This morning, my brother thereisnospoon wrote a diary introducing a novel plan of action. Inspired by Darcy Burner's keynote at Netroots Nation, and developed in conjunction with Jane Hamsher at FDL, Howie Klein at Blue America PAC, and with some input from me myself, the idea was simple:
Reward the people who are doing right.
To that end, we set up an ActBlue page including every single member of Congress who has said that they will not support a bill that doesn't have a public option, and made a blogosphere-wide push for contributions to generate momentum in Congress for the public option.
The results have been wildly successful--over $50,000 at the time of this writing--and your work is getting noticed in the Traditional Media as well!
Find the details below the fold.
Now, I understand that a lot of you may be wondering--$50,000 spread across 66 candidates doesn't really seem like a lot. But the truth is that regardless of how many candidates it's spread across, the cumulative number of how much we've raised for this initiative is being represented by the media as a symbol of a new drive from the left on the issue of healthcare.
Not to mention--for many of these candidates, it does matter. You can bet that Eric Massa in NY-29 will know where that extra thousand bucks is from. And for a lot of the Congressmembers on that list, this is the first time they have ever received money through ActBlue. Will they notice? Well, I'll let ActBlue employee KansasNate speak to that:
When candidates receive ActBlue money, each contribution comes with the page name and URL on ActBlue.
Especially in this case (where most of these folks don't often get a lot of ActBlue money) you can be sure they will notice.
But more importantly: $50,000 in just a few hours can generate some great media coverage. And to let you know how effective we've been so far, I'm excerpting three of the news articles that have been written about this endeavor. First, from CBS, Liberal Netroots "Rewarding" Public Option Supporters:
Internet-based liberal grassroots groups are taking a page from traditional lobbying playbooks in order to influence the health care debate, by "rewarding" members of Congress who have committed to including a government-sponsored health insurance plan, or "public option," into health care reform legislation.
The liberal blog FireDogLake sent an e-mail to its subscribers Monday, asking them to "reward good behavior."
Yesterday, a number of congressmen sent a letter to the Obama administration saying they would only vote for a health care reform bill that includes a public option.
"For two months, we've been working hard to get members of Congress to draw a line in the sand: no public option, no health care reform," says the e-mail from FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher. "Yesterday, they did it. This is exactly the kind of spine we need to see from Congress... These 65 Democrats need to be commended for doing the right thing."
The author of this piece must have attended Netroots Nation--because she quotes Darcy Burner's statements from an NN09 panel discussion!
And this, from Plum Line. Blue America Raises Over $40,000 For Public Option — In A Few Hours:
One thing to keep an eye on: Whether the White House’s apparent softening of support for the public option has the effect of galvanizing the pro-reform forces in a way that allows them to hijack the conversation the way the Tea Party brigade did for a couple of weeks.
Case in point: The top fundraising page right now on ActBlue, the online fundraising clearinghouse for Dems, is for House Dems who have pledged to only support health care reform with a public option:
The congressmembers on this list have said in no uncertain terms that they will not vote for a bill without a public option all the way through Conference. That takes courage, and we need to show them how much we appreciate them for doing so. Please make a contribution– and thanks for everything else you’re doing for the public option.
And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Ben Smith at Politico has weighed in--The Left, Energized:
Another indicator: the progressive fundraising site ActBlue is hosting a burgeoning "Standing up for the Public Option" drive, and has raised more than $46,000 so far today for members of Congress who back a public option. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has raised another $50,000 for an ad pushing Ben Nelson on the issue.
Where this leaves the legislation is anyone's guess at this point. But while the fervor on the right rose quicker, the next wave seems to be coming from the left.
The bottom line is that today, you are making a HUGE difference for the public option. But we need the momentum to continue. PLEASE make a difference by adding your voice and contribution to give a carrot to the members of Congress who are committed to the Public Option.
And if you don't have a lot to give and want to make sure your money goes to the most endangered, this post at FDL's Campaign Silo shows you the PVI of every single person on this list, so you can target your contributions to the most endangered.
Thanks for everything you're doing for a robust public option.
UPDATE: The page is now at over $52,000. Contribute here.
LASTLY: When you contribute, be sure to leave a tip for ActBlue. The reason this is possible is because of the infrastructure they developed. Reward them appropriately.
UPDATE: We now stand at over $60,000 raised on the page through over 900 contributors. But I'm GREEDY. I want to see at least 1,000 contributors, and $75,000 if we can get there. Ambitious, I know.
UPDATE 2: currently, we're at over 1300 contributors and nearly $92,500 raised. I'd love to see us break that $100,000 mark.