Archive for February 9th, 2010
Once again, L. Douglas Wilder has found a way to work himself back into the spotlight. Wilder, the former Governor of Virginia and Mayor of Richmond, hasn’t held political office in more than a year, but his ability to time his strong opinions often get him on the front page.
Today Wilder released a scathing editorial that was posted on the front page of the popular political web site Politico, which among other things, called for President Barack Obama to remove former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine from his position as the chair of the Democratic National Committee. In the piece, Wilder claims that he admires Kaine but says that he was never fit to hold the highly political role.
I am an admirer of Tim Kaine, whom I backed in his current position and as one of my successors as Virginia governor and even recommended for the vice presidency. But a spate of recent losses in races that Democrats should have won underscores what has been obvious to me for a long time: The chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee is the wrong job for him.
You can read the entire editorial by clicking here.
Almost every time Wilder makes these kind of bold declarations, his detractors come from all sides They often call the Nation’s first black governor irrelevant and accuse him of just finding ways to seek the spotlight. Regardless of your opinion of his motivation, there is no doubt his words have an impact. The harsh quotes that Wilder leveled in his piece turned into an AP story that moved as an “urgent” on the Virginia wire.
Wilder attempted to have a similar impact in last year’s race for Governor, when he decided against backing his fellow Democrat Creigh Deeds, despite direct overtures from the White House.
As always, the Democrats left in Wilder’s wake are now in a difficult position. No one is willing to criticize the respected elder statesman, but they also don’t want to give him the last word. Tonight DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse responded to the editorial by pointing out the success the Democrats have had under Kaine’s leadership:
“We have a great deal of respect for Mr. Wilder, but we respectfully disagree with his analysis and conclusions. Under Chairman Kaine’s leadership, the Democratic Party has won five of five special congressional elections, helped the President pass the most robust agenda of a first year President since FDR, put staff and resources in all 50 states and raised more money than the DNC ever has in any non-Presidential election year since McCain-Feingold was passed. We have had our share of setbacks and we recognize this will be a tough year just like all first Presidential midterm elections. But there are several lifetimes between now and the midterm elections and we are proud of the accomplishments of the President and of our work at the DNC and believe we will exceed expectations come November.”
I am hope to have more on the impact of the editorial tomorrow. Stay tuned.