ali's blog

Astroturf Don’t Always Work

Issue with the cause or effect?

Context means a lot, unless of course you're involved in politics.

Congressmen retreat home during the month of August every year, so they can campaign for re-election. When they’re not serving the interest of their campaign, they just so happen to serve in their official capacity – our representatives on the federal level.

Often times they host townhalls to ‘hear the concerns of their constituents.’ There’s recent lodges against, largely isolated events in which, senior citizens are increasingly vocal and against the proposed legislation pending many of the most powerful committees in House and Senate. The Chairs of these committees, mind you, happen to be the most scandal-ridden members of the Democratic supermajority that have earned their tenure positions by being elected in politically safe, single ideologue bound districts.

Money matters, but all too often it’s wasted. Unfortunately, I like many consultants know this from experience. On a recent project, I watched as layers of management teams and multiple consulting firms each tasked with a different aspect in the day-to-day operations of this particular project prevented field staff from achieving any meaningful successes. Our benchmarks consisted of smiling for those writing the checks. We had a client, not a cause. Money was pouring out the ears yet at every turn there were two managers for every one task. To compound the problem, the managers usually had no idea what was going on.

I’m not saying astroturf does or doesn’t work. I’m asking, even if, what’s your problem?

Cause or effect, which one is the big deal? After they're done yelling "astroturf," I'm left wondering...

Does the Democratic supermajority take issue with the organizing itself or the effectiveness of this style of petitioning? After all it was the total lack of an articulated agenda coupled with astroturf protests (some legitimate) against President Bush that led to a Democratic victory in Washington. Does the corporate mainstream media believe that citizens who raise tough objections have any less warrant to oppose a radical shift in healthcare if email blasts went out from organizations that inform like-minded citizens with what’s going on in their congressional district? Again, this is even if it’s astroturf.

This is a game of fear. Yell “astroturf” loudly and throw it on the screen with a graphic done by an intern trying to work his/her way up and you can dismiss the dissent by labeling them radical.

We’re filled with distractions, labels, and rhetoric that’s not befitting in our great society. I would only tell advocates of the healthcare system overhaul to tread lightly. By trying to convince independents that any dissent, any opposition, organic or otherwise, is “erratic,” a threatening “mob,” or even “un-American,” you risk getting caught.

Even worse these individuals gathering, not knowing that most Americans share their very legitimate frustrations, are the independents. They won’t take kindly to being labeled.

Organic is effective and that’s where the issue is. If you can’t beat them, smear them. It’s politics after all. 

Oh, it’s a sound byte. If you’re going to change something, change the narrative.

[Author's Note: I wrote this a couple of days ago, waiting to post. There's an excellent article that's shorter and better articulated in the Op-Ed section of the NYT: by Ryan Sager.]

Our First Win: Jim Tedisco

Jim Tedisco in NY-20 is poised to win. He currently leads in polling and has a record of representing views contrary to that of big government.

I’m confident that our heavy hitters that have lined up in support of Tedisco, which include RNC Chairman Michael Steele, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Guilliani, and Mitt Romney, will beat our opponent who happens to be a tax-cheating Venture Capitalist. His lineup includes the DCCC (1) (2), the Huffington Post, and Governor Paterson.

Like most Republicans, I want to hear about a candidate’s values, but I’m equally concerned with their ability to win. It is because of Tedisco’s ability as a candidate and the demographics of the 20th District that I have donated some of my time each week to assist the direction of New Media strategy for the campaign.

I know… they need improvements.

Today, in the spirit of the Party of Lincoln and just two days before his bicentennial, we launch an effort called: $20 for NY-20.

Equipping the grassroots with our case that will lead to victory and an energized rightroots, I believe we can surpass the 352 small donors who have contributed to our opponent through ActBlue. (accessed 2/10/09 12:06am)

Furthermore, this is the first win we’ll be able to take credit for in the 2010 cycle, sorry Saxby. This effort includes every aspect of the grassroots. Chairman Steele has officially brought in the RNC and asked State Parties to contribute $5,000 to this battle. College Republicans and online efforts like Rebuild the Party will organize, in an effort to turn online grunts into offline volunteers inside of the District. Bloggers will turn into activists and ask their readers to participate in a push to crowdsource this campaign.

This will be a New Media victory and one that can be taken to our Republican candidates across the country as a case study. We all have a stake in this.

Join in my friends and invest in this win.


Tedisco $20 for NY-20


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