08.25.10

Democratic Party chairman at odds with other party leaders

Posted in Commentary, Election 2010, Employment, Had Enough Yet?, Local Elections, Take Action, Williamson County at 9:54 pm by dembones

Williamson County Democratic Party chair Greg Windham holds a peculiar view of voters’ perception of the party he was elected to lead.

Windham said Moving Wilco Forward and Annie’s (List) play into anti-Democratic stereotypes, making Williamson County residents and other Texans “afraid of Democrats.”

“They [voters] think we are here to kiss their men, kill their babies and take their guns,” Windham said.

In an interview with Round Rock Leader editor Brad Stutzman, Windham echoed derisive stereotypes that Republicans frequently use to bash Democrats. During his brief tenure as the head of the local party, these sentiments have sparked conflict with a number of precinct chairs on the party’s executive committee.

Stutzman provides a balanced summary of the disagreement between Windham and the executive committee members who voted to spend about half their cash to fund a voter registration drive conducted by a coordinated campaign representing all local Democratic candidates. However, Windham’s comments quoted in the story reveal that he is fixated on opposing the treasurer of Moving Wilco Forward, the political action committee managing the coordinated campaign.

Robert Jones is a Democratic political consultant with a remarkable track record of success, serving as the political director for Annie’s List, a statewide “organization dedicated to electing progressive women to office.” Jones formed Moving Wilco Forward in December 2008 with the express purpose of electing all the Democratic candidates in Williamson county.

In voting to move $5,000 over to Moving Wilco Forward, the majority of executive committee members expressed greater confidence in the organization’s ability to execute the voter registration program than Windham.

Windham said he believes volunteers should use “elbow grease,” going door-to-door to register voters.

Hard work is part of the plan, and the coordinated campaign will do a significant amount of door-to-door canvassing; however, the coordinated campaign will also be using mail pieces and targeting new residents of Williamson county, many of whom may have neglected to move their voter registration. Take the average street in your average neighborhood, for example. Perhaps 1 in 20 homes on that street will have moved in the past year. “Elbow grease” is wasted knocking on the other 19 doors.

Windham may not have been aware of this, which may explain why he was in a very small minority voting against the proposal. After all, Windham has only run one political campaign, a failed bid for County Commissioner in 2008.

After the executive committee voted to write the check to Moving Wilco Forward, Windham fired off an antagonistic email to a large number of local Democrats.

It would be responsible for wasteful spenders to be eradicated in order to combat the stereotypes that prevent us from winning elections. We are living in an age of consequences and it would be refreshing for some people to wake up and realize it.

One is led to wonder how to “eradicate” members of the executive committee who disagree with him. The executive committee believes the best chance for success in November is with an organization that has the experience and tools to register more voters. They believe that a Moving Wilco Forward-led coordinated campaign will make a much better case than Windham that the Democratic Party better represents the interests of Williamson County’s working families.

The top concerns of voters this election, contrary to what Windham says, are Texas’ highest-in-the-nation electric and home insurance rates, the difficulty in finding a job or getting enough hours to make ends meet, the expense of sending a child to college, the fear of being one illness away from bankruptcy and the strain of toll roads and fuel prices on the family budget.

In ways that directly impact the lives of families in Williamson county, the Democratic Party represents positive change, greater transparency and accountability. All the better ideas for government are Democratic. The Republican party deals in fear, distrust, delay, stagnation and corruption. The Republican party is sorry that BP was asked to pay for the damage caused by their negligence. The Republican party wants to eliminate Social Security and terminate unemployment benefits. The Republican Party wants to give $3 million to each of the richest 120,000 taxpayers.

Local Democratic activists feel a sense of urgency to act now to take back government and use it to defend working families instead of giant corporations like ExxonMobil or BP. Every election that passes without voters hearing our message, more children fail, more homes are foreclosed, more workers become jobless, more jobless become homeless and summers keep getting hotter.

