Bad bloggers and the State-level DNC

There's something wrong when the chairs and executive directors go on and on with their praise toward the internet that's brought millions into the coffers of the DNC, and then turns around and kicks Joe Trippi and his band of bloggers out of the meeting room when the "closed" (edit: closed to the press, but open to the public) Q & A with the DNC Chair candidates occurs. You could have walked right in off the street and into the candidate Hall unencumbered, but if you happened to be a blogger, or the guy who brought the strategy of embracing the small donor activist on the net for the Democratic Party, and he's got a blog, out you go.

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.

Tags: Democrats (all tags)



Fuckin' aye
And don't forget the fact that that Michigan Mark Brewer kept relishing kicking out bloggers, as if he were so clever that he knew what a blogger was and how they were secret press or something.  We've moved from a losing party of the 20th centurty to a losing party of the 21st century.
by Matt Stoller 2004-12-11 05:01PM | 0 recs
Fuckin' Mark
Mark sounds like an asshole, maybe people should give him a call. If you want to leave a message for him at work try (517) 371-5410 or just call him at home (586) 954-3042. Hate mail can be sent to:

Mark Brewer
37414 Stonegate Cir.
Clinton Twp., MI 48036

by Bob Brigham 2004-12-11 05:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Mark
Is all that really necessary?  Would you want the same thing done to you?
by kydem 2004-12-11 05:42PM | 0 recs
necessary, no
but neither was kicking out bloggers and "relishing" violating our Party's own Charter makes in justified.
by Bob Brigham 2004-12-11 05:48PM | 0 recs
Re: necessary, no
I was there and I contest the description of "relishing."
by Jenny Greenleaf 2004-12-11 05:55PM | 0 recs
As the DNC website states
the power of the grassroots will not put back in the bottle."

I can't unpost a comment and I probably wouldn't if I could. We'll see how the events unfold and people can choose to call him or choose not to call him.

Relishing or not, the kicking people out of the room is very un-Democratic (capital or lowercase).

In the end, people are free to call or not to call and all of the information is public.

by Bob Brigham 2004-12-11 06:03PM | 0 recs
Re: As the DNC website states
I don't know if you remember the woman fired for putting a Kerry sticker on her car.  Someone went public with all that information of her boss and in the end, she was offered her job back but not a minute before she was offered one by John Kerry.
by kydem 2004-12-11 06:10PM | 0 recs
Re: necessary, no
I can feel your sentiment.  Maybe they had their reasons.  Did they kick out other media?
by kydem 2004-12-11 05:57PM | 0 recs
I'm sorry but the charter did say anything about it being alright if you have reasons. Every bad person who has ever done a bad thing had reasons.
by Bob Brigham 2004-12-11 06:05PM | 0 recs
Re: reasons
There are no bad people.  Everything is relative.  Therefore everyone is great!
by Matt Stoller 2004-12-12 05:03AM | 0 recs
Bush? Rumsfeld? Cheney? n/t
by DC Pol Sci 2004-12-12 06:23AM | 0 recs
Re: necessary, no
At this meeting there were several events open to the press, others not. They were pretty clearly marked on the agenda, and at the beginning of the session, Mark said exactly what the format would be: 5-minute statements by the candidates at which time press, including bloggers, would be asked to leave so there could be a less-public Q&A and there would be room for the official attendees to sit.

The room was crowded with press and big cameras and photographers. This wasn't really a press event or orchestrated that way. The press was invited to come to the candidate speeches. Matt and Jerome went to several other sessions that weren't supposed open to the press. I didn't see any other press at those, but I could have missed them.

I don't want to get into a fight with Matt and Jerome, because I think they're really great. I love what they do. This just seems like getting mad because you got caught sneaking into the drive-in.

I didn't think it was absolutely necessary to ask anyone to leave, but I'm not an official member of the ASDC and I don't make the rules. I'm just a member of the DNC and was a guest of my state vicechair, who I think is very good.

by Jenny Greenleaf 2004-12-11 06:13PM | 0 recs
Re: necessary, no

They kicked out press and only press.  Any random person was allowed to walk in off the street and attend.  We promised them we wouldn't write about anything in a closed session, but they deliberately kicked us out anyway.  Any random person off the street could send an email about what they were watching, tape it, do whatever they wanted with it.  But we're bloggers, so we must be different.

Why kick out Joe Trippi?  Why kick me out?  Donnie Fowler mentioned me in his speech as someone pioneering new technology.  What the fuck?

This was idiotic.  Just dumb.  And rude, too.

by Matt Stoller 2004-12-11 07:32PM | 0 recs
Re: necessary, no
Blogs are looking like the thing of the future.  Heck, I'm linked from the DSCC blog!

No one should be kicked out of any Democratic Party meetings in my opinion.  WE HAVE TO REBUILD THE PARTY BY STRATEGIZING AND ORGANIZING.

You can expect that the Kentucky Democrat will improve in the years to come though I was busy campaigning that I went from July to November with no updates.

by kydem 2004-12-11 07:37PM | 0 recs
Re: necessary, no
When I first read about this incident here and at Kos, my first reaction was, "what are they whining about? Shouldn't a blog be considered press?" Then it occurred to me that neither Matt nor Jerome pretend to be objective; they're partisans in the forefront of the newer wave of the party and, as such, should be included.  Under that construct (and were I in power), I would have let them stay and trusted their word not to publish info about the session until some later, agreed upon time.  I'm not sure I would have been able to trust someone in Trippi's position, not simply because he works for msnbc, but because he may have some obligation to report what he observes.  Nonetheless, it would be a shame to exclude him...he has such a symbolic presence, emblematic of a new direction for the party.  All in all (and after some thought on the issue), I think it's  a matter of the party still being fossil fodder and not clearly looking to the future.  As for sending anyone "hate mail," well, that's just goofey, in my opinion.  We all have work to do.
by ksh 2004-12-12 08:56AM | 0 recs
Nothing personal, ky
For some reason, we just end up on opposite sides of the issues.  I respect your opinion while totally disagreeing with you.

There's a sea change taking place in Democratic politics.  Depending on what side you're on, it's either exhilarating or scary as hell.  

The D's need to develop a killer instinct.  It's about winning.  And any Party leader who can't tolerate a couple of friendly blogger who were agreeing to be sworn to secrecy lacks SOMETHING, most likely the killer instinct.

That Michigan chair needs to understand that there are repercussions to his stupid acts.  Money, volunteer effort, etc.  And he needs to learn NOW, before we are forced to to circle the wagons.  (As so many of us did when we swallowed our pride and started working for Kerry..ugh)

Am I being harsh?  You betcha.  Because, in the end, this intraparty stuff is secondary to winning elections.  We need our eventual leadership to learn how to win amongst ourselves so we can win when it counts.  It's not like the Republicans try to be "nice" to us - or to the American people, for that angle.  The Republicans play to win.  We CAN do that, too, and not compromise our core beliefs.  It's not like Truman was a perfect gentleman, nor JFK or Clinton for that matter.  All of them were willing to take the gloves off when necessary.

Perhaps I might suggest a little statement from Sean Connery in one of his movies, which sums up the attitude I'm looking for (figuratiively, not literally):

"He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue."

Get my picture?

by IrishAlum 2004-12-12 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Nothing personal, ky
He may not- but I do. In game theory that's called brinkmanship- and it is exactly correct. the way the approach works in to force the otherside to play with you- or realize there will be consquences that they will not like. KYDEm and folks like him from what I keep seeing them post either don't get how negotiations work or don't see it like that- and keep thinking we can convince either the Republicans or the American people that we are something that we aren't. The question becomes how can we get out the present crazy cycle to cause a shift back toward a real center? The answer is to make the other side feel like there is something at stake if they don't deal with us. Falli ng all over ourselves to be like them in terms of convincing the same constituencies is not a way to convince them of our power.

Let me give you a concrete example of how leadership from a position of power works versus leadership from the point of fear works. During the swift boat ads, Kerry waited a month to speak to them, and when he finally came out he in essense asked Bush to denounce them. Does anyone see anything wrong with this? Well, if you are the old style go along, be civil Democrat- of course not. And pre 9.11 where the country was not looking for strong, tough leadership you may have had a shot of being correct. I won't get into the triangulation problems with this. Instead, I will focus on the gut level problem with him asking for Bush to denounce the Swift boaters. Basically, it made Kerry (according to my friends who are not as political as me) seem weak. I heard something similar from a nother poster over on Daily Kos.

It made it seem like Kerry needed Bush to denounce the Swift Boat Liars.  A sign of weakness. What would someone with a killer instinct have done? He would have started with calling Bush a liar, and never mentioned the need to denounce the ads. Why? Guilt by association. Calling him a liar of course would have  been a risk- but it would have represented a great salvo for a more general discussion that would have built of in the public's mind of Bush as a liar that Kerry could have used throughout the fall campaiqn. Everytime the Republicans do something like this- this would have allowed Kerry to return to the reframe this man's a ball faced Liar. It's meant to be harsh for a reason- that reason is that Kerry is tough- he says it like it is. Instead, he couldn't even say stuff like this straight. "This man is misdirecting you" and blah, blah blah. What did that mean in terms of brinkmanship- it forces different plays by the other team onto the table. Everytime they say something- it becomes about- is he telling a lie now? Is that a lie? what about that?

This is just a quick example of how a willingness to take risk and have killer instincts can change the nature of the debate. the same may hold true with the blogger issue. I have not strong opinions here. BUt, with this post, I am reminded that once again- this is a party that doesn't understand the advantage of risk. In someways, taking risks is what the American dream is all about.

by bruh21 2004-12-12 12:41PM | 0 recs
Welcome aboard, bruh21
Wow - what a terrific post.  I'm not worthy.

But I'll try to pile on....

We don't give money and time so our "leaders" can feel good about themselves.  We do so to WIN.  And, by winning, we affect change through implementation of the policies we are supporting.  

If you don't win, your money and time is flushed down the toilet.  

With the contempt displayed toward newcomers (bloggers and Dean supporters, I'll lump them together for this argument), I wonder how long those newcomers will keep supporting the establishment.  

We give voluntarily, and we can withhold voluntarily as well.  

And I hear that Cobb guy and the Greens are representing well in Ohio...

by IrishAlum 2004-12-12 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Welcome aboard, bruh21
Ohio is yet another example of a lack of how Dems leading. Over at Kos there was a bunch of yelling back and forth-fraud or not fraud. My point, which was lost because well I am an a--hole is that who gives a fuck- lets use this to sully the Republicans by investigating it and maybe causes some real election reform. Kerry didn't have to say- I think this is fraud- all he had to say- if he were any leader at all- was you know I promised my people i was going to do something- and come hell or high water I am going to do it. You can think whatever you want of me- but I am a man of my word. Everytime the republicans would say something about it- all he had to do was stay on message- "I am a man of my word." I keep my promises. The public and press would have been resistant- but if he repeated this sound bite over and over- what would people within a week of the news cycles be saying. "you know, I don't like that kerry, but he's a man of his word." I would also parade as many rank and file out as possible supporting him with banners saying- a promise made, a promised kept. This wouldn't win us anything this time around- but it would start a frame that we could use in the next few months against bush- as we compare our positive trait- of keeping apromise to his negative one of not keeping a promise. that then could be used in 2006 in the mid terms to again bring up the question of REpublicans as liars- you see how long term strategy works here- you  use individual instances for long term outcomes even when its not clear you are going to win it in the short term- you begin the construction of it. You reward also the people who do this.  I learned that from the Jedi master that is Karl Rowe.
by bruh21 2004-12-12 01:16PM | 0 recs
Somebody get this person a blog.  

