Meeting Simon Rosenberg

Last night I was fortunate enough to be able to attend and blog an event with Simon Rosenberg.

After a similar event with Donnie Fowler a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post titled "Donnie Fowler Gets it."  I could have used the same title for Simon Rosenberg, except it would need to be longer.  Something along the lines of "Simon Rosenberg gets it, always has, and has both a plan and the skills to do something about it."  But that's rather unwieldy for a title, so hopefully this post will get that across.

What follows below the jump is mix of a play by play of last night's event along with a few editorial comments here and there.

Rosenberg began the event by acknowledging bloggers, noting that there probably were five listening to him at that very moment and his words would soon be shared online.  He credited bloggers with helping to focus much more attention on this race than in past years, and to him that was progress as he expressed his hope in years ahead the race could be opened up beyond the 447 voters.  This particular race was the most important in a generation because of what is at stake: will we be a new party or the old one?

Some phrases and notions which stand out (these are not exact quotes - they are as good as my poor notes will allow):

  1. Party to fight for regular people
  2. We should not be going behind to fix the future
  3. Do not cede the values debate
  4. Make our own Noise Machine
  5. Build state & local parties
  6. New commitment to grassroots
  7. The fire of the last two years should be the beginning, and we need to encourage and empower it.
  8. We need to move past the broadcast model of the past.  People as partners, not just sources of funding.  As partners or stakeholders, people responded and went to work.
  9. The DNC needs to rally around the people, not a building in DC.
  10. Sick & tired of being sick & tired

He was asked how he would handle the Social Security debate if he were currently the chair, and part of his answer included a national campaign to coordinate and encourage efforts across the party which sounded a bit like There Is No Crisis.  (I learned he might have had a hand in that site, but I am not sure.)  I don't mean to suggest that DNC efforts should replace grassroots efforts like There Is No Crisis, but it certainly would be a major step if such responses could come from the DNC.

When talking about Social Security, he was on message and passionate.  He discussed how important it was for us to not only stand against the Conservative's plan to dismantle Social Security, but also call them on their diversionary tactics.  President Bush has a terrible record on the economy and is using Social Security and tort reform as distractions.  While Social Security has been grabbing all the headlines, in my view tort reform is a fight of near equal importance and I was glad to hear Rosenberg mention it in the same breath as Social Security.

He was quick to credit Josh Marshall's amazing efforts on Talking Points Memo.  His voice was filled with awe, admiration and opportunity thinking of the almost limitless possibilities as noted that one person, one single individual, had played such a role in defeating the Conservative's plan by, in part, giving Democrats the backbone to fight the extreme agenda.

In response to another question, he quickly outlined what the Democrats central message should be:

  1. Opportunity
  2. Safety
  3. Values (talk about our values - don't let them be defined by the GOP)

Rosenberg clearly is a reform candidate.  Some of what Rosenberg discussed was not so different from what other reform minded Democrats have been saying, but there is a difference.  Rosenberg inspires confidence that, if given the job, he will go out there tomorrow and begin reforming the party.  And he is confident.  At one point he even compared himself to Churchill (not in a strictly boastful way, but it still takes either confidence or foolishness to make any such comparisons, and I'm betting it was confidence.)  He inspires confidence that his campaign is not simply not simply a reflection of current Common Wisdom among the reform wing, a collection of buzzwords or based on what he thinks he needs to say to win in the current climate.  Rather, one walks away thinking Rosenberg deeply understands the problems facing the Democratic Party and envisions solutions and has been doing so for quite some time.  One walks away with the impression Rosenberg has a plan, is prepared and can do everything he discusses and more.

One more item: Rosenberg was introduced by Joe Trippi who said most of the usual nice things one does in an introduction.  One of which was that Rosenberg was a kind of bridge between different groups within the Democratic Party, could build a consensus, could help us all work for the common goals, etc.  At the time I thought it was part of the usual intro fluff, but by the end I realized it is a very real asset Rosenberg possesses.  Rosenberg appears comfortable (and experienced) working with the tools of an institutional group like the DNC, yet he clearly was excited by and is committed to the grassroots and netroots.

I can't vote in this race, but if I could it would be down to Dean and Rosenberg.  I am a fan of Fowler's, but I'd rather see one of the other two as chair.  

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Comments

7 Comments

I like Rosenberg for chair
and Dean for all-purpose Democratic ass-kicker.
by desmoinesdem 2005-01-28 09:22AM | 0 recs
Thanks for the post...
And I'm looking forward to seeing Rosenberg for the first time at the DNC meetings and related events...

Parker must not be online right now, but expect a long and passionate argument that Rosenberg is Satan incarnate as soon as he notices the post.

Also, speaking of Marshall, did you see his endorsement of Rosenberg today?

by Alex Urevick 2005-01-28 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the post...
Yeah, I noticed the endorsement.  Big news.  I have to run, but I'll check it out further later.
by up2date 2005-01-28 09:43AM | 0 recs
I have to run out
so I won't be able to address any comments on this Diary until tonight, but ask anything of the event and I'll try to answer as best I can when I get back.

Also, I plan on attending tomorrow's DNC Eastern Regional Caucus, and I'll blog about that as well.

by up2date 2005-01-28 09:43AM | 0 recs
Thank you.
Thank you for the insight.  I am also leaning Dean or Rosenberg.  No matter who gets it (of those two) the other should be chosen as a partner so that they can reach out to a larger group.  Remember Dems and Liberals are not locksteppers.. we are free thinkers and because we are free thinkers we tend to divid ourselves over petty differences.

  Thank you,

  Kevin

by kevin22262 2005-01-28 10:22AM | 0 recs
great post - thanks!
recommended, even though that doesn't mean much. heh.

thank you for this diary.  i admit i'm really warming up to simon.  he totally seems to have his head and heart in the right place.  basically, he's my second pick after the good doctor, and i am already confident that i could enthusiastically support simon if he wins.

by annatopia 2005-01-28 12:28PM | 0 recs
Thanks for the info
Rosenberg is well spoken, articulate and has excellent ideas. I blogged a Q & A he had in Sacramento last week (Rosenberg Q & A is in extended diary). For my money he is a close second to Dean. Frankly, I haven't been able to distinguish any substantive differences between them. The choice seems to boil down to Rosenberg's organizational and managerial experience against Dean's media presence and his passionate link to the grassroots.

To a large degree it seems to turn on how you think the role of DNC Chair is or ought to be defined. My only concern with Rosenberg is his independence from the DLC. I'm more willing than some to give him the benefit of the doubt that he would be willing and capable of dismantling the DLC consultancy and institute genuine structural reform.

Either Dean or Rosenberg is going to have to wrench the power structure away from the DLC. They won't give up their stranglehold on the party structure gladly, willingly or easily. I honestly can't predict how successful either one of them would be. My crystal ball doesn't work that well.

 

by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-28 08:34PM | 0 recs

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