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View Diary: The legacy of McCain-Feingold (174 comments)

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  •  This post is right on the money (none)
    no pun intended.

    Ever since 2000, and I suppose before that too, I have constantly been disgusted and embarassed by the routing Republican ass-kissing done by the Democratic Party leaders.

    I stopped giving money too. Why? They didn't represent me or my views.

    Finding Dean for America and the "Blogospere" helped me find people who believed the way I did. I wouldn't have found the blogs if the Blog
    as quickly as I did except for the fact that the Blog for America originally had some the blogs listed at the top of the page. They eventually moved them to the bottom, but then I could always go there for a link.

    So glad there's people out there disgusted and outraged like me.

    I don't think Kos is dissing Dean. I'll bet he probably forgot about Boswell.

    Kos's commentary is consistently first rate.

    California Uber Alles

    by joeesha on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 06:31:38 PM PST

    •  I'm not dissing Dean (none)
      Like I said, what he did was provide political legitimacy to the blogosphere.

      As for Boswell, all Dean did is ask his supporters to donate money to Boswell. The Dean-centric blogs asked their readers to donate to Dean long before the Boswell thing happened. The Free Republic encouraged its readers to donate to Republican candidates as far back as 1996.

      I'm not quite sure why Dean is supposed to take credit for fundraising for a candidate. It's about the silliest argument I've ever heard.

      •  Break out the fallacies..... (4.00)
        You've got a logical problem in that last sentence, and I suspect you know what it is.

        You're right that it is absurd to suggest that  Dean is to be given "credit" for fundraising for candidates.  That's why no one is suggesting the notion.

        What some are trying to clarify is that you seem to be failing to acknowledge some nuance here.  We're saying Dean's campaign deserves credit for shaking up the fundraising paradigm.  Not only did he raise unprecedented amounts of money for himself in a semi-novel way, but he also, simultaneously, provided a conduit for people to donate to other candidates he supported in a way that was also outside the paradigmatic, err,  cube.  

        That's a far cry from trying "to take credit for fundraising for a candidate."

        Don't blame me, I'm from Massachusetts.

        by lightiris on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 06:52:58 PM PST

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        •  That's right (none)
          You are recognizing that it's "Dean's campaign", and avoiding saying something like: "Dean's undeniable revolution of putting 2 and 2 together". That's the real nuance.

          What Dean did to the netroots proposition was say "yes", which was undeniably huge, but not all-encompasing of the partner's efforts.  

          Dean's campaign, the ones who catapulted off of previous online fundraising successes, are going to go on and replicate those efforts with other candidates and campaigns.

          It's an interesting discussion, as I think there are a lot of different takes on the what, how & whys, even within the Dean campaign.

          •  Hmmm (none)
            You are recognizing that it's "Dean's campaign", and avoiding saying something like: "Dean's undeniable revolution of putting 2 and 2 together". That's the real nuance.

            Which is a little like saying because others believed something gravity-like was in effect, Newton can't claim too much of that credit because he only put "2 and 2 together."  

            Don't blame me, I'm from Massachusetts.

            by lightiris on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 08:03:48 PM PST

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            •  look iris (none)
              If you think that Howard Dean himself was the one that was putting 2 and 2 together to make the Dean internet fundraising work, you are hopelessly wrong.  But I like the analogy  --apple hitting on the ground and all being the blogosphere-- but Dean's not Newton, Trippi and the internet campaign members are, Dean just said yes, to be honest, given his longshot situation, because he had no choice but to try something different.  That said, I think the whole effort transformed Dean himself, and I do think he will emerge in Jan 2005 as a major Dem figure.
              •  Missed point (none)
                I really do not believe that the argument you are addressing is as facile as whether it was Howard Dean or Joe Trippi who devised the Internet fundraising plan.  Rather the point lays in how DFA as a political organization worked sufficiently outside the generally accepted avenues for raising cash (for itself and its supporters such as Leonard Boswell).  

