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Campaign Finance Reform. It was the ultimate political paradox. While Republicans held a 3x fundraising lead from hard-dollar donations, Democrats had parity in unregulated soft-dollar donations.

Yet Democrats voted for it, trapped between their support for good government and their addiction to soft dollars. Meanwhile, the GOP, who apparently had the most to gain, fought it tooth and nail.

Now, the big Ds (DNC, DCCC, and DSCC) face huge money disparities vis a vis their cash-flush GOP counterparts. Bush will have two to three times as much money as our Democratic nominee. So by winning, and by pushing good government, Democrats lost, right?

The Wall Street Journal's John Hardwood disagrees:

Yet today, as they gaze upon a 2004 U.S. electoral horizon far more promising than they could have expected just months ago, Democrats have reason to thank Mr. Feingold after all. For in two distinct ways, the campaign-finance law he sponsored already has helped Democrats recover their competitiveness across the U.S.

The first way flows from a provision of McCain-Feingold that, in congressional debate, drew far less attention than the one barring national parties from raising unregulated "soft money." The provision requires that television ads for Congress or president include an explicit endorsement by the candidate producing them, in voice and image.

Media consultants hate this requirement because it consumes precious moments of their 30-second spots and makes them more difficult to compose. But reformers insisted on it in the belief that forcing a simple declaration -- "I approved this message" -- would deter some of the attacks that have turned so much political TV into a slime-fest.

Well, guess what? The provision has had just the deterrent effect they hoped for [...]

The second positive development for Democrats is one that party electoral strategists never thought would happen. What they loathed most about McCain-Feingold was the ban on soft money, which had become a competitive equalizer for a party with many fewer $1,000-a-pop "hard money" donors than Republicans have.

But Mr. Feingold believed Democrats could create a new hard-money base of small donors. And now, courtesy of Mr. Dean's Internet-fueled campaign, it appears that they can.

Perhaps Mr. Dean and his ex-campaign manager, Joe Trippi, would have accomplished this in any event. But Mr. Feingold justifiably observes that the campaign-finance law "made it more essential" that Democratic presidential candidates reconnect with the Americans of modest means they always have claimed to represent.

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". It's crass, alright, but it's reality. It's the reason corporate, oil, and other more nefarious interests are plowing hundreds of millions into the various GOoPer establishments.

At one meeting, asked what the party could do to help encourage the Netroots, I answered simply, "Democrats need to act like Democrats. And they need to win."

In another meeting I said, "It'll be easier to raise money for Nancy Pelosi, who has led as a Democrat, than Tom Daschle, who caved to GOP pressure." As a special interest group, we are actually quite undemanding. All we ask is that the party stand for the principles that lead us to call ourselves "Democrats".

I hope you all realize the significance of all of this. Having lost the million dollar checks that previously funded the party, they suddenly look to people like us for answers. For the first time in decades, we matter more than the party's special interest groups. And the party and candidates (see the Blogads on this site) are now trying to figure out how to earn our support.

I firmly believe that Dean is getting too much credit for this. The blogosphere existed, and was healthy, before Dean came along. And it's healthy and still existing post Dean. What Trippi did was simply recognize the value of the blogosphere and harnessed it for his campaign. He didn't create it. In exchange for $20 million raised online the Dean campaign gave the blogosphere political legitimacy.

But the circle wasn't complete until Chandler came around. Pre-Chandler, the most common question I would get was, "Can all of this 'netroots' stuff work for candidates other than Dean?" Chandler put that question to rest.

But none of that would be possible without McCain/Feingold. Suddenly the party and the candidates need small dollar donations. And addicted to soft money as they were, they had no infrastructure to garner such donations. Without McCain-Feingold, the progressive blogosphere would have as much influence with the party establishment as the Right blogosphere has with the Republican Party. Which is zero.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 04:54 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  one way to ensure (none)
    that the blog community helps elect progressive Democrats is to work with groups like Progressive Majority who try to recruit and aid electable but progressive Dems.

    I urge you to email them and tell them to start to reach out to the blogger community.


  •  Great Analysis (3.71)
    This puts a number of pieces together into an unusually clear argument for why the blogosphere and small dollar donors matter more than before.

    Still, I think there is real risk of oversimplification here. All candidates had websites and could gather money over the internet. The blog made a difference for Dean, but the candidate was an essential ingredient here. Dean didn't just excite because he seemed like a true Democrat. Lots of folks, myself included, didn't consider ourselves Democrats before jumping on board with Dean.

    A number of qualities came together in Dean, and in Clark, that allowed a huge influx of dollars. These candidates came across as fresh, honest, and smart. They proposed innovative solutions that made sense after careful analysis. I realize it's hard to tell politicians that the way to win internet support is to find a candidate who speaks like an ordinary, thoughtful person and proposes pragmatic, innovative solutions which can be seen to promote social justice and economic prosperity. But that is as important as getting a blog and acting like a "true Democrat."

    •  Follow-up to JD (none)
      I think JD is right that the results would not have been the same without Dean and Clark as candidates. I'm not trying to make a broad statement or draw any definitive conclusions, but I see more than the simple changes that kos points out.

      First, the candidates.  

      The internet community, still an undefined mass of "who are these guys?" is definitely not the same as "Americans."  But they are a hell of lot more like the country as a whole than the handful of elites and devoted party voters ("Party Regulars") that run and participate in party activities.  I haven't seen actual numbers, but I would guess that members of the internet communicty are more numerous and more diverse than consistent primary voters.  

      And I think we may have discovered something interesting.  They not only want different candidates than the Party Regulars, they want a different kind of candidate and a different kind of campaign.

      Using another over-simplified "medium is the message" analysis.  The almost total dominance of TV ads and TV news shows in large scale political campaigns calls forth a particular kind of person (e.g., Short, fat bald guys have no chance of being elected president), and a particular type of campaign (sound bites, etc.,).

      I think the fact that the emerging influence of internet communications allowed one candidate, Dean, to go far beyond anywhere he could have gone in an exclusively TV ad/TV news campaign.  And, it allowed another candidate, Clark, to get anywhere at all.

      Second, the small contributors.

      A lot of small contributors made several donations.  I gave Dean a total of $1200, but it was spread over 11 months.  Before this campaign, no one, not even me, would have considered me a $1000 contributor.  I don't think anyone considers $1000 a small contribution.

      I am not sure what this will mean for anyone in the future.  I am guessing, but surely do not know, that the Dean people who, like me, were repeat contributors are not likely to do the same for the DNC or for Kerry.  Too much pain at this point.  But for the future?  Having done it once, we could probably be convinced to do it again.

      So, my tentative and sure to be modified conclusion is that there is a lot of money available, but it is not going to go to the same old same old candidates and campaigns that we are all used to and tired of.

      •  Identifying the blogosphere (none)
        The internet community, still an undefined mass of "who are these guys?"

        Wouldn't it be interesting to run a survey of Kos regulars to answer this question? Simple demographic/socioeconomic statistics....age,race, gender, education, household income. Do we resemble the electorate as a whole?

        •  Or... (none)
          Do we resemble a demographic, a base, that the Democrats ought to die to get a lock on?

          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 07:33:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Can they? (none)
            My thoughts on this are not fully formed (and yet, I share them with strangers!).  But at first blush, the answer is yes, of course the Democratic Party would die to get hold of the people who became active this year mostly through participation in the internet community.

            To some extent, and certainly in my case, the Democratic Party already has a hold on me.  I was an active Democrat before I ever owned a PC.

            On the other hand, the internet community probably includes a lot of people who either don't like or don't feel completely comfortable with party activism, as opposed to activism for a particular candidate or cause.  That may be the reason for the low expectations that Party Regulars have expressed and continue to express toward the internet activity.  They say, it's nice, but . . ."  And with Dean's demise, many Party Regulars feel that their original skepticism is justified.

            I think that's not true and, based on the resources and talent applied to the DNC website, for one example, there are apparently some Party Regulars who agree.  They are reaching out to the internet community.  They will not be able to show the rapid response that we on the net are used to and expect, but they are, after all, professionals.  They are focused on what works at electing candidates.

            So, while the Dean campaign did not succeed, it got close enough that there are going to be plenty of party and candidate efforts to repeat the positive results.  The candidates, the parties, the electorate and the country are going to be affected by it.

            This going to be great.

        •  Would be nice (none)
          It would be nice to know more about who exactly comprises the internet, but I am not sure anyone can really know.  

          I've been involved in politics at one level or another throughout my adult life, and I can tell you for certain that the people who are active in the two main parties, and especially those involved with third parties, people I call Party Regulars, are nothing remotely like the general population.

          The internet community is almost certainly more diverse, but I'm sure it over-represents some portions of the population and under-represents others.

          There is some overlap of Party Regulars and the internet community.  I'm part of both.  But the internet drew new people into the campaigns and some of them are going to stay.

        •  Yes it would. (none)
          Wouldn't it be interesting to run a survey of Kos regulars to answer this question? Simple demographic/socioeconomic statistics....age,race, gender, education, household income. Do we resemble the electorate as a whole?

           Some of this has already been done. A couple of months ago we determined that the blog was about 1/3rd female and 2/3rds male. We did an age poll too which indicated that the ages were pretty well distributed although I wasn't too satisfied with the categories in that poll.
          I don't know about race but, as far as I can tell, the blogs are very white.
          Household income would be an interesting poll. My guess is a median of 50-75k. Occupational categories would be interesting...

          My guess is that this blog is whiter, more wealthy and way more male than the dem electorate as a whole.  

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

          by colleen on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 11:20:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Who we are (none)
            I guess I missed that poll. I'd have to agree with your guess on what we look like (male, white, educated and relatively well-off), but statistics would still be great. A cross-blog poll of all the top progressive blogs would be even better, if you could somehow control for visitors on more than one blog.
    •  Other Things They Did Right (none)
      Over time I also gave Dean more than I would have thought possible, maybe $500 between August and February. One thing that helped A LOT was "The Bat." It seems silly, but a goal never hurts and a purpose for the goal never hurts. Like any fundraiaing telethon on radio or TV you need short term goals ($5000 in the next half hour and we get to stay on the air another 6 months!) That kind of thing. Plus, you generally had an idea of what it would be spent on (which is why so many of us on the 'blogforamerica' started getting upset when we saw the kind of crap ads Dean was running.) You can not overstate the importance of 'the bat' to get those donations to come pouring in! (Didn't dean raise another 1.4 million the week before he lost Wisconsin?) And all the rest of course: the candidate, the circumstatnces, etc. But if the Democratic Party wants to garner the kind of finacial support Dean got from just a Half a million people, they are going to need to be much more open about the amount of money they are raising and how it's being spent. And they'll need lots and lots of "Bats."
  •  You are such an ass... (1.16)
    I firmly believe that Dean is getting too much credit for this.

    Excuse me but your piddly little ads for Chandler came after Boswell. Dean was so cutting edge that Bishop in New York refused to go first. Also, may I remind you that your ads for Chandler were successful because the majority of folk chipping in were Dean supporters, who had already been acclimatised for such fundraising by Dean. Dean was also, the first to outreach nationally to fund locally.

    Now we all know you need to buy diapers, but now you are getting a bit too carried away with your notion of self importance.

    However, I see by your message that the DNC is still scared shitless of Dean and his "bottled power". Well, they should have been protecting the 527's instead of harrassing Dean.

    The GOP put a big middle finger in Terry face when the simutaneousely voted against the 527's the moment Dean suspended his candidacy. That was a big FU to Terry. Unfortunately, he deserved it.

    So, what are your orders from Terry Mac, to play down the importance of Dean in small donor fundrainsing? Well, you are going to need a pretty damn big rug to sweep 51 million dollars under the rug.

    You silly rabbit.

    •  You know CL... (4.00)
      you can disagree with Kos and his analysis and you can say so, but the personal attacks are a little much.  You have absolutely no right or the invitation to attack Kos personally by calling him an ass or by involving his family in your attacks (the diaper remark).

      This is his site by the way.  Remember that you are a guest here.   Think of yourself sitting in someone else's living room as a guest.  Would you call your host an ass?  Most civil and polite people do not and would not.  

    •  Yeah, heaven forbid (3.37)
      that Dean get credit for blowing the friggin roof off small donor donations which in turn blew away every Democratic effort of primary fundraising to date.

      Yeah, let's not give Dean credit, esp when one is trying to be a player with the major group that set out to derail him?

      How many average voters would even know what a blog was if Dean hadn't come along and sucked them in with his message and then directed these new bloggers to these sites?

      •  Jacobins (none)
        Maybe the Dean campaign was a revolution, because this is starting to look like the Jacobin stage.

        Next up, the guillotine!

        •  You ain't kiddin'! (none)
          And of course, you're next, for violating the anti-capital punishment plank.

          The only question left is how we can rig the thing up so the last customer can do self-service.

