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05 August 2010

How Republican of You to Say That, Georgia Liberal

The recent column from former Atlanta Journal Constitution investigations editor Jim Walls scrutinizing the actions of Georgia's Democratic Party in the primary race between Graham Balch and Vincent Fort has touched off a new round of discussion on whether the state Democratic Party violated its governing documents by taking sides in a contested primary election.

The state Democratic Party says that even though the Senate Democratic Caucus is "legally a part of the party," no bylaws were violated because Senate Democrats paid for the mail piece against Graham Balch, not the Democratic Party of Georgia.

As readers of Georgia Politics Unfiltered may know, I am a member of the state Democratic committee. I've been very critical of the Democratic Party, or any entity that is "legally a part" of the Democratic Party, choosing sides in a contested primary election.

The bylaws say, "The State Committee, Executive Committee, County Committees, and Affiliates are explicitly prohibited from supporting a Democratic candidate who has opposition during a primary. . . " If the Senate Democratic Caucus is "legally a part of the party," then how are they not exempt from the non-endorsement provision?

One blogger is now arguing that anyone who wants to be critical of the state Democratic Party should resign their official position within the Party before airing their concerns.

What bothers me more is that some members of the State Democratic Committee continue to harp on an issue. If you want to be a critical person (which you have the right to do), you should resign your post and take aim at the party. If one finds it so hypocritical, they should leave the organization. However, so long as you are part of the organization, you should not be tearing it down from the inside – especially when they did nothing wrong.

Dustin (2010-8-5). Democratic Party of Georgia Did Nothing Wrong. Georgia Liberal. Retrieved on 2010-8-5.

How very Republican of you to say that, Dustin.

After all, your argument is one that's been used by conservative Republicans in the past.

In November of 2001, President Bush boldly declared, "You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror." [Bush says it is time for action. CNN. Retrieved on 2010-8-5.] Two years later, conservative Republicans took those words as carte blanche to criticize anyone opposing the war in Iraq as unpatriotic and un-American [newshounds (2009-4-3). Hannity Denies Calling Bush Critics Unpatriotic. Brave New Films. Retrieved on 2010-8-5.].

The smears from conservative Republicans got so bad that individuals with strong ties to the military were forced to defend their love of the troops and their love of this country.

"You can be against the war, you can disagree with Bush and still be a patriot," said Lietta Ruger, who grew up on a military base and married a Vietnam veteran [Vinh, Tan (2005-3-20). Thousands rally to protest Iraq war. Seattle Times. Retrieved on 2010-8-5.].

My point is this -

That seemingly Republican value of "America: Love it or leave it" has no place in Democratic Party politics.

An individual can be critical of this nation's policies without abdicating their allegiance to the United States of America. And I can be critical of my political party's actions without forfeiting my fealty to the Democratic Party.

Debate and dissent is not un-American. It's not un-patriotic. And it is not un-Democratic.

Criticizing the state Democratic Party contributed to my first election to the state Democratic committee six years ago, and that same criticism (much of it on this very site) contributed to my re-election to the state Democratic committee in 2007.