Thursday, May 13, 2010

Merrick Alpert kept from addressing DTCs

According to an email sent by his campaign, senate candidate Merrick Alpert has been kept from speaking at a large number of Democratic Town Committees.

For the record, Milford's DTC (with our chairman Rich Smith) allowed Alpert to speak, and he was treated with the courtesy that every candidate deserves. I have a video of his talk on the sidebar.

Alpert released the list which includes Hamden. I personally heard from two different members of their DTC and they reported it is indeed true that their chairman, who is a big Blumenthal supporter, personally refused to allow Alpert to speak.

UPDATE: I heard from one of my sources after I posted this, and they reported that Alpert did indeed address the Hamden DTC some time in April, which was after I first heard reports of Alpert's rejection. I apologize for the wrong information.

I think the practice of censoring any declared Democratic candidate is a terrible thing to do in our "big tent" party. I wish I could say this is setting a precedent, but I remember similar difficulties encountered by Ned Lamont four years ago when he first started his landmark run for Joe Lieberman's Senate seat.

Of course, Merrick Alpert is no Ned Lamont. When he started his campaign, Alpert spoke mostly about the issues, and some of his views were very popular with the progessives in the party.

But shortly after his memorable debate victory over Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Alpert seems to have abandoned his focus on the issues and pursued a bizarre tactic that included a man dressed in a chicken suit stalking Blumenthal events. This ridiculous and childish stunt has largely alienated the few Democratic supporters he may have had to that point. In my opinion, he lost whatever political capital he had by turning himself into a joke with no punchline.

That being said I still think its reprehensible that, before he became a joke, ANY Democratic town committee would refuse him the opportunity to speak for five or ten minutes at one of their open meetings. It goes directly against the philosophy of our party and reeks of "machine politics", where all the big decisions are made by a few establishment power brokers.

As a party we need to do better. This election year is going to be tougher than any we've seen in many years. We can't afford to sit back and assume any seat is "safe", especially an open seat like Chris Dodd's vacated seat. Alpert did Dick Blumenthal a favor, by getting him some obviously needed experience in a debate. I'm sure our Attorney General is working on his debating skills, and will be better prepared in the future.

But I feel we generally benefit as a party from hearing diverging opinions. We seem to work best when we're presented with several views on the issues and then select the one we agree with. I think we need to avoid anything that resembles the lock-step mentality that the GOP is so comfortable with. Just look at how they're purging all their candidates that possess even a trace of moderate views. Utah is a fine example. We won't win anything by adopting their tactics.

Alpert is waiting to see if he'll be allowed to speak at the State Convention next Friday. The Day has the details. I'd like to see him address the delegates, if only for the reason that he was denied the opportunity to speak before nearly half of the DTCs. In my opinion it will do us good to hear progressive ideas being discussed at the normally staid event. least, as long as that moron in the chicken suit doesn't make a nuisance of himself.

From the post-debate Q&A:


tessa said...

The chicken suit ploy/street theater is probably no different than two giant paper mache heads kissing in front of Lieberman events. Just Sayin'.

That being Just Sed...The Democratic Town Committee system is broken when transparency and fairness is abandoned.

Delegates, in some towns, are selected/elected based on a decision-making process that does not reflect either the town's demographic or by a set of rules unknown to others in the committee. Or favoritism. Or Good Ole Boy ism.


I don't believe in "voting as a block/bloc" or pressuring people regarding their vote. I just wish the delegates were less uninformed on the issues as well as the candidates. Many of them make little effort to do more than show up. And sometimes even that is a struggle. They do not take their representation of other citizens seriously.

In Milford we have begun to make inroads into these issues, by creating a Membership Booklet and actively looking for new members. But it is a long slog.

My 96 year old Spanish uncle's final word was:


Anonymous said...

We welcomed Mr. Alpert to the Goshen DTC and I thought it went well and, despite the chicken tactic, I am impressed with the guy.

I've been rather disgusted with what I see a machine politics zipping up the tent.

So, count me as in support of having Alpert speak to DTC's (too late for the stinkers to fix that) and to the convention.

CT Bob said...

Tessa, the big difference is that the KISS float was originated and run by bloggers, not the Lamont campaign. There is no question that Alpert is responsible for the chicken stunt, seeing as I still have the rubber chicken I was sent by his campaign.

The other points you made I agree with.

tessa said...

And I see yours.
and I raise you a point:
You can get additional use out of that rubber chicken at the next JJB dinner...if you can stand the smell.

(Oh goody...a word verification that is not a weird mystical reference to my secret thoughts!)

oldswede said...

Bloc is French and the usage was originally en bloc, meaning 'as a group, all together' or, 'in a block'. Just thought that could be useful, for a bar room bet or something.

tessa said...

to oldswede:
Hey! I already knew that!

I used both spellings so as not to alienate anyone. You don't know me, but I really want to haave everyone love me and never to offend anyone if I can help it.

I got into soooo much trouble when we switched from disc to disk.

Matt said...

"That being Just Sed...The Democratic Town Committee system is broken when transparency and fairness is abandoned.

Delegates, in some towns, are selected/elected based on a decision-making process that does not reflect either the town's demographic or by a set of rules unknown to others in the committee. Or favoritism. Or Good Ole Boy ism."

Tessa, that is all too true.

Bob, will you be coming to the convention? I saw that you were a Rosa delegate, but I don't know if you guys mix it up in Milford.

CT Bob said...

Matt, yes I'll be a delegate at the convention. Plus I'll be live blogging with Kirby. And I'm on the Credentials Committee. It's gonna be a busy two days.

tessa said...

We have 5 city districts. If a district is shorthanded you will see that the delegates may be going to several conventions -- other districts try to get each available member to at least one convention so all get the experience and involvement -- and some districts are run with favoritism.

Perhaps Milford is a microcosm of many DTCs.

The Democratic ones.