Moreover, it wouldn't be like we were invading in a vacuum. We'd be invading against the background of 1953 (which Iranians know quite a bit about, even if Americans don't) and our support for the Shah. In other words, there are very very very very few people who would believe we were a liberator in Iran. Iraq, maybe. But Iran, no.
Thanks for your input. I'm actually really open to being proven wrong on Fowler. I just haven't heard anyone from MI saying the things you're saying, including the people who have been involved in MI politics for generations, not decades.
Also, to clarify, it's not so much that I wanted to be heard. It's that to do what made the most sense for our county, we had to work around the coordinated campaign. The specific things Donnie lists in his platform are specific things I had issues with one the coordinated campaign. So it's not that I'm saying he was incompetent. I'm saying that, given the opportunity to demonstrate his ability to accomplish the things in his platform, it's not clear he did.
I have heard from the paid staffers that Donnie was the best cheerleader around. But I'm hoping to see evidence that Donnie can do the other things--the grassroots, revitalizing local parties--that he aspires to in his platform.
Curious that you passed over the MI question. To put it more succinctly--do you think your leadership of the MI campaign this year is indicative of what you'd like to accomplish as DNC chair? If not, why not? If not, why will you be able to accomplish these goals nationally when you weren't locally?
Or if you think it WAS a fair representation of your abilities, can you tell us how you worked to include local decision-makers into your execution in MI (I didn't see it, but perhaps you were trying, and if so, I'd love to know how)? Can you explain how you see the balance between paid staffers and volunteers--do you always need a paid staffer for accountability reasons, or can you actually fully integrate the volunteers into a campaign plan? Can you explain why the GOTV plan came together so pathetically late (only 3 weeks before the election at the county-level)? Can you assess how your management of the paid staffers at the highest level worked--do you think you could have improved the way they interacted with the localities?
I'm getting more and more convinced that Fowler is a geuine trojan horse candidate. "Tell them what they want to hear. It doesn't matter whether you deliver or not--you'll have POWER, do you hear me????"
I mean, there is no evidence he can do the things he has in his platform. I've hired before. I've seen puffed resumes. This is one.
I think your analysis is right on. But I also think the definition of exurb as opposed to suburban can be turned to our advantage. In classic NIMBY fashion, those in exurbs are some of the most anti-development people out there (I think--I could be talking out of my rearend). In a lot of localities, an anti-developer stance has actually proven very effective, even against the tons of developer money that it produces.
So let everyone move to the exurbs (even if only categorically rather than geographically). But once they do, let's turn them all into raging anti-development people. It'll take a bit of time, but eventually we'll win the townships, then the counties, then the states.
Your work in MI this past election has been an important part of your claim to be qualified to be DNC chair. And while I love what you say in your platform, I have to say that it doesn't resemble what I saw in MI this past election. In short, if the MI campaign is an example of what Donnie Fowler's DNC would be like, I want out. Here are some gripes:
I was the precinct/ward organizer for one of the medium-large counties in MI. You'd think, as a grassroots organizer for one of the must-win areas in MI, I'd have heard from you, or at least known that you valued my work and that you were listening to my good ideas.
But you see, the volunteers who ran our grassroots never attended one of the state meetings. Nor did we see you locally (suffice it to say we're accessible to both Lansing and Detroit). The people who attended meetings were the paid people--some might call them consultants, part of that aristocracy you claim to want to get rid of.
I don't really care that I wasn't invited to meetings--I was spending 10-60 hours a week volunteering, I didn't need more meetings (although I think it belies your claim for inclusion at every level).
But I do care that every time we tried to do something at a local level because IT MADE SENSE, we either had to lie, subject our paid staffers to berating in those weekly meetings, or just try to fudge the numbers. That is, not only did the MI coordinated campaign NOT listen to local leaders, it forced local leaders to manipulate the system in order to do what we knew to be right.
Now I'm willing to see you provide proof that you can change--that your leadership of the DNC would be different from what I saw in MI. But barring that I really can't see throwing you a lot of support. You talk a good talk. But your proven record doesn't match that talk, at least not from the perspective of this local grassroots leader.
Well, Joementum may take himself out of the running anyway, by accepting Bush's offer of DHS. In which case, he should be distanced from the party as far as possible, so the Democrats share none of the blame when Joementum gets blamed for the next terror attack.
I'll weigh in again and say, given what I saw in MI with the state organization, I'm less than impressed with Fowler.
Not only that, but I just learned this weekend that our county was being talked about in the state as the golden child of organization in our state this last election. But Fowler's organization did not help us at all--they were generally about 3 weeks behind our decision-making process, and as a result caused a lot of wheel-spinning. So if Fowler is getting credit for MI's grassroots activity, which is apparently now about our party, then I'm less than impressed.
