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Big Talk, No Action

Thursday, November 18, 2010
Last night I went to a local party function. A portion of the event was re-hashing the party's defeat in the recent elections. What was interesting to me was the division between a) those who wanted to focus on blaming the Obama administration for the defeat and the things he needs to do to fix it, and b) people who wanted to talk about how we could reorganize headed into the next elections. Despite my criticisms of Obama's political strategy, I was definitely in the latter camp, but I found it sad how few people want to use our leverage at the local level to apply indirect pressure on the administration. Writing letters to the White House isn't going to accomplish anything. Presenting your member of Congress with a room of pissed off party veterans - the people they need to get elected - is something else entirely.

Of course, I'd been in many similar meetings over the years - where everyone says all the right things about organizing at the precinct level and not waiting until 6 weeks before an election to talk to voters. I've heard this after victories and after defeats, and all it ever is is talk. Two months later the momentum is lost and we're right back where we started, cobbling together a slapdash campaign effort just before the election composed of grandmothers and college students.

I also heard the usual claptrap about reaching out to younger voters. Well, perhaps "claptrap" is being a bit unfair, but I ask you - how much sense does it make to spend (scarce) resources getting 20 year college students involved when they're going to move out of town in 2 years? I'm all for trying to strengthen College Democratic organizations, but seriously - you are not going to build a long-term base for the party by relying on the sometimes enthusiasm of teenagers.

Basically I've decided to be a pain in the butt - something I have a talent for. My pan is to introduce plans for getting precinct captains to work their areas on a regular basis, get it approved by the party, and get said precinct captains to sign a pledge. I'm going to nag and wheedle and cajole (do those all mean the same thing?). I'm already talking to the incoming county party chair to develop a more aggressive media strategy, but also to take strong stances on local and state issues. I'm not interested in passing resolutions and then forgetting about it - the point is to use these issues as a way to communicate with our voters.

Mainly I'm going to try to remind people what they said last night, and remind them of how bad they felt on November 2nd. If they don't want to feel that way again in two years, they need to do something about it now. Because then I won't be blaming Obama (or not just Obama). It'll be our fault too.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 9:17 AM
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