My breakfast with Pat

I feel sorry for the Republicans in this state. Many of their elected officials are mediocre and they appear to have a monopoly on cringe-inducing ones. Now add to that the comparison of state chairs, Pat Waak vs Dick Wadhams. It’s like the L.A. Lakers against a middle school basketball team.

Pat is the party den mother. She clearly views her job as making sure everything gets done, is done correctly, and everyone is working well together. And the proof of her effectiveness is that you don’t see or hear of any intra-party fight here. Yes occasionally someone is bitching but she does her job so well she makes it look easy.

Pat has been in politics forever, working at the federal level as well as the state level. She has a boatload of experience, not just in campaigning, but in accomplishing things. She exudes the quiet confidence of someone who knows how to get the job done.

What most impressed me was here is someone who is totally devoted to politics, living it every day, and not a word, not a peep about any preference in the CD-2 or SD-18 primaries. Her goal is the success of the party. I saw her do the same thing speaking to the Obama delegates before the CD-2 convention where she did a great job of not disagreeing with the leaders there who wanted to have all except the anointed delegates drop out, but still encouraged people to run.

She has this ability to stay neutral and yet encourage people in a certain direction.

She takes a lot of pride in getting ref C passed. 2006 was a good year all-around for us Dems here in Colorado and there is a lot to point to. So it’s interesting that she looks at the issue that was key to the state’s future more than any specific candidate. I take that as indicative of someone who views her role as doing what is best for Colorado first. And I think that is a good thing, not just for our state, but also for the party because long term success comes from our doing what’s best for the state.

Trying to sooth the hurt feelings of the Clinton supporters came up repeatedly. I have a feeling that this is taking a lot of her time right now. Back to the den mother role, that’s a key part. And again, based on the fact that very little of that conflict is making it into the media, I’d say she is doing a good job of working this out.

She also talked a lot about working out exactly how the Obama campaign will fit with the State party. A lot of what she talked about was making sure it was set up to work well, what positions were key to fill, and having people situated so that communication naturally flowed between the various groups. She’s definitely not an empire builder.

Her official focus is Obama and Udall and she did talk at length about both of those campaigns and what they are doing to make those successful. And she kept coming back to that both of these require a lot of hard work to be successful. So she is definitely not taking anything for granted.

She also talked about Betsy Markey, Joe Whitcomb, and Hank Eng. She thinks Betsy and Joe have very good chances and that CD-5 is possible. Unlikely maybe (CD-5), but possible. In other words, she is not turning the state party into an Obama-only machine. Nor into an Obama/Udall-only machine. She’s running a Colorado Democrats machine.

I wonder what she will do next. She has been heavily involved in politics forever and clearly loves the work. My guess is that she will be given a job in the Obama administration and we will hear nothing about her in that job – because what she manages will work efficiently, effectively, and with no drama.

We’ve got a really good state party den mother chair.

First posted at Liberal and Loving It

26 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. BlueCat says:

    Pat’s qualifications but I’m beginning to get the inpression that Udall’s biggest sin(I’m sure Pat is 100% behind him) was NOT HAVING LUNCH WITH YOU!

  2. MiddleRoadDem says:

    Why oh why did the State Party have 1 too many men in our national convention delegation?  They should have caught that immediately, rather than publishing a list of delegates and then going back and having to tell a poor soul he’s not going to the convention.

    • parsingreality says:

      And why Dems can look so fruity to traditional thinking.  I found out that every precinct is to not only have a captain, now called “chair” IIRC, but one of each gender!  It’s hard enough to find willing souls within a precinct, but then to insist on gender balanced co-captains.

      Sheesh.  

      • Dan Willis says:

        There is nothing in Colorado Party rules or state law that demands Precinct Committee People (that is their legal title) have to be gender balanced.

        State law does allow us 2 PCPs per precinct. These people along with elected officials and party officials make up a county’s central committee (part of this is law, part party rules and may vary slightly from county to county).

