Let Us Work For You

If there is one thing I have never been good at doing in politics, it is asking for money. As someone who spends a lot of time working to solve the funding problems facing the progressive blogosphere, that is certainly an ironic, though not a particularly helpful, trait to possess. For example, two years ago, before he was even a regular writer here, Matt had to practically force me to finally raise funds to purchase a laptop computer. I was nervous and reluctant to do it, but it is a good thing I did. Not only did that reader-provided laptop allow me to work on the road after more than a year of being chained to my desk, but my desktop computer actually crashed only two weeks later. In fact, the laptop you guys bought me arrived at my apartment the morning after my desktop system crashed. Since my computer-wizard brother was out of the country, without the laptop I would have been unable to blog for ten full weeks, including during the OH-02 special election battle. On that July morning, your support felt like a minor miracle.

Two years later, I am ready to ask again. Today, Matt and I are trying to raise $10,000 from 200 donors who give $50 each. You can donate here. Why should you give to us? The best and most honest answer I can think of is so that we can work for you. If you like the work we do on behalf of the progressive blogosphere, then allow us do that work for you, full-time, for a few more months.

As any regular reader of my writing knows, I have often complained about the difficulty in finding funds for progressive bloggers and the progressive blogosphere. However, there is a flip side to this problem that I have not focused on, even though it is probably a greater threat to the progressive movement than the lack of funds for progressive bloggers. Simply put, the progressive blogosphere is severely lacking in full-time employees who look out for its interests in the world of professional politics. We have virtually no lobbyists, no organizers, no fundraisers, no policy analysts, no professional spokespeople, no pollsters, no booking agents, no media trainers, no interns--basically, no nothing. Every fight we engage in online, from Trent Lott's racist comments to the Fox News debates, is conducted almost entirely with volunteer labor and no budget to speak of. Our opponents, of course, have a wealth of resources at their disposal. Even hacks such as William Donahue, who we struggled against two months ago, pull down salaries of over $300,000 a year, plus benefits like professional booking agents to help them regularly appear on cable news networks. No matter what we do, it is as though we are constantly living in a clichéd promotional movie trailer, as a rag-tag group of rebels seek to challenge an empire no one thought could be defeated.

As frustrating as this situation is, the reason I am asking for money today is to propose one, small, mutually empowering solution to this predicament: let Matt and I work for you. Let us be your full-time employees in any number of the campaigns, projects and fights in which the progressive blogosphere engages. Now, I know that $10,000 isn't enough to pay our salaries for a full year, or even come close to solving the infrastructure problems facing the progressive movement and progressive blogosphere. However, it can still make a big difference. At least for a while, it can be the be difference that allows us to spend all of our time working on a wide number of key projects and campaigns being conducted by the progressive blogosphere. All of these campaigns that will have a greater chance of success with full-time labor behind them. Without this money, we will inevitably be forced to take consulting jobs that drain our time and energies. That will have a negative impact on both the quality and quantity of our work for the blogosphere.

Take a look at our list of projects during 2005-2006. It is really great stuff, and it doesn't even include things like the fight to keep Fox News out of Democratic debates, covering the Connecticut Senate race, public and private work on the Iraq Accountability Act, personally joining in with the silent revolution, building the Liberal Blog Advertising Network, funding local bloggers, the amazing work Matt does behind the scenes to help progressives talk to one another, and our never ending task of explaining and defending the progressive blogosphere to the media and political establishment. Already, all of this is made possible by your support, input, critiques and participation. However, if we work on it full-time, we can improve what we do and expand our efforts into other areas. In the near future, a few more resources can make the difference in, for example, finding even better ways for the progressive grassroots and progressive political professionals to communicate with each other, expanding the Googlebomb project to include not only candidates but also important news stories, or figuring out ways to help bring your best campaign ideas to fruition. Or even, you know, maybe allowing me to have health insurance! There are many possibilities, all of which become more realizable when people are working on making them happen 24-7.

