Party hack

Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham

Being a party chairman ain’t nearly as glamorous as you might think.

I’m finding that out the hard way.


That’s the sanitized version of what came out of my mouth when I wrenched my back the other evening loading up stuff to take to our new Democratic Party headquarters.

Many boxes of stuff, I should say. And most of it of questionable value. For example, the Warner for Governor signs that we have in the back of the HQ. They’re … quaint, certainly, and we left them up because we have Mark Warner coming on Saturday to help us formally open our headquarters. I’m sure we’ll get a chuckle or two from him for doing that.

Then there are the boxes of materials from David Cox’s 2007 State Senate campaign. Which probably won’t help Warner or Barack Obama or Sam Rasoul get elected, but they’re on the premises just the same.

Just getting an office to open as a headquarters is work that you don’t necessarily think of when you think of the things that a party chair does. I know back in my halcyon days of youth and inexperience in journalism I used to go around thinking that a party chair spent most of his or her time hobnobbing with dignitaries and debating policy points into the wee hours of the morning. I find that I’m spending more of my time than I would have assumed getting keys made and arranging for insurance and getting balloons delivered.

I sound like I’m complaining, but I’m not at all. Because even with the wrenched back, it was this week when it finally dawned on me that I’m actually a party chairman. Somebody has to be the point person for national and state and congressional campaigns, and I’m growing into being that person in a way that I never would have assumed would be the case.

Now, as long as the party doesn’t disown me for what I do during my day job, which has the centrist Democrat that is me writing the occasional op-ed piece taking Dems to issue for what I perceive in my mind’s eye as being something out of line with good, commonsense thinking …

Yes, I get to move more boxes around. And get more keys made. Among other things.

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