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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 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.

Originally posted to bartcopfan on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 04:04 PM PST.


Does the idea of a Daily Kos-wide political campaign consulting advice and service network appeal to you?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

    by bartcopfan on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 04:04:38 PM PST

  •  Oh, this is SO exciting!! !8^) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex, commonmass
  •  Bartcop is a hoot. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, TexMex, laurnj

    Haven't been to the site in quite a while. He was ill, IIRC. I'll have to go look. I will be in Austin and Dallas in early April, I'll have to take a look at the capitol building.

    Jesus used to live in my heart, until I upped the rent. I think He moved to Dorchester. If you see Him, tell Him He owes me 35 dollars for a parking ticket.

    by commonmass on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 04:09:37 PM PST

  •  If we find ourselves down by the Capitol (4+ / 0-)

    any time soon, we'll try to remember to take a picture of it.

    neca politicos omnes; deus suos agnoscet.

    by khereva on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 04:12:31 PM PST

  •  merci beaucoup! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    An excellent idea--quite often--especially last year, it really does (did) seem as though the "pros" the candidates relied upon did not deliver--they were off the mark, and it cost us dearly.

    We can't afford to pay such a price, and it's even less acceptable, since, as you've pointed out, there are sites like this one that function almost like think tanks. To fail to exploit such a resource and develop it in some meaningful way will endanger the future of any remotely progressive agenda for a long time to come.

    Such a forum is a good idea & might shape up other progressive organizations when needed, as well.

  •  I'll forward this to a friend (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in Austin who also takes great photos.  He might want recognition for the photo... would that be a problem?

    Glenn Beck wants to Restore Your Honor... do something.

    by angelajean on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 04:50:56 PM PST

  •  what is funny (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is that in the whole time I have lived in Austin I drive I-35 everyday just past lake lady bird from research 183. I have only been to the capital once when my mom came. You live in a place and for some reason forget that it is even the capital. I've been here since july and already forgot.

    Poll worked 7am to 5pm! Ran caucus till 10:30pm! Proud Texas dem!

    by AHiddenSaint on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 04:55:59 PM PST

  •  in case you didn't know this site (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    by TexMex on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 05:51:32 PM PST

  •  Low quality snapshot (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have a snapshot I took in Dec that you're welcome to use, but it's probably not high enough quality for what you want. It's taken at an angle because I wanted to show that it was on the capital grounds, so wanted to get the building in the background. I was visiting Austin and just stumbled upon it and was frankly appalled, which is why I snapped the photo. Anyway, it's up on Flickr:

    "I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father Jor-El to save the Planet Earth."

    by lesliet on Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 06:36:21 PM PST

    •  Thanks for the reply! (0+ / 0-)

      I looked at the shot and agree it will certainly work--at least as a "Plan B".  The example shot I gave the link to is a simpler, more straight-on shot I still think I'd prefer.

      But I can understand completely why you'd want (at least some of) the capitol building in the background.  If I'm seeing your shot correctly, it appears you have the SW corner of the building in the background, yes?  (My recollection from my one or two drive-bys is that the building layout runs due east-west.)

      I'd also wondered about a shot w/ the dome in the background, but if my understanding is accurate, it would be impossible--the two would be nearly 180 degrees opposite each other...unless the same Ten Commandments posting is on the back side also.


      •  Explanation of photo (0+ / 0-)

        If you go to this page:

        The location of the monument is roughly at the lower left corner of the area outlined by the dotted line (an underground portion of the capitol bldg). So it is northwest of the main capitol building. The camera shot is pointed toward the east, so it's catching that portion of the building that projects out to the north. There is actually more of the building on the left just outside the frame of the photograph.

        If you wanted the dome in the background, you would have to take the picture from the other side of the monument. I don't think I looked to see if there was lettering on both sides.

        "I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father Jor-El to save the Planet Earth."

        by lesliet on Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 04:41:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm never downtown any more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but if I go, I'll take a pic. What's your deadline?

    •  But I can be flexible by a few weeks also.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anotherdemocrat the end of March, if possible.

      ...particularly if the image is especially good.

      At the risk of "too little, too late" I should explain that I'm wanting something sort of...documentary.  Not too glorious (e.g. not with the dome in the background), but immediately recognizable as a Ten Commandments monument.  Actually, on further investigation, this public domain image at Wikipedia looks pretty good.

      The caption is going to identify the monument as one of many donated by the Fraternal Order of Eagles to promote the film "The Ten Commandments" and the subject of a SCOTUS decision.

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