Hey Howard, We Need Software
Dear Dr. Dean,
I realize this may not be the best time to demand attention to a pressing party need while the media hyenas and gop attack dogs are snarling for viscera after you merely stated the truth, but to these weary eyes it’s so much more of the same ol’. A fixed macabre media circus, eerily reminiscent of ancient roman games, except these days Democrats are fed to the lions and gladiators, their gory corpses always left in the sand until boredom finally sets in looking at the twitching flesh, the hyenas eventually moving on for a fresh spectacle.
Yeah, we’ve been there. Not only that, here I am yet again plunking away at prose to just become a fucking legend in my own mind when I’m supposed to be doing something tangible to beat Hërr Gröpenfuhrer and take back the House in 2006. These broken records of consciousness are seriously getting to me, Dr. Dean. A software prescription will help fix me right up.
In my district Honda will walk, but if I go to my State party site I get the usual generic volunteer form. There’s nothing in any of the Democratic sites and software that shows the top five vulnerable House districts and how I, as a party member in the state, can help get those House seats back to Democrats. I could give to a special fund, sign up to show up for a week’s labor right before the election, or sign up for special registration drives to get those five seats back.
The only way to connect me to the fights that matter is through sites and the right software that records all my pertinent data for specific, precise party goals. California doesn’t have it.
Not only that, for those five seats we’ve got get back does the party have, right at this second, site software to give away to Democratic challengers that gets volunteer data, collects donations, blogs, has five different templates and is secure? If the party cannot hand over a site administrator, does it have a list of contractors challengers can hire to get their sites up and running?
Serious challengers should be up and running this very second, we’re only 17 months out, yet brave candidates are desperately trying to figure out what to do with the web, a few will get perfunctory sites up, none will utilize anywhere near the potential the web could have delivered to their races, and we might get one seat back. We’ve got to do better.
We need Party meet-up software too. The free hand of the market whapped us again and we have to fill the void.
This is far too important to leave up to a hodgepodge of expensive consultants who often deliver appalling code. The national party has to take control of its site software destiny now and provide code and services itself.
Dr. Dean, I know it sounds like yet another mountain to climb, but I beseech you to gather the most qualified web experts you can and decide on party web standards as soon as possible. It the first and unfortunately the toughest step to harnessing the web.
Honda is Frontpage on what appears to be a House unix server, the State is .asp’n sql, Markos is Scoop with perl, mysql and likely unix. My blogfather is php while hordes of superb Democrats are in Blogger, whatever that is. If we had standard scripting platforms, databases and software packages the national constituent base could learn to one standard to vastly improve application development, greatly improve speed and lower costs.
This is an invitation to a huge fight where all these geniuses will show up to make us feel inadequate, but it’s got to be done. My personal humble input is to offer either php or cfm on solaris (unix) servers with myql as the database. Stick to open source as much as possible and use Dreamweaver as the html editing tool.
The only software package I’m totally confident in for the 2006 cycle is Scoop—right now the developer is almost ready to deliver a version specifically for candidate sites, not just pure blogging. Find $10 million, I am dead serious, pay the man, write the check and make the dude a multimillionaire on the spot so we can license that software to all of our House and Senate challengers as soon as possible. For this cycle our challengers will have to hire perl/inix admins for their sites.
That Scoop potential is exponentially better than we did in 2004 for our challengers, but if the national party gets to work now on platforms and software standards, hires the developers and offers simple, affordable web software in 2008 the House will be where it always belonged and always will be, in Democratic hands. With a Democratic House we could impeach Bush.
If we had it I could be signing up for precise state goals right now and donating to Pombo’s challenger, the Marlboro Man, Jesus I loathe that turd (R-CA, 11th). That’s healthy living, Dr. Dean.
I am excited, excited in a way I dreamed not possible just seven months ago. The Daily Kos is groaning under a hit load that grows every day—I was dreading the prospect of a Kerry loss and watching the web activism plummet after the election was over. Instead what happened is that the election shined attention on the web to a huge swath of Democrats who hadn’t noticed or paid attention before, and the hit traffic and activism continues to rocket upward.
We’re still out here, Dr, Dean, we’re at your back, we made your campaign the most revolutionary any of us has ever seen, and we can do the same to our national party, if we just get to work on our software issues now.