Darryl Rouson was removed as House Democratic Leader Designee on Monday and replaced with Rep. Mark Pafford, a move this website has wholeheartedly endorsed. However, Rouson made some progress with the House Caucus that cannot be turned back if Democrats are to compete effectively in November 2014.
We have strongly endorsed what the new leader designee will do from a policy standpoint, but we must take a minute to thank Darryl Rouson for rejecting the continued use of consultants and advisers who have allowed Democrats to lose winnable race after race.
The personal agendas of many who opposed Rouson was based around political influence and maintaining consulting business. Don’t get us wrong, Rouson had to go after multiple transgressions but many who opposed him did so for strictly personal reasons which often were based around money and influence. In any other industry, performance is a prerequisite for employment, except so often among Florida Democrats. The retention of consultants and staff that lose elections has been the height of idiocy.
With the track record of Florida Democrats in state elections worse than that of any other Democratic Party east of the Mississippi since 2000, those who backed Rouson could make a strong point about the need for new leadership, with new ideas, new alliances and new energy. The message about reform in the party and the need to take out the trash in the way of entrenched consultants and ideas that have cost the Democrats seat in election after election may have been sound, but Rouson himself was always far from perfect as a vehicle for this change.
So Rouson rightly was dumped but what he started must continue. The House Caucus must maintain independence from the party though without use of slush funds and by employing more transparency and openness.
The deposed Leader Designee smartly was not ready to employ the captains of the Costa Concordia type disaster that is Florida Democrats House campaign consultants over the past several cycles again. To do so would have ensured failure. We certainly hope the majority of House Democrats see that while Rouson was a flawed character not cut out for leadership, many of his ideas and the new direction he started must be maintained to be successful.