        •  Benedict Arnold CEO's (none)
          Did you hear John Kerry slamming the "Benedict Arnold Corporations" when he accepted the AFL-CIO's endorsement? He said he would repeal every last tax loophole that rewards bad corporate citizenship and takes American jobs overseas.

          It was great -- since the Benedict Arnold line was clearly aimed at their political patrons -- the Bush Adminstration.

          After Bush, the deluge --

          •  I heard that... (4.00)
            He's starting to say what needs to be said.  Now he needs to persuade us that he'll do it.

            This is the hard part.

            Now say it like you really mean it.

            Because, by god, we do.

            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 07:39:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Hmm... (none)
          Maybe it really can be a revolution and Dean can take McAuliffe's job after Kerry blows the election.

          Can you imagine what Dean could do in that position?

          Catapultam Habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.

          by Sasquatch on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 05:59:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Boswell? (4.00)
      Excuse me but your piddly little ads for Chandler came after Boswell.

      The blogs raised more money for Chandler than Dean and his entire network of supporters raised for Boswell. That says it all.

      •  Nope, dont think so (none)
        No I dont think it does, because Trippi only gave the Boswell bat 48 hours of life.  The Chandler ad stayed up forever.
      •  How many of those who (2.75)
        contributed via the blogs to Chandler were Dean supporters or found the other blogs because the Dean site helped direct them to places like Atrios and Daily Kos?

        Kos, it seems that your efforts to garner favor with the DNC by aiding them in deflating their nemesis Dean is also distorting your judgment.

        •  wow, you're misinformed (3.00)
          Kos actually worked for the Dean campaign with a bit of consulting last summer.

          way to be a jerk and inaccurate at the same time!

          damn it feels good to be a gangster.

          by skaiserbrown on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 06:02:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And what does working for Dean (2.14)
            last summer have to do with his current position of currying favor with Terry Mac the same time he can barely post without taking a dig at Dean?

            Try to keep up.

            •  silly (4.00)
              kos has expressed often his appreciation for Dean. just because he doesn't conclude that Dean is the second coming of the messiah, and is trying to help strengthen the DNC and give it some cajones, he's suddenly in terry mac's pocket?

              dude. seriously.

              you're someone who complains about something (in this case the DNC) and then when someone is trying to fix or change it, you yell at them for doing so. get over yourself. there's plenty of nits to be picked and major issues to be tossed at the DNC, but you're out of line. as is that freeper operative chicken little.

              damn it feels good to be a gangster.

              by skaiserbrown on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 06:14:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  simply put (3.50)
                there was no reason for Kos to mention that Dean was getting too much credit for this. it was just plain gratuitous. Kos has recovered quickly from Dean's demise. I'm glad for him. Alot of the rest of us have not.
                •  Perhaps it could have been said differently. (4.00)
                  Maybe the better way to say it is that the analysis of the fundraising aspects has been, to this point, too Dean-centric.

                  Ultimately, we're all going to want to know whether -- and if so, how -- this kind of success can be replicated. So we ask, was this about strategy, or was this about the candidate?

                  If we concede that it's about the candidate, everybody goes home. Short meeting. Kos makes no contribution at all to the meeting. Nothing can be done but sit and wait for Dean to run again and bring 535 friends along for the ride next time, provided they're willing to say nothing and let him do all the talking.

                  The only other possibility worth considering is that Dean did something that's transferable to others. Not everyone, but some others. If so, then the bulk of the credit goes to the strategy and not the man. Granted, not every candidate could make this work. But given the frequency with which Dean supporters proclaimed their affinity for the candidate was based on his strategy of outreach, the only logical conclusion is that this strategy is to some degree transferable -- or that Dean supporters were just disguising their hero worship as something else.

                  The hero worship option means we all get to knock off early, though.

                  •  If You Don't... (none)
                    ...keep up the hero worship, there's something else that's going to come off...
                  •  I respectfully disagree... (3.60)
                    about your interpretation of what comprises the strategy.

                    Dean's message was the strategy. Period. The strategy in all elections is "how" are you going to go about attracting voters. And that is all about message. That's it.

                    The blog is a TACTIC. A "tool" to attract and communicate with voters. Existing E-Commerce technology was another TACTIC used to make it easy for people who have been convinced by the candidates message to contribute. That's it tactics.- Just like TV & Print ads are a tactic, not a strategy.

                    There is no magic in blogs and E-Commerce that is going to change a business-as-usual candidate into a Super Pol.

                    At best these tools will only do what they were intended to do - communicate and simplify contributions. And email makes it cost effective to solicit often.

                    Give Dean his due credit or not, that is up to each individual. But no one can deny that his 40+ Million was the 'shot heard around the world'.

                    Kos is now in the business of developing blogs for others. He should be thanking Dean - not saying he received to much credit. Without Dean's 'Big Bang' there would not be the level of interest there is right now for Kos's expertise.

                    I am a entrepreneur and businessperson so I say the following from experience - the worse thing Kos could do right now is to sell his blogs to people and leave them with the expectation that the 'TOOLS' will bring them Dean-Type success. He needs to let them know that the 'TOOLS' are only capable of Amplifying the success that they create with their message.

                    Any other impression on the part of the buyer will only lead to disappointment. And with customer disappointment comes a market that will dry up faster than a fresh rose in the Hot Arizona Sun.

                    •  I respectfully respect your respectful .... (none)
                      Always a good hair to split, about strategy versus tactics.

                      But where do you classify blogs, internet fundraising and interactive outreach if part of the strategy is to drive focus on the tactic?

                      There's no doubt that by themselves these tools are no more than tactics. But to me, part of the reason why we're even having this debate over who deserves how much credit is that Dean made his tactics part of his strategic appeal. My recollection is that Kos explained the appeal of the Dean campaign (for him) as centering on its focus on netroots and interactivity in general.

                      While that may not have been as central to everyone else's commitment to Dean, it was certainly the part that got the most press. Enough so that I think the argument can be made that these tactics became recruiting strengths -- Dean for America was better than any other campaign because they listened to you, and you could believe they listened to you because they used all these fantastic, interactive tools.

                      I guess that essentially comes down to a "medium is the message" argument, which is disconcerting because I would ordinarily resist making it. But in this case there's something to it.

                      Now, that said, I agree that Kos should be thanking Dean for making the splash he did, which raised demand for his services. Still, I don't know if that itself says anything about where credit is due. Using the e-commerce parallel, the coders who develop the software certainly have to thank (or whoever) for the "big bang," but that doesn't mean they deserve the credit for creating the tools. In fact, in their case, I'd say their marketing department and advertising agency deserve the credit for driving the traffic. But that's another story.

                      I also agree that Kos shouldn't be out there promising Dean-like magic to anyone who'll pay for a blog, if that's the right way of putting it. But I think worrying about that possibility ignores the context in which Kos came to develop the skills he's selling. It seems clear enough to me that he has (as have we all) seen what blogs can and can't do, from having observed, say, his own, Dean's, and Kerry's.

                      To some extent, it is in Kos' interest to deemphasize the role of Dean himself in the blog explosion, but I think it's also in our interest. Certainly other candidates and organizations are going to be less inclined to launch blogs if the leading strategist in the field tells them it can only work for Howard Dean. So yes, that's a sales pitch for Kos. But on the other hand, what would Democrats have learned if they dismissed the possibility out of hand that other candidates might also be suited to such tactics? In this case, Kos' self interest translates rather directly into the ability to build a pipeline for you to reach a growing number of Democratic office holders and policy makers. I'll spot him a couple bucks in exchange for that.

                      You can't give Dean too much credit for making the most of the tools he was provided with. But I think we do ourselves a disservice if we give him too much credit for discovering that Democrats are excited by the prospect of making campaigns a two-way street.

                      •  Respectfully Squared (none)
                        Having once again read your post that I responded to along with other posts that offered comment on this subject it appears to me that most people fall on either the side that 'Dean's Message' was the driving force OR  on the side that the 'Tools' were the driving force.

                        It is pretty clear that the 'Dean Message' people are supporters of Dean and thus see his message as the reason for his fund raising success. On the other side it appears that those that are not big fans of Dean see the 'Tools' as the reason for his fund raising success.

                        This proves once again the old adage of "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder". That said let me respond to your thoughtful post.

                        You mentioned that Kos explained the appeal of the Dean campaign (for him) as centering on its focus on netroots and interactivity in general. OK that was the appeal for Kos but not for everyone including myself. Kos is wed to the tools so it is natural that he would be attracted to that aspect of the campaign. Conversely those who are not wed to the tools were attracted to the message and see the tool as an enhancement to the campaign. Simply two valid views coming from two different perspectives.

                        You say that you think the argument can be made that these tactics became recruiting strengths based on the fact that this is what the Press reported on. OK. I say just because the Press decides to cover fluff over Issues and Messages does not mean they set the agenda of my and others attraction to the campaign. Sure the Press has influence on a lot of people (sheep) and if the press decides to frame a candidate in a certain way does not mean that is who the candidate, his campaign, or his supporters, really are. But if you wish to make the argument for tactics, once again we simply have two valid views coming from two different perspectives.

                        In regards to your view on who should get credit for the technology you are absolutely correct. The coders followed by Amazon etc. certainly put the infrastructure in place. The point I was trying to making when I mentioned Dean's 'Big Bang' was simply Dean was the first to be successful using it in politics in such a way that it became Front Page News and has driven the interest level in the marketplace. Much like Amazon was an early pioneer in E-Commerce.

                        As to your response to my comments about Kos marketing blogs I will just stand by my original comments. The fact is that the tools are "The Steak" and Dean Message was "The Sizzle". If you know anything about marketing you know that you don't sell the steak you "Sell The Sizzle" because that is what opens the door to interest in what you have to say. My point was that Kos just need to be a complete consultant and communicate Dean's success and then point out that there is more to Deans success than just having the tools.

                        It is kind of like have a website for your business. If it just displays your name and address and what you sell you are not going to get much response. You need 'Compelling Content' to be successful. Or in the case of a political blog you need a 'Compelling Message' like Dean had.

                        So the question remains which approach is more successful?

                        A campaign with a 'Compelling Message' that also uses some tools (tactics) to AMPLIFY the message
                        A campaign that use tools (tactics) not a 'Compelling Message' as it's strategy.

                        For me the answer is simple because I just follow the lead of those who are far more successful than I.

                        I enjoyed your reading posts and look forward to talking to you again.

                •  you have a point (none)
                  and it's also certainly true that we've developed an echo chamber here. as political blog junkies we go over and discuss issues far quicker than the "real world" does. so kos, as a nexus of the blog world, probably suffers from this at times and is already looking to the future.

                  damn it feels good to be a gangster.

                  by skaiserbrown on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 06:56:52 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Of course there IS a reason (4.00)
                  its absolutely necessary that he mention what he believes is a misplaced analysis.

                  You may disagree with his analysis, but his point that Dean got too much credit for a phenomenon that may well have been (more than likely was) developing on its own as well is central to his analysis.

                  While the Dean campaign deserves credit for several very important developments in the current campaign, the analysis that "dean revolutionizes" has always been a simplistic and somewhat generous interpretation.  No one individual (or event) alone "revolutionizes".

                  And people who want to try to make a living out of the US political system, or those who want to understand and analyze what has happened in order to impact the political system now and in the future need to recognize that and begin a more in-depth analysis.

                  I find it amusing that people are chastizing MarKos for being "anti-Dean", after the 18+ months of grief he endured for being "pro-Dean".  

                  Talk about a one-dimensional line of vision.

                  "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 07:07:28 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Wait a minute...... (4.00)
        that's like saying the guy with the machete who blazed the trail through the brush took much too long getting to his destination compared to the guys who had clear sailing after him who got there in half the time.

        The Boswell fundraising was a very short endeavor and did not get the kind of publicity over the long haul on DFA that Chandler got on your site.

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

        by lightiris on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 05:52:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  How much??? (none)
        and who was first??
      •  Not to put words in your mouth (4.00)
        But is it fair to say that you see the Dean campaign as seeing a great fundraising approach (as I recall, it was yourself who highlighted the fundraising possibilities to the Dean campaign), but not creating it.

        I liken it to the Bill James' description of Babe Ruth, he was the first to recognize the potency of the home run and the possibilities of hitting them in bunches, but once he blazed the trail, many other gifted players reached proximity with Ruthian levels.  Similarly, with kos as 'batting coach', the Dean campaign set records, and other gifted players, such as Chandler, have seen the possibilities.

        Two other points. First, to give Triipi some due, he certainly has been pushing the "small donor" approach for some time, at least since the 92 Brown campaign.

        Second, while there is nothing but applause for this new development, it certainly is not the panacea for voter particpation YET that many would describe.  The "small" donors generated by the blogosphere still exclude many disenfranchised, most particularly minorites, as the "digital divide" still largely exists.