Great comments.  Agreed 100%.  

by IrishAlum 2004-12-12 01:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Nothing personal, ky
I have studied politics for 4 years now.  I know what works and what does not.

Did you see the article in the Indianapolis Star?
2008 could be Bayh's best shot.  I highly encourage you to read it.  Will anyone take on Dick Lugar in 2006?

I am already getting flamed on Kos for being a moderate Democrat in the DLC and it's reached the point where I cannot go to that site without being FLAMED, ATTACKED, etc.

This article has a good point.

If I hear another person tell me that I am Bushlite, GOP lite or insane, I will go crazy.

by kydem 2004-12-12 02:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Nothing personal, ky
Well that definitely means you should ignore other people's arguments that disagree with your disproven opinion.  When are you going to get back to me about my arguments to you about the problems with the DLC's lurch to the right (a la traingulation) instead of toward leadership? And, by the way, I am a moderate- so this b.s. about you being a poor misunderstood moderate is b.s.  As I remember the excuse was that you were studying?

At least, that was the excuse- like I said before-I am happy to see desenting views b/c it challenges each of us to do better- but back them up with actual electoral wins that can not be refuted (hint: that means no elections involving a charismatic once in a life time politician who still had to win with the help of a Perot). This is coming from a former Clintonite who believed the guy walked on water, but who now realizes that like many love affairs, the nostalgia doesn't hold up to the actual history.

CW is like opinions is like assholes- everyones got one. What makes them different is when you can point to meaningful facts (and nothing says meaningful like sucess like winning an election with your strategy). Point to a single win? I double dare you. For example- above I talk about the strategies that I suggest, and how they are similar to the long term strategies of Karl Rowe (who is playing chess). i.e., Id an opponents real weakness, and relentlessly hammer away at that without fear of the risks involved.  The key element is without fear of risk (one of Bush's strategists was on Charle Roses making this very point after the Democratic Convention).  

Where have we seen him do that- hands? hands? It was in the flip flopper label for Kerry- they came up with that in the early Spring despite the media talking heads discussing the lang  mines of the label.  Like Maureen Dowd said recently of Kerry- how could any Democrat be shocked that a Republican was going to attempt to label him as weak? Yet, there we were- shocked.  

You can even pick a part my position-but a conclusion without any facts is a waste of electrons.  Then again, maybe your theory is that if you say Bayh, Bayh, Bayh enough- we will not notice the lemon you are selling? Well let me just let you know that mostly it will just make most reformers just want to say bye, bye, bye.

by bruh21 2004-12-12 03:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Nothing personal, ky
what is CW?
by kydem 2004-12-12 03:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Nothing personal, ky
Look it up
by bruh21 2004-12-12 03:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Nothing personal, ky
I have looked at enough political history to know that liberal Dems cannot be elected President.  Wilson, JFK, LBJ, Carter, and Clinton were all moderates.  I don't know about FDR.  In some places, we do well running liberals but in many places among the Midwest and South, we simply do not.

This is the end of my study break and back to studying.  I have a very early final tomorrow that I must get back to studying for.

by kydem 2004-12-12 03:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Nothing personal, ky
Lets try this one more time- You remind me of my grandmother- she hears what she wants to hear. This isn't about moderate liberal or conservative- its about the real L word- Leadership. If you think people are dumber than you- if you think you are going to hookwink them into thinking Dems aren't the liberal party, and that the Republicans aren't the conservative party (that's the brand- live with it or move on because that's the reality of a two party system- one party will take on one banner and the other party will take on other banner) then you don't understand politics as well as you think. It's like me telling someone I am not a black guy. They can look at me and see that's not true. This is what you arguing. When people are saying not to run away from being a Democrat- it's not about being conservative, moderate or liberal- its an argument about standing up as leaders. Saying hell now we are not weak, and you know what if you try a smack down with me, you are going to get you arm bit off. Do you know any Republican who would act in manner you suggest? And, how many elections have they lost v. how many have we lost?
by bruh21 2004-12-12 03:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Nothing personal, ky
Incidentally- check out someone who I disagree with on some of his policies, and didn't support in the general but with whom I do agree with about the Dems. You will notice he even supports your 50 state strategy- but from what I have seen and heard of his DFA he does it in the way that I believe will work- going local: That person is Dean. This is what he said on the meet the press:

What we do have to do is look at what the Republicans do well and, frankly, what we did well at Democracy for America.  We elected candidates in places like Alabama and Utah and Idaho and Georgia.  Democrats can win in those places.  First, I think we have to have a 50-state strategy, and secondly, I really believe we have to stand up for being Democrats.  We have a message to sell.  I frankly think it's a better message than the Republicans; we've just got to figure out how to get it out there.  Grassroots, empowering people elsewhere in the country, instead of trying to run things from the top down, I think, is the way to do it.  It was successful for us.  I think it can be successful for the Democratic National Committee.
...We can't afford the Republicans.  We've got to get rid of them as fast as fast as possible because they can't run the country properly.  And so I concluded that trying to move the party in a direction where we can start winning elections at the local level first, because that's where it all starts, and then at the national level as fast as we can is the right thing to do.

...I understand what it is to empower people who aren't in Washington.  I think we can't win anymore unless the message is made in the states and then filters up to Washington rather than made at the DNC and then we tell the state parties what to do because the message--there'll be an overall Democratic message, but the message needs to come from places like Alabama, not just Minnesota, if we're going to win and have a chance in Alabama.  So I think I have a lot to offer the DNC and we'll see if they agree with me or not.

..I'm hoping actually, oddly as it sounds for me, to be a somewhat of a consensus person.  I'm hoping that we'll be able to bring all the factions together.  It's going to take some time, because I really fried the party while I was out there running for president, I think with some good reason.  But I am a Democrat.  I think the Democratic Party is a far better vehicle for reforming America than some other vehicle that you'd have to start from scratch or some interest group.  And in the long run, if we can make the Democratic Party the party of real reform, then I think we'd really gain something for the country.

by bruh21 2004-12-12 03:47PM | 0 recs
Sigh. Again.
Look, I couldn't care less about Evan Bayh.  I've LIVED through Evan Bayh and seen a politician with no coattails, no message, no pride in his Democratic roots and no philosophy beyond what the pollsters tell him to think.  

Oh, and his lousy economic policies as Governor raided the state police and fire pension funds while he was too much of a wuss to tell the people of Indiana we needed a tax increase if we wanted to maintain our low standard of state government.  Terrific - a credit card Governor.  

Bayh is a vessel for nothing more than AMBITION.  He has no guiding principles.  I've heard him speak too many times, and each time I keep wondering what it is that gets him up in the morning past, "I wanna be President."  Ambition for ambition's sake, I tell you.

On Lugar '06 - my frustration with Bayh now extends to the Indiana Democratic Party as Bayh installed his former state director, Dan Parker, as Party Chair.  I strongly predict that Lugar will have nothing more than token opposition in '06.  Lugar is a folk hero-cum-legend who has not had his credibility challenged for over a decade.  Bayh won't risk angering anyone in Indiana while laying groundwork for '08.  And the Indiana Democratic Party is in an organizational shambles.  

by IrishAlum 2004-12-12 04:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Sigh. Again.
My friend's father was just laid off by the party up there with all the losses.  I hope Mayor Peterson is wise enough to run against Lugar and defeat him.
by kydem 2004-12-12 04:17PM | 0 recs
Smart man.  Smart enough to avoid the Lugar juggernaut.  But probably the only Dem who could beat him.  

Maybe, just MAYBE, if Kernan retooled himself as more of the man of the people that he is (I've had beer with the man), he could win.  But that would be a longshot.

Other than that, we're screwed.  The Democratic bench is ridiculously thin.  And with Daniels in charge, it's not going to get better for us anytime soon.

by IrishAlum 2004-12-12 04:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Peterson
I truly do feel ya there.  Ben Chandler and Jonathan Miller are the best things Kentucky has going for us.  It's very sad that Kentuckians can not get liberal Democrats elected.

Watch for me to be a rising star soon.

The party as a whole has some big work to do.

And after Peterson or Kernan take care of Lugar.  Ben Chandler or Jonathan Miller will defeat Mitch McConnell.

Instead of focusing the anger on centrists like me, focus it on rebuilding the party and getting the GOP out.

by kydem 2004-12-12 04:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Nothing personal, ky
I keeping having to say I am absolutely against all this Kerry-bashing.  We need Team Democrat!
No circular firing squad.
by Baltimore 2004-12-12 03:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Nothing personal, ky
This isn't Kerry bashing- it's trying to understand what went wrong, and what went right. If we can't do this without a bunch of pollyana b.s, then we've got bigger problems than Kerry bashing. I can tell you what his campaign did right, what they did wrong, and how I think we can improve for the future. He did the debates mostly right- he could have been better- but given his personality- that was probably the best we were going to get. He failed at the vision thing. Not-the-other guy isn't a vision. He failed the leadership test. Again, not-the-other guy is not leadership. If you don't believe me- believe the polls (but, I don't see you believe those either?). What we need to improve for the future is our leadership and message abilities- we need a strong back bench. I can tell you what non Kerry, but Democratic things that went well. Mobilization went relatively well. It can be better- one way is to use inside the state people as the base of recruits- this whole finding people in NY to go to Oh was crazy shit. Why not build the Ohio Dems up? Do you see how this isn't bashing?
by bruh21 2004-12-12 03:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Nothing personal, ky
What they did wrong?  They just about completely ruled out the south and Midwest by not campaigning there.
by kydem 2004-12-12 03:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Nothing personal, ky
We've had the SOuth discussion. You dont want to hear that one again. The real issue in the South is that you need to rebuild the party locally. The real issue is also demographics. More old guard white folks, than the new South of a mixed demographic. Will this change? Yes. Does it matter if you stick Evan Bayh up there- No. Why? Because it's a political reallignment. Which is a long term strategic movement thing- not a short term let's fooling with this Trojan horse over here that looks like 'em. Again, do you think they are stupid?
by bruh21 2004-12-12 03:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Nothing personal, ky
Oh, and by the way, sadly it wasn't like he didn't have a vision. He did. Did you read the NY Times article where he talked about terrorism? It was actually, if he was brave enough to fight for, a brilliant point. In a nutshell, he was arguing that "we have nothing to fear, but fear itself." It was a "Morning in America" vision. When he said that terrorism would not interupt the fabric of our lives- he was telling those people that were afraid- you need not always be afraid. That the best days are ahead of us.  When Bush kept saying- you are living in a pre-09/11 world. His response based on hiw own views should have been- you are damn straight- I want to return us to a place where every american live without fear- that the fabric of their lives are determined by how best to raise their kids, how to make sure they are healthy, have an education, and in short live the american dream. If having that dream is living in a pre 0911 world- I guess i am gulty. But, instead of doing this- instead of using sweeping visionary language of Presidents and leaders he choose to wrap himself in the safety of wonkisms and risk free wordings such as My opponent is misleadig you american and I have  plan. What's better- I have a plan- or I have a dream?
by bruh21 2004-12-12 03:17PM | 0 recs
Don't do that
I can't think of anything worse for Reform Democrats right now than orchestrating negative mail (or negative phone calls) to the home address of a state Dem bad guy. If you want to change the Michigan Democratic Party, get involved, either with the party itself or with one of the groups in Michigan which can put pressure on it. (Say, the SEIU.) Personal attacks of the kind blogswarm recommend make the netroots look like angry high school students (no, I do NOT mean Stephen Yellin, whom I hope would agree with me on this one). More important, such attacks won't do any good.
by accommodatingly 2004-12-11 07:47PM | 0 recs
I didn't advocate anything
Just like the internet makes it easier to donate, it also makes it easier to complain.

