Among other things, the Deeds campaign was unable to set out coherent positions on issues and interest Obama voters. The Democratic Party of Virginia could have helped. In 2001 and 2005, the DPVA Resolutions Committee worked with the Warner and Kaine campaigns to draft brief, but comprehensive, platforms setting forth the Party’s positions on issues. See DPVA Party Platforms. This year, nothing. In fact, the Deeds’ campaign scuttled a brief and extremely general statement of support for health insurance reform (which didn’t even mention the public option).
The campaign’s fear of resolutions, however, was not unusual. Candidates and party leaders seem to live in constant fear that the party will adopt resolutions that are controversial, liberal, divisive, and irrelevant. That fear is not entirely without foundation. There are those in the party who seem to enjoy proposing such resolutions. But party leaders should recognize that a platform offers an important opportunity to define the campaign and appeal to the voters. A platform can offer a clear expression of the party’s views, garner media attention, and educate the voters about the candidate’s priorities. Let’s not waste this opportunity next time.