                Whether Boswell came before Chandler or whether Dean (i.e., DFA) did before Kos is really a rather minute point.  Someone already linked to Chris Lydon's Blogging of the President, but try this link to his interview with Joe Trippi, which in the first segment speaks to the early days of the Dean Campaign and how the Internet/blog became tools for not only raising money, but also community.


                The Democratic Party is so afraid to lose they're willing to say whatever it takes to win. Once you're willing to say whatever it takes to win, you lose. ~Dean

                by GOTV on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 10:14:52 PM PST

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              •  Of course . . . (none)
                . . . no mention of the Blogging of the Pres would not be complete without a link to kos' interview.

                The Democratic Party is so afraid to lose they're willing to say whatever it takes to win. Once you're willing to say whatever it takes to win, you lose. ~Dean

                by GOTV on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 10:20:13 PM PST

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              •  No (none)
                I'm not suggesting that Howard Dean is Newtonian in his approach to the laws of campaigning financing.

                What I am saying is that first and foremost was his message and his connection to voters for whom his message had resonance.  What followed was a response by those who valued the message in the form of money, and more money, and even more money by the most convenient vehicle available--the internet.  

                The equation that Dean clarified is not the 2 and 2 of fundraising and internet structure, but the relationship between message and the value of that message to listeners.  The internet provided the vehicle by which Dean could revolutionize the idea that people will gladly pay, over and over, small sums of money, their own cold hard-earned cash, to keep a long-shot candidate solvent enough to take his message to others.  

                No one else has had quite the same alchemic results, and it remains to be seen whether anyone else can galvanize a population like that again.

                Don't blame me, I'm from Massachusetts.

                by lightiris on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 12:12:48 AM PST

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        •  I wonder... (none)
          We're saying Dean's campaign deserves credit for shaking up the fundraising paradigm.

          But Kos' post points out other factors that are equally deserving of credit for shaking up the fundraising paradigm and helping to make the Dean campaign successes in this realm possible.  

          In a sense, the fundraising paradigm was already "shook up" as was the Democratic Party (Nader, did that, even if you don't want to admit it.)  Bush's Iraq war shook up things beyond inaction and Dean and Trippi were insightful analysts who saw this and were in a position to take the risks necessary.  One could argue - I wouldn't dare to that here - that the Dean campaign is the product of other forces of shake-up rather than the instigator.

          Of course, if one argued that here, one's post might disappear into hidden comments rather quickly.

          ;)

          "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

          by a gilas girl on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 07:49:55 PM PST

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          •  One could argue (none)
            that if one believed it and should.  

            I disagree that other factors are equally due credit.  Indeed, if it weren't for Dean, we wouldn't be having this conversation now, would we?

            At any rate, I disagree with your analysis of influences here, but I suspect only time will tell whether or not Dean's legacy is really an empowered small-donor base that's willing to part with millions to back a candidate they believe in.  

            It's not like we saw that happen every day.

            As much as you would wish to take that away from Dean, you cannot.  No other candidate did it quite like this, and for that he deserves more than just a little credit.  

            Don't blame me, I'm from Massachusetts.

            by lightiris on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 07:58:28 PM PST

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            •  You misread me (none)
              and my analysis:

              I don't take anything "away" from Dean; that his campaign was the inspiration/motivation behind the donations is clear.

              But I think that analysis of factors should be broader than a Great Man view of History.  

              "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

              by a gilas girl on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 08:16:57 PM PST

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              •  McCain-Feingold would be... (none)
                a valid argument for Dean's fund raising if you left out the fact that without McCain-Feingold Dean would have probably had to do the same type of fund raising anyway.

                You see Dean was an asterik when he started out. There was no way he was going to attract the Big Soft Money even if it were legal. It was the same with support staff. He did not attract the Big Names. He got Trippi who was so far removed people forgot who he was.

                So given his asterik status he had nowhere else to go but to supporters who heard his message for donations.

                McCain-Feingold changed nothing for Dean.