Given the number of large corporations--many, but not all defense contractors--who are surviving strictly through their ability to get huge government contracts because they've hired the former government employees and therefore can avoid any real competition to get those contracts, I'm not sure I buy your claim that we've got a market economy.
Indeed, we'd be better off with a market economy than what we've got. Right now, we've got crony capitalism in a society quickly approaching a one-party state, which means we get none of the benefits of social programs, but also none of the benefits of real competition and transparency.
Further, I think it worthwhile to consider the university as a whole (because it may offer some solutions). The humanities in large research universities are liberal, yes (but the humanities in many of the smaller schools in this country, particularly those sponsored by religious institutions, may not be). But econ is not liberal politically. Nor is engineering. Nor is business. The sciences tend to be more conservative too. Law seems like a fairly balanced discipline.
But most of these disciplines are members of the reality-based community. And if the liberal humanities folks bring the more conservative science folks toward a call for more reality-based policy and politics, I think everyone could benefit.
But Cole misses something, I think (and I've been tangentially associated with his history department and have seen something rather different than what he saw). While the conservative (or hell, just mercenary) academics were engaging with public debate because they had a big incentive to do so, most liberal academics (Juan Cole and a few other bloggers or public intellctuals notwithstanding) were deliberately turning from public engagement, with claims that the general public was too dumb or too greedy and that therefore engagement with the public would somehow compromise their scholarship.
There are a hell of a lot of smart liberals in academics. Many of them are scared silly of anyting that has to do with the real world. And many are, frankly, just really swimming with the requirements of tenure track appointments and the like. We need to find a way to make it easier for those smart liberal academics to engage with public discourse in a way that really leverages their skills.
But I can't say I really liked working "under" him in MI this election season (as a volunteer at the county level). As a long time activist told me, this campaign was the least fun one she had ever worked on. Fowler was the only one who was somewhat spirited.
But damn were they disorganized. If that's what the party would look like if Fowler ran it, I think we might as well turn our copy of the keys to DC into the GOP right now.
I made this suggestion over at dKos. I'm kind of proud of it, so I'll repost:
Here's how we responsd. The DNC send a envelope, registered mail, to Santorum's "residence" in PA. They pack the envelope with fake stuff about selling out the GOP. If he accepts the envelope, then we rat him out to the Club for Growth that he is double dealing to the DNC. If he doesn't open it then, according to the standards of the RNC, he doesn't live at that address.
Hey, you guys aren't following the directions--we're supposed to talk about the vision of our favorite DNC candidate, not squabble over other things!!
Anyway, here's two things Dean will do when he is selected to be DNC chair:
Some of the coordinated campaigns switched to a unifed web-based database this year, the VAN (actually, I think this was a McAuliffe innovation). The good thing about the database so far is that when the election ends, the party still has a database (rather than a particular candidate taking their voter ID information and leaving). The bad news is that they're not using the database very intelligently. The database has fields for things like interest groups or group identification, but right now, none of it is used. Dean will launch a campaign to mobilize the grassroots to actually go get this information. By using this information, he will rethink the way we organize the party. Rather than being a coalition of interest groups that are exclusive (I'm either black OR female OR a union member OR gay), it will be a coalition of interest groups that overlap, offer more inclusion, and more resiliancy (I'm a white female who is strongly involved in environmental issues and who has worked on media reform). This will allow the Democatic party to supercede its current divisions and become a more dynamic party.
Second, Dean will hire competent people. At a local level, I'm amazed by the disparity between the Dean folks and the oldtimers, in terms of basic competency on organization issues. The Dean people start meetings on time. They make agendas. They keep to the agendas. They complete the tasks they take on. They actually solve problems rather than hemming and hawing and trying not to offend people. Not all--but a good many--of the non-Dean people do the opposite. And as a result, they lead droning, endless meetings that convince anyone who cares to show up that they don't want to be a democrat.
Now, I'm not saying the Dean competent people know everything they need to know about politics (we can fight all day over whether the people who've been running the show know everything they need to know--or if they "know too much" and can't think creatively). But Dean did attract a good number of cultural creatives, whether they be programmers or graphic artists or marketing whizzes. After the losers get ousted, Dean will hire a number of people who will not only make things more efficient, but it will change the culture of the Dem party from a culture of losers who can't hold an efficient meeting to a culture of people with a mission woh are getting that mission done.
I'm not so sure about the union work. I'm in A2, and though we're working closely with Dingell (and therefore the unions) I'm not sure how much the unions are actually DOING. For example, we were expecting a bunch of union guys to drive our flusher vans. But they fell short and we've had to fill in with other folks.
Suffice it to say I've been at several CD-wide GOTV meetings, and I haven't seen many union members.