I am writing to request help for a political campaign from anyone with a digital camera living near or visiting the Texas State Capitol in Austin; help you can provide with your camera shutter finger (no, not that one).
A campaign I'm working on needs a picture of the Ten Commandments monument placed at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, similar to this one at the State of Texas website. The need isn't immediate, but I'd like a clean, well-lit image by the end of March, if possible. And I need your permission to use the image in print and website advertisements for (actually, defending) my candidate. If more information is needed, leave comments to that effect and I will respond as I am available.
While I am putting this, my first diary, together hurriedly and with a very specific goal in mind, it broaches a larger topic I'd like to start (or continue, if others have already started): a discussion of how we can harness the collective brainpower of this wonderful, savvy, and passionate community in the service of running successful progressive political campaigns.
I have thought for some time that there was much political wisdom to be gained from the people who frequent this and other lefty political sites: Digby's Hullabaloo, Soto, et al's TLC, and my old Tulsa buddy, Bartcop, to name but a few of my personal faves. Much of the insight I've gained (for free--or at most, occasional unsolicited donations) from these blogs has informed my political thinking, including the advice I've given candidates I've worked for.
I've also thought many times about how much more accurate and useful it's been than the "wisdumb" of our supposed political campaign experts, particularly the ones on "our" side. You know, the ones draining our candidates of their finances (a.k.a. our donations), then delivering crappy advice.
In an attempt to do something besides bitch and moan, I'd propose--and be willing to participate in--a(n initially) freebie political campaign advice...forum...collective...network...bulletin board--I don't know what to call it.
But I know what I want it to do.
When I need a picture of a subject hundreds of miles away from me, I want to run up the 'Bat Signal' as I've just done and have someone(s) closer to my target respond. Similarly, I may be sitting on dozens of pictures that might be of real use to other campaigns--if I only knew about their need.
Other times, a campaign just needs a good idea to run with. This place has thousands of people I'd be (and have already been) willing to listen to ideas and discussion from. Of course, there would be disagreement about proper courses to follow and sheer crap to wade through and discard--there's no guarantee your advice would be taken. But even if not used directly, it might spur the idea for the ad that cinches the election. And the advice wouldn't have cost our hypothetical candidate anything more than their (or their staff's) time.
But, in contrast to the often-held stereotype that no one should get paid (or at least, not well) for their progressive work, I can see where a commenter who repeatedly gives useful advice might parlay their knack into a paying gig, if desired.
In closing, I'd have to give credit to thereisnospoon for the diary No One Is Going to Save You Fools (and accompanying comments), which really jumpstarted my thinking along these lines.
To me, it seems this is a logical next-step for us Kossacks, residing as we do at the largest progressive website on The Internets, as well as another way to leave the wingnuts in the electronic dust. This proposal would provide a way for those so inclined to be involved and useful in campaigns from a thousand miles away. If it provides some competition to some lousy campaign consultants in the process, that's (as the economists would say) a positive externality.
A bit of free advice I'd leave this diary with is as follows, I don't know if I've written a proper diary or not, but you can't beat something with nothing. It's (almost always) better to do something imperfectly, than to perfectly do nothing.