This site is meant to facilitate the upward flow of information to help our elected officials stay in touch with those they represent. Also as a means to help us (the voters) help our leaders lead.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dump Debbie

Last Thursday 5/5/11 Terri Lynn Land made it public that she is not going to run against Debbie Stabenow in 2012. Her reason was that she felt the GOP from the top down wasn’t energized enough to help her win.
I agree with her on that assumption.

We need to focus on one thing.

In the last presidential election before the advent of the Tea Party, (2008) it was clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that the GOP had become a thoroughly top heavy institution made up of political consultants and graph makers who had no idea what was on the minds of the electorate. I for example volunteered at a Fix Mi. center (40 hours a week) and was inundated with memos that were never followed through on. These memos and the people who wrote them had no idea of how to get people involved beyond the corporate hierarchy. The main goal of these pencil pushers was how to get the most money out of the voters they had left.

The 2006 elections should have been a warning to them; but it wasn’t as they merrily went their way to nearly total self annihilation in the 2008 election.

Previously the Dems realized their mistake in 2004 and before and finally remembered the voters. Their biggest drive became rebuilding their base. I remember in the 2008 election I served as a poll challenger, I lived in Muskegon then. I had virtually no training and definitely no material. In my precinct in Muskegon I sat next to a Dem poll challenger who had a one inch thick manual for what to do in a given situation. She was young and also a lawyer, she was from Grand Rapids. She kept in touch through her cell phone with the Democrat HQ as to what was going on how the totals were going etc.

While I understand that the role of the poll challenger may not be all that important in the individual case, in the big picture it helps illustrates the differing approaches the two parties took towards the election.

With the advent of the Tea Party and a lot of GOPers “defecting” to them; the State GOP Party started making overtures to the Tea Party. By this time however the Tea Party was off and running with or without the GOP. They were willing to vote the candidate not necessarily the party. I remember bringing some new recruits to a County Republican meeting and after they asked me why I brought them. There was minimal effort to welcome them and absolutely no effort to get them involved. The Tea Party was built from those people.

At first the GOP tried to sweet talk then take over the Tea Party, but they failed. The autonomous bottom up nature of the local Tea Parties made sure of that. Luckily for the GOP their stated positions were closer to the Tea Party than the positions of the Dems, so most of the Tea Partiers voted Republican in 2010.
That is the help that Terri Lynn was looking for. She perhaps was looking in the wrong place.

The problem with the GOP was that the chart makers and graphic doodlers took the 2010election to mean that the Tea Party people were theirs. The GOP leadership assumed that since the 2010 election went overwhelmingly Republican, there was no need for reaching out further to, and more importantly changing their positions because of the Tea Party. They in effect took all the credit for the 2010 election. They believed it was because of their use of the same old same old tactics.

Here I have to give credit to some of the new class of legislators who are trying to stand tall on their principles. It seems it is still the GOP Leadership and not the newly elected officials trying to distance themselves from the Tea Party.

This attitude was carried on by the local GOP as well with some exceptions. Very few of the GOP local county parties didn’t have to be dragged to a more bottom up approach to politics. The ones that were the worst ironically were the ones who were closest to the inner cities. They were overwhelmed by the opposition and perhaps out of self defense they had become insulated against popular newer views. What they had forgotten was that the Republican Party was founded on freeing the slaves. They forgot that President Lincoln was the first Republican President. They forgot their party was founded upon new ideas and the conflict that entails. They forgot that real freedom comes from less government. They forgot that to create freedom you have to teach people how to fish – not give them fishes.

Sure the GOPer leadership knew the above clichés, they would spout them out when talking to the masses, but they didn’t mean it, that's not where the money went. To borrow another cliché, they didn’t walk the walk. The masses figured it out and after giving them all the mechanics of government in the nineties, the voters took away the GOP majorities. The Dems took advantage of this by waking up and shifting their emphasis towards their base and the independent voters. They did this by getting them involved. Simply by making sure that if people wanted to get involved they would have something to do.

How did they do that? They came up with seemingly inconsequential things that got people involved such as the poll challenger programs, neighborhood BBQs, block parties. As their new President would later say, People need some skin in the game. They actually funded these things. They did and funded petition drives and actually paid people by how many signatures they got. They had registration drives again paying per sign up. Sure they paid consultants and the majority of the money came from big donors; but still the emphasis was always towards the little guy, the voter.

Sure the GOP leadership went after the big donors too, they just forgot to get us "We the People" involved.

Think about it. What is all the money for? --- Buying ways to get votes.

The voters are people.

Think about it.

What will sway your vote? A 30 second radio add county wide or 4or5 BBQs the same money will buy? I realize that both are needed; but we need to shift the focus back to the people and just use the pencil pushers to facilitate our efforts not to direct them. The leadership has to do it.

Now about Debbie and doing something about her. In the middle of November shortly after the election, I realized what needed doing next. Dump Debbie! I knew the GOP wouldn’t be so bold so I took it upon myself and had some Dump Debbie buttons made up locally.

A friend and local Tea Partier and GOPer came up with this pic. Hat tip To Susie

This was done by two people without funding. I’m not asking for anything either I’m just asking why isn’t the Party having more local generic local stuff. Give all the possible candidates a chance and a forum to interact with the voters. What about a Dump Debbie picnic. Or a Dump Debbie forum/dinner. With funding we could entice people other than the same old base and candidate workers that usually show up.

I remember the Precicnt Delegate meeting the GOP had that was also promoted through the Tea Party and an overflow of people showed up. Normally we never fill the slots, we still didn’t but we did need to have a ballot for the slots we did fill. That was the first time in memory. That is what I’m talking about. People wanted to do something, here it was and they flocked to it. This was something the State and local Party put on. It worked. The funding was small and the results were huge. The same thing happened at the state convention. This time however the State Party was not prepared. Now they seem again to have forgotten how that last election was won.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

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