Is Good Messaging Another Quick Fix?

I am in Denver for the 2008 Democratic Convention.

This morning in Denver I attended a Seachange Forum panel on messaging titled "Winning Words on the Toughest Issues: National Security, Taxes, Healthcare and Immigration".

This was an excellent panel on how to talk about progressive values and issues in ways that the public "hears." To really, really simplify the issue, in a 1988 campaign debate between Michael Dukakis and George HW Bush Dukakis was asked, "Governor, if Kitty Dukakis [his wife] were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?" Dukakis replied coolly, "No, I don't, and I think you know that I've opposed the death penalty during all of my life," and calmly went on to explain his position.

He was calm and reasoned, but the public needed to see emotion.  Emotion, not reason is how people decide what they think about issues and people.   It's just the way it is -- it is how our brains work.  This is what neuroscientists, psychologists, marketers and others who study how people make up their minds are concluding.  You have to connect viscerally or people just won't "get it."

There's more...

Obama's Missed Opportunity

Campaign emails don't usually excite me.  I'm on so many lists that some days it's all I can do to even glance at them.  But the subject line of Obama's latest email caught my eye.  It read: Organizing Fellowship.  The word fellowship got me interested.

From the email emphasis mine:

I got my chance on the South Side of Chicago, as a community organizer, and it was the transformative experience of my career.

It allowed me to put my values to work and to see that real change comes not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up, when ordinary people come together around a common purpose.

The experience changed the course of my life -- and I want to share that kind of opportunity with you.

That's why we're introducing a program that's going to train a new generation of leaders -- not only to help us win this election, but to help strengthen our democracy in communities across the country.

The Obama campaign has set up an application page on their website and included a video with the Senator urging people to apply. The email ends with Obama saying that by working together ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

But there's a problem.  The fellowships don't pay a salary and they don't offer a stipend.  How many ordinary people, excluding students but honestly most students can't afford to do this either, do you know that could apply for an unpaid three month position?

There's more...

Obama's Missed Opportunity

Campaign emails don't usually excite me.  I'm on so many lists that some days it's all I can do to even glance at them.  But the subject line of Obama's latest email caught my eye.  It read: Organizing Fellowship.  The word fellowship got me interested.

From the email emphasis mine:

I got my chance on the South Side of Chicago, as a community organizer, and it was the transformative experience of my career.

It allowed me to put my values to work and to see that real change comes not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up, when ordinary people come together around a common purpose.

The experience changed the course of my life -- and I want to share that kind of opportunity with you.

That's why we're introducing a program that's going to train a new generation of leaders -- not only to help us win this election, but to help strengthen our democracy in communities across the country.

The Obama campaign has set up an application page on their website and included a video with the Senator urging people to apply. The email ends with Obama saying that by working together ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

But there's a problem.  The fellowships don't pay a salary and they don't offer a stipend.  How many ordinary people, excluding students but honestly most students can't afford to do this either, do you know that could apply for an unpaid three month position?

There's more...

Meet Grant Herring; Let's Buy Him Lunch!

I apologize in advance for the long post but I could find no more concise way to explain the importance and significance of what Grant is doing.  I hope you will take three-five minutes to read this post


As you may know we have two primary goals here at Next Generation Democrats (NGD); supporting young progressive candidates and more importantly, assisting young staffers trying to get a start in progressive politics.

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Grow the Left-Wing Conspiracy Tonight

Some thoughts on the fundraiser tonight that Matt mentioned this morning. A few years ago in Washington DC, Matt brought a friend of his from New York named David Alpert to a BBQ I attended. David was down in DC to speak at a conference as an organizer for Drinking Liberally. That day, he and I argued over copyright for a while (I was much more of a protectionist back then) and swapped emails. When I moved to New York City about a year and a half ago, David invited me to go with him to Drinking Liberally -- the original one at Rudy's Bar & Grill in Hell's Kitchen.

DL was the most welcoming liberal cabal (I kid) you could hope to discover. The people I met at Rudy's, that night and subsequent ones, represent some of my best professional connections today. That's certainly nice. But more important, those drinkers have become my good friends and compatriots in progressivism. DL regulars are some of the most intelligent, compassionate, creative, and adventurous people I'm lucky enough to know. They're the sort who take seriously the idea that we are to be the change we want to see in the world.

With the recent addition of a chapter in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, DL has grown from that one drinking group at Rudy's to more than 200 chapters. That's amazing. But DL is part of something even bigger. For a while now, DL has been collected under the Cosmopolity banner with other "Liberally" projects. If you were at YearlyKos in Las Vegas last year, you saw Laughing Liberally comics like Katie Halper and Baratunde Thurston perform. Screening Liberally hosts free showings of progressive-leaning films. The newest Liberally, Eating Liberally, brings people together around sustainable food.

All together, DL, LL, SL, and EL are anchored in the thinking that whether we call it liberal or progressive, it's not something we are only on election day. More than that, it's not something we have to be all by our lonesomes. We're liberals in lifestyle and in community.

Tonight, Cosmopolity is officially becoming Laughing Liberally with the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy: Living Liberally Launch Party in New York City. If you can make it to Manhattan by 8pm, tickets start at a suggested price of $100. The events at 349 West 12th Street in the West Village and includes a space called "the Porn Palace." What's more, there will be an open bar from until 11, entertainment, and gift bags that contain books and other good things. The money raised will go toward hiring Living Liberally's first full-time staffer.

If you can't actually, physically make it to the event, there will be a virtual launch party in Second Life. No, I'm just kidding. But there are still ways to help build Living Liberally into a core piece of progressive infrastructure.

First, kick in $100 to sponsor a fellow leftie who might not otherwise have the means to attend. (That's the route I took. I'm in New Orleans and won't be able to make it tonight.)

Second, support with your time and attention the groups and individuals who are making tonight possible: organizational sponsors like Advomatic, BlogPAC, Media Matters, and Working Assets; event sponsors like Alternet, Center for Independent Media, SEIU, The Open Planning Project, and Young People For; and event partners like Brave New Foundation, Chelsea Green Publishing, the Drum Major Institute, Feministing, Magic Hat Brewing Company, Rudy's Bar and Grill, The Albany Project, and the Yearly Kos Convention.

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