        At any rate, Dems like me can provide you nothing less than a hearfelt thanks for reinvigorating and channeling progressive Dems to a constructive manner in trying to make our voices heard.


      •  Apples and Oranges? (none)
        Boswell came during a time when psyched Dean supporters (like myself) were focused on Dean.  Chandler came at a time when frustrated Dean supporters (like myself) were looking for other ways to target their contributions.  I don't think it is as simple as you make it out to be here.

        "Liberals are like dogs: ..." - E. B. White

        by Blue the Wild Dog on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 12:15:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Marked up, marked down (4.00)
      Message good.

      Style bad.

      Overall: Marginal.

      Don't piss on Kos.  Poor form.  At least not without a really good argument to be made for pissing on him.  And even then, expect brickbats.

      Name calling and suggesting he's taking orders from TerryMac are... low.

      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 07:35:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a very interesting analysis... (3.66)
    and if correct, it means that the DNC, DCCC, and the DSCC don't need reforming after all.  There is nothing horrible about the their structures and heirarchy.  What was horrible was who they were paying attention to and the message they ended putting out there because of who they were paying attention to.  They were paying attention to the same corporate donations that the Republicans are getting.  Therefore, their message had to be moderated, and hence the Clintonian Third Way DLC.  

    If because of McCain-Feingold, there can be no more soft money donations, then the DNC et al had a choice to make.  1) Go after the same small donations (where they would not much), or 2) go to their base for the small donations.  Therefore, the Dean campaign and the Chandler campaigns has proven to them that they can have success in not only raising money from their base but also by satisfying it.  

    Your statement, Kos, about raising money for Nancy Pelosi is easier if she acts like a Democrat hits the nail right on the head.  

    •  So are you saying... (2.50)
      ...Kos is not an ass???

      Even in the text he quotes it states that Dean has been responsible for this, so why are you trolling me?

      •  Calling a spade a spade (none)
        Your statement was trollish, as are most of your comments on this site.  Your statement was a personal attack, and it deserved a troll rating.

        Dean and his campaign did not invent the blogosphere.  If you think he did you are seriously misinformed.  The blogosphere existed before Dean just like you, me and other former and current Dean supporters existed before Dean.  In fact, even our money existed before Dean began his campaign.  Dean and his campaign simply harnessed us.  That is all Kos was saying.

        •  Kettle... (none)
          Dean and his campaign did not invent the blogosphere.

          Where the hell did I say that???

          Oh, I guess I also must have said that Gore invented the internet.

          Is the only way you can debate is to lie?
          Kos completely dismisses Dean's undeniable revolution of putting 2 and 2 together. Teh fact that Kos doesn't even bother to mention that Dean had already tested this on Boswell speaks volumed to his disingenuousness.

          Some of the Dean supporters have been talking about having two lists.

          The Zoe List of positive politicians who are really Democratic such as Boswell. It is named after Zoe L. of Washington whose idea this was orignally.

          There would also be the Pelosi List made up of the typical DLCers like Toricelli and Daschle. This is named in her honor after she put together a list of Democrats to publically berate Dean because he dared to say that the US needed to be even-handed in their approach to the I/P conflict.

          •  None of these arguments.... (none)
            while good and debatable points, makes up for your personal attack.  The effects and legacy of the blogosphere and the Dean, Boswell and Chandler fundraising can and should be debated for years to come.  However, Chicken Little, you seem to be not able to debate without calling your opponent a derogatory remark.  You throw mud and engage in name calling all of the time.

            That is unacceptable and debases your entire argument.  

          •  so (none)
            Didn't "test it" even before Boswell?  Remember Wellstone in 2002, getting like ~400K from their email list?


            •  one from moveon (none)
              I came up to bat through the MoveOn primary myself. Do they get credit for Dean? Of course I had been following the Doctor's exploits before then, but I hadn't yet put my money where my nice little intentions were.

              Deaniac, Bradleyac, Tsongasac, Mondaliac. Can I pick 'em, or what?

              by Mo MacArbie on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 08:55:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  I'm still leery of forking it over to the DNC (3.80)
    Some years ago, I made myself a promise that I wasn't going to give directly to the Democratic Party until they grew a pair and started acting like, you know, Democrats again. For the most part, I'm still waiting on that front.

    And while I desperately want to see Bush II fade off into the sunset after a single, mostly unsuccessful term just like his daddy did, I'm leery of giving directly to the Democratic Party to support that effort. I don't want my contributions going to fuel more of the DLC, Republican-lite fare that we've seen since 1992.

    So until the DLC is definitively out of the Democratic Party's fundraising and policymaking chains, what's a progressive to do? If there were an umbrella group out there that would make donations to progressive candidates, I'd happily support that. I just can't bring myself to donate directly to the DP, even for such an obviously worthy goal as getting BushCo out of Washington.

    Michael - "I have lived too long among a people that hates peace" (Psalm 120:6)

    by musing85 on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 05:20:35 PM PST

    •  Give directly to the Candidates or... (none)
      ...give to 527s like Moveon and the Progressive group suggested up thread.  
      •  I have been (none)
        ...but I'd like to do more. I really want my country back from BushCo. I just don't want to hand it over to BushCoLite.

        Michael - "I have lived too long among a people that hates peace" (Psalm 120:6)

        by musing85 on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 08:30:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Give to Cong races (none)
          Watch the postings of Mr. Liberal and others here and give in the Senate and House races where we can make a difference and shrink Delay's margin.

          Whatever you can do or dream, begin it, for boldness has power, and genius, and magic in it. -Goethe

          by Mimikatz on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 09:37:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've thought of that... (none)
            ...but let's face it: I'm a busy man. Full-time job, nearly full-time graduate student, blogging, an occasional visit with family or friends. It's not optimal, but I think at least for this election cycle, I'd prefer making a blanket donation that I knew was going to support candidates with views like mine on subjects I consider important, but without having to do all the background research on which candidates, which races, etc. (Because, unfortunately, I have no hope of affecting the outcome in my congressional district, where Mr. Speaker is likely to be re-elected in a landslide, though I live in hopes that he won't get to be Mr. Speaker for much longer.)

            Michael - "I have lived too long among a people that hates peace" (Psalm 120:6)

            by musing85 on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 11:51:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  McAuliffe Behind Bush Awol News (none)
      Don't forget that it's DNC Chair McAuliffe who has been aggressively pushing the Bush AWOL story lately.
      •  Not enough (none)
        And he only jumped on the bandwagon after it was clear it had legs. I don't call that "leadership," I call that following along in the path.

        Michael - "I have lived too long among a people that hates peace" (Psalm 120:6)

        by musing85 on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 08:29:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Blogosphere and Dean (3.80)
    It's not that Dean and Trippi invented the power of the blogosphere (though they blazed trails with their innovative use of and their own networking software).

    What Dean did was just what he said: he represented the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party at a time of capitulation and appeasement to the Republican security state agenda. And the numbers of people who jumped on his train shook up politics in America.

    Claiming he didn't lay the tracks his train ran on misses the point. The blogosphere was the medium, but it was the message that showed the Democratic Party's leaders that Bush could be confronted.

    •  Exactly right (3.66)
      It's the political junkie's obsession with process that obscures the main point.  If Dean the candidate had taken positions like Edwards, Gephardt, Kerry & Lieberman, and had talked like EGK&L, he would not have raised much money on the net or elsewhere.

      I posted the same thoughts upthread, but I will repeat a shorter version here.  What Dean's huge fund-raising and Clark's emergence showed was that there is a rather large population that is willing to donate money, a lot of money in some cases, if they like the candidate.

      The message to the DNC and the DLC is this:  We have a lot of money to donate, but we don't like THAT kind of candidate, we like THIS kind of candidate.

      It isn't a revolutionary change, it's an evolutionary change.  The means/messages of the political status quo do not answer the questions or activate the aspirations of a large population.  So we (if I may be permitted to use that pronoun) used the internet (because it's there) to express our support for some one and something different.

      If members of this population were likely to support candidates like EGK&L, they would have done so and Dean would have remained the obscure former Governor of Vermont and Clark would have never entered the race.

    •  Kos' point (none)
      Claiming he didn't lay the tracks his train ran on misses the point. The blogosphere was the medium, but it was the message that showed the Democratic Party's leaders that Bush could be confronted.

      about the context having also to be in place is a vital piece that was missing from any of the discussions before.  Absent McCain-Feingold, no one would have paid attention.  Dean and Trippi didn't concoct the strategy because of political altruism but because it was necessary, and because the time was right: look at all the things that came together to make this strategy both effective and attention-worthy.

      Dean and Trippi deserve the credit for having the smarts to recognize that the time was right (since the rest of the Democratic Party did appear to be behind the eight ball on this), and for assessing the historical moment.

      This also sort of supports what I have been commenting on for a while: that the fundraising strategy may not have been about "bringing the party to the people" as those who saw Dean * his campaign as the new populist piper, but that it was equally likely that if not the goal then the outcome of the strategy would be to expand the DNC's notion of fundraising, to bring the old fundraising system to a new audience (i.e. the small donor).

      This is why "campaign finance reform" is not nearly enough to fix the problems in US electoral politics.  

      "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 07:21:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You've hit on it (none)
        I find it ironic that after hearing for months from Dean about how "it's about you, it's not about me" his followers seem determined to say it's about him after all.  The Dean campaign made the means the message; the campaign itself was part of the policy message.  This was a mistake in my opinion, but it does illustrate that this is a method of raising money and gathering support, but Dean himself knew it wasn't Dean-only.  

        It's also interesting to note that Dean, a moderate centrist with a couple Republican leanings (like guns) used this method to become the person "representing the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party".   Anyone with a lick of sense knew that Dean was no Wellstone (and that's not a slam on Dean); he wasn't nearly as liberal as the man who coined the phrase.  But that campaign made people part of a community and that made man of the most liberal among us follow a man who didn't directly represent their interests, such as Kucinich, who was really the guy to support if you're on the far left.  

        In short, Kos is right.  And so are you.  

        "Every city is two cities, a city of the many poor and a city of the few rich; and these two cities are always at war."--Plato

        by Eclectic on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 09:06:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The power...and all that (none)
          Your claim that it's all about Dean rings most hollow.  

          Yes, there are many odes and debts of gratitiude paid to the man at the front of the campaign who gave may of us a reason to be politically active again--more active than merely showing up to vote, anyway.  We can all thank Howard Dean, his message, and his campaign for coalescing at just the right time (post Bush 2000) and in just the right manner, but the mere fact that so many are willing and committed to taking this messgage and the greater goals of what can loosely be termed "the Dean campaign" far beyond the presidential race of 2004 is testament to the fact that this is most assuredly not all "about him after all."

          We acknowledge and thank Dean (and all associated with his campaign and his message) for getting us this far off our collective asses, but where we go from here is up to us, not him.

          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 09:56:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think you've misunderstood my intent (none)
            I don't believe it's all about Dean at all.  I never did.  I always thought DFA was a great campaign needing a better candidate.  

            I give Dean great credit as well for being the early voice that let everyone realize it was ok to go after the Liar-in-Chief.  It's become trite on the networks to say he gave us a vertebrate transplant, but there is some truth to it.  But making the campaign the message rather than the candidate was a mistake, if their intent was to elect Howard Dean.  For a movement that allows for Howard to lose the nomination, this works fine.  

            The methodology is sound; it just takes the right candidate and the right efforts designed to facilitate a community.  

            "Every city is two cities, a city of the many poor and a city of the few rich; and these two cities are always at war."--Plato

            by Eclectic on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 11:02:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  The message resounded in the blogsphere (none)
      Dean's anti-war, anti-bush, anti-establishment Democrat message resounded on the internet. Had there been no blog, the media would never have picked it up (for the same reason they couldn't bring themselves to criticize the president). But with the support from the bloggers and meetup (who early on could get thousand of people to show up at rallies) the press could take notice and not be called anti-American by the right-wing apologists. Maybe it works both ways. Because the blog connects to people in their homes (and they can respond) we have a new tool for the campaigns, but we will also need NEW CANIDATES who appeal on that level (as appeased to what we have now, guys that appeal to the big donors who can get the votes of average Americans in a slightly greater quantity than their opponents.) Which means (since the blogsphere is probably not representative the mass of voters) we will need to find candidates whom we like (and we will support with cash and/or labor) but who can get the votes of average Americans in a slightly greater quantity than our opponents.
  •  Coordinated Campaigns (none)
    Until we go through a full campaign cycle and see how it will affect field operations previously conducted by coordinated campaigns, it may be too early to pronounce M-F a success that helps Democrats.

    Since the late 1980's, Democrats have conducted their field efforts through coordinated campaigns.  The premise is that a phone call or a piece of persuasion mail is often just as effective if it's done on behalf of more than one candidate--say, both the state house and state senate candidate.  GOTV in high Dem areas (>65%)certainly helps all candidates.  Much of this was done with soft money, or a mix of soft and hard money, or a mix of hard federal/hard state, etc.  In short, depending on what you were trying to accomplish, there were many ways to skin that cat.