                •  Not for Dean, but for the rest (none)
                  McCain-Feingold did not change fundraising for Dean, but it sure did for his competitors. Dean understood and took advantage of the new situation first, which demonstrated that he was not an asterisk. The more established candidates, less able to fall back on soft money, were unable to grasp how to operate in a  hard money campaign, and had a hard time showing that they could be competitive with Dean, or Bush, financially. Without McCain-Feingold their financial competitiveness would not have been in question, and Dean would have had a much harder time gaining the momentum he did.
                •  Agree (none)
                  McCain-Feingold changed nothing for Dean

                  that Dean would have had to turn to that kind of fund raising no matter what.  Point taken.

                  But, Mc-Cain-Feingold is what made it necessary for the Dem. Party establishment to pay attention, and that is where the opportunity/potential for change exists, not unfortunately in the success or failure of a "candidate for change" as much as we all like the melody of that particular folk song.  

                  "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

                  by a gilas girl on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 11:30:48 PM PST

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                  •  Yes McCain-Feingold made... (none)
                    the party establishment pay attention, no doubt.

                    But even WITHOUT McCain-Feingold the 40+ Million raised by Dean would have captured just as much attention as it has. Why?

                    1. 40+ Million is a lot of money
                    2. Dean exposed a new source of Signifigant contributions and dicovery of a new gold mine is always more interesting than new methods of tapping the same old sources.
          •  This is Kinda Like... (none)
            ...those arguments about whether God created man or man created God.  

            Now one could also argue that the intense longing that many people had for someone to stand firm against the Repubs and state unequivocally that Bush was starting an unjust war was what elevated Howard Dean into a God-like object of adoration, and now that his campaign has stopped a small cadre of his most zealous followers are seeking retribution against those they are convinced martyred their leader and defile his memory.  

            Of course, if one argued that here, one's post might disappear into hidden comments rather quickly.

            •  Jokes aside (none)
              I think you are right about the intense longing in the Democratic base for a candidate to stand up and not parse words.  Dean recognized and responded to that, and that is the most important of things he deserves credit for.

              "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

              by a gilas girl on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 08:21:05 PM PST

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              •  bingo! (none)
                I think you are right about the intense longing in the Democratic base for a candidate to stand up and not parse words.  Dean recognized and responded to that, and that is the most important of things he deserves credit for.

                and this quality, btw, is what any candidade must have to duplicate Dean's online online prganizing and fundraising.

                Intense longing isn't the half of it. We would do just about anything for a candidate who is able and willing to tell the truth and not parse words. That's why all this nonsense of 'cult of personality', hero worship and so on so misses the mark. We just want someone who is able and willing to speak out and tell the truth. We want that sort of integrity in our elected leaders. All this lying and spinning and parsing is just toxic.

                "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

                by colleen on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 01:55:59 AM PST

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      •  Let me explain my perspective... (3.85)
        I gave heavily to Dean.  I wasn't counting carefully... close to but under $1000... and planning to give more.

        I think that my lifetime total donations, prior to this, despite involvement in politics, probably don't top $250.  

        The credit Dean deserves is not that he was "first" to think of raising money on the internet. Nor was he a blogger already.  Like most people, he wasn't the person who created the tools, nor was he the one who put some of the pieces together.

        He did pull together a bunch of people who did -- which is a very non-trivial thing.

        And he provided the spark to light the fire.

        Before Dean, most of us looked at donations and... passed. No point. Not us. Too small dollar.

        Dean, with his message and the smarts to let people who have skills and ideas of their own run free (pretty much), got the ball rolling. His appeal proved not that you could get a few bucks on the net... but that you could make big bucks on the net.  In fact, that you could blow the wheels off Democratic big-bucks donations.

        It took lots and lots of people who were aching for an authentic message finding someone who offered one.  The internet is the trick there, and its correct application.  But the tools can exist and lie around... and be overlooked or used ineptly. Dean and his campaign figured out the combination that works.

        This is the secret the Democratic Party must learn

        It's not about the appeal for bucks.  It's not about the magic list of the right donors.  

