On the Democratic Party website (http://www.democrats.org/a/party/history.html) the party describes its history and goals in these terms:

• “Over two hundred years ago, our Party’s founders decided that wealth and social status were not an entitlement to rule. They believed that wisdom and compassion could be found within every individual and a stable government must be built upon a broad popular base.”

• “While we have accomplished a great deal – as a nation and a Party, we must continue to move forward in the 21st Century. We must work to incorporate all Americans into the fabric of our nation. The Democratic Party is America’s last, best hope to bridge the divisions…”

The MO. Democratic Party (http://www.missouridems.org/constitution.php) constitution/by-laws states:

• “We the members of the Democratic State Committee of Missouri… acknowledge that as a political body which wishes to lead we must listen to those we would lead…”

• “…the respective rights of each member will always be considered prior to reaching the decisions…”

• “The Democratic Party of Missouri shall establish standards and rules of procedure to afford all members of the Democratic Party full, timely and equal opportunity to participate in the formation of policy and the conduct of other party affairs…”

These are just some of the rules, principles and philosophy the Democratic Party states as guiding them.  During this time in our history, when it takes $20 MILLION dollars to run a statewide campaign, isn’t it wonderful to have a party so concerned with the ‘average’ person. It’s great to know that the individual will be listened to, have input into decision making and have equal opportunity to formulate policy.  (Let’s take a short pause here for the readers to insert their own joke, finish laughing, crying or cussing)

The following items are just a few of the personal observations and experiences that have been encountered during the past year. Go to the MO Democratic & Republican websites and compare content.  Contrast the ‘About Us’ pages; the Dems. give you a phone and fax number, while the Reps. have actual names, titles, contact details and a new innovation called e-mail.  Other than officers not one paid member of the MDP staff are listed.  Some fundamental questions include: what is the size of the staff, what are their positions or titles,  salary scale, is there is there an open bidding process for services/materials, how big is the budget and how funds are being spent.

Under their headline page the Dems. lists 39 ‘stories’, of these 32 are related to the Senate race and 30 have Rep. Blunt’s name in the title.  This means that over 82% of all ‘Democratic Party’ news is about this one race. While I agree that it is the premier event in next year’s election, we should also remember that we have a state auditor election, U.S. Representative Campaign as well as county and local races.  We also have had a former Democratic governor pass away and that didn’t even warrant a mention.  

The by-laws also state that: “Written notice of meetings of the State Committee shall be given to all members of the State Committee.” This has not happened and it has been reported it was due to lack of e-mail.  It would seem easy to post meetings, trainings and other information on the website but that must be too troublesome or may bring widespread attention by the general public.  Re-organizational meetings are specified to be held on exact dates but that rule was waived, ignored or overlooked during this past election cycle.  I have been told that state committee meetings have not followed rules on procedures and order of business as prescribed by the by-laws.

The MDP does not list job openings on its website. It would seem that would be a good tool to utilize and help recruit qualified staff.  I recently learned the party was hiring a ‘Voter File Manager’ (less than a year before Election Day) but found the job listing timeline to be a bit strange.  The ad stated:

Organization: Missouri Democratic Party

Date Posted: 12/1/2009

Listing Expires: 12/31/2009

Date Needed: 12/15/2009

Resumes must be received by 12/4/2009

I’m sure it was a financial or time crunch issue; the MDP surely made sure “all members of the Democratic Party (had) full, timely and equal opportunity to participate” in applying. In all fairness, this is a very important position and needs a qualified expert to take care of the database. When I requested a list of MDP dues paying members from Saline County (for Saline County Central Committee) I was told it would be impossible to fill my request. When I inquired about the reason, the answer was we don’t have the files broken down that way but if I sent a list of names they could tell me who has or has not paid.  Maybe some can tell them about Excel and spreadsheets perhaps?

I spoke with a MO US Representative senior staff member and was told: We only hear from the MDP for 3 things: 1. For direct money solicitation.  2. To appear @ a fundraising event. 3. To appear at a party function (which usually is ‘money related’).  At a recent fundraising event for this same congressman, officers of the local central committee did not even receive invitations. According to the campaign, that information is hard to get at times and they always have problems getting updated lists, names and addresses.

A member of Democratic National Committee said they had heard of ongoing problems throughout the state & hoped the MDP would get staff & funds needed to get problems worked out. Did I miss something or wouldn’t this be part of the responsibility of serving on a national level?

Recently a member of the MDP State Committee had a spouse pass away. The spouse had been a member of the county committee for decades & the Committee member had served both the county & state committees for years. They supported the party through monetary contributions and through giving of their time and talent. I know that the MDP party was notified of the death, yet not a single person or anyone related to the MDP sent a card, made a call or offered any type of condolences.

The late Ron Brown – former Chairman of the Democratic Party wrote: “The common thread of Democratic history has been an abiding faith in the judgment of hardworking American families, and a commitment to helping the excluded, the disenfranchised and the poor strengthen our nation by earning themselves a piece of the American Dream. We remember that this great land was sculpted by immigrants and slaves, their children and grandchildren.”

I am saddened that the rules, principles and philosophy the Democratic Party as stated above seem now to be only words.  I am disappointed to have learned that the MDP has little concern for certain areas of the state, that phone calls are not returned, messages go unread, delivered or answered. It concerns me when rules are routinely ignored and by-laws are not followed.  My main concern is the loss of average citizens having an impact in our political process. It seems if you do not have the ‘connections’, the large donations, or live outside of the major metro regions then you are not afforded the same opportunities.

On the bright side, think of all the campaign letters, postcards, telephone calls, TV and radio commercials we get to look forward to in the next 11 months.