In other words, if you don't like the carrot, let me shove the stick down your throat. But I'm not advocating anything...yet.

However, if I do you can be damn sure it will be cross-posted on every public forum this side of LGF.

by Bob Brigham 2004-12-11 08:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Fuckin' Mark
This is childish and should be removed

This crosses the line between a blog and freeperdom.

by Parker 2004-12-12 01:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Fuckin' Mark
Sounds like Mark was childish and should be removed.
by Bob Brigham 2004-12-12 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Fuckin' Mark
Wow, I can't believe it. The dem leaders, responsible for losing every branch of goverment, kick out their workhorses and their future, and people are ungrateful for them for that? What fucking audacity!

You bloggers should be, like, totally greatful to even be allowed within ten feet of any high ranking state or national DNC figure. Instead you want people to write letters, some that are even angry sounding (!) to some of the bigger jerks of the party. What the fuck are you bloggers thinking?! We dems have a long and proud tradition (10-15 years) of apologizing for getting punched in the face by bad guys. If we write angry letters to anyone, or get indignant that would, like, be totally disruptive to the status quo. And what I, a flatearth-centrist-dem-who-has-sole-ownership-to-what-constitutes-"reality" can tell you is that you're all crazy.

Matt and Jerome, you're no better than that Michael Moore whose populist message was directly responsible for our loss this year. I have wasted enough time on you people, however - you will be relegated to the dustbin-of-history just like all other marginalized groups are. Compromise and compromise again...and oh, yeah keep them check comin'!

Political Physics
by cgilbert01 2004-12-12 11:10AM | 0 recs
Makes me sick.

But, there's not a damn thing I can do about it, unless you folks name names.

Who kicked you out? Who are "they"?

If the netroots activists can beat Sinclair senseless for a movie, then we should be able to beat some sense into our own party, for Christ's sake.

The frustrating thing for me is, I have no idea who my DNC representative is. Do I have one? Is s/he accountable to anybody? How did s/he get such a position? How can I get ahold of her?

Just like the federal government, the national parties are too far removed from the people they're supposed to represent, and they're far too susceptible to corruption.

by Toadvine 2004-12-11 05:08PM | 0 recs
Apply now for DNC vote Credentials
If you want credentials for the DNC vote, contact:

For Press Credentials, please contact Parag Chokshi ( or Tony Welch ( preferably by email (by phone if necessary at 202-863-8148).

When you talk to them, ask them who on was fired for these actions, specifically for violating Article 9, Sect.12 of the Democratic Charter.

Then, after you've done that, visit the front DNC front page where Terry McAliffe brags about spending the last four years, "making the power of grassroots activism a top priority." Of course, he's right when he says, "power of the grassroots will not put back in the bottle." But his staff is dead wrong by violating the Party's own charter to exclude bloggers.

Doing better begins with accountability. There is no way around it. Somebody needs to get fired and even more importantly so does that person's boss. This is total bullshit.

by Bob Brigham 2004-12-11 05:15PM | 0 recs
How About a Nice Kick in the Pants?
I'm tired of getting no respect from the DNC.  You can bet that the bloggers and their fundraising abilities will be more than welcome during the next election cycle.  Throw Joe Trippi out and let Terry McAwful stay?  Insulting!

What will the suicidal Democrats do to pull the chair out of Howard Dean's potential DNC Chairmanship?  Haven't they noticed that Dean has been right all along?

Sure they have.  They just like losing.

by donna in evanston 2004-12-11 05:17PM | 0 recs
Oh, Calm Down
The state chairs and vice chairs and EDs wanted to have a very frank discussion with the candidates. Yes, Jerome and Matt, I know you're cool, but if the press is invited that means FOX news is invited too. Can you blame people for being a little gunshy given the way the media usually covers things? Or do you think there should be a special dispensation for bloggers?

I'm just as new to this process as you are, maybe more so, but I don't find it nearly as overbearing. This isn't a DNC meeting: it's a meeting of the Association of State Democratic Chairs. Their bylaws are probably different than the DNCs.

One thing the states brought up over and over again was that the DNC treated people in the states like ATMs. Everyone, not just the people on the Internet. Remember the DNC canvassers that showed up with no notice to the state parties? The states got their territory burned; people didn't give money because they'd already given to the DNC. The states got no share of the money nor any accounting as to how it was spent. The DNC raised $192 MILLION out of California. Know how much they got back to help with local races? $0.

I've been told that the DNC used to give the states money and stopped several years ago. Power has ended up in Washington and in the hands of a cadre of consultants. The states are trying to bring money back to local areas to support grassroots activism. There's a lot of tension between the states and the DNC.

Ickes has been after the state parties for 20 years. He's a big part of the Washington establishment. Clinton's Chief of Staff, the DLC favorite, remember?

Yes, the state parties need help. Many don't even have a single paid staff member! They've been allowed to atrophy because the DNC just shows up at presidential election time and does little to help with downballot races. Know how important those are? Two names: Blackwell and Harris.

Many of these chairs and vice chairs will be replaced in the January reorganizations. Want to have input? Go get involved as a precinct person and run for your state central committee. Then you can elect the chair. That's the only way we're going to take the party back. Be prepared to be in it for awhile though--parties usually only reorganize every 2 years.

Dean wants to put $5 million into the states right away to pay for an executive director and a grassroots organizer in every state. That enables us to develop messages from the bottom up. He gets it.

That all said, it would have been nice to let you guys stay, and I know you're mad. But that would have meant the entire press corp would stay, poking their videocameras and lights into our faces, and we would have to live with whatever spin they decided to put on the story. It was clearly stated on the agenda what was open to press and what wasn't.  I'm a DNC member and there was a session I couldn't go to. That was fine with me; the ASDC is entitled to conduct some of its business in private.

by Jenny Greenleaf 2004-12-11 05:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, Calm Down
Ickes has been after the state parties for 20 years. He's a big part of the Washington establishment. Clinton's Chief of Staff, the DLC favorite, remember?
I watched a debate on Friday between From, Borosage, and Rothenberg.  The DNC Chairman topic came up and Al From of the DLC clearly said he had no favorite.  He and Rothenberg were the only ones not to give a name.  I covered this in my blog.
by kydem 2004-12-11 06:03PM | 0 recs
of course From has a favorite
He just knows that if he says it he'll sink their campaign.
by Bob Brigham 2004-12-11 07:03PM | 0 recs
Re: of course From has a favorite
Well, my favorite is certainly not Harold Ickes.  Rather, it's Simon Rosenberg.
by kydem 2004-12-11 07:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, Calm Down
Just for the record, Ickes was not Chief of Staff, but deputy to Panetta, handling political affairs (ie, re-election). He was put in that position in part because of his strong ties to labor and progressive wing of the party, which in early 95 looked like it would offer a primary challenge to Clinton. Ickes was able to keep the progressives on board, which was the single most important factor in winning re-election in 96.

And he was never really a DLC guy; in fact, in 88, he was Jackson's (yes, Jesse) liason to the Party in negotiations over the convention and platform.

by desmoulins 2004-12-11 08:35PM | 0 recs
I stand corrected
Thanks. My depth of knowledge on some of the old players is minimal. I'll start googling before posting.
by Jenny Greenleaf 2004-12-12 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, Calm Down
The ATM thing is so sadly true. The Democratic Party doesn't need vast amounts of money to win elections. The Democratic Party needs the right attitude, it needs the right supporter base, and it needs the right leaders to project that attitude and attract that base.

The DNC would do well to take some notes from the Dean campaign. I'm not a Dean fan, but the Dean campaign got all the elements right; it just didn't last long enough.

Milking supporters for every last dollar isn't the right strategy. The DNC panhandled me for money on the streets of Philadelphia more times than I can count, but they never asked me to canvass or write letters or put up signs. That was a major and fatal mistake, and it happened over and over again, on just about every Democratic campaign I know of.

So many people wanted to do something, but they had no clue what to do, and in the end they just did nothing. The Dean campaign got people motivated and got people out, and that was its greatest success, a success for which the Democratic Party is still indebted.

Damn you, automated party machine!

by Joe Jones 2004-12-11 08:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, Calm Down
The APM:-). I like it.

The party's going to be undergoing a lot of changes. New chairs and vice chairs will be elected in January. New committeemembers have already been elected.

Some of the changes are bound to be painful and some people will be for them and some not. The DNC is just made up of people, like any family or business organization. They're human beings. Sometimes they do stupid stuff without meaning too and people get their feelings hurt.

Let's just try to resolve it for next time. If everyone stakes out hard positions, it's that much harder to come together later. We are all on the same team here, I hope.

by Jenny Greenleaf 2004-12-11 08:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, Calm Down
I want to be more like Jenny Greenleaf. (No, seriously, I do. In all sorts of ways.)

That doesn't mean some Michigan career-party bozo was right to kick Matt and Jerome out of a meeting; it means Jenny Greenleaf has the right attitude about it, the attitude that can help Democrats win next cycle. (In Oregon and across the map.)

by accommodatingly 2004-12-11 08:56PM | 0 recs
next time
Yeah, like next time the balloons will fall right at the convention.

I'm tired of hearing next time. I want accountability. I want people fired the first time the balloons don't drop. I want people fired for this.

by Bob Brigham 2004-12-11 08:58PM | 0 recs
Have you ever made a mistake?
Ever in your life blogswarm? Did you ever drive too fast and get pulled over? Wouldn't you rather have a warning than a ticket? Do you have any forgiveness in your soul for someone who thought they were doing the right thing and made a mistake?

The first rule of assertiveness training is to understand that people can't change their behavior if you haven't told them what bothers you. I find that I get better results if I calmly and politely tell them that they did something that hurt my feelings and I'd rather they didn't do it again. It gives us a place to negotiate from.

by Jenny Greenleaf 2004-12-11 09:16PM | 0 recs
I'm not here to compromise
Democratic leaders do enough of that. I'm here to drive a hard line and not back down. I'm not interested in negotiating, I'm interested in knowing who was fired.

I don't care if they do it again because if they do I'll escalate. I don't want them doing it in the first place.

And I don't think, "they were doing the right thing and made a mistake." I think they are small-minded fools holding back the Party. I want them removed from the Party. Nothing less.

by Bob Brigham 2004-12-11 10:25PM | 0 recs
I'm waiting: has forgiving and compromising worked
Do the balloons fall at the right time. Has forgiving the people who can't make them fall made them fall properly the next time? Has compromising made some of the balloons fall close to the right time?

No, the balloons continue to be fucked up and the MSM gets to spend a week pointing out how Democrats are incompetent. Which is fair, because that is incompetence.

Incompetence should be punished, not rewarded. We have a bunch of people who don't get it and until they do they have no role in a modern political campaign.

No more hack welfare.

by Bob Brigham 2004-12-12 02:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, Calm Down
I would like to learn more about the Association of Democratic Chairs, but unfortunately there isn't even a webpage.

But, if you visit you can learn all you need to about the Albuquerque Square Dance Center.

I am willing to let the webpage go, fine.  

However, the grassroots put this party on our backs and carried it for the last two years.  If they weren't so concerned about pouring over their fundraising databases of small donors, they might recognize that it is inclusion, respect, and communication that breed the activism and fundraising that they covet so much.  Switch that, fundraising first -- then activism.  That much is clear.

And I am not even talking about them listening to 1,000,000 individual bloggers -- but people like Jerome and Matt act almost as gatekeepers for the rest of us.  And when they kicked them out, they kicked all of us out.

