Wednesday :: Jun 18, 2003

McAuliffe’s DNC Fails to Make Bush’s Fundraising a Liability, But Manages to Drop the Ball Elsewhere

by Steve

The media has been filled with stories lately about Bush’s fundraising steamroller, with many stories making the point that Bush will be raising more money in the next several weeks than the Democrats will be raising between now and the end of the year. Of course, Rove loves this kind of coverage because it cements in the mind of voters and contributors the inevitability of Bush’s election and omnipotence. In fact, in several stories the GOP operatives claim that part of the reason for the push to raise such staggering sums is to demoralize the Democrats, a sort of Psych-Ops job on what passes for an opposition party in this country. As former Dole campaign manager Scott Reed admitted of the Bush effort, “this is about demoralizing the Democratic contenders.”

Fine-intentioned folks on other blogs have started fundraising efforts for the national party, called E-Patriots, in the hope that folks at the DNC will see that there is a yearning for action and a pool of committed folks willing to chip in to start the ball rolling towards raising money. As laudable as this is, and even though I give money to the DNC, I have about had my fill of Terry McAuliffe’s abdication of leadership of the national party. Why?

If you know that your opponent plans to raise as much money as possible and use the success of the effort as a Psych-Ops job on you and your supporters, and if you know that you cannot match the amount of fundraising yourself, it argues for maximizing your own efforts from the various parts of your base. It also argues for finding a way to turn your opponents’ whorish quest for money for whom they give political favors into a campaign liability, where you can make the pursuit of the money and the giving of the contributions toxic for both the administration and the checkwriters. In other words, it argues for a “Truth Squad” approach, where the party would send teams around the country to stage press conferences at every Bush appearance, showing the media the link between those writing the checks that night and the Bush actions to favor the contributors at the expense of the public interest. By continually hammering the issue of contributions linked to favors, you will eventually make it a problem for Bush to be seen jetting around the country scooping up cash from those who are being rewarded, while you plant in the public’s mind how this administration has dumped the public interest and replaced it with the corporate interest. Sure the Democrats would like some of this money too, but they will never see any of it unless they show the corporate checkwriters that they have a chance of gaining power and unless they can show the corporate checkwriters that there is a benefit to spreading the money around.

Yet I have never received a response to the “Truth Squad” fax I sent to Chris Kenngott of the DNC (fax number 1-202-479-5106) back on May 28th. And in that time, we have seen the breakdown of efforts within the party to build effective fundraising coalitions amongst the Democratic interest groups. In fact, rather that set up a relatively inexpensive and effective “truth squad” approach that would cement bonds with other like-minded groups, McAuliffe reserves for himself the job of attacking Bush’s record and fundraising. This is either vanity or a lack of strategic thinking, since the average voter isn’t going to pay one damn bit of attention to any attack from the chair of the alleged opposition party.

Not only that, but McAuliffe faces fresh complaints from the Congressional Black Caucus about a lack of outreach to minority political consultants, even while he tries to get African American members of the party to take the lead in stressing social justice issues next year. The request for help seems hollow given the recent staff reductions at the national party, which angered key national operatives like Donna Brazille.

There is nothing expensive about maintaining important linkages with fundraising efforts amongst your base, or in following up on good ideas for making Bush’s pursuit of campaign cash a liability for both him and those who give. The GOP has successfully tarred Gray Davis for his fundraising practices, and if anyone knows how lethal it can be to tie an official’s fundraising practices to their decisions in office, it is Garry South. Yet McAuliffe’s DNC seems to be incapable of effective outreach to the base, maintaining and steering a collaborative effort to raise money amongst various interest groups, or to follow-up on inexpensive ideas to turn Bush’s pursuit of cash from those getting favors into a liability for the White House.

And frankly, if you cannot do the above three things, but manage to seek headlines yourself as the lone opposition mouthpiece, then you should be dumped as chair of the DNC.

Terry, it is time to go. And dammit, get someone to respond to my fax. It is not like you have been doing anything better over the last month or so.

Steve :: 7:56 AM :: Comments (10) :: Digg It!