        • DavidThi808 says:

          And no one else wanted it so we were all thankful that they volunteered.

        • BlueCat says:

          Perhaps Parsing was confused by the mandate for a good faith attempt to balance gender in DELEGATE selection and also to achieve a degree of diversity.  

          Also precinct caucus chairs and secretaries are positions elected JUST for caucus, to run each precincts elections.

          During caucus each precinct is to elect two precinct committee persons, as distinct from the fleeting positions of precinct CAUCUS chair and secretary, who will serve for two years until the next caucus and there is NO requirement that these be gender balanced.  Most years, you’re lucky to get enough volunteers for these positions to provide even one precinct committee person for each precinct, much less two.

        • parsingreality says:

          Apparently our precinct got some bad info, or someone insisted.  That was 2004, so I don’t remember the specifics.  

      • RedGreen says:

        Colorado Democrats used to be even more explicit about it, calling precinct heads “committeeman” and “committeewoman,” one of each, long before diversity rules. IIRC, Republicans did the same well into the ’80s.

      • brio says:

        I suspect that if you put these rules up for a vote on a secret ballot, even most Dems would vote to eliminate them, or at least change them (at least in Colorado).  They are an unfortunate remnant of the worst of identity politics, and embarrassing to boot.  Sadly, I do not expect them to be changed.

  3. Ben Stein's $$ says:

    That’s me throwing up.

    “The Den Mother”?  Is that what you Dems are now looking for in a leader?

    Give me a good General any day.

    Dave, when are you going to have lunch with Lamborn?  I am curious to see if he really does talk to himself, or God.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      Someone who can get the best out of everyone and has each owning their piece of it is much more valuable when running a party.

      And look at what Eisenhower did in WWII – much more a den mother than someone laying down how it would be to everyone.

      As to Lamborn, I’d be happy to meet with him if he’s ever up this way. I’ve done this with a couple of Republicans (and just got an email from another Republican asking me to do this).

    • parsingreality says:

      And certainly very male.  Generals only work well with an established heirarchy and the authority to punish.  NOT good leadership traits for a complex world.

      But why denigrate half the world’s population, many of whom have proven themselves to be excellent leaders in many capacities and with many methods.

      Is that so out of reach for you?

    • Cartesian Doubt says:

      Are concerned only with protecting their stars or getting another one. Look at the caravan of Generals who waited until they were comfortably retired before writing their memoirs.

      I’ll take someone who actually cares about the party and its members over someone concerned more with ass-covering.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        Do you want us to have a politically active military?

        • Cartesian Doubt says:

          The point I was making wasn’t about politics so much as they refuse to disagree or offer a different plan to protect their promotion prospects, that next star or stripe.

          I understand duty, but the point I was making is that Generals fear doing anything that may reflect badly on them. Very few take a chance to offer an idea differing from the Administration line. If they do, they’re hustled into retirement.

          Gen. George Shoomaker found this out when he wanted more than 100,000 troops to be sent to Iraq. He was pushed out by Rumsfeld.

          Politics should never enter the mind of a soldier.

          Likewise, politicians can’t afford to think like Generals, but they do. They protect their positions with the same intensity that a flag officer protects themselves.

          If the Republicans want a General, it suits me just fine.  

  4. Paraducks says:

    Politics is neither the ambition nor the career of most Republicans. So their best and brightest are either in the military or running businesses. Instead of making $30,000 as a state senator, the average Republican, who could be candidate material, is making $300,000 running a business or earning a military officer’s salary having fun blowing up Iraqis.

    Mike Coffman, probably the brightest Republican on the scene, could only get as high as colonel, the most common rank. He tires easily of administrative jobs and is forever parlaying himself out of tough spots. He doesn’t like working for Ritter, so he’s abandoned his office, but continues receiving the pitiful salary. If he loses on Obama’s coattails it will be the third election he’s lost for the GOP. Any high profile Democrat could win this seat. Republicans are discouraged and looking at third parties, especially the “cold dead hands” guys. (Everything they do hastens that end, including their support of anti-gun Cheri Gerou in HD 25.)