Inclusion, Respect, and Communication.


by Tim Tagaris 2004-12-12 01:40AM | 0 recs
They aren't going to pore over my database!!

I wrote a database for the Orange County (NC) DP that now has 30K+ phone numbers and 4K+ email addresses and 1.2K+ volunteers, all without the help of the NC DP, which has been a useless organization, as far as local organizating is concerned IMHO.  Our GOTV effort has a ways to go but it was miles ahead of past years.

Your comment about "pouring [sic] over [our] fundraising databases" reinforces my feeling that we will be able to organize locally and have clout at the state and DNC levels only if we control our own data.

ge/Chapel Hill, NC

by zabouti 2004-12-12 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Oh, Calm Down
Having paid staff is not a blessing.
In Wash State we have a prime example of an Ex. Dir. who is Very well paid and is a prime example of top down management abusing the grass roots, taking tools away from them ( i.e. not allowing Good Democratic PCO's have walking lists for their precincts) But then again since he is a prime example of a rethuglican lite who is more interested in having the grass roots donations help pay of his starter castle in a good MacMansion nieghborhood rather then electing D's what does one expect?
He worked hand in glove the last 8 years while rethuglican lite Gov Locke screwed the teachers, health care workers, environment and state workers all in the name of financial constraints.  In the case of the Health Care workers and teachers he overrode a popularly passed iniatives because of "Budget restraints" but then found $2Billion in corporate welfare to give Boeing over a weekend.
The environment, espiacially water, was placed on the altar of "Economic" development by his personally formed "competitive Council" which never met an envirionmental protection that wasn't too costly or limited property rights.
So don't think paid staff helps. Out here it has only led to the D's losing every major state wide office and the few nominal D's left would be more comfortable in the Bible thumping rethuglicans.
by Rational 2004-12-12 07:35AM | 0 recs
Paid staff
Paid staff reports to the executive committee of your state party. Don't like it? Get yourself put on the exec committee and change the staff.
by Jenny Greenleaf 2004-12-12 12:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Paid staff
The state Chair plays fast and loose with the rules to get an executive committe he likes.
Much like Enron's board. This is possible because of the knuckledragging counties on the wrong side of the mountains the local D's would not be recognized as such except by rethuglican lite standards. So with those knuckle draggers in his corner and generous use of the State's budget he is safe for destroying the satate party for another 2 years.
by Rational 2004-12-13 02:50PM | 0 recs
Jenny Greenleaf, blogger or DNC member?
But I hope, Jenny, that you appreciate the irony in treating bloggers as press, given that you in fact blogged the event.  We presume no one was stupid enough to throw you out of any sessions, since you hold a seat on the DNC, but your blog entry is similar to what Jerome and Matt posted here.  

Bloggers are of many different types, and there are more and more of us.  True, Jerome and Matt are indeed rather press-like bloggers, though the part of the press they resemble is the eentsy weentsy partisan left-wing press that contains Al Franken and about 20 other people.  But consider me.  Apparently these events were open to the general public.  I hope that if I had showed up with my lap top, ready to blog the event for the 23 people who read my blog every day, that I wouldn't have been excluded.

It does seem like something our Democratic organizations need to sort out.

by conchis 2004-12-12 02:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Jenny Greenleaf, blogger or DNC member?
Of course I appreciate the irony. But as bloggers, we haven't figured out if we're press or not. Sometimes we want to be press (look, I have press credentials!) and sometimes we want to be just plain folks writing our amusing diaries for the edification of our 30 readers (oh, no, I'm not the press!). I'm even more confused: blogger or DNC member. Why not both? What's wrong with having a blogger ON the DNC?

I was pretty careful to blog only parts of the event that were open to the press--as did Matt and Jerome. The folks in the Democratic Party of Oregon are well aware that I blog on The American Street, and I was elected after a very spirited discussion on BlueOregon. I think Oregon's a little ahead of some of the other states in understanding and accepting the medium.

Bloggers were invited and welcome to most of the event. Matt and Jerome attended several sessions that were not open to the press. I don't know why Mark decided to make an exception for the Q&A.  I'm in Sarasota visiting my parents now, but when I get back to Oregon, I intend to call him and ask about it. The least we can do is try to understand what happened so similar mishaps can be prevented.

by Jenny Greenleaf 2004-12-12 04:49PM | 0 recs
If you are a kossak
Feel free to recommend over on daily kos, this needs more eyeballs:

Daily Kos: DNC Staff VIOLATES DNC Charter

by Bob Brigham 2004-12-11 05:55PM | 0 recs
Re: If you are a kossak
by Matt Stoller 2004-12-11 07:51PM | 0 recs
blogswarm's post over at Kos:

This would of course be a direct violation of Article 9, Sect. 12 of the DNC Charter (pdf) which mandates that:

All meetings of the Democratic National Committee, the Executive Committee, and all other official Party committees, commissions and bodies shall be open to the public, and votes shall not be taken by secret ballot.

Of course, Article 10, Sect. 3 of the Charter requires this to apply to all Democratic Party bodies.

Please post your ideas for extracting accountability in the comments. Please post contact information including email addresses and direct extensions in the comments. Please recommend and please stand up for Armstrong, Stoller and Trippi.

I would bet some amount of money that ol' Warm has never been to a DNC meeting, or s/he would know there's a massive difference between a DNC meeting and a meeting of the Association of State Chairs.  Competely different bylaws and intent of the meetings.

I understand you guys really want to help, but it doesn't help your credibility with established members of the Democratic Party when you say things like:

The frustrating thing for me is, I have no idea who my DNC representative is. Do I have one? Is s/he accountable to anybody? How did s/he get such a position? How can I get ahold of her?

Just like the federal government, the national parties are too far removed from the people they're supposed to represent, and they're far too susceptible to corruption.

You know what?  If you think you can do a better job, get in there and try.  I'm completely serious.  But I don't think you exhibit that you know much about this topic at all when you can't do a simple Google search for DNC members - and that's only if your own state's Party is too weak to have those folks listed on its website.

I think the discussion on this blog is above and beyond what's happening lots of other places, which is why I'm bothering to post this (usually conversations on blogs can devolve into pointless flamewars fairly quickly).  But I think you need to know what you're up against if you're going to help build state party grassroots.

1.) You're absolutely right when you say states need to raise money to be competitive.  Most state parties are so cash-strapped they can't hire many people, and the folks they can afford to hire are young people without much experience.

So, you wind up spending all your time raising money, which gets you nothing but criticism from folks out in your communities, who don't see the big picture and think you're a bunch of sellouts.

2.) The people you're relying on to do most of your work are unpaid volunteers.  That's right.  People who have jobs and lives and other things to think about, and who do this work out of the goodness of their hearts.  Now, these people are treated like crap by the Party insiders who take all the goodies for themselves (anything like acclamation or credit will go to the people who like to take credit, but not do the work, and there are tons of these people at every level of the Party in every state of the Union.)

You're going to have to do things like organize local Republican business boycotts and letter drives to newspapers.   Since that work isn't very glamorous, a lot of people don't want to do it - but it badly needs doing, and would provide an opportunity for someone who did want to do it to create lasting change.

Honestly, I have no idea what the national Party can do to help, given that they don't show much interest at all in what the rank and file is up to, and they only really interact with the top handful of people in each state (people who, in many cases, work harder at self-promotion than they do at Party promotion).  They really need to spend more time out in the states, and maybe they'd learn what to do to appeal to people out here.

people didn't give money because they'd already given to the DNC. The states got no share of the money nor any accounting as to how it was spent. The DNC raised $192 MILLION out of California. Know how much they got back to help with local races? $0.

 I've been told that the DNC used to give the states money and stopped several years ago. Power has ended up in Washington and in the hands of a cadre of consultants

This is the best thing I've read on a blog lately.  I'm in a Southern state that could have won if the campaign had spent any money here at all, and if it weren't so busy emptying the pockets of our local folks so we couldn't raise money here - on top of the fact that they wouldn't send us so much as a yard sign.

It drives me crazy how everyone is going bananas blaming the South for Kerry's failure, when - my God - they did NOTHING in the vast majority of the region.

by Eleanor A 2004-12-11 06:36PM | 0 recs
re-read the diary
Article 10, Sect. 3 of the Charter requires this to apply to all Democratic Party bodies.

So don't say, "there's a massive difference between a DNC meeting and a meeting of the Association of State Chairs."

Yes, there is, but the Charter applies to all of them.

by Bob Brigham 2004-12-11 06:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts
I live in Kentucky where blue counties are gradually fading away because there is a growing number of conservative Democrats.  I did everything I could in the campaigns.
by kydem 2004-12-11 06:49PM | 0 recs
You know how funny this sounds?
"I understand you guys really want to help, but it doesn't help your credibility with established members of the Democratic Party when you say things like:

The frustrating thing for me is, I have no idea who my DNC representative is. Do I have one? Is s/he accountable to anybody? How did s/he get such a position? How can I get ahold of her? Just like the federal government, the national parties are too far removed from the people they're supposed to represent, and they're far too susceptible to corruption.

"You know what?  If you think you can do a better job, get in there and try."

A better job?! A better job, better than losing control of the House, Senate, Presidency, etc., etc.?

My Lord, that's the whole point!

Regarding the party in my state - you're exactly right, the officers are hard to identify, the website sucks, there's crummy organization (what little there is rose from Dean's campaign) and the party loses, loses, loses.

I don't give 2 shits about my "credibility" with the party establishment. They've "established" themselves most firmly as losers, and unless you want one party control of the USA for the forseeable future, the party needs a housecleaning.

Yes, the party IS too far removed from the people it's supposed to represent. The party leaders don't know how to organize, they don't know how to raise their visibility, they don't know how to reach out to potential activists - and they don't know how to win.

by Toadvine 2004-12-12 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts
I am an expert google searcher and an avid internet user, and i am a little annoyed at your comment:

"...But I don't think you exhibit that you know much about this topic at all when you can't do a simple Google search for DNC members - and that's only if your own state's Party is too weak to have those folks listed on its website..."

It took me a considerable amount of time to find the list, and actually my source ended up being daily kos.

I just think its rude for you to assume that people "don't know much" just because the information they seek isn't easily available.

by phemfrog 2004-12-13 09:41AM | 0 recs
One more thing
Meanwhile Bush was out here visiting "safe" Southern states (safe for him, I mean) seven and eight times.  They outorganized us, plain and simple.
by Eleanor A 2004-12-11 06:40PM | 0 recs
Re: One more thing
It's not just organizing.  It's showing appreciation for your base.
by DreamOfPeace 2004-12-12 04:20AM | 0 recs
Focus on solutions...
I really want to see bloggers at the table, so instead of slinging mud at each other, why don't we see what we can do about it?

Matt and Jerome, what is it that you want? What limitations are you willing to accept? Are you planning to come to the ASDC regional meetings? We'll probably have quite a different set of candidates by then. Do you plan to attend the February meeting of the DNC in DC?

If so, let's work to make sure you can come. As a DNC member of one week, I don't really have much pull, but I'm willing to try to smooth things out.

by Jenny Greenleaf 2004-12-11 06:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Focus on solutions...
Ok, I'd like to see a Vice Chair for the Internet, appointed by the DNC Chair.  The Vice Chair would have to have two years of experience blogging on their own site, and would commit to blogging about the DNC and the party.

And I'd like to see technology training so that these people know that we're trying to HELP them.