Bloggers need money to get by, and the blogosphere needs people who support its efforts on a full-time basis. Whatever we do, it will be more effective with full-time employees on the job. If you like the work we do, let us expand our work, and let us work for you.

Update: In the first hour, we have received $2,364.06, from 28 donors. This is going very well! Let's keep it going...

Update 2: After two hours, we have received $3,548.98 from 53 donors. Humbling stuff. Again, let's keep pushing forward...

Tags: Blogosphere, Tags: Fundraising (all tags)

Comments

34 Comments

Re: Let Us Work For You

Aww come on. I visit your site like 15 times a day, doesn't that bring in a little revenue?

Tell you what, I'll give you money if you spend more of your time bashing Hillary Clinton. Seriously. I'm willing to pony up substantial $$ as long as I know it's going to be used to expose Hillary.

by mermzilla 2007-04-06 09:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

So the next time Matt or Chris bashes Clinton, someone will say: "Hey!  He sold out to mermzilla!"

I'm half-kidding, but it'd probably be amusing.

by HellofaSandwich 2007-04-06 12:07PM | 0 recs
I'm in, but

Chris,
I'm in, and willing to throw in 50$(twice what I gave to Obama), but before I do so I have a question about this vs. BlogPac.

I expected that this would be a donation to BlogPac which in turn would pay your salaries.  The link you gave though is for PayPal.  Am i to understand that this money is essentially going straight to your bank account?

My 2 concerns with this are that one, it violates some obscure campaign law.  My second, it's not very efficient come tax time.  Have you talked to a CPA about what you might be come tax time for 10,000$ giving to you vs. 10,000$ payed to you via salary by a non-profit PAC?

Either way, I'm in, but with limited resources just want to squeeze every penny.

Thanks for what you do!

by maddogg 2007-04-06 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm in, but
Matt and I do not take salaries from BlogPac. Occasionally, there will be money for specific projects, but it isn't the kind of organization with a budget that can pay two employees. Besides, most of our work is blogosphere-centric (it takes a lot of time to produce the content and campaigns we engage in), and so it would be best if we were more accountable to the blogosphere than anyone else.

I don't want to go into the details of tax and campaign finance law here, but I am extremely confident this does not violate any rules.
by Chris Bowers 2007-04-06 10:03AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm in, but
Works for me!  
Though you're going to have to wait 3 to 4 days while I blow the dust off my PayPal account and drop some money into it.  :)
by maddogg 2007-04-06 10:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

Same question as maddogg - is this for BlogPAC?

by clarkent 2007-04-06 09:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

Is there a way to contribute if I don't want to join PayPal?  

by Mimikatz 2007-04-06 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You
Unfortunately, no. but I certainly appreciate the sentiment. :)
by Chris Bowers 2007-04-06 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

Does ActBlue only do campaigns? Could you set up a bank account that ActBlue could funnel money into from which you could draw money? I'm not up-to-date on all the mechanisms of online donations -- are there other progressive websites that funnel money around? Can one be set up?

by afertig 2007-04-06 10:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

Yup, we only do political campaigns and committees.  (A parallel group to do 501c3/4/6 is in the works.)

by brahn 2007-04-06 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

Got it. Thanks!

by afertig 2007-04-06 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

Huh?  I just entered my credit card, and that worked fine.

by brahn 2007-04-06 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You
then strike my comment!
by Chris Bowers 2007-04-06 10:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

hmm, I'm pretty sure YOU'RE the one that has the ability to do such things ;p

by Fran for Dean 2007-04-06 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

Chipped in $25.  I appreciate everything you guys do.  Thanks.

by IsThisOverYet 2007-04-06 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

I can't really afford it, but you got mine anyway.

by jallen 2007-04-06 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

Chris,

Check is in the mail (PayPal)

by global yokel 2007-04-06 10:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

Um,

by ObamaEdwards2008 2007-04-06 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

Okay, believe it or not, I do like you guys, however, can I get, in writing, something that guarantees me that this money is:

1.)Only going to you two for living expenses

2.)That you will not give a single dime to  any presidential contender or anyone who will forward it to any presidential contender.

