A few days ago, I decided to take a whirlwind tour, travel across Kansas and Missouri and see several house of representative members give their pitch to their constituents about the state of the country. After recording all of the town halls and meetings, I feel strongly that a fifty state strategy is not just for the good of the party, it's going to be a necessity if we want to keep a community dialog. More and more, these districts are becoming out of reach because they live in a walled-off world that doesn't allow for outside viewpoints.
Worse, their congressmen and women specifically enable it.
I've had time to sit and watch through townhalls from three republicans, and they all gave the exact same spiel.. including virtually identical powerpoint presentations.
Those pitches were:
* The President has never submitted a "serious" budget, because he doesn't want "a budget that's real".
* Two of the Three Republicans pitched raising retirement age of Social Security to 67, phased in over 5 to 10 years. They also proposed eliminating medicare for anyone earning more than $1 Million yearly (they provided no basis for either of these)
* Two used the example of Greece, contending the United States would be "like Greece" within a few years without massive austerity changes.
* "Medicare is a gut buster"
* "Democrats have forced the sequester measures on us because they wouldn't get serious and actually propose a budget"
* "President Obama has no intention to get a budget to us by the required February 4 deadline."
* "Don't worry, no one is going to confiscate your guns, we'll make sure of that.."
And so on.
What I realized as I did most of these was this:
Republicans are holding their "Meet the district" meetings during day. Only one held a meeting that ran to 5PM. All of the meetings were noon, 11am, 1PM, etc. As one member in the gallery pointed out "Why don't we host these in an evening, where people could actually come."
There are no youth at any of these meetings; the youngest person at any of them would have been in the mid to late thirties.
The refrain that comes out most often, from all three house members is: "Don't expect much to get done in the next two years, but we're hoping that after the 2014 elections, President Obama will feel motivated to care about his legacy and really give us a real budget/reform/something". Including the suggestion he'd make rollbacks in his own health care plan to save his neck.. "it's such a bad idea".
At the same time, I met with people in those districts that had previously given money to democrats in their district and kept a flowchart. Let me say, there is real money available for a candidate who wants to run in those districts and will take it seriously.
This is part of my biggest point: when you go long enough without ever being challenged you can say ridiculous things. When there is no democratic presence in a district, it means that the Republican candidate is never questioned on any topic, as a result their districts are full of terrible information that goes unchecked.
Even if you lose, there is merit in running races. After meeting with donors, I'm pretty confident we can mount a pretty solid campaign in District 2 (Kansas) and in some of the southern Missouri districts.
Now, it's about finding the candidates to do it. We'll have to start working on that. As I drove back to Kansas City today, I was reminded of the not so distant past, where Nancy Boyda and Dennis Moore were democratic Representatives. When Sebellius was our governor.
Some districts in Kansas would be tough fights that you may not win. But losing a fight for a seat is better then not contesting it at all.
Looking over all the video I captured in the last three days, I'm realizing that the months ahead are going to be full of a lot of this. By the time we get to Summer, we will hopefully have some potential candidates and a plan.
But opposition research without a candidate in districts that have went unchallenged is proving far more advantageous then I expected.
Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 10:49 AM PT: Update to have some video. I have debated whether or not to include some video because it outs what I'm doing in some way. On the other hand, they can't block me from meetings, so I guess it doesn't matter.
I have reserved some of the items I consider "interesting" especially the back and forths for much closer to 2014, but this is Representative Lynn Jenkins giving the standard spiel I heard repeatedly to her constituents.
(If you want more video, it's possible I recorded all of all of these)
The clip below is basically an explanation of the Republican Plan for the next few years, the seriousness of the president, and a gosh-shucks, sorry you're getting screwed.