I won't be at the regional meetings, but I will go to the DNC in Feb if I can.

by Matt Stoller 2004-12-11 07:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Focus on solutions...
I'll be the first to nominate Matt Stoller!
by kydem 2004-12-11 07:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Focus on solutions...
OK. Remember we're trying to turn a barge here. It takes time and patience.  To create a new vice-chairship would take a resolution of the Rule Committee. I think the Chair has power to appoint Deputy Chairs--that might be one way to do it. In that case, you might consider advocating for Dean, Rosenberg, or one of the other more net-savvy folks.

In the technology business world, where I spent my career, when we invited people to meetings we sometimes had them sign nondisclosure agreements. Maybe we need to offer to do something similar here.

by Jenny Greenleaf 2004-12-11 08:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Focus on solutions...
NDA's are a reasonable idea.
by Matt Stoller 2004-12-12 04:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Focus on solutions...
Why not do more than just "blog." (Indeed, not sure what that means, "two years' experience blogging.")

A DNC staff person (Vice-Chairs are part-time and rarely in the office) to oversee internet activities would have to direct a variety of fuctions

>internet-based, real-time organizing
>on-line communications (ie, rapid response).
>on-line fundraising
>interactive, asynchronous, collaborative community (ie, a Scoop-based "blog" and discussion board)
>building a state and local internet infrastructure that can bring each of these tasks to state and county parties

by desmoulins 2004-12-11 08:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Focus on solutions...
I'm new here; actually, I'm new to the blogosphere. However, there is one thing that is already quite clear to me. It is that there are many powerful Democratic leaning blog sites and memberships out there that are presently lost at sea (not to mention incredibly frustrated) and which could benefit enormously from a little direction from the right kind of proactive DNC. Remember the old cliche: "If you don't use it, you lose it."

It just seems to me that one of the most expeditious and efficacious ways to expand the "real power base" of the Democratic Party might be through the further cultivation of the greater internet ethereal. Actually, we need a whole section or department at the DNC whose primary role and function should be exactly this. At the same time, we surely need more national to state party coordination efforts that occur on a highly active, year-round, day to day basis. Then, perhaps, the DNC could put the activist blogs in close contact and communication with state and local party organizations. All of that could be followed up with joint projects. You know, it just seems to me that might be a good way to get things done more effectively from ground up and to keep the party base highly inspired and motivated from one election cycle to the next election cycle.

In any case, the internet has proven to be a wonderful political resource (and not just for monetary contributions) during this past election cycle; and we must primarily thank Dean and his wise lieutenants for apprising Kerry and the DNC (actually, waking them up from a deep sleep) of that propitious fact of present-day, political reality.

However, it seems to me that instead of heartily thanking and welcoming them with open arms, the powers-that-be at the current DNC are now attempting to disinclude them in a most undignified manner. What's up with that? Really, you couldn't make this stuff up.

Friends, let's put a swift end to the current power plays at the DNC before they create even greater divisions that currently exist within the body politic right now. After all, isn't the Democratic Party supposed to be "the party of inclusion?"      

by Major Tom 2004-12-12 02:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Focus on solutions...
isn't the Democratic Party supposed to be "the party of inclusion?"  

Not only that, but these are supposed to be politicians....with skills...political skills.

Now they've pissed off the hive mind.  

by DreamOfPeace 2004-12-12 04:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Focus on solutions...
I'm don't know if I'll be attending the regional meetings, but I'll be sure to publicize them so that others will show up, and hopefully push the meetings to be opened up; I'm sure we're on the same team there.  

You said, the DNC treated people in the states like ATMs, and I think that's only one side of the story here; because what I heard a lot of talk about, was about the states turning that around, and treating the DNC like an ATM, and frankly, I don't think that's the solution. And it does fit together with the complaint I made, because you heard how Mark Brewer relished throwing out the bloggers, while letting any ol Jack into the room that last Q & A. And that showed a basic misunderstanding of fools who think they got the golden eggs, and have no clue as to how the goose gets into laying them. I'll followup with more about the Q & A and these issues as this proceeds.

by Jerome Armstrong 2004-12-11 07:46PM | 0 recs
I think you and Matt and other well-known bloggers are stuck in a Catch-22, Jerome.  You seem to be upset that "any ol Jack" is let into the Q&A room, while you got the special attention of being kicked out because you run a blog.

The very fact that people at this meeting recognized you as a blogger is a good thing, and it's not at all surprising to me that they asked you to leave.   I mean, just 24 hours ago, you were conducting exit polling and publishing it here!  Why do you think they would think you wouldn't write about what was happening in the Q&A?  

There's still a blurred line between "press" and "bloggers", and it was clear (as I understand) that this meeting was closed to the press.  Joe Trippi is employed as a media analyst for MSNBC.  You have (honorably) shown more loyalty to the truth than to the party in your writing over the last two years.  To most of us, your writing shines welcome light on the many dark corners of party operations.  You might not define yourself as press, but it's not surprising that others would think differenly.

I'm really surprised that you would be surprised to be asked to leave a meeting that was closed to the press.  Though I'm an active member of the "Netroots", I'm sure I'd get in, because I'm still "any ol Jack" as far as they're concerned.  I'm not as recognizable, I'm not conducting and publishing exit polling on a well-known site.  But face it, Jerome, you're different now.  The fact that most people haven't quite figured out what to do with bloggers yet can't really be a surprise to you, can it?  

by Maura in CT 2004-12-11 08:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Catch-22
The very fact that people at this meeting recognized you as a blogger is a good thing, and it's not at all surprising to me that they asked you to leave.   I mean, just 24 hours ago, you were conducting exit polling and publishing it here!  Why do you think they would think you wouldn't write about what was happening in the Q&A?  

You're missing Jerome's point.  First of all, we did exit polls after we got kicked out, not 24 hours ago, and the reason we conducted exit polling is because we were kicked out and had nothing to do.

Second, of all, the reason they should trust us is because we busted our ass for the party and we were specifically invited by Dean and NDN to attend.  We promised we wouldn't write about closed sessions, and they still kicked us out.  All they talked about was the new small donor fundraising base, and the internet, and how awesome Terry McAuliffe was because he built it all, apparently.  And then they shit all over the people who did the work to build the netroots after giving powerpoints on how important the netroots are.

This is idiotic.  Anyone with an email account can now make anything public and large scale - if you let the public in, you let bloggers in.  It's that simple.  These guys just wanted to kick people out.  It had nothing to do with secrecy, it was all a dumb-ass power trip.

by Matt Stoller 2004-12-11 08:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Catch-22
Did Mark know you were invited by Dean and NDN? Did you talk to him about it? He's the chair; it's his meeting to run as he likes.

I don't think anyone was on a power trip or just wanted to kick people out. That wasn't my impression at all. They just wanted to have a discussion without press. You had self-identified as press.

Why don't you ask Simon and Howard what should have happened or what you can do to prevent a similar occurrence?

by Jenny Greenleaf 2004-12-11 08:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Catch-22
We made it clear that we were invited.  And we explicitly said we WERE NOT press, and that WE WOULD NOT WRITE ABOUT IT.

The point here has nothing to do with us getting kicked out, it's about their overall plan to fleece the DNC so that they can pull the cash in at the state level.  At the same time, they have no understanding of why the internet donations work.  They just see cash and say 'mine all mine' without any sense of where it comes from or that the people who give it aren't just numbers.

by Matt Stoller 2004-12-11 08:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Catch-22
Wow. You got a completely different read from this than I did. That's OK. People can have different opinions. I don't get that hit at all. People were more upset about the DNC doorknockers. Nobody I talked to on a personal level even mentioned internet fundraising.

What do you have against the state parties? I think they're essential. I've been working really hard on the Oregon party.

Can we just chalk this up to an unfortunate experience and learn from it? Next time, let's make sure you're clear about what you can and can't attend and you can adjust your expectations accordingly. There was a meeting I didn't get in to, and I'm ON the DNC.

I guess what matters here is WHO you talked to. Was it Mark? If he didn't know who you were and why you were there, you should just politely tell him to avoid future confrontations. I can tell your feelings were really hurt, and I'm sorry about that.

Most people in the party are committed to transparency. And the body is not monolithic, so it's not fair to condemn everyone and all state parties. If it was up to me, I would have been happy to have you as my guest. Since I'm not a member of the ASDC, I didn't have the ability to have guests.

I had 4 hours of sleep last night. I'm going to bed...

by Jenny Greenleaf 2004-12-11 09:06PM | 0 recs
let's not learn from it
Let's fire some people and let others learn from an example.
by Bob Brigham 2004-12-11 09:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Catch-22

This isn't about feelings, but professionalism.  Neither of us care that we were kicked out - it's happened before, it'll happen again.  We made it clear who we were the day before - it didn't matter.  There are problems with the state parties, it's changing, and you're part of the change.  Coming on here to communicate is great.  But please don't change the subject to one of New Agey feelings.  That's the not the point.  The point is a basic greed and corruption.

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.    

Kicking out Joe Trippi and Jerome Armstrong (the two guys that hatched Dean's netroots) while asking to grab more cash from the national party, even though the state parties screwed up big time during the election - do you not see the problem with this?

I'm not talking about Oregon.  You're a good state party.  It's that there's a basic greed and controlling desire here that's unrelated to electing Democrats.  That's the problem.  

by Matt Stoller 2004-12-12 05:02AM | 0 recs
Missing the point
I did miss the point that your exit polling happened after being kicked out.

I can definitely empathize with a feeling of resentment that you'd feel after working so much over the past two years, fighting the inertia of many in the party in order to develop a strong Netroots, only to hear McAuliffe praised for Netroots successes while you get kicked out of the room.

I understand that you feel you have earned trust because we were ultimately all working for the same goal and you have demonstrably worked your ass off.  But from my complete outsider's perspective (I wasn't there, and I think the only people I've met that were in the room were Jerome Armstrong and Howard Dean, neither of whom I'm yet lucky enough to call a friend!) I think you and Jerome may be taking this too personally.  

You're absolutely right that anybody in the room could write about it, and I'm sure most people in the room WILL at least talk about it with people outside the room.  But not all those people run well-known blogs.  And it seems at least possible to me that someone in the room would have a hard time accepting a promise from a blogger.  No one understands the "rules" of blogging, if there are any.  

This is just complete speculation, of course, but if you mentioned that NDN and Dean invited you and Jerome to be there, it wouldn't surprise me to think that some people in the room might resent that.  I mean, Rosenberg and Dean were invited guests; perhaps some might have thought it nervy that you'd consider an invitation from Rosenberg and Dean to trump what they considered the rules of  the Q&A (that is, that press were not allowed, and they considered you to be press.)  

In a way, I think it would suck for you to be in a position where you'd have to promise not to write about what you discovered in a meeting.  If that were true, what would be your purpose in being in the meeting?  If not in the meeting as a blogger who intends to write about the meeting, what is your role there?  Are you just trying to become another "insider", a powerful Netroots consultant to the party rather than a blogger?  Or are you there to gain perspective on the meeting so you can write about it?

The party has made huge strides in the past year in trying to find a way to demonstrate that they welcome bloggers.  They don't always succeed (aside from blowing big money on parties for bloggers, which as much as I enjoy an open bar, I considered a waste) but I wouldn't take being kicked out of this meeting as a sign that they don't care about the Netroots.  They know that you're (we're) powerful, they know you have a voice, and they know you have a huge audience.  In that context, it's understandable to me that some may have been more comfortable with the session being closed to you in addition to the press.

If it's all about one power-trippy asshole who kicked you out, well then, that one guy's a power trippy asshole.  And it might also be that there are plenty of people who just don't quite understand what bloggers are and were uncomfortable with you being there.  And it might be that plenty of people are threatened by your power and didn't know you well enough personally to trust that you wouldn't use it to share what was said in the meeting.  

