Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Thursday | June 26, 2003

My conversation with McAuliffe

I've been meaning to fill you in on my talk with Terry McAuliffe, DNC chief, but kept getting sidetracked. Well, I'm sidetracked no longer! The quotes below are all paraphrased. I didn't take exact notes.

It was last Friday as I made my way to the airport for my weekend getaway in rainy Oregon. My cell rang, it was Terry, "This is Terry McAuliffe, how are you?"

Making my way through traffic, I responded, "wassup?"

"I'd like to thank you for the wonderful job you've done with ePatriot yadda yadda yadda." As most of you know, I arrived on McAuliffe's radar screen after the dKos community raised its first $10,000 via the ePatriots program.

This was boring. I wasn't too interested in platitudes. I interrupted him -- "So, you on the road as well?"

"I'm in Minnesota. Just did a great event -- had two tractor trailers with 40,000 pink slips to symbolize the jobs lost under Bush every month." McAuliffe was pumped!

"Where there any elected officials with you?"

Pause. "No. But I had the chair of the Minnesota Democratic party with me."

"Why weren't there any elected officials with you?"

Even longer pause. Finally, "I guess they're not as aggressive as we are."

And that's the problem with our party. The party itself is trying, it really is, to take the war to Bush. But it is our elected officials that live in mortal fear of the slightest whiff of anything Bush.

A cheesy photo op in a farm, tractor trailers full of pink slips? Who cares? Sigh.

"You know what?" I said, "A lot of people I talk to every day, who comment at my site -- they won't aggressively support the party until the party starts acting like an opposition."

McAuliffe could only agree, "I know. We're trying."

I then launched into my spiel about how the blogosphere could help drive new political activism on behalf of Democrats, how blogs like dKos attracted people who might not otherwise participate in the political process, and how it was in the Democratic Party's interest to nurture the lefty blogosphere.

McAuliffe asked point blank: "How do you think we should do that?"

It's a question I want you guys to weigh in on, since I promised to put together a memo with suggestions.

I'll start it off with the following two suggestions:

  1. pull a Dean -- get all the major party officials (starting with McAuliffe, and moving on to Pelosi, Daschle, etc.) to start doing interviews with blogs, commenting on message boards, becoming members of the blogging community, so they can listen first hand to the concerns and ideas that are bantied about every single day; and

  2. Start a party weblog. Start communicating with the party faithful on a daily basis, not through newspapers or 30-second spots or any other middlemen.
I'll be putting this memo together this weekend. I would love to hear more suggestions. We have the chairman's ear, let's take advantage of it. How do we use the blogosphere, this wonderful, revolutionary tool at our disposal, and use it to strengthen the party and help it elect real Democrats?

Posted June 26, 2003 03:08 AM | Comments (183)


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