Just ask, but ask the right way
I was painfully shy about talking to women for a great deal of my life. Fortunately, with age came, not great wisdom, but, at least, wisdom in discrete units of some use. One of those gems is this: You can say anything you want to a woman, as long as it’s the right thing.
Back in 2003, the Howard Dean campaign pioneered Internet fund-raising. Dean gathered a core of followers who responded to his message with cold cash. I was one. With $50 here and $50 there, we stepped up to his symbolic bats and made money happen. It didn’t hurt because we weren’t dirt poor and we liked to support a candidate we really believed.
The media was all agog about it for a few minutes. Then, when the party insiders anointed “look good but don’t say anything” Kerry as King of the Democrats (it was a lot like the myth of royalty being descended from the gods, and about as relevant), Dean’s money dried up. It didn’t transfer itself to Kerry, it just dried up. We said, “Well, lots of luck, Kerry, knock ’em dead,” and we watched the Kerry campaign give the election away.
Some media pundits still like to play the Dean card when they run out of ideas for talking about Democrats. David Broder likes to say that Dean, now Democratic Party chairman, cannot raise money when he is pushing the media mantra, “Democrats must move to the center to win.”
In this, he is confusing political fund-raising with telemarketing. The fact is, Dean cannot get my money anytime he wants it, but he’ll get it when he needs it. I didn’t go away, I just took a break, and I feel confident in projecting my own situation onto the rest of progressive Democrats. This has great meaning for the Maine Democratic Party.
We have a golden opportunity to replace a Republican senator with a Democrat in November. Because of that, you can bet the national Republican Party, awash in corporate funding which they have truthfully earned, will weigh in with sacks of cash when they smell defeat. To beat them will require a lot of money.
The Maine Democratic Party probably thinks it doesn’t have enough money. Well, it does, it will just have to ask for it in the right way, and I don’t mean nicely.
If the party fields a Democratic candidate that speaks truthfully, looks competitive, and doesn’t hide behind slick TV ads, then all the party has to do is start a campaign that covers a spectrum of activities, not just TV. The campaign must get the word out, encourage all Democrats, find new ones, and make people believe there really is a Democratic Party. Then, target all the liberals in Maine who want to make this happen. You’ll get money; I guarantee it. Democrats beg me for money all the time. They are national level Democrats who think I will bankroll another election cycle of their waffling sound-bites just because I don’t like Republicans. They waste a lot of bulk postage on me. But give me a viable candidate, an honest campaign and a prize at the end as good as taking down a Republican US senator, and you’ll see some real money.