This goes out to my fellow Democrats, liberals, progressives and the Obama campaign. I love you all, but you’re letting yourself get distracted with the whole money thing, and in the process, you’re losing your voice.
To the Obama campaign and other Democrats, too:
Just stop it because for starters, you make it sound like no one in this country is smart enough to ignore the incessant robocalls, radio ads, television ads, Facebook ads, twitter spam and everything else. Billionaires may have an endless capacity to spam everyone’s reality with lies and nonsense, but you know what else? People hate it. Hate. They loathe having to screen their calls, turn off the TV (and by the way, that’s why God made DVRs), and otherwise find ways to ignore the crap that gets spewed at them.
Just stop it because you’re playing the victim game and assuming the victim position before there’s even a starting pitch. People aren’t as stupid as you think.
Just stop it because the more you pressure me to step up because ZOMG, BREAKING! So-and-so has run an ad against me and it’s terrible awful horrible, the more I resist pulling out my debit card and dropping my bank account from three digits to two. It’s not like I’m incredibly wealthy to begin with so you need to entice me to open up that wallet, and doing it with fear ain’t the way to do it. Also, I like the whole idea about the dinners, but it doesn’t really give me incentive to give because I live in California and you want those people from swing states to win it so they can tell their neighbors. T-shirts are good, but what really inspires me to give is when you deliver one of those knockout punches by standing up for our core, common beliefs.
Just stop it because you didn’t win in 2008 on fear. You won in 2008 by overcoming fear. If you want me to give, you need to stop reacting and start acting. Speak with conviction and with one voice, please. If that means Bill Clinton and his merry band of conservadems needs to pipe down, well then please, pipe down.
Start telling me the next four years are our time, our moment. Tell me specifically what it is you plan to do to move forward. Tell me and the rest of the voters why these lunatics should just get the hell out of Washington DC before they consign women, children, students and everyone of color to the back of the bus. Bring your vision. Stop letting the media define you.
To my fellow activists, political junkies, and others:
Please understand this about the money. Ads are the least of it. The real undermining of democracy has already taken place, and it’s not in the election sphere. This is what I have been trying to tell you for these past three years — it’s the think tanks, the phony “civic service” organizations, organizations like Ned Ryun’s American Majority and Dick Armey’s Freedomworks and of course, Koch’s Americans for Prosperity and their state-based offshoots.
There’s a reason I’ve been writing about these efforts for the past three years, and it isn’t because billionaires can saturate the airwaves. When people blame big money for the Wisconsin recall loss, they’re assuming it was the ads. It wasn’t the ads. It was the gigantic presence of the Sam Adams Alliance, Americans for Prosperity, Freedomworks, the child groups spawned from those organizations (at taxpayer expense, by the way) and the organization they put on the ground. When their (admittedly anecdotal) voter contact was at a ratio of 4:1 to liberals’ there’s a problem and it doesn’t have anything to do with ads.
Big Money has already paid for that which they will rely upon to win this election. The voter suppression, voter roll purges, and onerous, ridiculous voter registration requirements are their weapons of choice. That’s not going to change now, which means that YOU need to stop worrying about the money and start worrying about unity. That means you decide your priority is to actually, you know, WIN. Because purity and all that is great until we don’t win. To your credit, I do see glimmers of the winning spirit rising. That’s good. Stop being worried all the time and start being determined to WIN.
When you decide to win, then it’s time to step up and make it happen. Not only for President Obama, but for that Congressional candidate who needs you to walk precincts or make calls, the candidate for Senate who could just be the difference between holding the Senate or losing control of it.
It won’t be enough to re-elect President Obama. If this crazy Congress stays in place, it will simply be four years of insanity. (Note to the President: Don’t assume they’ll come to their senses because you win. They won’t, because they’re just insane now. It’s as if they’ve been driven to such a lather that they can’t calm down.) No. It means getting out the vote for Congressional candidates, for Senate candidates and for the President.
Between now and November there are going to be lots of distractions and noise. The media will continue to treat Mitt Romney like a very serious candidate and they will handle him with kid gloves while they do their best to trash the President. This is because they have a vested interest in a horse race. Those ad dollars flowing in mean something to them, to media buyers, and to the large public relations industry which now exists solely to win elections. We either let the noise drive us or we drive over and above it.
I truly believe that on November 5, 2008, conservatives woke up with a hangover and these words in their heads: “Wow, that actually happened. The black guy is President.” Having been slapped out of complacency, they snapped to with aplomb and were enabled by their oligarchs. They will not be complacent again, but that doesn’t give them a win. They have a weak candidate and a weaker platform. Just to remind everyone, the only specifics Romney will actually list are that he will roll back all of the gains we fought to get over the past four years, and having accomplished that, he will then put us on a fast track to 1888, where we will all once again be consigned to the Land of Pre-Existing Conditions, Unfettered Wall Street Casino Days, and penury.
Our time is now. We have the right values, the right message, and the right track. Let’s stand up and own it, and get this done without clutching pearls over billionaire boys’ games. If you don’t want to listen to me, then listen to Digby, who isn’t letting the reality of billionaires stop her from figuring it out.