    Now things are different, and everyone is still trying to figure it out.  The 527's are a very promising development, especially for effective field operations, as I argued here.  But the FEC is still mucking around with these, especially since the Dems seem to have more to gain than the Republicans by  maintaining the prevailing interepretations of what the 527's are permitted to do.  There are more ruling on the horizon, and if the FEC screws us on 527's, then we're going to be at a huge disadvantage at funding out field operations.  

    So, as it affects candidates and the party organizations and the express advocacy for or against a particular candiate, yeah, we may in the long run be better off.  But only if we don't get screwed in the short run on the 527's, without which we will have almost no cash to fund our field operations.  

    •  "Coordinated Campaigns" (3.50)
      I don't know where the D's have been running these, but it hasn't been in Dallas County, Texas. We received NO funding from the state or federal Parties whatsoever, and our "coordinated campaigns" basically consisted of divvying up the territory amongst the various statewide candidates (some of whom hired consultants who simply took the money and did nothing). In the 2002 cycle, the campaigns stepped all over each other and there was NO coordination of GOTV or anything else. Yet we still ran in the 47%-range countywide. That's not 50% plus one, but it's close. Imagine what we can do with organization and an actual GOTV program.

      This year, the local Party will be running a coordinated GOTV campaign, funded both by donors (a mix of state soft and federal hard money) and by whatever candidates can give us, but we're not allocating territory out to the candidates.
      We've had enough losing and enough caving to the consultants who rake off their 20%, win or lose.

      If any of you have any input with your own county parties, I suggest you start making your views known on this (and good luck shaking money out of the DNC).

      "Making Dallas bluer, one election at a time."

      by precinct1233 on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 06:01:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not Competetive (none)
        Texas hasn't been competetive in a national election since the 1960's, so it would be one of the last places to run a full-blown coordinated campaign with federal money.  You just don't spend money where you know you'll lose when you need to spend money in places you might be able to win.

        Whether there's a coordinated campaign has a lot to do with the strength of the state party, and state parties in the south--which are supported almost entirely by trial lawyers, due to the almost complete absence of organized labor--just don't have the infrastructure or the history of pooling resources in that manner.  

        Also, you woundn't necessarily notice whether there's an effective coordinated campaign by looking at a county party office.  You don't need many official offices to be effective, but if you pool your resources you can literally save millions of dollars in a big state by printing and distributing coordinate mail pieces and GOTV door-hangers, doing one round of voter ID calls for several candidates instead of making each candidate do their own, pooling money for street teams to flush voters in high dem-low voting areas, etc.  Most of that stuff is planned and devised in one location, and then implemented either through vendors or locally through congressional district operations.  

        •  Coordinated Campaigns (3.50)
          I know all that, but Dallas County ALONE sent $8 million to national candidates/campaigns/DNC in the last cycle. A coordinated campaign (costing $150k at most) could have netted us a couple of local judges and the head of county government (and, possibly, another Congressman), as well as keeping a couple more state House seats, which would have made redistricting impossible. With countywide wins, we would be able to raise a lot more money for all the party levels and campaigns, since money follows success in politics.

          One of the tasks of the National and State Parties is supposed to be redistributing campaign money from areas where it is not needed to areas where it is. I suspect that a lot of the money went to states where the D's are already in power (New York and California in particular) rather than attempting to increase span of control. The Texas Party was essentially broke at the beginning of the 2002 cycle, and just recently paid off its accumulated deficit (thanks, in part, to a single large contribution from an estate that took years to transit through probate).

          Further, local parties in Texas can accept essentially unlimited amounts of what would be soft money at the federal level, so the DNC could, with careful efforts, run around the soft-money ban (yes, it's complex, but it's doable, and the R's are already doing it---see DeLay's efforts in 2002), using either the state or local parties and PAC's.

          This is not all the DNC's fault, but it is a part of it. Instead of funding politicians who carry districts at 60%-plus cycle after cycle, it would be helpful to fund some of the 40% races, since those are the ones that have the most trouble gaining funds. Helping to fund the operations of a large county that is on the verge of transitioning from R to D could only help the party in the next cycle, as the local would-be buyers of political influence are forced to hedge their bets. Granted, it won't change the outcome of a whole state overnight, but it's the beginning of a process that will.

          "Making Dallas bluer, one election at a time."

          by precinct1233 on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 07:02:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Locally Cooridinated Campaigns (none)
          Even though Texas is not competitive on the National level, Democrats are still the majority of the Congressional Delegation (prior to the DeLay Gerrymander).

          Building grassroots support for the Democratic Party means cooridinated campaigns, even without big dollar investments from the DNC and Presidential Candidates.

          Mobilizing the base, educating and registering the disaffected, and Knock & Drag GOTV are all part of the program -- and they don't need big dollar ad buys from the DNC.

          In fact, targeted radio campaigns for Congressional Candidate X would probably be a wise use of resources in these efforts -- so long as their are themes that resonate from the top of the ticket on down.

  •  Dumping on Dean again, kos? Close to the DNC? (2.00)
    Chicken Little is right.

    You know, kos, I can never figure you out.  The only innovative candidate in the Democratic Party in 30 years, and you say he didn't have much to do with net contributions (the net thing just speeded them up.)

    This view is dumber than dishwater. Dean has special qualities, nicely described by Chicken Little, and that is why I will continue to contribute a huge amount (gave almost $2000 out of a small middleclass income in last 18 mos to Dean)

    IF  IF IF



    •  Whoops! (none)

      Sorry, folks.  I meant

      JD in NYC's description of Dean..

      My eye must have slipped.

      (I too am uncomfortable with Chicken Little's furious attack on kos, who is a GREAT blogger, even though I disagree with him sometimes.)

    •  Know what? (4.00)
      Jerome Armstrong and me (to a lesser degree) where the people that worked with Trippi to make this stuff happen for Dean's campaign. (Here's one look at our role.)

      Jerome and I were there before Dean knew what a blog was. So I know for a fact that they didn't create it. We encouraged Trippi to use what already existed to help promote his candidate. Trippi intuitively picked up on it. And Dean's anti-war stance and strong partisanship helped catapult his own netroot efforts.

      But he didn't create them. That's all I'm saying.

      •  Thought so (none)
        That's what I wrote in an earlier reply to you.
      •  That article says nothing about sm donations (none)
        Yes, I read that, it says nothing about harness the net for small donor contributions.

        In fact the idea about contributing to other candidates came from Zoe L. Where you in on that meeting too?

      •  Don't Forget The MoveOn Primary (none)
        The MoveOn preference primary in June was a turning point for Dean. I joined MoveOn, just so I could vote -- although I forget who I voted for. It was either Dean, or someone else -- hoping Dean wouldn't break 50%. It was this event that set the stage for the $7 million fundraising surge at the end of the 2nd quarter.

        Anyway -- Joe Trippi hired MoveOn as DFA consultants, and I'll bet their interaction had a lot to do with MoveOn's decision to hold the primary in the first place, and with Dean almost running away with it.

    •  Wow... (1.54)
      Dean did a whole lotta talking, and he sucked all of you little twits looking for a hero into giving him money and then he blew through the money and lost.

      Howard Dean is not, and has never been the man he claimed to be during his campaign, he used the rhetoric and the reform minded ideas to get you all hooked on him, the test would have been when he actually was president, because as gov of vermont Dean was no where near a progressive, nor did he look to change things, that's what I never understood, Dean is a centrist, what made anyone think he'd lead any differently then he did in Vermont.  

      You all need to stop acting like Dean was going to transform this country into some sort of utopia, it's sad.  

      Whatever exists will, sooner or later, be turned inside out.

      by jbou on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 06:58:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thats what attracted 640000 online supporters (4.00)
        Thats what attracted 640,000 online supporters to give $51.3 M to the campaign because he is moderate centrist successful governor who left Vermont in better shape than when he found it, who stood up against the war and what is wrong about Bush when it was politically suicide to do so  or else they would have been supporting Kucinich.

        Dean supporters know more about their candidate than Edward or Kerry supporters do about their own.

        Dean supporters wanted America to be like Vermont,
        balance budget, near universal health care, innovative environmental policies, and honest and transparent participatory government.  Dean had weekly press conferences, Vermont had monthly town hall meetings.

      •  That's just wrong (4.00)
        Progressives weren't sucked in by Dean.  

        Progressives backed Dean because he was a centrist we could be enthusiastic about supporting.  He had something we didn't see in the rest of the pack, including Kerry, and no amount of post-mortem, disparaging punditry removes that basic truth from our memories.

        The Democratic Party & Kerry should give up on changing our minds about who Dean was and what he meant to us.  They need to get to work on changing our minds about them.  

      •  being a vermonter (none)
        I knew exactly who Howard was and is, and although I see myself as a progressive I really did not want an idealogically driven progressive candidate. I wanted a rather  non-idealogical practical and competent and honest candidate, and that is the Dean I know from 11 years as guv. If I wanted idealogy, I'd be a DK supporter, without a doubt.

        Howard disagreed with this war based on the facts of this war, not war in general.

        I'd accept a progressive idealogically-driven regime here way ahead of a neocon driven regime, as unlikely as that might be in my lifetime, but I know one sucks big time and my guess is the progressive one would too.  I want the facts, I want full disclosure, I want no litmus tests, I want competency. That's why I supported Dean, not because somehow, duh, I thought he was a progressive.

  •  Actually... (3.80)
    I think Dean is getting too little credit.  He's being credited for using the internet in "innovative" ways, and your point that he didn't invent this is spot on. You deserve a lot of credit, Kos.

    On the other hand, Dean is not being credited with the degree to which he was uniquely inspirational. Too many people think that he just was the first to use the technology. We know that's not the case. And after all the other candidates had websites with blogs and internet fundraising, Howard Dean still left their efforts in the dust.

    Why, because Trippi was a Jedi? Nay... because Dean had the message.

    You are correct that standing up for the principles of the Democrats is what motivated Democrats to donate. And Dean did that better than anyone else has. His passion was infectious, and it motivated many, many folks to pony up their tens and twenties. And his honesty was refreshing, and it caused many, many folks to trust him.

    So, a candidate who "says the right things" intending to get funds may not succeed nearly so well as someone who can convince us that they actually believe what they're saying... and show us a track record that proves it.

    We've got the power.... we're gonna take it from here.

    by Malacandra on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 05:49:45 PM PST

    •  I wasn't inspired by a blog... (4.00)
      ...I was inspired by the "What I want to know" speech Dean gave to the CA dems.

      It was the message, not the medium, that got me off my ass.

      And now the medium is keeping me energized as I wait for another candidate with "the message".

      It's a feedback loop. I think we all recognize that...

      •  It was the message and the man. (4.00)
        The sequence of events for me was this.  I read about the speech in the paper, then read about on blogs.  Then I found a link to it somewhere, maybe CSpan, I don't remember.  After I heard it, I was hooked.

        I found the text, printed it and e-mailed it to everyone I knew who had even a passing interest in Democratic or progressive politics.  I scored a ten out of ten hits.  Everyone of my friends who read it became a Dean supporter.  And by that I mean money AND activism.  Two of us went to Iowa, three of us to AZ.  Everyone of them wrote letters, went to fundraisers, talked up Dean with their own circle.

        Of my own little group, I was the only one who read blogs.

        I am not attributing this to kos, but there is an active campaign going on to dismiss Dean the man and Dean the message.  It rattled the towers and they want to put it off as a internet bubble, an aberration, a mass delusion, anything but the acts of a large population that is not being represented or listened to by the political powers.

        They are wrong and they ignore it at their peril.

        •  That hits the nail... (3.00)
          Everyone, even kos, is now being courted by the DNC and others to harness what they thought Dean's campaign meant, and in turn try to denigrate and diminish him so that he will disappear.  That want no more of him because they cannot control him.  Simple as that.

          And with kos now being a D.C. and party insider dispensing all sorts of wisdom, it will be difficult for him to speak without minding his DNC manners.  That is just how they suck people in -- give him lots of praise for his work (warranted as it is), and then tell him how to put down Dean.  

          I can only imagine what kos has heard in D.C. about Dean.  What terrible things people have told him about the harm Dean has caused by getting all us "know nothings" energized.  Wow, terrible.  and they stabbed him in the back -- an assination by other means.

          He made mistakes as did his campaign and the grassroots did as well.  We should and do take that blame.  I continue to come here because there are many topics like Iraq, deficit, other political talk that I relish, but I now see kos an arm of the political establishment, like  Carville and Begala.  He will soon forget the sounds of outside the belway.  And he will be surprised by the next big convulsion of the party.

          •  What Happens Next? (none)
            "That is just how they suck people in -- give him lots of praise for his work (warranted as it is), and then tell him how to put down Dean."