3.)I won't receive an e-mail asking me to support a candidates campaign

4.)You promise to be fair to Barack Obama in your postings.

If I can be totally convinced, then I'll think about it.

by ObamaEdwards2008 2007-04-06 10:43AM | 0 recs
I'm in

Because we need people like Chris and Matt to keep doing what they're doing.  They deserve a salary for the work they're doing, and they can do whatever the hell they want with that salary.

Your restrictions are just ridiculous.  If you don't like the work they do, don't help them out.  If you think that the work they do is beneficial to movement as a whole and that it would be worth it to chip in to that effort, then donate some money.  Simple as that.

by Fran for Dean 2007-04-06 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm in

You're missing the point.

The world revolves around ObamaEdwards2008.  Or not.....

No seriously, I don't understand why this poster hasn't been banned.  They don't play well with others ...  and their presence here only serves to create conflict.  

Much the same as BrionLutz or Francis Holland did.  This sort of behavior reflects poorly on their chosen candidate.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-04-06 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm in

Yea, I've noticed the same thing.  ObamaEdwards2008's comments have all been somewhere in the range of "wtf??" and "troll"

by Fran for Dean 2007-04-06 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm in

Socially akward might be the best characterization.

Immature is another.

The quicker they're gone the better.

They contribute nothing to the site else than conflict.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-04-06 11:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

What the hell is your problem?  If you need those types of "assurances" from Matt and Chris, then you truly are clueless.  Your Obama request goes beyond ridiculous.  You sound like a slimy lobbyist/consultant.

by IsThisOverYet 2007-04-06 11:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

Have to agree with Fran here.  

It's a salary, however meager, to support their work.  I count the donation as unrestricted funds.

RE: #3: could use confirmation, but as far as I know Chris/Matt/MyDD never send mass emails.  MyDD.com is your point of contact.

P.S. I'm an Obama supporter and just gave $100.

by jeko 2007-04-06 11:22AM | 0 recs
Who cares?

Who cares if Matt and Chris use this money for Pop Tarts or to buy a PS3?  I don't.  Let these guys be compensated for their work.  This is their fracking day job after all, and they're not exactly rolling in the green based on BlogAd revenue.

by HellofaSandwich 2007-04-06 12:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

I'm in. What the hell, I stopped buying the NYT because I don't trust them any more, so the least I can do is share the savings.

by James Clark 2007-04-06 10:49AM | 0 recs
I contributed but decided you needed a 20% tip

since you are in the service industry and like a perfect waiter, seem to serve what I really want

by msobel 2007-04-06 10:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

I'm a British citizen rather than an American. There aren't any campaign-related issues that would prevent me contributing, right?

by Englishlefty 2007-04-06 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You
Not in this case!
by Chris Bowers 2007-04-06 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

I dropped a little something in the kitty.  I hope others will do the same.

by juls 2007-04-06 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You
Chris and Matt,
I just gave and I have no requests or strings.
by Kingstongirl 2007-04-06 11:58AM | 0 recs
Ditto

You have so earned it. This won't be my last donation, either. Keep plugging at this.  Right-wing foundations get their millions by begging, and the money to support left-wing politics is there.  Look at how much Edwards and Obama have raised. A lot of that is just ordinary people who want to make a difference.

While I think donations to Edwards/Obama/pickyourfavepol are constructive, I'm confident $100 to you does a lot more good than $100 to them. Keep reminding people how a relatively small donation to you makes a big difference.

by curtadams 2007-04-06 12:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Let Us Work For You

This is good stuff. I think you guys should try to get it going on full-time.

by Josh Koenig 2007-04-06 02:20PM | 0 recs

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