    Dick Wadhams walks into a room full of Republicans and he’s given a standing ovation. He’s credited with defeating Tom Daschle rather then Tom Daschle’s mouth defeating Tom Daschle, as George Allen’s mouth defeated George Allen. Wadhams at least gets that. He’s a study in locating the bottom line. But he went way out of his way to discourage Ron Paul supporters at the state assembly, really a scandal. The spunky Ron Paul youth is the only shot the GOP has at a future.

    Republicans in this state are operating at a significant disadvantage compared to Democrats. There are many reasons for it, the main being a stunning shortage of leadership.

  5. Paraducks says:

    Stop tryin’ to cheer me up.

  6. ohwilleke says:

    extends across Colorado’s Democratic party leadership.  Andrew Romanoff does just just as much as Pat Waak.  Likewise, bipartisanship remains a watch word under the dome and in Governor Ritter’s office.  

    The hard question is whether this is healthy for the party.

    Markos, the proprietor of Daily Kos has been a vigorous advocate of the notion that intra-party conflict, in situations like contested primary contests, and focused partisanship once elected, rather than compromising to secured broad bipartisanship, are better approaches to political success.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      I didn’t hear anything from her that precluded this. Rather it was getting everyone to focus on moving the party forward. But not a word about her wishing we didn’t have contested primaries anywhere.

      And the way she handled the Obama/Clinton race was like that – she focused on making sure the party was read to support whoever won.

      • BlueCat says:

        Pat agreed to have breakfast with you, unlike Udall.  That is beginning to look like the deciding factor for you, David.

        • RedGreen says:

          Ken Salazar voted for the truly noxious Senate version of the FISA bill a couple months ago and gets showered with … well, praise would be a polite way to put it. Where’s the call to “primary” him in two years? Udall and Perlmutter at least held out for substantial (if inadequate, according to some) modifications before “caving” on FISA — Salazar just threw in with the Republicans. Guess a 30-minute meeting papers over a lot.

          • DavidThi808 says:

            They would be a big waste of both the other person’s and my time. I’m trying to provide something different than the standard “what’s your position on these 3 issues?” I’m trying to get at least a bit of what drives them and where they want to go. That’s unique and useful I think.

            If I did this with Udall it would be the same thing. Just as with Salazar I would not tell him my opinion on FISA. I don’t say much at these things, I mostly listen.

            Take a look at the ones I did with Joan, Jared, & Will – I think all 3 were like this yet I endorsed Jared. Same for Cindy & Rollie.

            At a newspaper they have reporters and editorialists as different people. I have to be all of that rolled into one. So different events, different approaches.

            All of this is an experiment as it moves forward. But I think it works well. The real proof is 2 Republicans have done this and 2 others are trying to set a time. But I don’t think any of them are under the illusion that I’ll endorse them.

            If Salazar does vote for FISA (and keep in mind his final comment to me was he wanted to read it first), then at that time yes I will blast him big time here.

  7. Native Son says:

    The article makes her sound a little more cuddly than she seems from my interactions (she is nice but a serious professional) but I think the organizational/leadership style is probably accurate.

    You do not have to like how she does things but whether it’s sports, business, politics or war leadership is about results.  And by that measure, she’s been right more than wrong by a safe margin.

    Her vision for the party melded perfectly with Dean’s (devolving power to grass roots) and she has been really successful in this with great results.  It’s not only what works it was what the party wanted.

    The law of unintended consequences says that the devolution has negative impacts.  She ceded too much political messaging leadership to other groups but that may be a natural outcome of campaign finance limitations.  Despite that, the party is solvent and growing.

    Wadhams is going in the totally opposite direction in leadership style and he’s wondering why the grass roots is so hard to get moving or donating.  There is more than a contrast of political philosophies here.

    Check the scoreboard in November to see who had the better read of what was needed.

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