            What's the next step, do they give him a cookie and pat him on the head like the child he obviously is?  Or do they teach him the secret handshake, introduce him to the dark figures controlling the world and keeping us available to breed with the aliens to whom we will ultimately serve as slaves?

            I can't figure out if this is more insulting for being condescending, or if it's more loony for painting a picture of a secret cabal practicing mind control.  

            I guess I'll have to plug into to recieve my brainwashing update...

  •  Channelling Ideas (3.66)
    This is how they think: "You write us a check, and let us know what we can do for you". It's crass, alright, but it's reality.

    Here's an idea that the big D's may want to consider to help connect us with their candidates:

    Every time someone makes a donation via online or mail, they get a list of prominent issues.  They check one or two of them (education and national security, let's say) along with their donation.  That way, the big D's know what issues people want them to focus on, and what issues can rally the troops.  If more people respond "education", the big D's should put more of their speeches into talking about how pathetic NCLB is, what we can do to help our public schools, etc.

    This is done to SOME extent already, but not nearly the degree of feedback and rapid response by the Party that we need.

    Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. -John Stuart Mill

    by Kaushansky on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 05:50:03 PM PST

    •  Interactive giving (3.80)
      Here's an idea for the DNC or whatever that builds on yours.  

      Suppose I decide to give them some cash.  I agree to give them $50 and check off my three favorite issues.  Moreover, I pledge that, if they follow through on these issues, I'll give another $50 (or some such).  Every month, they can email me with a description of the actions on these issues and I can evaluate.  This "contract" could take a variety of forms - I might pledge to give if a specific type of action progresses, or more general pledge to give as I see things I like (every time I give $, I could write in what prompting the donation).  

      The whole thing would be relatively easily coordinated within the current PR/press release structure and also relatively cheap.  

      Spinning this up further - think of issue oriented blogs by the dem party.  Take for example education.  They'd post up what's going on, where the fight is etc.  Not only would there be comments, but there'd be donations tied to individual entries.  i.e. if they fund NCLB and you like it, you can donate on top of that thread. to indicate your pleasure.  They could even set it up so that, if you liked a thread, you'd click a feedback like link that would automatically throw $10 their way.  

      Ok, enough ramble but perhaps you get the idea.  "blog format" could be adapted easily for directed fundraising that would also provide feedback - what better feedback is there than the almighty dollar?

      Help Burt Cohen win a NH senate seat.

      by Scott Pauls on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 06:42:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  but... (none)
      For years I've gotten survey/solicitation letters from the DNC. "Tell us what issues are important for you!" It rubbed me the wrong way -- like: hey guys, you're the Democratic National Committee, and I have to tell you what the party stands for?

      Then again, maybe I do have to...

      •  I can't believe it (none)
        Somebody asked you what you thought, what you wanted, what was important to you, and you thought they were out of line?

        You want your democracy brought to you like dinner to the infirm?

        •  Of course I'm cynical (none)
          but my interpretation of those little "questionnaires" was that the DNC had determined people are more likely to give money if they appear to have a say in what's going on.

          Since I never saw any evidence that the Party actually did anything with the results. Of course, they rarely ask questions about things like Iraq.

  •  It's the only explanation worth considering. (4.00)
    The only conclusion Kos could come to that's worth discussing is that Dean's success with fundraising can't belong exclusively to Dean.

    He could be wrong, of course, but what would be the value of knowing that? You'd essentially be saying that Dean is the only Democratic candidate who could ever run for anything, ever. And that's ridiculous.

    I think if you read carefully (and that's being generous -- I really mean if you read at all), you'll see that what Kos is saying is that Democrats who reach out in the same way Dean did, both from an ideological standpoint and in an interactive way, can open up new possibilities for themselves. Those who don't, or who for some reason choose only one such avenue, won't.

    And frankly, I don't see how even Chicken Little could disagree with that, unless what he's saying is that there is no acceptable alternative to Dean holding both the presidency and all 535 voting seats in Congress.

    •  Don't put words in my mouth... (1.75)
      My main argument was that this can be used and  was used FIRST by Dean for Boswell. To which Kos immitated Dean's efforts and put up a blogad/bat for Chandler.

      Then Kos insinuates Dean had nothing at all to do with this revolution.

      •  Except that (none)
        kos was not a candidate, so Dean's innovation, while admirable, was not related to the main recognition of the blogosphere as effective fundraising tool.

        I guess kos' point here is that the Chandker effort demonstrated how an independent (in the sense of not connected to an existing campaign) can be leveraged to, in a short period of time, raise large amounts of money for political campaigns.  A different animal than having Dean exhort his donors to raise money for a particular campaign.

        •  Yes, if (none)
          Kos can prove that the majority of donors for Chandler were NOT also Dean supporters.

          If Kos's own efforts were to have created a new pool of donors outside of those from Dean then his statement would be more credible.

          •  Interesting point (none)
            and makes me wonder about something.  I think it is undeniable that most kossacks are/were Dean supporters.

            What is the synergy/connection between dkos and the Dean campaign - did they feed each other?  An interesting question, and certainly one that goes to your point that the Dean campaign did mean something more than perhaps kos is stating here.

          •  OT, but the biggest amount of Chandler's ... (none)
   came from non-blog Democratic PACs.
            •  Actually, This is Very Much... (none)
              ...on topic.  Lest irrational exuberance overtake people, it's important to see the entire picture.  They can dump on D.C. all they want, but folks should still understand that the goal should be to gain converts and broaden horizons among the D.C. folks, not to hoist their heads on pikes, burn the joint down, and then look around and say "what now."  Instead of saying "fuck them," we should be saying "what should we do to make them understand," as well as asking what they can teach us that we don't know or understand.  And we should all realize that we need each other to bring about a more progressive politics and government.  That means using the D.C. people and the D.C. money just as much as it means appealing to the people outside of D.C. who will give time and money because of their committment to the candidate and to the cause.
              •  Personally, I think object lessons teach best (none)
                Get a few progressive candidates to beat incumbent Dems in safe seats. Make sure everybody in DC knows why the incumbents were taken out.

                It wouldn't need to be too many of them, I wouldn't think.

                As somebody who's never had an inside track to DC power politics, I'm afraid you'll have a hard time convincing me that they willingly listen to those of us in the cheap seats.

      •  Believe me... (none)
        I would never put anything in or near your mouth.

        All I said was that I thought it would be difficult for you to disagree with the notion that candidates who reach out the way Dean does and seeks and attends to feedback the way Dean does might enjoy similar success.

        Do you disagree, or would you rather just stick with diaper comments?

        Either way, that's not putting words in your mouth. It's making a supposition about what I understand to be the nexus between your position and Kos'. All the sputtering and protesting you can muster can't stand in the way of my right to do that. So stop.

        •  i'm really starting to think (none)
          that chicken little is a republican operative. pretty much everything they post is gutter trash, aimed at creating divisive arguements, and very little of it has any real depth or strength behind it. by using Dean as his/her favorite person, he/she can launch numerous attacks against the party while just seeming like an unhinged deaniac.

          plus the name is a dead giveaway

          damn it feels good to be a gangster.

          by skaiserbrown on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 06:21:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I get that feeling sometimes. (none)
            I see a small number of such people around here, from time to time.

            Sounds like a losing proposition to me, though. It's really only something that works with people both thoroughly steeped in the Dean culture and dead-set against being a team-playing Democrat. To be sure, there are such people here, but very few of them are also so unreasonable as to buy into this kind of kamikaze approach to politics. Those who do are free to go, being of relatively little concern.

            Even the non-Dem Dean supporters here are, for the most part, able to appreciate on some level the fact that the Democratic organizations they have so much disdain for are attempting to change. That doesn't mean they're going to be giving any time soon, but even the stubborn holdouts should be able to tell the difference between barbed skepticism and full-blown rabies.

            This chaff will separate itself out shortly.

            •  Sorry to disturb your echo chamber... (none)
              Can't you guys handle divergent thought or criticism?

              Kagro, please tell us barely-hanging-on-Democrats, whom  Dean has temporarily revived, about "team playing Democrats".
              Would that be the DLC's national op/ed's castigating Howard Dean since last year?
              Or would that be Pelosi's letter castigating him for wanting to be evenhanded in the middleast? Maybe you were referring to the DNC surrogates Carville&Begala and their non-stop trashing of Dean on Crossfire?Or was it the Atwater-ish Osama ads our "team-playing" Democrats so crassly fired at Dean?
              Or perhaps it the Dem insiders who called on Clark to enter the race to stop Dean's rise?

              I also missed how the DNC is attempting to change?  Would that be their silence about the electronic voting machine vulnerabilities? or their silence about Florida's illegally purging of Democratic voters? Or is it their head in the sand about the dangers to democracy of the ever-consolidating media?

              •  No problem. (none)
                What do you want me to tell you, Roonie?

                I think I was pretty clear. Some people are who gripe like this are freepers. Some are legit Dems who are angry but can be won back. Some are legit Dems who can't be.

                Whichever one you happen to be, you'll sort yourself out eventually. My only point was that I treat them all the same. I tell 'em what I'm thinking, hear what they have to say, and answer. If they want to keep pissing and moaning, I let 'em.

                Did you miss how the DNC is attempting to change? Or do you dismiss it because "change" means adopting your agenda all at once?

                The fact that they're interested in a blog is change. The fact that they're interested in a blog because they think it'll be a great way to raise money is not.

                Would I rather have a DNC that thinks it's worth money to listen to me? Yes I would. Because this one doesn't.

                Would I accept that even at the expense of a pissed-of Roonie? Yes I would.

                I hate to disappoint you with my divergent thought and criticism, but them's the breaks.

                I like this team. Sometimes it disappoints me, but my odds of winning are better when I actually play the game, as opposed to joining your fantasy league.

                •  My "agenda" is a democratic agenda (none)
                  what's yours? What about the DNC so excites your type? Are you also rubbing shoulders with them and feeling the little rushes of excitement of touching power, however corrupted?

                  You didn't address any of my points countering your "teamplayer" remark? Let me are a Kerry supporter of way back?

                  A democratic agenda should be universal health care coverage for every American, just like every other industrialized nation.
                  It's a sensible energy policy that weans us from oil and the disastrous foreign policies that stem from our dinasour energy policies.
                  It's standing up for equal rights for everyone.
                  It's for looking out for the young, the elderly and the sick, and not the HMO's, the pharmaceuticals and the private investment houses.
                  It's for an environmental policy that looks ahead 100 years.

                  I could go on and on. But the DNC is a cowering, defensive entity only trying to play catch-up to the Repubs. They are clearly more beholden to the big money special interests than they are to average Americans as reflected in their actions, or lack thereof.

                  I happily gave lots of money and time to Howard Dean because of his MESSAGE, his AUTHENTICITY, and his record of achievement. He got it. The DNC wouldn't get it if it was staring them in the face -- as it was. And so Nader enters the race. Big suprise to the idiots at the DNC.

                  The DNC won't see a cent from me until they start forcefully, effectively and proudly acting in my interests.

                  Enjoy your little DNC blog-- and your thrills of thinking you are at the table. Whoopee!

                  Hey, keep on ignoring the Democratic base of the Democratic Party at your own peril of total irrelevance and continued losses. What arrogant party representatives some of you are.

                  •  I have an idea. (none)
                    Why don't you just have both sides of the conversation yourself, and save me the time?

                    I have no DNC connections, I'm not a Kerry supporter, and I don't yet participate in the DNC blog. But I vote for Democrats, even though some of them disagree with me on some issues. That's not possible in your world? Must be lonely being such a free thinker who can't break out of the pidgeonhole game. But some people like to pretend that the criteria for being "outside the box" is putting other people inside. You know, the old "tear them down to build yourself up" game.

                    Lots of things should be in a "Democratic agenda." And lots of the things you named are. But the DNC doesn't run for anything. Democrats do. And there are plenty who stand up for what you stand up for. That's how you know what things belong in a "Democratic agenda."

                    Other Democrats don't agree with you 100% of the time. Many of them don't agree with me 100% of the time. In fact, I'm not sure if I know of any Democratic elected officials with whom I'm in agreement 100% of the time. But the Democratic party is still home to the people I agree with most often, and provides the vehicle most conducive to the promotion of the agenda items with which I agree. So that's where I scout for talent I can get behind. Are there no Democrats you feel closely aligned with? If not, maybe you're in the wrong party. And that's OK.

                    But if you're asking me whether the fact that certain Democrats do things that I disagree with is enough to make me abandon an organization that is also important to Democrats I'm proud of, the answer is no. And that answer entitles you to exactly none of the erroneous assumptions you've made about me.

                    The DNC is always going to be about raising money. That's what they do. They raise money to promote Democratic candidates. Some I like more than others. That's the way it is.

