I should say that I count Mike Hymes as a friend. I endorsed him on my blog for the Southern District Board of Supervisor’s race. I'm glad he won. I feel much the same about Dan Bowling. I supported him in a letter to the Free Press. I wish he'd won.

I made my feelings about Mr. Vernon's political involvement plain to them. At the time, it didn't matter much. I don't know if it does (matter to them) in retrospect. If I make those feelings public now and perhaps criticize them on the issue, I doubt it will hurt Mike's reelection chances in 2013 or damage our friendships much.

I think of Charles Vernon as somewhat loud and pompous. He tends to use 11 words when seven would be eloquent and four would make the point. We all have our flaws, I suppose.

Vernon originally supported Woodard's campaign - and every other Democrat in the county, even though he makes a point of saying he's an independent. On September 3rd, Vernon published a "letter of non-support" at Rene Steele's forum. It was melodramatic; he "declared war" on Woodard. It was over personalities. Playing the chivalrous knight (the image he seems to want to project) he came to the defense of a damsel in distress: Amy Flick. Amy and Woodard had disagreed on matters concerning the town of Pocahontas. Flick decided she'd support Campbell over it. Whatever.

Vernon's post got just over 100 comments and the thread got just under 2000 viewings in the 61 days leading up to the election. Only seven other people posted to Vernon's thread - including Rene, who owns the forum. Over half the comments were by Vernon himself (who doesn't live in the Northern District). While the thread got about 30 views a day on average, most of those views were problem from the eight people who contributed to the thread.

I doubt Vernon did much to decide who got Rene's vote. I think I know who two of the anonymous posters ("Just a Taxpayer" and "GOP") are, and I don't think either of them live in the Northern District. Woodard lost by 61 votes. Maybe Vernon's thread cost the Woodard Camp one or two dozen votes. I'm sure Vernon will disagree verbosely with my estimate.

The more important effect that Vernon had, in my opinion, was that he was demoralizing to the party in general at county events. Every time Mike Hymes or Dan Bowling stood around at a public event with Vernon, it sent voters and party people who were familiar with the situation a mixed message. I have to wonder whether having Vernon around didn't cost Bowling as many votes as it gained him - if for no other reason than simple lost enthusiasm among county Democrats.

Vernon commented on my post from yesterday, since it mentioned his name. I told him he had other places where he could share his opinions and that I didn't really feel any obligation to let him post here. He copied that private email I sent him and published elsewhere without so much as informing me - something that doesn't surprise me.

I thought I said it rather well in that email, and since it's now public, I may as well quote it here:
Got your comment. Spare me the formal respect crap; it leaves a taste like eating the icing off a cake... too much sugar.

Don't flatter yourself too much. I don't blame you for the defeat of Woodard. Your credibility in the Northern District political arena was largely borrowed from others - Hymes, Bowling, etc. The day you published your letter of non-support for Davy they should have kicked your ass to the curb. But instead they fed disunity by continuing to associate with you in public, to the party's detriment.
Mike Hymes and Dan Bowling are nice guys. As the last Democrat standing at the moment on the Board of Supervisors, Hymes will become even more of a leader for the party now. And Charles Vernon, on the other hand, is a cancer in the party's side. Keeping him around after this because he serves one or two individual candidates - well, we may as well eat our own young...

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