Forgive me, but that sounds suspiciously like the argument that women just can't play the trombone as well as men because they don't have the physical capabilities -- and that's why they've been underrepresented in symphony orchestras.
Except that when they started having people audition behind screens -- look, the number of women skyrocketed! Whoops, it turns out people were biased, even when they were sure they weren't and there was an alternative explanation they'd proffered. Who'd have thought?
See the final chapter of "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell, or the original research by Goldin and Rouse (2000). Or look at the study by Wenneras and Wold (1997) which showed that women have to be substantially more objectively competent to be rated equally when applying for postdoctoral fellowships. Or look at the study by Steinpries, Anders, and Ritzke (1999) that showed that with identical CVs from men and women, the men were preferred 2:1 in hiring by professors.
Or stay ignorant. Whatever. But don't go making up b*s* pseudoscience to try to dismiss the idea that there's an addressable problem when huge numbers of peer-reviewed reputable studies show that the effects of gender schemas, lack of critical mass, and bias mean that many women are at a disadvantage that has nothing to do with their inherent abilities and everything to do with their environment.
We get to choose what kind of a world we want to create. And we get to choose what kind of an attitude we bring to the table. But I will freely admit that the kind of a world I want to create is -- if I may paraphrase -- one where ALL people will be judged by the content of their character, not by their sex nor by the color of their skin.
I for one don't consider it a bad thing that people contributed to our candidates. However, I admit that my perspective on candidate fundraising might be slightly biased... :-)
Political fundraising is NOT a zero sum game. We have done a phenomenal job in the last several years of engaging people who were never engaged and persuading them to invest when they never would have previously. We have increased the total size of the pie on our side of the equation -- which is good.
Let's expand it a bit more.
How do we convince people to make investments in progressive infrastructure? Make a results-driven case for the investment.
The Netroots delivered results in 2006. Quantify them. And then go to the new and re-elected members who benefitted and ask them to validate your value to potential donors. Come up with a specific plan for how you're going to spend the money you raise -- stipends, health insurance, and IT investments, for example. Do a coordinated progressive infrastructure fundraising drive over the course of a month (May, for instance) which each day features one of your beneficiaries making the case for giving YOU money.
Candidates need your help and they know it. So ask them to make an investment of their time and a little of their political capital towards making this model sustainable and growing...
Around here, we call them PCO's (for "precinct committee officers"), and I do know mine. I recruited him.
Of course, it wasn't all that hard, since I've also been married to him for nearly 14 years.
But you're on to something important, Matt (with a nod to SeaBos84): we have got to build a functional grassroots organization nationally on a precinct-by-precinct level. We have got to out-organize the Republicans. It's clear from my race (and others) that the Republicans have both much more information about voters and a stronger relationship with their voters than the Democrats do. That's a problem.
If I were going to focus on changing one thing about the Democratic Party in the next couple of years, that's precisely the thing I would focus on.
...Hmm, now what did I do with Howard Dean's phone number?
I am quite honored and excited to be the next Netroots endorsed candidate -- the support of the local netroots has already made a big difference in my race, and I am thrilled to see that support expand nationally.