        It's about the right appeal, the right message.  And the message is authenticity, coupled with standing up for what are really pretty classical liberal values.  We want our candidates to not be mealy-mouthed.  We want them to show some real fire, to have "gumption" and be willing to go in and take on the Republicans.  We don't want them to trim their sails to the GOP's fetid breeze. Stand up for what's right.  Stand up for our Constitution.  Spit in their eye.  Apply a swift, hard boot to corporate interests.

        This last week I met with DNC finance people who wanted to know what they could do to encourage the success of programs like ePatriots. This is how they think: "You write us a check, and let us know what we can do for you".

        Feh.  They are starting to get it.  They've noticed that there's money out there that's liberal money... and want it.  Good.  They've realized that it's not just that Dean's a magician who can still draw massive donations even when he's getting pounded in the press and polls.  It's that there are liberals who are damned well willing and ready to support Democrats who have a spine, even in adversity.

        Now, we need to close the loop.  Free market politics.  Product, then payment.  Not payment and then we'll come up with some product.

        Put It On The Table.  

        We already have--there's proof that we have the bucks... or at least the dimes and pennies... and that we're willing to give them to good candidates--not just Dean the Wicked Wizard of Vermont.

        Unlike the traditional large donor, we're not expecting to get < ahem > "access".  We're not expecting to get a special tax loophole that applies to corporations in the state of ___, chartered between __date_ and _date_, engaged in ___.  

        What we want is the country we thought we grew up in, the country that was described in the Constitution and a variety of other inspiring documents and speeches. The one so many have gone and fought and died for.

        We want authenticity.  Show us.

        Give us the candidates we want to hear, people who haven't already sold their souls by the ounce, with stands and messages that resonate.  They don't have to be perfect.  They can take some stands that we don't agree on.  They can be quirky (quirky is really ok--my god, the candidate might be human; that's good).  They can even (please!) have enough fire and connection with their supporters to let out a yell of excitement.

        Show us that you're going to support THEM, not tired, well-worn party hacks who can't even tell anymore that they've taken to whoring....

        And watch ten thousand wallets open.

        But we've been fooled before.  Think of us all as Hoosiers.  Show us.  First.

        In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. -- Thomas Jefferson

        by ogre on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 07:32:11 PM PST

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        •  The right message, messenger, right time +tools (none)
          Let us say if Joe Trippi was the campaign manager of Edwards or Kerry and kos and Jerome Armstrong help create their weblog,  will they be as sucessful as DFA with $51.3M and energy and passion of 640,000 supporters.  

          I doubt it.  There are internet tools that can be harnessed for fundraising but there must be a message with the right messenger and the right time and circumstances.

          If this was 2000 and there was no Iraq War and we are talking about Gore or Dean for that matter,  there will be no successful internet political fundraising as we see now with DFA.

          •  yea (none)
            The 'perfect storm' metaphor (though Iowa sorta toileted that analogy;)

            But on the second part, I think it's a misplaced comparison, because in 2000, the blogosphere didn't exist.  Had the whole Iraq war not catapulted Dean into the 'angry frontrunner' he wouldn't have peaked a quarter too soon.  Dean and Hart both got 18% in Iowa.

            •  Right time meant anger about war, spineless dems, (none)
              What I meant as the right time is because of the Iraq war and anger against Bush and Democrat leaders many people were motivated to join contribute and volunteer w/ DFA.  If Dean ran in 2000 and there was the blogosphere, Trippi, etc the effect will not be the same because the anger was not there.
        •  I didn't parse every post here (none)
          But my recollection is that the Dean internet phenomenom was due to the convergence of Meetup and Moveon, with the anti-war movement providing the yeast.  Meetups pioneered the idea that the most solitary occupation imaginable, browsing the Internet, could be transformed into an opportunity for face to face meetings, and Moveon that large numbers of small dollar donations mean big dollars overall.  Joe Trippi recognized the power of these twin locomotives and hitched the Dean train to them.

          But the historical priority is clear.

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