Greg Windham needs to heed his own advice: “We are living in an age of consequences and it would be refreshing for some people to wake up and realize it.” Wake up, Greg. Realize that you’re hurting the very cause you were elected to champion. Either that or step down and allow someone who actually believes that informed voters will side with the Democratic Party.

8 Comments »

  1. Truebluedem said,

    August 26, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Terrific piece and great insight.

    Does Mr. Windham actually believe he has the charisma and persuasive capabilities to win over the voters who view the Democrats in the terms he describes? And what would his argument be? That Democrats are wrong in supporting gay rights, a woman’s right to choose, and reasonable regulation of firearms?

    If he moved forward with an aggressive campaign to woo these Tea Party types, the party activists and traditional Democratic voters would abandon the WCDP in droves, at a time when the Democratic base’s participation is critical to the reelection of Diana Maldonado and the election of our other candidates.

    In contrast, the Coordinated Campaign, funded by Moving Wilco Forward, has a strategy centered around voter identification, registration, persuasion, and get-out-the-DEMOCRATIC-vote.

    Mr. Windham certainly has the right to his political views and election strategies. Likewise, those who have been working all these years to grow the WCDP have the right to reject his perspectives and move forward with a strategy that they believe to be in best interest of the Party.

  2. faithndems said,

    August 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I’ve missed EOW! Thank your for coming back with three strong posts. I especially want to thank you for your comments on our County Chair. Someone has finally stated what many of us think. For any that are discouraged or want to be reminded of what a real Democrat says, here’s a link to one of the greatest speeches of all time. It’s long but you’ll be pumped up and ready to go after you read it. Most of it is still right on with the exception of the reference to Michael Dukakis. I feel certain this outstanding Texan would have been working hard to get Diana Maldonado reelected and would have supported all of our great Democratic candidates.

    http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/annrichards1988dnc.htm

  3. doctorj said,

    September 5, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Nice to hear your slanted views again, shut-eye.
    I trust you enjoyed your hiatus…
    I think it’s only fair to disclose some of the details missed by the shut-eye on Williamson in this “piece”.
    First, whatever happened to the democratic headquarters in Round Rock? Surely they weren’t evicted due to a lack of performance from previous chairs and party leaders, but I digress…
    Where is the new HQ and who’s responsible for making it a reality for WILCO Dems? Surely his name is Greg Windham. In fact, Mr. Windham and family moved the offices from Round Rock to Georgetown themselves, with some help form loyal supporters and ZERO help from so-called party supporters, shut-eye, truebluedems, faithindems and many more vice chairs/party leaders. I got to tell ya, you folks got a lot of nerve to sit around and define the meaning of elbow-grease…
    Maybe instead of comparing this p**sing contest to the man-made catastrophe in the Gulf, which claimed lives. Maybe you’ll start reporting what it’s really all about.
    The election, recount, and sour grapes continue for a few in the party. They’ve had their “closed door” meetings to discuss Mr. Windham’s demise and their return to power and greatness. They’ve decided to challenge Mr. Windham at every turn.
    As you drive by the Dem HQ in G-Town you’ll see a flood of Bill White signs. Mr. Windham has thrown himself behind Bill White and Mr. Whites, Conservative Democratic platform. It’s right for Texas at the moment. It’s without a doubt right for the Dems in Wilco who’re surrounded by a sea of red colored screwheads.
    This lack of unity and failure to work with a new chair is disturbing.
    If Bill White wins, then we all win. Just like Obama helped push a certain Wilco Dem into a seat in 08. Bill White keeps our seats and adds more…
    A vote for him is a vote of confidence and support for all Williamson Democratic Candidates.
    I mean, y’all always support your Dem candidates that win in the primary, don’t y’all?(Jim Dillon)
    Oh, and don’t forget the money.
    That’s the real story. The money.
    Let’s talk some more, shut-eye.

  4. dembones said,

    September 7, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Welcome back, doctorj. We were worried you weren’t reading us anymore.