It might also be that I don't know what on earth I'm talking about.  ;-)  For what it's worth, though, I appreciate your presence at this event and the first-hand observations you've been able to share with us!

by Maura in CT 2004-12-11 08:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Catch-22
You have the timeline wrong. The reason why I did the exit polling was because I had a lot of time on my hands after getting kicked out of the Q & A. I got together with the other media people there, we figured out what sort of system would work best, and we went at it...

I don't believe that bloggers that in everyway work for the Democratic Party are part of the media at all. I'm not part of the press at all, I've been to plenty of Democratic places where I don't blog it; we'd agreed to that beforehand.

And besides, look on the RNC side, if you don't think there's a division going on between the allowed-in partisan media, and the allowed out, look again.

Nah, I'm not surprised by the incompetence, it happens all to ofter. But the  access is just one part of the complaint, it's within the more serious context that it is within that's more troublesome.

by Jerome Armstrong 2004-12-11 08:24PM | 0 recs
Media? Press?
Sorry for getting the timeline wrong; I do understand where you're coming from.  If you don't think they kicked you out because they thought you were press, though, why do you think they kicked you out?

You do not define yourself as a member of the press, and you say you're not part of the media because you "work for the Democratic Party".  But if you worked for the party, you'd do exactly what the party wants you to do.  You work to elect Democrats, but that doesn't mean when the party says "jump", you say, "how high", right?  (As far as I can see.)  You feel free to criticize party leaders and decisions, and as a member of the Netroots, I'm grateful to be able to read your gleefully partisan independent voice.  I don't think you're a tool of the party, but I trust that you work for what you think is the best interests of the party.

Nevertheless, even you yourself sometimes consider yourselves to be part of the media, and sometimes don't.  Above, you wrote that "I got together with the other media there" and then in the next sentence you say you're not a part of the media.  ;-)

Blogs are a new medium, but IMO they are part of "the media".  

BTW, did you get to go to Dean's evening event tonight?  If so, how was it?  Or did you agree not to blog about it?  :-)

by Maura in CT 2004-12-11 08:55PM | 0 recs
DNC Disses
According to Sunday's WaPo "many in the DNC" are pissed at for urging its members to voice their opinions about the new DNC chair--and forwarding those opinions to the appropriate state chairperson at this weekend's conference.

Any scoop on who exactly in the DNC is pissed--and does this anti-MoveOn feeling tie into the anti-blog stance described above?

by Stevew 2004-12-11 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: DNC Disses
DNC Committee person friend of mine:

"I hate the Deaniacs!!!  I checked the number that I had listed with the DNC, and the voicemail was full with 30 messages from people I didn't know telling me to vote for Dean"

DNC people are pissed that they'll have to clean out their voicemails, email, and snailmail boxes of junk mail advocating for Dean.  While from an advocate perspective, it may seem innocuous, multiply it by a 1000 and you can see why people are pissed.

Additionally, the MoveOn email was way out of line.  They have just marginalized themselves from the Democratic Party.

by audibledevil 2004-12-11 07:38PM | 0 recs
Re: DNC Disses
I don't blame the DNC and even I thought the email was out of line.  Inboxes have a limit and sometimes they fill up.  Before I upgraded, when I went home for Rosh HaShanah, I cleared out most of my inbox, and it was full by Saturday night.
by kydem 2004-12-11 07:40PM | 0 recs
Define junk
The fact that a pal of yours on the DNC Committee considers feedback from grassroots members of the party to be "junk" is exactly what many of us see as the problem.

In my opinion, if you're an elected or appointed member of the national committee, you are serving the members of the party as a whole.  The fact that many people who have served for years on the Committee have done so without connecting with or hearing from "people I didn't know" is a MAJOR problem.  

Sorry, but 30 voicemail messages take a half hour to an hour to go through.  If this was something happening every day for two years I could see how it would be a problem.  But hearing this kind of feedback from interested Democrats after a defeat like we just suffered should be considered a GOOD thing.  

by Maura in CT 2004-12-11 08:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Define junk
by Matt Stoller 2004-12-11 08:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Define junk
So if 1,000 different people emailed you, and then called you at home, would you feel differently?
by audibledevil 2004-12-11 08:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Define junk
Yes, I would, but I would also take my job seriously if I were elected to the DNC.
by Matt Stoller 2004-12-11 08:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Define junk
I never got replies from the state party office until I was named to a position in the college dems chapter at my school.
by kydem 2004-12-11 08:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Define junk
by Matt Stoller 2004-12-12 04:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Define junk
Well, thats what many DNC committee people are suffering right now
by audibledevil 2004-12-11 08:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Define junk
Sorry but this is so hypocritical.

Voters this year received handwritten letters, mass mailings, robo calls, canvassers showing up at their door and were bombarded with political advertisements everytime they sat down infront of their tv...WHY?

Because of politicos like the ones who are annoyed wanted to to influence their vote...

Herein lies the rub, if these cats don't want to be bothered by people then they are in the wrong business.

by Parker 2004-12-11 10:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Define junk
by Matt Stoller 2004-12-12 04:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Define junk
Your attitude is fascinating.  The only thing wrong with a voicemailbox full of messages from constituents asking for support for Dean is that your friend wasn't there to pick up the phone and talk to us.  And you know, whatever s/he had to say, we would have listened.

Of course, one's not always by one's phone.  But if your a DNC member, you still have to represent us.  And yes, I know, this sort of advocacy means more if it comes from people the member knows, people who are already in the organization.  But if a call from me means less than nothing, than the member doesn't have the right attitude for service.

by conchis 2004-12-12 05:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Define junk
I have two republican senators that have stopped replying to any of my letters.
by kydem 2004-12-12 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Define junk
Shoot me an IM on "audibledevil"...
by audibledevil 2004-12-11 08:15PM | 0 recs
Re: DNC Disses
Additionally, the MoveOn email was way out of line.  They have just marginalized themselves from the Democratic Party.

The more I read about this kind of thing, be it Jerome and Matt (and Trippi) getting the boot, From and Reed's scolding in the WSJ, Beinart advocating "purging" MoveOn, it sure seems like there's a small number of people and voices that would like to get rid of the pesky 99.9% of the people that constitute the Democratic Party.

Wouldn't it just be easier to um, "purge" the .1% who aren't getting it, take back the Democrat brand, and re-open it under new management (namely us)?

by chiggins 2004-12-12 01:09PM | 0 recs
Re: DNC Disses
It's not about moveon members voicing their opinion, but many state party chairs and DNCers feel that MoveOn unfairly attacked outgoing-chair Terry McAuliffe in their email as being too tied to big money corporate interests to really change the party. That's a pretty unfair charge seeing how McAuliffe changed the DNC to a grassroots party, and made invested in voterfiles and technology no other chair had ever made. Here's some stats under Mcauliffe the DNC sent out to it's email list on Friday:

"Under Chairman Terry McAuliffe's leadership, the DNC has spent the past four years making the power of grassroots activism a top priority. Thanks to those efforts, the Democratic Party is stronger than it has ever been before.

  • In 2000, the DNC only raised $35 million in small donations. Most of our resources -- over $150 million -- came in large donations. But in 2004, there was a remarkable turnaround. This year, the vast majority of our funding -- over $248 million -- came from average Americans donating what they could, while large donations actually went down to just $105 million -- less than a third of our total.

  • In the past four years, the DNC expanded its small donor base seven fold, from 400,000 in 2000 to 2.7 million in 2004.

  • The DNC invested $80 million in grassroots field organizing in 2004 -- 166 percent over 2000.

  • The DNC fielded more than 2000 organizers in battleground states, and conducted 530 organizing conventions across the country, training nearly 80,000 attendees.

  • We also mobilized 233,000 volunteers, knocking on 11 million doors, and making 38 million volunteer phone calls.

These remarkable accomplishments could not have been achieved without your tireless dedication to our party and to the enacting the strategic plans we put in place over the past four years."
by dcdoug 2004-12-11 07:58PM | 0 recs
Re: DNC Disses
A lot of people were quite upset by that email. The grassroots folks on the email list that went out to don't care about how much money you make, or how many people you organized, when you can't win an election with it.
by punishinglemur 2004-12-11 08:03PM | 0 recs
Re: DNC Disses
I thought the email was way out of line, as well. I've felt since January that MoveOn has sort of lost its way; no longer the hot-shot whiz kids, no longer the cute, young thing; I think they've fallen into the inevitable need to feed their "movement" without having clear objectives.

In short, MoveOn's role, from 98 to 02, has been supplanted and it needs a new one. Being the liberal equivalent of the Club For Growth or the Family Resource Council is not a good one.

by desmoulins 2004-12-11 08:54PM | 0 recs
what about the numbers that matter?
The numbers you quote for more the result of Dean and Bush than McAliffe.

Anyway, I don't care how fast Terry swung the bat, struck out, we lost. He's a loser. Quit trying to re-write history.

You want a number, how about 2. Because moveon is twice as relevant as McAliffe's DNC. Terry lost. We have a word for people who lose:

by Bob Brigham 2004-12-11 08:52PM | 0 recs
What has won, ever?

Got congress to censure Clinton and move on? No.

Stopped the War in Iraq and let the weapons inspections continue? Nope.

Got the Federal Trade Comission to investigate Fox News? Yeah right.

Beat George W. Bush? Sadly, no.

by Jumbo 2004-12-12 07:50AM | 0 recs
manners issues
What we are seeing here is exactly what happens when any "outside" group gets so big that the "inside" group has to take notice, especially when the "inside" group knows that something needs to change, because they've been losing. Neither side understands the ways of the other, or the reasons behind the other's habits; some of those reasons still make sense, some don't, and some are just there to cover up self-interested or bad-faith actions (especially on the part of the "inside" figures, who are more likely to have made careers of the struggle). This is what happened with ACT UP and (or against) more established gay advocacy organizations in the early Nineties; it happend with the NAACP and old-line civil rights groups and (or against) advocates of direct action in the early Sixties. And it's happening with our party now. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as long as both sides learn to work together by the end. But it's gonna be rough for a bit, and we need to distinguish individual assholes (Mark Brewer sounds like one) from institutional culture clash.

Thanks a million to JGreenleaf and Eleanor A for their nuanced explanations. Keep at it, and disregard the silly people who will call you sellouts every so often because you've chosen to work with the tools we have. (If you're reading this blog and you don't  know who Jenny Greenleaf is, you should learn.)

I really like Matt's idea of an Internet vice chair. I hope it happens.

by accommodatingly 2004-12-11 07:55PM | 0 recs
Re: manners issues
No one's calling them sell-outs.  Just to be clear - I think the world of Jenny (I don't know Eleanor but she seems great).
by Matt Stoller 2004-12-11 08:14PM | 0 recs
DNC vs Bloggers
In elections to come which will be the key endorsement, what will unlock the flood of small internet donations that transformed politics in this post McCain-Feingold world?

DNC types seem to believe that it is all a matter of technique "why didn't we think of raising millions on the Internet (sound of smack on head)". Which is why they think they can do an end run on Dean and Trippi and Jerome and Stoller. They apparently think of the blogosphere as just another mailing list to purchase. While I don't want to dislocate my shoulder giving myself a pat on the back on behalf of all blogtopia, there is a new paradigm in town.

The DNC and the DLC are no longer the clearinghouses for money. The big checks from companies are no longer legal and the party organizations are no longer in the position of determining which candidates live or die. If "early money is like yeast" (EMILY), this past cycle has shown you can leaven your bread without ever tugging your forelock to the Gods of the Beltway.