                    Now they think that having a blog will help them raise more money. Fine.

                    I would rather have them listen to grassroots feedback for craven reasons than not to listen at all. Maybe it'll all turn out to be a farce, in which case I'll be exactly no worse off than I was before they got this idea. Either way, I'm not sure why holding your breath until you get your way makes you feel so good. I mean, it's your breath, do what you want with it. But why the fact that I don't want to hold mine makes me evil, I just don't understand.

                    I don't feel the need to hold out on everything. You do. You'll never get your way. Nobody ever gets their way in that manner. So like I said in the beginning, eventually you'll sort yourself out. You'll either give up and go away, or you'll consider taking a seat at the table. I'm OK with that. So what's my incentive to give in to your idea of an agenda?

                    •  So In Other Words... (none)
             think people should judge individuals and organizations by taking into account their actions and achievements and not only what one thinks they see by looking into someone's heart and interpreting their motives.  

                      You don't think one's world view should be binary--one should weigh evidence, think about what one does and doesn't like, and measure the good against the bad.

                      You don't think it's reasonable to expect perfection.

                      You think people should lift their gaze from the reflection in the pool and engage with and be enriched by the diversity of people and opinions that surround them.  

                      You think people should distinguish between various individuals and institutions so they can properly assess blame (but only when useful and appropriate) and dispense praise whenever it's deserved (which is always productive and appreciated).  

                      You think people should strive to be inclusive and notice commonalities, instead of being exclusive, where all that's remembered are the distinctions.  

                      You think people should embrace these modes of thought, judgement and social discourse independent of their allegiances and in the absence of opportunities for personal gain.

                      I dunno, this all sounds pretty stupid.  

                      You should really learn to think out of the box.

                    •  Kagro, you tried (none)
                      to listen and respond, and for that I give you credit, but I don't feel heard. Instead I feel somewhat derided, chided, mis-read and dismissed. I have noticed this is a common response to divergent views from Kos regulars.

                      It's too bad as they are helping to turn off potential activist and donors like myself.

                      I suspect this is the microcosm of the larger picture and why I suspect the Democrats will continue to lose elections, membership and relevance.

                      I'm 46. I'm a professional. I have voted Democrat every election. And I'm barely hanging on, cuz I am part of the base who does not feel heard nor represented by the party top dogs.

                      Dean heard us and spoke for us and was richly rewarded for that. The DNC seems oblivious that Dean's spectacular fundraising was due to his message and peripherally dependent on the internet.

                      Frankly, I consider the DNC establishment as the enemy to advancing a progressive Democratic base agenda. And before you insult me, I consider Bush and the GOP the bigger enemy and will act accordingly.

                      good luck--

                      •  I'm OK with that. (none)
                        I've been pretty clear from the beginning that I'm not interested in forcing anyone to come to the table.

                        I'm just one of those people who never likes to close the door on negotiations.

                        If the DNC says it wants to talk, I'll talk. If they say they want money, I'll think about it. If I decide the only way they'll listen to me is if I give money, I'll consider how much voice I think I'll get and whether it's worth the money.

                        I think a blog offers the best new hope of getting through that I've seen from them in some time. I'm under no illusions that my posts will become Democratic Party policy, but they're not taking my phone calls, either.

                        If they decide to open the doors, even grudgingly, I might just poke my head in to see what's up. I think you should too. I won't make you stay. But yeah, they're gonna be looking for money. That's what they do. As long as I still have to sign the checks, though, I'm open to seeing if they're listening.

                        I would have thought that someone who was reinvigorated by Dean might at least like to see what happens. But like I said at the beginning, if you go, you go.

      •  Not that your posts deserve the energy (none)
        but, this:

        Then Kos insinuates Dean had nothing at all to do with this revolution.

        is either the worst case of illiteracy or just purposeful deceit.

        Kos insinuates nothing of the kind, he simply places the "Dean revolution" into some institutional and organizational context.

        "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 07:30:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Dean's Credit is here (none)
    Look, Dean harnessed the power of the blogosphere to fundraise for his campaign, there's no doubt about that.

    What Dean's real contribution was though, was taking people who were interested in his campaign and turning them into contributors and followers of the blogosphere at large.

    How many visitors to this site do you think first clicked on a link from Dean's blog?  I know I did, and I had no idea what was out here until last April when I started reading Dean's blog.  I don't read it anymore, but I certainly read a number of other progressive blogs and even started writing my own.

    All the big progressive blogs have seen tremendous spikes in their visitation rates over the last 9 months, from Kos to Atrios to Josh Marshall.  Of course these added visitors didn't all come from BFA, but I bet a significant number did.

    I spent some time this morning looking for the text of the Big Dog's speech at the Harkin Steak Fry last year where he said the #1 thing that we need to do is simply inform people.  The media's ignoring their duty to be informative at the risk of not being entertaining so it's up to us to tell our neighbors and friends what's going on.  For the most part, those conversations include suggestions to visit progressive blogs.

    While following the money is important; the real change is that average Americans are becoming more informed, and more involved, whether they contribute or not; and this bodes well for our Democracy.

    •  I have the answer (4.00)
      How many visitors to this site do you think first clicked on a link from Dean's blog?

      Less than 1 percent of my monthly traffic came from the Dean blog. 0.14% to be exact. Google leads my traffic referrals, followed by Atrios and Calpundit. My biggest traffic boosts came in the early days from Jerome's MyDD. Then the war and the myriad media mentions I garnered (including Forbes Magazine's "Best Warblog" award) boosted me into "A-list" status.

      I know that for people who came into the blogosphere because of Dean, the Dean blog seems disproportionately important. But to me, it was but a tiny, minor factor.

      •  anecdotally (none)
        i first started reading blogs in the summer, first at a very small blog by a political cartoonist, then tom tommorows site, then atrios, and finally to daily kos. i didn't even really pay attention to the Dean blog, and i was a campaign staffer.

        damn it feels good to be a gangster.

        by skaiserbrown on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 06:52:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You continue to... (none)
        minimize Dean's Contribution to anything, while at one time you were a big supporter.

        I've seen this type of behavior before. It usually revolves around one of two things(sometime both), Jealousy or Money.

        I don't think you are jealous so it must be money.

        You are now in the business of creating blogs for Pols. You want to take credit for your accomplishments which is fine. But the belittling of Dean has me thinking.

        Dean is going to continue to grow his grassroots movement. He and his supporters will strive to raise money for other candidates. You have written nothing that I have seen about this. This seems strange coming from such a staunch supporter. So it begs the question...

        Are you now looking a Dean as a competitor?

        Because every campaign he can raise money for is one less potential blog you can sell.

      •  My path (none)
        was through This Modern World to MWO to Atrios to Josh Marshall and kos.  I never got into BFA.  (By the way, I think Tom Tomorrow was a really big influence at the begining of the lefty blogosphere universe, not so much anymore).  

        I admire the Dean phenomena, but I never understood it.  Dean supporters seem to be a different breed than other activists.  I was a big Clark supporter but I've put that behind me, I've moved on to Edwards and when that doesn't work out I'll move on to Kerry.

        But the deaniacs' rabid zealotry seems to prevent them from any pragmatism.  Maybe it's because a lot of them are younger and they haven't experienced political dissapointement before, I don't know.  It would really be a shame if they dropped out of politics all together, there energy needs be focused.  If they are going to continue to be loyal to Dean, Dean needs to put them to good use.  

        Hopefully Dean will endorse Kerry if he wins.  Kerry might be part of the DLC establishment but in reality I think he is more progressive than Clinton, and he would be a billion times better than Bush.

        GWB: The buck stops across the street and down a coupla blocks...

        by permanentE on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 01:28:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  To Kos through Dean but not via Dean For America (none)
        I came to like Dean initially, because I was packing up my apartment while watching CSPAN, and I heard him address the SEIU, and I liked him.  I was also looking for a candidate who had not voted for the PATRIOT Act.

        I did some google searches and started reading the leftcoaster for its analysis of different primaries.

        I first heard of Kos by hearing him interviewed by Christopher Lydon on his own blog.  I've been a fan of Chris's since I first heard his public radio show The Connection (which he hosted until 2001) in 1995.  Losing his show--it's still on, but he was fired--was really painful, comparable to losing Dean for a lot of the same reasons.  Chris has always respected the intelligence of his callers who were frequently experts in their own right, sometimes greater than the official guests.  (My Dad knew who he was from WGBH news even before that, but that was when I was very little.)  It wasn't my favorite interview, and I didn't really do anything further.

        So then I moved to DC and went over to Dean for America to find  out about local events.  So I got pretty involved with the local group.  Later, I was talking to one of my friends whom I had met through DC for Dean about how I never read blog for america, because it was so hard to follow the threads.  My friend asked me if I knew of daily kos. I said that I had heard of it.  He talked about how kos uses 2nd generation software that allows for nesting of comments.  So then I went home and either googled the name or typed the address in directly.  So, it wasn't a direct link, but it was definitely tied to Dean.

      •  How did I get here? (none)
        Interesting question.  I know I was reading dailyhowler and MWO on a daily basis during the last election and then got onto drudgereport because of what was then an incomparable list of links to US & international papers.  But  I am thinking my path here must have gone from MWO to smirkingchimp and buzzflash where I found strange references to folks named Atrios and Kos.  Being a big fan of the "Enders Game" series the concept of collaborative web commentary sucked me in like a mosquito to a bug-eater.  And here we are.

        But I know for a fact that I went to DFA from dKos and not the other way around.  In fact my recollection is that there was discussion of meetups for Dean here on dKos before DFA even came to life. Certainly the Internet found Dean, indeed forced itself on Dean, Joe Trippi just jumped on the tiger.

        (Man, it was a great ride while it lasted.)

      •  hmm (none)

        If I have your page bookmarked and I click on it, do you record whatever page I was on previously? If so, of the thousands of times I've come to this site, only a tiny handful will count as coming from DFA. However, it was DFA that first directed me here.

        Or are you only counting the first visits from specific computers or registered users?

        Anyway, I also have told many Dean supporters about dKos as the best place to go for campaign news and polls from a Dean-friendly source. You might have 100 or more Dean supporters who first came here on my recommendation (I often spoke to large audiences) but didn't get counted as coming from the Dean campaign.

    •  Anecdotally (none)
      I came to dKos through lefty sites, looking for discussion about the Iraq situation and discussions about Neocon foreign policy. Wasn't even looking to discuss impending US electoral politics. And this was long before the primaries were even on the horizon.  

      And while I may be a museum piece let me just add that I have never been to BFA, not once. In this community I'd say that makes me a very minority viewpoint.

      "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 07:36:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Roots and participation (none)
      It's been long enough that I don't exactly remember how I came here.  It was either from a recommendation by my brother or a link from, though.
  •  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

        [ Parent ]

        •  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

            [ Parent ]

            •  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

                [ Parent ]

              •  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

                [ Parent ]

              •  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

                [ Parent ]

        •  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

          [ Parent ]

          •  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

            [ Parent ]

            •  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

              [ Parent ]

              •  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

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  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

              [ Parent ]

              •  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

                [ Parent ]

      •  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

        [ Parent ]

        •  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.

  •  Great news, but the real test is still to come (none)
    Thanks for this post Kos, it got me thinking about McCain-Feingold in a different way.

    I sincerely hope that you and Sen. Feingold are right and these smaller donors will make us competitive. The big test is coming this summer, when Bush unleashes his war machine. It may be harder for a traditional Dem like Kerry to raise the needed funds, but I hope he can do it.

  •  Markos (none)
    Just have to say this post was great. Informative and helpful, your best in recent weeks. This is why I love this site so much.
  •  Physician, heal thyself (none)
    Except the presumtive Democratic candidate isn't a physician any more. Too bad -- big missed opportunity, especially for health care reform.

    It makes sense that campaign reform legislation would affect the Democratic party (reforming it to some mild extent) way before it would affect the Republican party (which is much more immune to reform of any kind).

    Maybe the lesson is, we have to get our own house in order before we can police the bad guys. By supporting legislation that forces them to look to their real base for small-donation support, some Democrats have taken at least a small step toward deserving that support. (Some Democrats, not the party leadership. Pelosi and Dachille tried to stop McCain/Feingold, as I recall).

    To reform the world, you have to make the sacrifice of reforming that part of it you have the most influence over first -- even if that means you give up ground to your enemies by forswearing tactics they will continue to use. Ghandi and MLK knew that -- it's basic to nonviolent civil disobedience.

    I say this as someone who is still furious with the way the Democratic wing of the corporate and media establishment rejected Dean -- the whole dirty just-before-Iowa preemtive strike by the ABD forces made me sick -- because Dean was the best opportunity the party has had since 1960 to energize their real base again and win decisively for once, IMO. I don't buy that Dean self-destructed. Bush has made many far more self-destructive moves than Dean did; Clinton also; both survived again and again. Dean didn't because a consensus was reached just before Iowa: Kerry was broke, down to his wife's money, passed over by the voters; an early Dean victory was looming; so they went out and bought Kerry, dusted him off, gave him two weeks of glowing press while they threw everything they could dig up against Dean -- and this ensured continuation of the Democratic party as they like it.