    The Democratic headquarters in Round Rock closed because the rent was going up. Thanks for noticing. We’re glad that Greg Windham played what we are told was a key role in opening an office in Georgetown. We haven’t had a chance to comment on that on this blog, but we’ll offer a belated thank you now.

    Maybe the post was a little long and you lost your attention span, or perhaps the language was overly complex, so let us clarify this one point in very simple language. I think that Greg Windham is a Republican. You and he use all the same slurs to attack Democrats that Republicans have used for years to ridicule and demean our diverse and inclusive membership.

    The Democratic Party includes folks with different opinions on every issue. This includes those who want to make abortion illegal. Most Democrats are pro-choice, but we accept that some Democrats have a moral disagreement. Rather than focus on that and allow it to divide us, we work together to reduce the number of abortions. Republicans use wedge issues such as abortion to distract and divert our energy. Greg Windham invokes these at every opportunity because his desire is to refashion the Democratic Party into a new Republican Party.

    One can see why the Republicans would be so desperate to find a new brand name, since George W. Bush has so completely discredited the old one. Half of the Republicans are trying on the secretly corporate-funded astroturf Tea Party branding, and the other half are moving to return to the days of the conservative Southern Democrat. Perhaps you can recall the day not too long ago in which Rick Perry called himself a Democrat because he knew there was no other way to get elected. Former Democratic State Rep. district 20 nominee State Jim Dillon didn’t have the choice to run as a Tea Party candidate because that brand hadn’t been rolled out yet, so he fell in the Greg Windham/Rick Perry category of running as a Democrat while telling everyone who would listen how much he hated Democrats. (Thanks for mentioning him, because it provides another data point.)

    In the face of all the fake outrage and Koch-brother-funded hysteria, I hold strong in my conviction that the Democratic Party will return to prominence in Williamson County and Texas by sticking with our core values. Voters are smart. They can sense dishonesty. When Republicans blame government, they are telling you and me that we aren’t smart enough to elect competent representatives. They’re telling us we can’t govern ourselves. Their ability to create this drumbeat of hate and deception will fade if we refuse to listen to it.

    We are not going back to the days of the “Southern Democrat.” We refuse to hate the poor and sentence them to early graves for lack of health care. We refuse to hate the teen who makes a mistake and gets pregnant. We refuse to hate the worker, who has seen his wages stagnate while corporate profits and job outsourcing boom. We refuse to hate minorities — at a time in which non-Hispanic white has become one — not just those of African or Native American descent, but those with different religions and cultures. We refuse to hate immigrants, because each of us is one or has an ancestor who was. We look forward to a time when the merit of one’s ideas govern, rather than the politician with the biggest campaign finance war chest.

    We are very glad to see that Windham is an enthusiastic supporter of Bill White. We are also pleased to learn that he has taken the time to actually learn our nominee’s correct first name. At the state convention, he confused the former Houston Mayor with the former Governor of Texas from the 1980s, Mark White. Such a slip of the tongue might have been excusable if the 200 or so delegates listening were not all wearing Bill White lapel stickers.

    As for unity, we have total unity in this party. All the Democrats in Williamson county think our county chair should resign.

  5. doctorj said,

    September 8, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Don’t get worried, shut-eye.
    It was easy not to read your “blog,” if that’s what you want to call it, as you’ve not been writing anything for months. Hell, even when you write, it doesn’t amount to much of anything…I like WCNEWS though…

    I’m gonna keep this short and sweet because life’s too beautiful to look at your delusional reports about the democratic party in WILCO and expect them to carry any validity. You can hide behind your keyboard, shut-eye, while the rest of us are out doing all the heavy lifting.

    The lies you smear about Windham are unfounded. The comment, “All the Democrats in Williamson county think our county chair should resign” and “Greg Windham is a Republican” are prime examples of your bias.
    Only Sith speak in absolutes.