This debate played its way out on dKos in real time. Markos' first thought was to work through the DNC and it worked for a time. He even got his call returned from Terry Mac. But that DNC meter never showed any real movement, the real money was moving directly to Dean and congressional candidates and later to Kerry. The lesson was slow to dawn but when it did it was stark: in the new politics you can sell direct, you don't need a wholesaler or distributer.

The internet is not going away, nor are the credit cards that proved you can raise $100,000,000 at an average donation of $56. The DNC is making the same mistake the Kerry campaign did, they are assuming that this flood of money will turn on a dime and flow whatever direction they choose. I think they are wrong: ABB was and is a real phenomenon and it had no real choice but to line up behind Kerry. But all bets are off now and the energy and the money are poised to go in directions totally uncontrolled by the Party. $25 and $50 at a time.

"I am not a member of any organized politcal party, I am a Democrat". Will Rogers was telling a joke, little did he know that he might be predicting a powerful new reality.

by Bruce Webb 2004-12-11 09:56PM | 0 recs
Re: DNC vs Bloggers
It's all about CONTROL.

You hit the nail on the head. Remember, when even before Dean had stepped out of the race MacAuliffe was already strongarming him for his "list".

So this begs the question: "Is it the list or the person or group behind the list?"

We have many examples:

  • Dean's list has already proven to be substantial and sustaining. Dean directs his list based on the fact that the people on his list trust him?

  • AARP's list was decimated when they tried to run rough shod over its members by backing the Medicare bill which will directly hurt their member.

  • The Democratic party of Louisana sent out an alarm to many lists called for money and help ...not many showed up WHY? because they themselves had actively defrauded the African American community.

  • Kerry has a list of over 2 million can he wield his list as handily as Dean??? Or were the people on his list just buying protection from Bush...ABB.

So, you put your finger directly on the problem: A list is just a bunch of names no different than a telehone directory, it has to be combined with the proper impetus to "Control" and direct it.

I see where Jerome and Matt's anger is coming from but they should take a page out of Dean's book. It takes a great man to stand aside and watch your mortal enemy give your stump speech infront of millions of people and breaking the bank  using the methods you pioneered and were even poo poo'd for.

Everyone knows beside that little cheering section on the executive committee that is was not MacAullife who championed the small donor extravaganza that took place this year, just as everyone knows that Kerry couldn't have come even this close to winning had it not been for Dean.

People will always "try it on" but at the end of the day everyone knows the truth. The fact that Dean was able to steer his list into giving over 200,000 dollars to Gregoire in less than 48 hours is a testiment to his leadership abilities. All of this after he loss the primaries and after Kerry lost the presidency.

The fact that so many people have logged on to hear Jerome's and Matt's inside story is a testiment that people want to hear the truth.

My only advice Jerome and Matt is "suck it up" not because they are wrong but because they are right and they are providing an INVALUABLE service and I would like to see them go to the regional meetings. Maura is right they are no longer just "any ole guy" and they must remeber above all else people are looking to make themselves relevant and for jobs (cough...MacAullife...cough).

We are all humans and I'd be a very wealthy person if I had a nickel for everytime some idiot claimed fame to my work.

by Parker 2004-12-11 11:22PM | 0 recs
Forgive me, 'cause it's past 2 AM here in CO, and I might ramble.

  1. I like the idea of a Deputy Chair or Vice Chair for technology. But I'm not necessarily keen on Matt's requirement that they be blogging for 2 years minimum; for example, I've been blogging off and on since May 2001. Should I be considered? Not likely--there's other stuff that should go into that, like familiarity with technology.

  2. As much as we don't like to admit it, we aren't perfect. :-). Reading BlogSwarm's comments, I'm afraid that he might be repping for a significant minority of us. In the desire to find a scapegoat and smash the state, we might risk trashing any chance at power. I'm not an Al From fan; but looking at some of the stuff that the DLC/PPI has put out, is it so antagonistic to that which we hold dear? I'd say no.

You say you want people fired? Fine. And in the extraordinarily unusual event that you screw up, would you plead for mercy and a second chance?

3. I'm beginning to get a bit annoyed with all the Dean/Lakoff worship that I'm coming face to face with here in CO, and among some of my friends online. Neither of the two have a monopoly on common sense, and after reading Lakoff's short tome, I fail to see what the blinding insight is. Luntz & Gingrich made the same "breakthrough", and I'm inclined to go down that road.

Also, Dean isn't the be-all, end-all of Democratic politicians. I'm concerned that we're ascribing all sorts of characteristics and powers to the man, and that the man inevitably won't live up to the myth. For example, one person told me tonight that Dean would have cared more about national security policy than any other candidate during the primaries! Please! You mean to tell me that between Dr. Dean and Sen. Bob Graham, former member of the Senate Intel Committee, Dean cared more about national security? Come on.

I think he'd be a good spokesman, but certainly not a great one. First and foremost, you need message discipline, and even Trippi, the man who largely made Dean's meteoric rise possible, said and wrote that the man lacked it. I personally favor Sy Rosenberg, but beyond that, I'm looking at someone who's willing to divorce and sever the Party from its institutional belief that it's a government in exile. In order to pull the reform bit, that's beyond necessary.

by Arkhangel 2004-12-11 11:26PM | 0 recs
blogosphere needs to push
For the record, I want to point out that for a full month after the election I wrote nothing but long puff pieces on how we could come together to reform the party. Now I'm going to aggitate some more. And in January I will be quite ruthless. February I'll record what happens and after the vote, I'll be vindictive through the purge. And then I'll go back to bashing Republicans. But right now, this is our time to get our house in order. And kicking bloggers out of Party meetings is bullshit. Kicking Jerome Armstong, Matt Stoller and Joe Fucking Trippi out is crazy.

I see where you're coming from, I just want you to know that I'm looking forward to focusing on bashing Republicans but I'm not planning on pulling in punches as we modernize the party.

by Bob Brigham 2004-12-11 11:38PM | 0 recs
Re: blogosphere needs to push

If you have yahoo messenger, hit me up.  Pajonsero is the screen name.

If not email me whatever text tool you use and user name.


by Tim Tagaris 2004-12-11 11:41PM | 0 recs
Re: blogosphere needs to push

Awesome! It's just that I've been through the circular firing squad bit here in Southern CO one time too many, so I'm a bit gunshy, so to speak. I'm leery of purges because they don't tend to be instruments of precision--that's all.


by Arkhangel 2004-12-12 06:51AM | 0 recs
what I want to know
Why didn't they kick out the people who don't have blogs? I mean really, what the fuck is somebody doing running a state Democratic party without a blog? Those are the people who should get the fuck out of the room. Those are the people who are holding back the Party. Those are the people who aren't taking advantage of every opportunity. Those are the people who are too scared of change to cash in online. Throw them out of the room, the Democratic Party will be far better off.
by Bob Brigham 2004-12-12 12:27AM | 0 recs
Re: what I want to know
It's a small donor issue - those who donated were not represented in the room.  It was those who wasted the money that were, and kicked out symbolically those who gave.
by Matt Stoller 2004-12-12 04:53AM | 0 recs
Re: what I want to know
The Kentucky Democratic Party has no blog but there are several of us Kentuckians with a blog site.  However, I may very well be the only one that calls my blog: The Kentucky Democrat.  Needless to say, I have been asked if it is a site controlled by the state party.  Very flattering but no.

I emailed Jerome saying I can handle the KY news when he comes around to updating the State Analysis section.

by kydem 2004-12-12 06:35AM | 0 recs
DNC doesn't get it
I'm certain there are state party orgs that suck, state-chairs & vice-chairs ego-tripping, folks in the DNC that won't yield power, some that will seek advantageous (to them) compromises, and some that really get it and will build something new, given the chance.

I'm also used to seeing post-election circular firing squads among Dems; it's the most common attribute I can think of when I consider what Dems stand for (kind of a sucky brand, if you ask me).

But two things are especially obvious to me: the biggest loss in Nov 2004 wasn't the top of the ticket. It was the forgotten folks at the bottom of the economic ladder - the poor, the ill, the frail, the youngest and oldest, who will lose far more than anyone else because of 2004. It's the innocents in Iraq and the US troops on the ground who'll die.

Frankly, we all failed them. The Dems simply have to become a 50-state party again, though even a 35 state party would be an improvement. It will require insiders and outsiders cooperating, but the insiders have the most to lose. If they keep mishandling people who've earned cred, those folks will walk and the GOP could deliver a real ass-kicking, which would doom the insiders from that cycle.

Thus, I think Matt & Jerome's complaints are largely valid and deserve a response from the dumb clucks who decided to run this power play on them. It looks like they threw them out just to demonstrate that they could, continuing a pattern of dismissiveness that's been evident before.

I don't think it's right to casually take shots at state delegates unless they wish to specify which ones and where. But it sounds like a good group blog project to get in touch with the  delegates and precinctpeople in all 50 states, to make a clearer assessment of who's competent and what's needed to make all 50 better.

But, regarding the immediate matter, since Matt & Jerome had agreed to keep privileged info quiet, the DNC was outa line forcing them out and they are owed an apology.

by Kevin Hayden 2004-12-12 12:54AM | 0 recs
or we would NOT be having this discussion which I am sure is being repeated in all 50 states.

There have been friendly changeovers like in the case of Oregon or not so friendly changes like a legal suit that may be issued Dec 15 to the Louisana Dem Chair for his immediate resignation for the fraud he committed amongst the African American Deocratic voters. And in some cases there was no need to change management because the "newbies" were embraced from the start and their issues incorporated in the overall organization.

I would be very surprised if one of these three dynamics isn't taking place in every single state.

THAT IS GOOD even the bad changeover is good the party no one said it wasn't going to hurt. Those that are wise know that these new people are not going to leave so they might as well let them in. There are still those who think that this was a  one off thing and that sooner rather than later all those crazy Deaniac will get tired and go home.

The latter are obviously non-reality based Democrats. People are not showing up to Democratic meetings for the sake of Howard Dean. Dean did tell them that if they wanted change that YOU HAVE THE POWER, unfortunatly for the establishment Dems severval hundreds of thousand of people took that literally. They are showing up because they want to know what the hell is going on and why is their property taxes going up, why are the son and daughters being shipped off to Iraq when they just signed up the the National Guard and Reserve to pay for college tutition, why does the rest of the world hate us, who let their job go overseas...

So those who are still refusing to let in the newbies and who are mounting the anti-Dean movement have two choices...they can either step up to the plate and answer those questions above and fight for the rights of the average parson which they have failed to do for the past decade or... they can move the hell out of the way.

by Parker 2004-12-12 02:22AM | 0 recs
they can either step up to the plate and answer those questions above and fight for the rights of the average parson which they have failed to do for the past decade or... they can move the hell out of the way.


by DreamOfPeace 2004-12-12 04:16AM | 0 recs
if you really wanted to fix this
you'd stop whining and do what the Christian Coalition did back in the day on the other side:  start recruting (hard) to get people who think like us in critical positions and as volunteers for all 50 state parties.

The rest reminds me of what I used to hear on a daily basis when I was primary counselor at a group home for teenage boys:  "I's not RIGHT!  It's not FAIR!

Let's grow up, shall we?

by Pachacutec 2004-12-12 05:04AM | 0 recs
Re: if you really wanted to fix this
This discussion IS recruiting. At least I hope it is. The discussion identifies a problem, or a set of problems (no respect for the real netroots; people who'd rather keep power than win elections; state and national parties inclined to treat one another like ATMs; and, last but not least, young, new or Net-based Dems who would rather complain than get involved and make change). All of these problems seem real, and the way to start solving them is to take over state, local and interest-group-based party organizations. Pachacutec, the people who have taken the lead in this discussion-- Matt, Jerome, JGreenleaf, and apparently also Maura in Va-- are doing exactly what you recommend, and encouraging (at least by example) everyone else to do the same.