    Democrats should recognize that corporations and the wealthy have an interest in control over both parties -- witness how most contribute to opposing candidates (which ought to be illegal, what else could it be but influence buying?). They are as active in Democratic party politics as Republican -- maybe more so, since they own the Republican party outright.

    Right-wing ideologues are scary, but it is the pragmatic, non-ideological corporate thieves who own the country, and they do so by owning both parties, not alternately but all the time, and dividing right against left. If they back Kerry this time it will be because Bush seems too dangerous a horse to continue to ride (maybe he's about to founder), and perhaps it's time to take the pressure off the public's rage after shamelessly robbing them blind for four years. It's not about reform. It's about forstalling any demands for real reform. Regardless of Kerry's personal intentions, which are doubtless honorable.

    There is a difference between the parties. Nader's strategy of minimizing them was and is self-defeating. The Democratic party, for better or worse, is ours. But we must also understand the extent to which we must first defeat our "friends", before we can win against our enemies.

    Despite the trouble he's in, I worry that Bush will defeat Kerry if he just gooses the economy until November and manages somehow to make it look as if Iraq is getting better (not that it actually will be). And perhaps produces Osama or some other "surprise". It would be so easy to do against Kerry, whose war record is four months of actual combat thirty years ago. That means a lot iff the public is deeply enraged over a growing disaster in Iraq, otherwise Kerry is just Gore all over again ("but without the charisma", as some wag said).

    "The universe is a sphere whose center is wherever there is intelligence." -Thoreau

    by samizdat on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 08:06:21 PM PST

  •  Bundling, bundling, bundling (3.50)
    All of this stuff about the blogosphere and small doantions is wonderful. It's also meaningless.

    Plain and simple, a bunch of undirected small donations will change or fix jack. It won't shift the status quo. Nor will it make any new issues paramount.

    100K $50 donations, directed in from the "blogosphere" send one signal...that people on the internet have spare cash and will donate it. That's it. A ton of money with little "Kos cents" added will do wonders for Kos' consulting business, and get him influence...but that's it. No insult intended to Kos here. But I don't have the sightest idea what positions he stands for, and I would bet neither does anyone else.

    But it is an example of what works...bundling. Kos cents act as a new style bundling method, with Kos as the bundler. And like all bundling, it pushes the agenda of the bundler. That's why businesses bundle their donations in an industry, or employees of a single business.

    So simply kicking out cash individually to random blogad candidate X doesn't do much of anything, unless you simply don't care about anything other than electing "D"s, period. If you feel that way, fine. But just be aware of that fact.

    If you really have an agenda, you're much better off finding an organization that can direct these donors in a bundle clump, so your issues get play.

    •  Um, No. (none)
      ePatriots are a form of bundling, but blogads are not.  The relationship between Daily Kos and blogads is the same as the relationship between the U.S. Postal Service and campaign mailings.  Daily Kos is an outlet through which candidates have begun advertising, this time for cash instead of votes.  But it doesn't empower the medium that accepts money from the campaign, as opposed to the bundler who give money to the candidate or party organization.  
      •  Um, yes (none)
        First, people placing "$50.02" with the ".02" being an indicator of a donation from a Kos person most assuredly is implicit bundling. With the net, you don't have to physically hand a check over to can place these dsort of tagging methods on instead. Plus, the net creates trackable advertising. If you click to a donation page from an ad, there is a server log track that allows the donee to know where the hit came from. So there's a fusion between advertising and bundling effects.

        EPatriots is most assuredly not bundling. It's basically a robotic method of giving money to the Party, with no way to push an agenda forward. It's the electronic equivalent of walking by HQ and handing a $50 to a cashier, instead of mailing a check. Bundling is using some methodology to collect many individual donations, ramping up the power of numbers.

        •  not so robotic (none)
          ePatriots and GOP Team Leaders make it easy for people like Kos and Atrios to get the ear of party leaders. The mechanism may seem like handing $50 to a cashier, but the money people know very well who is raising that cash for them. And the people raising the cash can push an agenda.

          Tracking donations with ".02" is not a bad ad-hoc method for allocating credit, but will become too complicated as more blogs and campaigns use it. Depending on ad logs is the least effective, no campaign has the time or resources to parse through megabytes of logs, and as brokers move into the market campaigns will have even less ability to see what blogs are contributing.

          Mechanisms like ePatriots allow bloggers to establish a direct relationship with a party or campaign, and to show that the issues the blog advocates translate into money. Money opens the door, and money backed up by a large base of politically active readers can have a large influence on a candidate's policy positions.

          •  Okay (none)
            Didn't know that about it. In that case it is a bundling method, and good show.

            What I'm addressing is that we shouldn't pat ourselves on the back for the "blogosphere donations". Those can be ignored if just sent will-nilly. We need to form online bundling structures to play the game.

    •  For now, it is a good start (none)
      "unless you simply don't care about anything other than electing "D"s, period"

      For the ten years since the Republican takeover in 1994 Democrats have been wandering in the wilderness.  It has been tough but there has been one big benefit: we have finally scraped off just about every right-wing barnicle that was clinging to the Party because we had the power.  If and when we come back to power we won't have the Phil Gramms and Zell Millers clogging our caucuses, they will be sitting accross the aisle with the ghosts of Lester Maddox and Bull Conner.  Good riddance to bad rubbish.

      And bundling via dKos is not at all the same as bundling via a Bush Pioneer or Ranger, Kos does not have leverage among his readers in the way a Pioneer does over the senior executives in his corporation, or the ability to covertly recompensate them for their contributions.

      •  It has nothing to do with (none)
        recompensation. What I'm speaking of is issues to the table.
        If you donate $50 to a Congresscritter, and say you care about a single payer health care program, it does nothing. $50 won't even make the X-mas card list. You'll be ignored.

        Now, if you hook up your donation under an organization that stands for that, and you're part of 10K such donations, the critter will act on it. As I said, a bunch of Kos (and I'm not picking on Kos, just using the obvious example)donors give Kos access. He's known as a guy who can target $ to folks. They take his calls.

        If he doesn't stand for your signature issues, getting him in the door does nothing for you. What you want to do is get someone's calls taken that does stand for your issues. That simple.

        All I'm saying is that people need to be aware of this fact, and not thing that the magic "blogosphere" donors are going to effect change. You still have to play smart.

        •  Pay to play is the problem... (none)
            ... not the solution.  Elect the person that you expect you make the right call across the board most of the time, not the one who has sheep-like lined up behind your single issue.  I don't want one vote on one issue - I want hundreds of votes on the Democratic agenda.

          Its called Representative Democracy, not Mirror My Donor Base Democracy.

          •  The problem is... (none)
            That large business interests, upscale types, like "Pay to Play" very well, thank you verra much. And they use it extremely well.

            So we can unilaterally disarm and live in a fantasy kingdom where money doesn't buy votes, or use the crooked system against itself.

            •  I am not calling for unilateral disarmament (none)
              I am calling for raising $50 million at $77 a pop and having a President or a Congressman that owes no specific favor to any particular person or group.

              You want to take a mechanism that offers policy makers the freedom to make the right choice on the merits and force it through the screen of "what do my big dollar givers want".

              I understand full well how the elites run this world, I am look for the plane that takes me OFF Fantasy Island.

              •  In the long run (none)
                I agree. That's why I support using this club to bludgeon changes in process, rather than ideology. Unlike most Kossites, I think process really trumps ideology...or at least has more to do with what ideology gets to the table. Pushing for things like IRV, better redistricting via bi or non-partisan means, etc...

                However, I'm also a realist. We had what you are speaking of, and it lost to Kerry the Torch buddy. Slimy maneuvers and crooked deals. And we aren't going to get anyone to change their behavior with kind thoughts...we'll get it by funding insurgents for lower offices in the primaries, and kicking the bums out.

                But in the short run, we have to use the club as well. Otherwise, we simply cede the field to the dirtballs.

  •  Blogs and the invigoration of American Democracy (none)
    Is anyone else here really ahem excited? Maybe blogs and internet contributions weren't enough to win Howard Dean the nomination. But they did shock the world by showing that you could compete with big donors by hundreds of thousands of small contributions. Chandler's success only further drives home how powerful this tool has become.

    Thanks to Russ Feingold and bloggers like Kos, we're invigorating our Democracy. Call me an optimist, but I'm excited.

    ABB/SBN 2004 (SBN= Somone Better than Nominee)

    by Bundy on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 08:46:20 PM PST

  •  not just online (none)
    Much as us netizens would like to live in a purely virtual world, blog efforts also have an impact offline. Many people are reluctant to contribute online for fear of fraud, but are more willing to contribute via mail and phone after following campaigns online. So when figuring the Internet's impact don't discount follow on effects in direct mail and telemarketing.

    Republicans have been investing in direct mail since Richard Viguerie showed them how in 1965. They have little incentive to cannibalize their direct mail operations for the sake of online efforts, so we have a real opportunity to dominate the space long before they wake up. Besides, the Democratic party, being more democratic, is better able to take advantage of the distributed nature of the Internet than the centralized Republican party.

    For a progressive interested in reforming the Democratic party CFR and online fundraising are the best opportunity. But I am also interested in how we can use the Internet to win elections on the ground, unfourtunately the Dean campaign was unable to find a way there.

    •  Unable to find a way to win. (2.50)
      Dean would have won iowa and the rest of it too if the D.C. operatives and the unions had not executed him.  He did leave them some openings, but not more so than Clinton and his women, or Kerry and his wife's money.

      No Dean was killed off by the powers that be and they hired Gephardt to do it.  I wonder what he was promised.  they wanted Kerry, and they got kerry, end of story.  

      And they really don't want the Dean people to tag along other than in November.  Even kos, having earned his D.C. credentials by putting Dean in his place is trying to say that we little people did nothing real special in contributing to, and organizing for, Dean.  Nope, nothing here folks.  go home and stop our complaining.  D.C. people have it all handled.  And if Kerry does not win, oh well, Hillary is next in line and so it wouldn't hurt Bill and Al From that much should he lose.  And until someone admits that Dean was harrassed and badgered like no other (and admit it from the D.C. people themselves), I will not believe one word of their semi-kind words about Dean.

      And if kos wants to ban me from this site, sobeit.  Grandmas can get kinda grumpy when the young think they know it all.  And Mr. Kos, you are quite young.  Anyway, one less Dean person to complain about.  Politics is truly bloodsport like that poor man who was in Clinton's White House, his friend from Arkansas, who committed suicide in D.C.  

      Just once, can be have a conversation without putting down howard Dean?  Nope, need to put him in his place every chance we get.  Can't let him up again.  Might cause too much trouble.

      Yes this whole comment is argumentive, sarcastic, beligerant, and quite angry.  I found a man who truly represents the best of this country, and they put him in the ground verbally.  Shame on the democratic party.  

      •  They Executed Him?!?!? (3.00)
        Here all the time I though Colonel Mustard killed him in the Iowa second with the conventional wisdom...

        Or was it the Roman centurions who crucified him on a cross...

        (please, please somebody say that on the third day he rose again...)

      •  angry but effective (none)
        You had better be argumentive, sarcastic, beligerant, and angry if you want to change anything in American politics. But you had also better look critically at how Howard Dean failed.

        He raised money, but he did not win enough votes. You can blame 'the powers that be', or the media, or D.C. operatives, but unless you have a plan for beating them next time there is no point in you participating in politics.

        Kos is presenting a way to beat them, a way to use money via the Internet to change American politics. I think there are other ways we can use the Internet, ways that Dean did not find, to win votes and change American politics.

      •  Your argument is also largely wrong (3.50)
        Woulda, coulda, shoulda so far as Iowa goes.  Easy to say, difficult to prove.  My own theory about Dean's loss in Iowa was from a)in a multi-candidate field both Dean and Gephardt pulled themselves down by going negative on each other, leaving the squeaky clean Edwards and the hardball politician Kerry to benefit at their expense.  And yeah, the game is hardball, and Bush's team plays hardball where they go for the head with every fastball, so Dean not being able to handle that hardball doesn't speak well for him being the Democratic nominee.  We need a guy who can throw an elbow into his opponent's eye and come off looking lily-white afterwards.  Wish that weren't true, but I think it is.  b) I believe Dean's army of untrained and fervent cult-worshippers turned more Iowa voters off Dean than they brought in, and they overestimated his "1's" big time, and they made a lot of people show up for caucuses only they didn't vote for Dean when they got there.  

