There used to be no better place to see sheer human drama on display than a meeting of the Dane County Democrats, especially ones in which members vote on endorsements in local elections. The conflict often centered on the participation of Progressive Dane members, many of whom show up only to vote in the endorsement -- and often against the wishes of the Dem Party leadership.
In recent years, however, that phenomenon has become rarer, and the most recent endorsement meeting in many ways displayed a backlash against PD-affiliated candidates. Both Ald. Bridget Maniaci and Council candidate Sue Ellingson handily won the party endorsement over PD-affiliated candidates Sam Stevenson and TJ Mertz, respectively.
Stevenson was criticized on the floor of the meeting for a recent column in which he mocked "Straight Ticket Democrats," by dubbing them "STDs." (It would be interesting to hear which type of STD Stevenson, who is a student of public health, believes poses a greater risk to society) Similarly, Ellingson called for party unity in urging members to support her over Mertz.
There was one very notable exception, however. The Dane Dems failed to endorse Council candidate Scott Resnick, despite the vociferous criticism his opponent, Kyle Szarznyski, has made of Democrats in the past, and despite Resnick's past activity in the College Democrats.
I was surprised enough to learn that Szarzynski went to the Dane Dems meeting, but I was stunned to hear he left the meeting unscathed. Given how poorly Dane Dems Chair Wayne Bigelow responded to Stevenson's joke about STDs, I can't imagine he'd be very tolerant of some of the allegations Szarzynski has thrown at prominent Democrats. Conveniently, however, Szarzynski's old blog, where, for instance, he called Scott McDonell "a fraud and a hack," is no longer open to the public.
Of course, what is open to the public is Szarzynski's new blog. In his most recent post, he opines on the endorsement meeting, as well as the angry email that Bigelow sent to Stevenson in response to the "STD" column. This is how he sums it up:
Classy, no? I wonder if he feels like a bigger man for (unsuccessfully) intimidating someone 1/3 his age.
I suspect Resnick will find a much more receptive audience when the Dane Dems make endorsements after the primary.