    Your points of view regarding the history of the party, it’s inner workings and the status of the Headquarters are that of a computer geek who spends his days wasting away in front of a screen instead of socializing with his party and and getting to know their true thoughts and opinions(and I don’t mean the committees…).
    Your entire commentary=Balderdash

  6. dembones said,

    September 8, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    We do agree on something. Wcnews is awesome!

    And there’s more. Yes, I am a computer geek. I am pretty sure that is a well-known fact. However, nothing about this blog or my posts is about me. (Exception: my posts on the SDEC meetings.) This blog is about the Democratic perspective in a very hostile political environment. Other than comments, you won’t find any post I write in which the word “I” is ever used to refer to myself. That’s because I don’t write about myself. However, I broke that rule in replying to your comment, which left an opening for you to attack me. Fair enough. I’ll leave it to the readers of this blog to judge who is making rational arguments and who is expressing unfocused rage.

    The one statement you made that I would like to directly rebut is when you said, “…the rest of us are out doing all the heavy lifting.” Please. Your hate-filled comments on this blog don’t count as heavy lifting. How many doors have you knocked for Democratic candidates? How many phone calls have you made to turn out the Democratic vote? How many dollars have you donated to Democratic campaigns? How many of your neighbors know your name, come to your house, talk politics with you and afterward, agree or disagree, still think of you as a friend? How many meals have you helped Joyce White make for the families she feeds? What are you doing for anyone other than yourself or your family? Stop shouting from the sidelines and get in the game!

  7. Eye on Williamson » Williamson County Democratic Chair resigns said,

    October 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    [...] commentary appeared in this blog in which the author endorsed Richie’s decision and requested that Windham [...]

  8. Truebluedem said,

    October 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Chairman Windham resigns to endorse Larry Gonzales – ’nuff said, eh doctorj?

    Windham’s entire political “career” has been one of blatant ego driven opportunism. After voting for George Bush (“I thought Al Gore was crazy”) twice, he went on the embarrass himself and alienate the Wilco Republican Party with his absurd rantings at the Commissioner’s Court meetings. So…..he runs as a Democratic in 2008 hoping to catch the Obama wave. Oooops…..that pesky arrest for DWI and possession of drug paraphenalia (“This is my wifes car”) is aired by the Republican Party. Doesn’t help that he mutters “I hate these mother$#$#@&%” while the deputy searches his car.
    He then disappears…..no attendance at Party meetings, no serving on any committees, nada, nothing. Then…..an epiphany! “I can run for County Chair. Hell, lots of folks know me, and no one will vote for a guy with a Bolshevik name like Stempko. Spotlight, here I come”
    But wait…..the Bolshevik has been working his ass off for the Party, has the support of virtually all the heavy lifters in the Party and runs a pretty strong campaign. But, I’ll be damned, Windham reaches out to the chairless precincts, labeling his opponent as a left wing extremist who hates counrty folks, and, squeaks by with a 16 vote margin.
    The Party shrugs and attempts to make the best of things, and most EC members actually feel pretty good after Windham chairs a couple meetings and everyone is ready to sing Kumbaya. But he just can’t help himeslf, and when the EC votes to fund a GOTV effort run by the dreaded Robert Jones and the socialist PAC Moving Wilco Forward, he’s had enough. “Stop funding the Party, hold back your donations to candidates associated with MFW (hmmm…that would be ALL of them) and follow me to the Tea Party Promised Land”. The true colors begin to emerge. But just resigning will not do. Revenge is needed, and the spotlight is fading. “I’ll pull a Farouk Shami!!!! Endorse Gonzales and win back the love of those crazy Teapublicans”.

    You can rant and rave all you want, doctorj, about what a wonderful populist you believe Windham to be. You’re obviously a good friend and true believer. But don’t even pretend to know what you’re talking about from your perch in Dallas. You don’t know squat about Wilco politics except for whatever rubbish Windham has dumped in your lap.

    I’ll give Windham credit for one thing, though. The Wilco Democratoc Party has never been more united or energized…….especially on the day we were rid of Greg Windham for good.

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