        I do understand your bitterness about your candidate not making it.  It's not an excuse for a martyr complex such as "one less Dean person to worry about" and intimations that somehow all of us who didn't support him are trying to put him down so he never lets his head up again.  Frankly I never cared enough about Dean one way or the other to try to keep him down now.  Not worried about him causing trouble, though I think you greatly overestimate how much trouble Dean would have been as President.  He's a centrist, remember?  

        You can say shame on the Democrats because they didn't see the Shining Beacon That is Howard Dean that you did.  But most of us just want to beat Bush, and Dean wasn't the guy best able to do that.  I was a Clark supporter from the early draft days, and I'm disappointed too.  I'm going for Edwards now because I think Kerry doesn't stand for anything and has the charisma of a stump.  Clark proved to have less charisma than hoped, but frankly Dean always struck me as less charismatic than almost all the other candidates.  His bulging neck, red face, lack of an upper lip, and creepy grimace that passed for a smile turned me off early; it didn't take the DLC to make me think of supporting a different candidate.  

        Sorry for dumping on Dean.  I still give him credit for coming straight at Bush, and credit for recognizing the power of internet community building and fundraising.  I just think you make too much of the opposition to Dean.  It wasn't personal for most of us.  

        "Every city is two cities, a city of the many poor and a city of the few rich; and these two cities are always at war."--Plato

        by Eclectic on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 11:27:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Synergy; paradigm shift; (3.33)
    "thinking outside the box."

    Million dollar concepts, the subject of endless courses, seminars and lectures, and still very few people "get it."

    Bill Gates at one time "thought outside the box."  He and his associates didn't invent computer operating systems.  They merely built a flexible one for that time. IBM was given the opportunity for "synergy" with Gates but couldn't "think outside the box" (their culture and products box -- we make business machines not toys) and consequently, passed on a partnership with Gates.  Today IBM that has been in business for decades has a market capitalization of $167 billion.  Microsoft has a market cap of $286 billion.  Michael Dell didn't do anything that IBM couldn't have done, but he did it and they didn't.    

    The Dean campaign was about "synergy" and "thinking outside the box."  The fundraising Rubik's cube that has stymied DEMs for last three decades of the 20th Century.  With the decline in small stable communities, the backbone of true grassroots in politics, and unions, the FDR DEM base, along with the depoliticization of the general public the DEM Party floundered.  The GOP had historically had access to wealthier donors, but they were too small in numbers and the GOP agenda was out of step with the majority had floundered for decades in the mid-20th Century.  

    Then the GOP was given a gift and they exploited the hell out of it.  The cultural shifts in the 1960's, no more radical than those of the 1930's.  In the 1930's people were scared by the depression into embracing the New Deal.  In the 1960's they were scared by the cultural changes into retreating into their churches and the GOP that was reassuring them that these changes wouldn't come to their town if they voted GOP.  The GOP found ready made communities of individuals who would collect and send them tiny donations and foot soldiers for their message.    

    Meanwhile DEMs kept returning to the same wells that were getting drier and drier.  The DLC came along and said, "DEMs are good for business in America too; how come we don't collect our fair share from those guys?"  They got so high on that drug in 1992 that they failed to realize that they were hooked and the body was slowly ravaged by the side effects of the drug.  (They are still not even in rehab contrary to what they seem to be saying right now.)

    Trippi in the Brown campaign attempted in 1992 to gather small individual donations, and while it did bring in substantial dollars, it required a lot of manpower but it did not build "community." (It was also laughed at by the other campaigns.)  What was missing was the feedback loop.  "I hear something from you that I like and I give you some money to say it again." was the extent of it in 1992.  Compare that with, ",I hear and like," "give money," "get a thank you" and invitation to participate more in the campaign, I participate more and become invested  in the campaign, give more to increase the capital, participate more, etc.

    Synergy results when a combination of elements are brought together in a new configuration.  The elements may be new or old but the form is new and enhances the elements as well as the new form.  To use IBM and MSFT again.  IBM sold fully stocked industrial refrigerators.  Apple (the technological breakthrough) sold fully stocked mini-bars.  MSFT sold the stock in the mini-bars.  (As everybody knows, those macadamia nuts in the mini-bars have a higher profit margin than those refrigerators.)  Once they controlled all the stock, Dell began customizing the mini-bars for the MSFT stock.  Everybody wanted a mini-bar and companies wanted one for every employee.  (Now we all munch continuously and are getting fat.)

    Small individual donors (Trippi); no pre-existing cultural, institutional and rigid organization (Dean political campaign); Internet - Blogs (technology and innovative feedback loop) and message - (DEMs welcome and "talk to me") combined to create the synergy.  It empowered individual DEM donors as they never have been before.  Created the strongest outsider POTUS campaign since Carter.   Put Blogs on the political map.  Howard Dean was changed forever.  Can it be replicated?  Sure.  The Clark campaign already borrowed the blueprint.  It was missing a couple of the same ingredients, but for a facsimile worked fairly well.  However, like anything that is derivative, changes to the quality of the elements usually produces an inferior product.  (Will leave to your imagination what the product will look like in the hands of other politicians.)  

    Howard Dean given too much credit?  Hardly.  He was the producer, director and star.  He was the Bill Gates of DEM politics.  I know, I know, Bill Clinton thought he made Citizen Kane, but he only made The Golddiggers of '92.  Most could not see what made Citizen Kane revolutionary when it was released, it didn't fare that well at the box office and didn't win the Oscars.  But it got better and better with time.  Dean has made the film.  Only question left is can he take the film and turn it into the blockbuster epic movie?  Because while films are wonderful, one only gets to keep making them by making a box-office hit.

    •  Interesting (none)
      that you use film as a metaphor then proclaim Dean the "producer, director, star".  

      Those days of the singular film genius are long gone, and even in his day, Orson Wells was the exception that broke the rule.

      Film is THE most collaborative of all forms of cultural production, so using film to claim Howard Dean the individual's singular contribution is counter-metaphoric at the very least.  

      My issue with Dean was always (and remains) the co-optation of progressivism and the ready acceptance of a ready constiutency to trade in surfaces.  There's no indication that Dean is any more progressive, has any more of a connection to populism or has any more integrity than the average politician (which is what he was before the spring and early summer of 2003).  I just didn't see or feel it, and consistent and repeated statements of committed supporters that Dean is an inspirational icon of integrity and honesty does inspiration make.  His conversion to populism mirrored large segments of the US populace's turn toward peace activism: it was situational and extremely context-specific, not rooted in any clearly articulated principles.

      That said, he's not and never was a bad guy.  He was a bit of a bad candidate, but could have learned, improved had the media circus of insurgent/frontrunner/has-been not been in play.  

      "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 11:51:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can't go another round on the (none)
        "progressive - populist" issue in relation to Dean with you.  Our conversation on this has gone on since sometime earlier last year.  I posted a very long response to you recently to which you didn't respond and I cannot add to that. Also this post was not written with any thought as to whether Dean meets or does not meet your notion of populism or progressiveness.  

        I consciously chose a film metaphor because anybody who knows anything about moviemaking knows that it is a collaborative "art" form.  Did consider giving Dean co-production and co-directing credit but decided I liked it better without the "co."  But I'm not interested in dissecting my post either -- it is a rough draft and probably not interesting enough to spend the time it would take to edit and craft it into something better.  

  •  Considerations.... (none)
    First of all, for Democrats the first large internet effort was MoveOn -- and that was not initially about raising money, it was about some needed lobby work in defense of Bill Clinton during the Impeachment era.  It was only after the movement "Censure and MoveOn" petitions had been generated that fund raising for media advertising was tried.  I was in Wellstone's campaign headquarters a few days before the tragedy, and watched the mail-bags being processed.  It was huge.  Then MoveOn turned on a dime, and doubled it for Mondale.  

    Second, like it or not, all of our candidates are still selected and elected on a geographical basis, and that will not soon change.  The blog world is not tied to geography -- and that is a real disadvantage in some respects, perhaps an advantage in others.  But in truth if you do not have direct relationships with a candidate's voters, and the political systems that select those candidates, there is not a whole lot you can do to "get better candidates."  And that is very important.  What I really want to support are candidates who have been nurtured and pushed forward by the progressive coalitions in particular states and districts.  I would like to see "access" to the riches of the blogging world to convert to support for progressive local advocacy that results in good candidates.  

    This has happened in the past, and may happen with respect to Howard Dean's efforts.  In the early 1970's the McGovern campaign nurtured a whole generation of solid progressive Democrats --many of whom have recently retired, or are close to it.  If Dean's effort results in a new generation of state legislators, county commissioners and later congresspeople -- brought into politics through Dean's efforts -- it was a fantastic investment.  But that will all be dependent on Geography -- where are people located, and are those districts winable.  Can the Blog World make the necessary adaptations to electorial geography?

    If it is going to be half way successful, candidates and then successful office holders are going to have to figure out how to provide access for those who have invested in their political careers.  Afterall -- that is what those large contributions were all about -- investment in access.  I see access as having two levels.  I do believe we have to support the importance of preferred access for those who can vote for a particular office holder or candidate.  I am not at all interested in substituting a blog for the lobbyist from General Motors, etc.  At the same time, bloggers who invest are much like common stock owners -- they too have interests and expectations.  Some means needs to be invented so that candidates asking for support come election time are asked about this access question in a clear way.  A special accountability to preferred stakeholders (what is it?) and other sorts of access for the common (non-state or district) stakeholders.  And it should be Online -- not something that demands flying to DC to use.  

    I also believe equal attention needs to be given to evolving on-line lobby efforts.  We've seen just a small piece of what might be possible in the recent coalition created around the FCC regs regarding media mergers and acquisitions -- and that was not immediately successful and was a fairly limited campaign.  But it came not from the usual Beltway organizations -- it came from a combination of on-line activists and a coalition of concerned non DC media activists.  We need to do an analysis of this one -- and many others like it, and see if in a number of issue areas we can evolve models that are more successful.  (I for one am really disturbed that the anti-FCC regs issue has not yet surfaced in the Presidential Campaign or in Congressional ones. --You don't win these things with one-off efforts.) In many respects K-Street is profoundly vulnerable to a well structured alternative internet based lobby effort -- and one thing we want to accomplish, me thinks, is a major "cut down to size" operation on K-Street's influence.  

    Those are just a few considerations.....

  •  Not giving Dean enough credit (none)
    I really disagree with your assessment that Dean is getting too much credit.

    Dean is responsible for:

    a) bringing me into the Democratic Party
    b) bringing me into the blogosphere

    I wasn't involved in the least bit in either pre-Dean.  I wouldn't have ever been involved with them without Dean.  And I certainly know that I'm not the only one.  In fact, I'm probably the rule and not the exception.

    Daily Kos was a well-established site before Dean, but I'd definetly say that Blog For America brought a lot of new users.

    Dean also brought national media attention to the power of the blogosphere because they brought a candidate out of political obscurity into the national spotlight and on top of the polls.  This meant endless WaPo and NYT articles about the power of the blogosphere and the frustration of the base with the lame actions of the Democrats in congress.

    Without that spotlight, the clout of the blogosphere would be much less than it is now.

    Its not as if Dean is the second coming ... there are other politicians who could have done this.  McCain is the same type of politician that could have pulled off something like this.  But the point is that Dean (with the help of Trippi) did it and therefore deserves credit for it.

  •  Please Help AZ Candidate (none)
    What a fantastic post! I feel so proud that I was part of the Chandler victory and agree that that victory is getting us some the validity we deserve.

    In my own congressional district, we can sure use some of that help. We have a republican in his first term representing a district where democrats outnumber republicans. But in that last election the RNC dumped $100,000's with dirty poll pushing and other disgraceful techniques into the campaign.

    We have a real good chance of winning that seat back this election. Please go here to contribute to Paul Babbitt's campaign. He is the brother of Bruce Babbitt and with your help can be one of those seats that gets the house back for us. If you do contribute, please add 3 cents (i.e. $20 = $20.03) so they know the funds are coming through this new grassroots effort.


  •  Way To Go Bro (none)
    You tell 'em KOS.  Thye can never hear enough of what a wuss Daschle is and how much they need to stand up and sound like Democrats.

    The tide is turning.

  •  It has nothing to do with (none)
    recompensation. What I'm speaking of is issues to the table.

    If you donate $50 to a Congresscritter, and say you care about a single payer health care program, it does nothing. $50 won't even make the X-mas card list. You'll be ignored.

    Now, if you hook up your donation under an organization that stands for that, and you're part of 10K such donations, the critter will act on it. As I said, a bunch of Kos (and I'm not picking on Kos, just using the obvious example)donors give Kos access. He's known as a guy who can target $ to folks. They take his calls.

    If he doesn't stand for your signature issues, getting him in the door does nothing for you. What you want to do is get someone's calls taken that does stand for your issues. That simple.

    All I'm saying is that people need to be aware of this fact, and not thing that the magic "blogosphere" donors are going to effect change. You still have to play smart.

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