January 6, 2005

EVERYTHING BUT IDEAS:

Facing the Pain (Don Hazen, January 4, 2005, AlterNet)

AlterNet talked with Howard Dean in December.

Don Hazen: What can we learn from what the conservatives have done organizing the Republican Party?

Howard Dean: The conservatives have very efficient coordination among the think tanks, the training institutes, their media messages and their grassroots efforts. We don't do that. Rob Stein has been showing an important PowerPoint [presentation] demonstrating how the Republicans' model is so effective. It is very convincing. We have a lot of the infrastructure we need, but we don't coordinate. And despite some successes by America Coming Together (ACT), we are way behind the Republicans in the field. We had the best field organizing I remember seeing in this election. We had thousands in the streets in Ohio, but the Republicans had 14,000 homegrown people in the party doing the work there.

Yes, the Republicans have effective grassroots – churches, legion halls, gun clubs, chambers of commerce. What do you see on the Democratic side that can challenge the conservatives at the base?

We can do the same as they do with unions, with more moderate churches and efforts like our Democracy for America, where we engaged people to run for office. We only raised about $5-$6 million this time, but we can do much more, and a bunch of our people who have never run for office before won.

People learned from a lot of the innovations from our campaign – we did the Internet, we blazed the trail for grassroots fundraising, but the most important innovation in our campaign ... we learned to use ideas from bottom up – wasn't tried in the Kerry campaign. We truly learned from the grassroots of our campaign.

Can you give me an example of how that happened?

Well, the MeetUps themselves [local gatherings organized on the Internet]. We didn't plan them, they planned us. My key staff person Kate O'Connor noticed this thing on the Web as a way to get people together. But it was done by people in the field. There were meetings in 850 different locations once a month ... focused on how to get me elected. Some of them are still doing it today. On the day after the election there were a number of MeetUps. The Kerry people went. They needed a place to go and talk ... they had just got clobbered in the election. In a sense, the MeetUp model could do some of the things that the right-wing church provides – a place where people can go that has community, and common views and values. And by the way, the MeetUps aren't progressive, they are reformist.

What's the distinction?

Well, what brings people together is not ideology.


If only they were better organized they'd be able to sell taxes, gays, and gun-control.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 6, 2005 6:34 PM
Comments

If only they were better organized they'd be able to sell taxes, gays, and gun-control.

Yep, to themselves.

Posted by: Tom Wall at January 6, 2005 6:50 PM

A Democratic Party run by Terry McAuliffe according to the precepts of the Dean Campaign. We couldn't get that lucky.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 6, 2005 7:34 PM

It's like the U.S. car companies back in the 1970s wondering why they were losing market share to the Japanese, conducting market surveys and then figuring out they just needed to simply make better commercials (but at least the automakers had Joe Garagiola handing out rebate checks; I dount handing out more money to consumers is anywhere in Howard's viewfinder).

Posted by: at January 6, 2005 7:58 PM

I believe Howard Dean is trying to atone for growing up rich. He won't succeed (as a moonbat Democrat).

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 6, 2005 8:02 PM

Free beer is the best way to bring people to gether. But ideas (the Left, which is bereft of them, has taken to denigrating ideas as 'ideology') are very helpful in building sustainable political power. The Right has ideas, the Left does not. Bet that wasn't on the PowerPoint.

Ironically the Dems have an ideology, while the Right lacks one by definition. Unfortutely it's watered down reactionary quasi socialism that's not selling too well these days.

Posted by: JAB at January 6, 2005 8:06 PM

Well, at least we can be glad to see that the groups Dean is talking about are not "progressive."

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 7, 2005 2:36 AM

Well, at least we can be glad to see that the groups Dean is talking about are not "progressive."

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 7, 2005 2:36 AM

JAB;

Hahaha. That brings back memories. Once while I was an undergrad, a fraternity managed to convince the governor to come down and talk at the frat. In order to make sure they had a good audience, the flyers had the words "FREE BEER" in type twice the size of "WITH GOVERNOR JIM THOMPSON".

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 7, 2005 2:50 PM
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