Saturday, February 7, 2009
Saturday, 2/7/09 - Greater Richmond Convention Center - The traditional annual gathering of the Democratic faithful, celebrating Jefferson-Jackson Day, found Virginia Democrats in predictably jubilant spirits. After several weeks of bitterly cold, freezing weather across the Commonwealth, the sunny, Spring-like day was cause enough for the good moods, and fresh off a very successful 2008 -- there was a lot to celebrate and psyche-up for in 2009.
Lessons Learned - 2008 - Round table
What were the primary factors that shaped Virginia's results?
> Obama campaign speaker - focus on new registrations > educate newly registered > follow-up / voter contact > persuasion.
> Cook Report speaker - two things - Obama dominated AA and young communities -- 20% increase turn-out, most important factor nation-wide > "Educational attainment" - Bach. degree or higher was big driver > Obama averaged +9% in the better educated counties. Obama won 78% of the "100 best-educated counties". Obama only won 17% of the "100 of worst educated counties". Population is growing in the better educated counties, nation-wide.
> Va Tech poli-sci speaker - north of Rappahanock River is a Mid-Atlantic State -- Four zones of interest: NoVa, Richmond Metro, Hampton Roads, Western Va - all roads to Democratic victory ... Go North. In 2008, data showed CO and VA trending left socio-politically.
2/8/09 new note: BRD was very amused by all the poli-wonks on the panel using his now year-old pseudonym, "Tipping Point", when discussing the perceived point-of-inflection that occurred in politics in Va. in 2008 ... synchronicity rules! You heard it here first.
(speaker names and more detailed notes will be added later)
Update 2/8/09: JJ Dinner Highlights
> Huge turn-out - Va Demos filled two Exhibit Halls at GRCC - a happy sight to behold
> TMac - won the Big Show award -- dominated the sign war battle of the day - Terry's swarm team knows the how and do of national campaign style logistical support
> Team Moran - 20 & 30 somethings - YUPs love their guy -- Brian rules the NoVa metro/suburb youngin's!
> Deeds - big surprise - high school cheerleader-led rally, and stomp march into GRCC was way cool. Not bad for a small town lawyer from Bath County - Woot Woot! - Creigh in the house! Local TV camera crew coverage was fun to watch. Nothing like a flood light inches from your face - yikes!
Great speeches by MacAuliffe, Moran and Deeds. In my opinion, by far this was Creigh Deeds best speech, that I have personally witnessed. It was the most evocative of the three candidates. I felt his themes connected well with most in the audience, reaching across the diverse spectrum of Dems in the huge banquet hall.
2008 major media spin , that obsessively tracked a manufactured, pseudo-drama on the bitterness between the Obama and Clinton camps. He's big take-away line: "... the Democratic Party is the party of How..." (we'll write more about all the speeches in later postings). He challenged the aggregated Va Dems to focus on getting the job done for America. I concur, measure Results, not Activity (a fundamental of Six Sigma and Lean process improvement methodologies).
In summary -- lots to celebrate: Our President Obama, Our New Senator - Mark Warner, Jim Webb - Our Senior Senator from Va, Our Gov Tim Kaine to head the DNC, and to the delight of all present, some significant progress on Red Zone Penetration: Our New HR Reps: Perriello, Nye, Connolly.
Full disclosure: The author is supporting Creigh Deeds in the 2009 Democratic gubernatorial primary.
Friday, February 6, 2009
From Blue Commonwealth -- troubles a brewin' at the Pentagon, apparently some folks didn't get the message on Nov. 4th, on what 69.5 million Americans want them to do -- leave Iraq at a reasonable , but most expeditious pace.
Some senior officers may be in a for a "Give Em Hell Harry" moment.
Note to disgruntled JMO's (junior military officers) : Read the Constitution! Seems that, We the People are in charge.
"One week after his inauguration Barack Obama is facing the first security test of America and his presidency, and the attack is coming not from sinister jihadist cave-dwellers, but from the Pentagon and a disgruntled cabal of both retired and active-duty top-ranking military officers. Included in the group are General David Petraeus (author of the “Surge” in Iraq, named CENTCOM Commander by Bush in October 2008), General Ray Odierno (replaced Petraeus as top commander in Iraq), General Jack Keane, US Army, ret. (Vice-Chief of Staff of the Army 1999-2003), a network of senior (and some not-so-senior) military officers, and very possibly Robert Gates (Secretary of Defense, held over from the Bush administration by Obama)."
Monday, February 2, 2009
Here's a little plot to help us visualize the 2008 Democratic penetration of the Republican Red Zone by Congressional District in Virginia. The BLUE columns indicate a Democrat won or holds the Congressional seat, correspondingly a RED column indicates that a Republican won or holds that seat. The PVI score (column height) is the Partisan Voting Index (based on 2000 & 2004 results). I have adapted the PVI scoring for ease of charting, the more positive the PVI value the more the CD leans Democratic, the more negative the more the CD leans Republican.
PVI which is the short version of the...
Cook Partisan Voting Index (CPVI), is a measurement of how strongly an American congressional district leans toward one political party compared to the nation as a whole.
The index for each congressional district is derived by averaging its results from the prior two presidential elections and comparing them to national results. The index indicates which party's candidate was more successful in that district, as well as the number of percentage points by which its results exceeded the national average.
In 2008, Democrats won or held seats in the 2nd, 5th, 9th and 11th CD's -- districts that when compared to past national averages -- would be considered Republican territory. The Red Team had no successful forays into the Blue Zone. The Blue Team dominates in the 3rd and 8th CD. If the Blue Team can aggressively attack the more moderate leaning 4th and 10th CDs and put a bigger dent in the deep red 1st, 6th and 7th, it will be closing in on a "game over man" situation for the Red Team, for the foreseeable future, in the increasingly Blue Commonwealth.
A lot depends on the direction the Republican Party of Virginia takes in the next few years - will it be a "hunker and bunker down" , severe right-wing mentality or a return to a more moderate and statistically successful Mountain Valley Republican style of statesmanship.
The Virginia Democratic team has the Big Mo right now... they have some great lessons learned in 2008.
One of my favorite Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno quotes applies here:
"...I'm not a guy that believes much in momentum or emotion... the team that is the most disciplined, the most consistent, the one that hustles the most, usually gets a break or two, and usually wins ..."
The Republican Death Spiral, in graphic form
We see that most of the damage to the Republican Party has come in moderate districts. Not a big surprise really, but -- the numbers are fairly jarring. There are 81 districts with a PVI of between D+3 and R+3: these are your prototypical swing districts. After the 2004 elections, Republicans controlled 54 of these 81 seats and Democrats 27. Following November's elections, however, the ratio had almost exactly reversed itself: 55 Democrats and 26 Republicans.