Bad bloggers and the State-level DNC
by Jerome Armstrong, Sat Dec 11, 2004 at 04:47:44 PM EST
There's something wrong when DNC Chair candidate Donnie Fowler, during his 5-minute presentation on his candidacy, singles out Matt Stoller as an example of embracing the technological ideas that are going to bring this party forward, and then some DNC staffer walks up to Stoller and tells him he's got to leave the room, because he's a blogger.
There's something wrong when the DNC members are holding a vital meeting on the "Fowler Amendments" which are the most reform-minded amendments to the DNC Charter in the last 30 years (a radical takeaway from DC-based members by the states), and the DNC closes the meeting to bloggers; not realizing that we are the vehicle to crusade for this reform (Stoller and I went inside anyway, even though we suffered getting kicked out halfway through the meeting).
There's something wrong when over and over throughout this meeting, there's been praise for the internet, the small donor, and I've even heard the term "Netroots" spoken here casually, a term I first used to describe what was happening with our campaign for Howard Dean back in the fall of 2002. And yet, even though we were invited to come to this event by the candidates themselves, even though there are many in DC that encouraged we come to this event and engage in the process, we were not welcome. In fact, we were thrown out of multiple meetings, even those that regular people off the street could attend.
There's praise for the internet here, rejoicing over the small donor, and they're using new-fangled words like netroots and blogosphere, but dem' bloggers that drive the leading edge of the battle, that raised millions for candidates and the DNC? Don't come, you're not really welcome.
That was a problem I mostly worked around while here in Orlando for the DNC meeting. Except for the full-colored brunt I gave to some suit from North Dakota that came up to me and said "bloggers leave", I held it cool and in-check. I've dealt with bumping against authority quite a lot, and can deal with the laggard mentality. But it is a problem. I guarantee you that Frank Luntz is not getting kicked out of any RNC meetings; but that blogger Joe Trippi can't stay inside the room, it means there's something wrong inside the DNC.
And it's not just in DC, as most of these ED's, VC's and Chairs from the states seem to think. Nevermind the bizarre disconjunct of their kicking us out while they eye the DNC coffers from the internet's small donor with greed. Put aside their praise for Terry McAuliffe having figured out how to hook up 2 million new activist small donors, while they kick out the activists that help make it happen. We want to hear what they are going to do to reform the DNC inside the states, because it's inside the states, not just in DC, that this reform needs to happen.
Since I was kicked out of the Q & A "closed" meeting with the candidates, I can freely blog it (if I had stayed, I certainly would not have). In that meeting, a couple of DNC candidates had the fortitude to tell these states what they needed to do, and for that, they not only got the least number of votes in the exit poll that we did, we had respondents that singled out that they would not support Harold Ickes, just because he told them the truth.
What Ickes told the state executive directors, and the state chairs, was that they needed to get their shit together, to build up their own in-state small donor base, to put together a business plan, and quit whining about getting a hold of the DNC's money. It's the truth. Go and look at some of these state Democratic Party websites, they are pathetic. Even the good ones suck. Ickes told them to get to work, they didn't like that, so he's in my top three. A lot of these states didn't get jack for this election, but a few of them, most importantly, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, and Iowa got millions and millions, and they not only failed to win (except Michigan), not only are their rumors of financial corruption I've heard about a few of those, but they are not being held accountable.
I'm all for taking DC to task, Democrats there need it; but we need to reform the Party at the state level too. After being inside their meetings for three days, I can tell you, many of these states have directors and officers that need a good reform-minded kick in the ass out the door a lot more than we did.