Most of you can find your state party contact info with a google search. (Minnesotans: it's, but also check out, which practically begs for your input.)

by accommodatingly 2004-12-12 05:42AM | 0 recs
Only takes a few to take over a County Committee
If you get 6-10 people who will regularly go to County Democratic Committee business meetings and vote as a block with you, you can take control over most Democratic County Committees.
by afs 2004-12-12 08:15AM | 0 recs
This is the GOSPEL
Decisions are made by those who show up.

Everyone must remember this when looking at their crusty State Dem least these people bothered to show up!!!

Another thing you must remember is that they consider these committees "their babies" that they have nursed and encouraged to grow to the best of their ability. The best thing anyone can do is just to KEEP SHOWING UP. No way are they going to hand over the keys to someone who just popped in the door yesterday.

This will help in two ways either there can be a gentle friendly change over or most likely no need for change of management at all but a jolt of new blood in the body does wonders.

Saying there will still be a few tough nut cases to crack...but enventually one way or another they'll break.

by Parker 2004-12-12 08:36AM | 0 recs
Re: if you really wanted to fix this
That's the truth, Pachacutec.
by Denver 2004-12-12 06:46PM | 0 recs
How utterly ridiculous
I think this incident could be a blessing in disguise used to highlight and motivate the need for reform. To be able to use the disconnect between the old Dems and netroots, new dems as an opportunity for training and education.

I get the very real impression from the DNC that they think simply sending out a begging email for money is what you do, rather than engaging people first so they feel like a part of whats going on.

This is critical, and needs to be fully understood, especially by the state and county parties, who are even more pathetic, at least here in Ohio.

If It were me, I would be using this incident as leverage to push the reform agenda and highlight why the old way is the wrong way, and inclusion at the mostbasic levels are essential.

Right now bloggers are straddling strange lines because viods are present.

they act as information disseminators, both of local and national and campaign information to organize and act and inform, but they are also acting as pseudo party leaders trying to shape campaigns and messages because local and state parties are not doing that.

I do not consider bloggers to be part of the press, I think they are becoming part of the political process, a very important one. Time to make it clear, loud and clear how important netroots organizers are for informing, motivating, organizaing anf undraising.

Matt, Jerome, Keep pounding them, reform is essential even if we have to have some blood letting.

by Pounder 2004-12-12 06:49AM | 0 recs
The Arizona website was completely pathetic
The Arizona website was completley pathetic, like it was made in FrontPage.  Around the convention, I tried to go and donate money, but the website was broken.  Eventually, at the time of the convention, they actually took the website down!

I have lots of experience building websites and ecommerce solutions, and wrote some very nice letters to the folks in charge offering to help work or tune the website.  I got one response back essentially telling me to f' off.

The Arizona party isn't a whole lot better.  There are many many races out here that field NO democratic candidates.  Now the Republicans won out here by about 15 points.  But that still means there are tons of democrats that can be found.  How can the party out here expect to win until it can field an entire slate of candidates that as a whole can present the democratic message to the media?

But none of that stopped the local party from offering ONLY very expensive dinners with the candidates.  Nothing really for the mainstream party or those interested in helping out to actually help out, AND to be able to put in their two cents.

In essence, you're absolutely right about the need for the state parties to get their shit together.

by az dem 2004-12-12 10:39AM | 0 recs
Bloggers and the DNC
Given the rift between bloggers and the DNC perhaps a good candidate for the MyDD Book Club Discussion would be Run the Other Way by Bill Hillsman.
by Herb La Tortue 2004-12-12 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Bloggers and the DNC
I just finished that book today on the flight out to the west coast, excellent.
by Jerome Armstrong 2004-12-12 10:06PM | 0 recs
Stoller gets a bad karma pay back
When Pete Townsend wrote the words, "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" he was referring to the likes of Matt Stoller.  I posted dissent on his BOP blog when he became an issue during the DNC in July pointing out the parallel with his behavior with the Clark campaign; and for my critical comments he banned me from his blog.  Yes, it's his blog and he can do that, but he is not role model for the blogging community.  So why should I support Matt when he's thrown out of a DNC meeting when he bans people from his blog?
by KBowe 2004-12-12 02:59PM | 0 recs
More thoughts
You know, honestly it's amusing to me that Matt and Jerome are SO angry over being thrown out of one meeting, because believe me, it gets worse.

You might want to look into people out in the states being actual constituency leaders for the Kerry campaign (LGBT, Pacific Americans, Women for Kerry, etc.), and being treated like so many people off the street at the Boston convention.  Basically, if you weren't from Ohio, Michigan or Florida during this campaign, you weren't much.  Which is not exactly the attitude you want to inspire amongst your grassroots.

The folks who are talking about how much of this game is showing up are exactly right.  I mean this respectfully, really I do, just don't get it.  In most of the states, the issue isn't taking power away from the people who have it, it's motivating 25 or 100 or 200 volunteers to show up and help you stuff envelopes and go door to door.  Most party-building and campaign work isn't glamorous and exciting - it's hideously difficult drudgery, which is what makes a lot of this so hard.  See the post above where I mentioned that a great (and I mean GREAT) many people in the Democratic Party show up when it's time to take credit and to look nice on TV, but are they there day after day when it's time to do the drudge work?  What do you think?

Another thing that'll break your heart is how many public officials run as Democrats, and then turn around and run away from Presidential or statewide candidates they think will cost them political capital.  Our Democratic Governor in one Southern state gave interviews to the newspaper in the state Capital talking about how Kerry wouldn't win.  Not nice, given that hundreds of unpaid volunteers were working their asses off at the time trying to help Kerry...some of the same volunteers who had worked their hearts out trying to elect said Governor.  Talk about a slap in the face.

>Why didn't they kick out the people who don't have blogs? I mean really, what the fuck is somebody doing running a state Democratic party without a blog? Those are the people who should get the fuck out of the room. Those are the people who are holding back the Party. Those are the people who aren't taking advantage of every opportunity. Those are the people who are too scared of change to cash in online. Throw them out of the room, the Democratic Party will be far better off.

And who's going to take their place?  How many people 50 or older do you think know how to run an Internet blog?  How many people would post on it, even if you wrote them step by step directions on how to do it?  Not many of them, and I know because I tried.  Hard.

> I don't give 2 shits about my "credibility" with the party establishment. They've "established" themselves most firmly as losers, and unless you want one party control of the USA for the forseeable future, the party needs a housecleaning.

> Yes, the party IS too far removed from the people it's supposed to represent. The party leaders don't know how to organize, they don't know how to raise their visibility, they don't know how to reach out to potential activists - and they don't know how to win.

> by Toadvine  on Sun Dec 12th, 2004 at 01:15:21 PM EST

You guys don't seem to understand how hard the Party establishment will fight you if they think you stand a real chance at taking power away from them.

Everything that happens within the Party is governed by a set of bylaws, either at the local, state or National level.  This is done for a number of reasons: to prevent power grabs, sure, but also to prevent power grabs by people who talk big and then fail to deliver (this is a lot more prevalent than you might expect.)

Mostly our problem is apathy on the part of the public.  Privately?  I think this loss may be the best thing that ever happened to the Democratic Party, because it's going to get some people who should have been working all along off of their asses.  Too bad a bunch more kids are going to get killed in Iraq before some of this gets turned around.

by Eleanor A 2004-12-12 06:40PM | 0 recs
Just did a quick review of the thread
and would like to offer just one thought.

What the Republicans have done pretty darn well over the last few years is, whatever their internal differences, they have avoided eating their own.  They successfully avoided the circular firing aquad phenomenon by keeping focused on the enemy, in part of course by demonizing the opponent.  Republican ranks held tight (even as there are signs they may be fraying and may start squabbling more in the future).

One thing that the Democratic Party has come to understand, I think, is that the "culture war" that Pat Buchanan declared quite some time ago is very real and that it's going to have to be fought and fought hard.  Fought hard by a united Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party is going to have to go through a period of internal self-assessment and self-criticism.   There have to be some changes made.  But, at the end of the day, the Party will still be an alliance of centrists and progressives, and it can only win as that.  Maybe the center of gravity will shift one way or the other.

So, how do you maintain solidarity while you do the internal debate?  Maybe, when you indicate disagreement with another Dem, remember who the real enemy is and phrase accordingly.

by Denver 2004-12-12 06:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Just did a quick review of the thread
Arlen Specter. Enough said for that theory.
by bruh21 2004-12-13 04:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Just did a quick review of the thread
What happened with Specter is probably going to be seen more often in the next few years.  It's not characteristic of how the Republicans have operated in the past.
by Denver 2004-12-13 06:14AM | 0 recs
club for growth
Not true at all. The Club for Growth and the far-right religious zealots have been very aggressive and quite successful at purging moderate Republicans -- for more than a decade. This was one of the tenets of the Gingrich revolution which began in GOP primary battles. Since then it has only expanded. This has allowed the GOP to have greater message control, more disciplined voting, and is one of the main reasons the GOP and thus the country as a whole have moved to the right. The primary election success of the Club for Growth can not be disputed and their cut-throat tactics have scared moderate Republicans into either acting more conservative, staying quite and voting conservative, leaving the Party (often for an arranged golden parachute), or losing primary challenges from the right. The Club for Growth's focus on federal races explains why the GOP congress is far to the right of many GOP elected officials in state and local office. This has proven the "herd is only as strong as the weakest member" stragegy to be of long term benefit to Party organizing. While Spector has so far survived, he barely weathered a bruising challenge from the right and only retains his current chairmanship after "signing" an agreement with the far right.

While your recent history is inaccurate you are probably correct in assuming that this will be seen more often in the next few years. My only hope is that it is seen on our side of the aisle as well. Democrats' refusal to act pragmatically in this fashion is a hinderance to successfully communicating our ideals with American voter. By following natural herd instinct and abandoning the old and the weak we will preserve a healthier Party for the next generation.

Stay tuned for the Democratic answer: The Club for Progress.

by Bob Brigham 2004-12-13 07:18AM | 0 recs
Bloggers and the ASDC Meeting
I interpret Mark Brewer's decision to exclude bloggers very differently than some of the views expressed here.  Far from trivializing bloggers, his decision recognizes their importance.  Mark excluded any and all media from the Q&A portion of the meeting (as well as other meetings during the day).  Mark's decision that bloggers are essentially like the media indicates his own recognition that bloggers have the same influence and power over public opinion as the "mainstream" media.

As for calling and emailing Mark, keep in mind that this is a man who has spent his entire life doing two things:  working for the Democratic Party (without pay) and -- as a labor lawyer -- fighting for the rights of working men and women.  I don't think that invidious calls or emails would be either warranted or productive.

Matt, I enjoyed having beers with you Friday night.

by NCDemocrat04 2004-12-13 04:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Bloggers and the ASDC Meeting
I had a really good time - thanks for the drinks.  And now you've posted on a blog!

I don't know Mark, he's probably a good guy who made a bad decision.  That's usually how these things work.  We promised not to write about anything in those sessions, and it was the fact that the public was allowed in that made it weird.

Anyway, Jerome's point in this piece has less to do with us being removed and more to do with some structural failures.

by Matt Stoller 2004-12-13 04:51AM | 0 recs
Don't overreact
They were banning the press. It's  a backhanded compliment that you guys got shown the door. Not an insult.

It means they take Bloggers seriously as new media.

by Hesiod Theogeny 2004-12-13 08:15AM | 0 recs


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