The Way to Five Million Activists

A question I often get with Rebuild the Party is how we intend to get from Point A to Point B. That we have admirable and oftentimes lofty goals, and what we need is a roadmap for accomplishing them.

Let me give a great example of how the bit about five million new Republican online activists gets done in real life, and it has to do with the first outrage of the Obama era: the auto bailout.

With all deference to our friends in Michigan, a functioning RNC would be able to take a hard line against the bailout-of-choice for the auto industry. Or against insert-Obama-outrage-here. It doesn't really matter. We'll have plenty of issues once these guys actually get in.

Practically, this means that the RNC needs to be able to publicly stick its neck out on core issues where 80 or 85 percent of our House and Senate conferences agree. Currently, this is very difficult because even when Congressional Republicans take a good, populist position, the White House has to take the Responsible Presidential Position, which usually serves as a wet blanket as far as firing up the base goes.

But without a White House, the RNC can align itself with galvanizing positions on key issues. And one by one, it can start launching online petition drives around them, of which the good ones can get in the hundreds of thousands of signatures. The auto bailout would be a good prototype, but again, the specific issue really doesn't matter as long as the RNC is bought into the basic idea of aggressive recruitment based on opposition to specific Obama policies, not just vague direct mail boilerplate against the "Obama-Biden Democrats" I got during the campaign.

Not all of them will catch fire. Not all of them will be Drill Now. But some of them will be. Even Eric Cantor's "Call Back Congress" petition during #DontGo got 35,000 signatures based on little more than recruitment to the blogosphere -- just imagine if the RNC had gotten involved and put its list to work? And every little bit helps in getting to the goal of five million.

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#dontgo Back in Action


#dontgo ( is quitely working to build the infastructure to accomplish a lot of what is said here to rebuild the conservative/libertarian movement.  It will be an avenue of communication and for action.

But getting petitions signed in a moment of political passion...

...doesn't get you five-million party activists. You still haven't gotten from Point A to be Point B yet, Pat.

Are you going to use these ginned up petition-signers as your target-donation group, to hit relentlessly, over and over again until they squeal?  Or are you going to actually move these five-million petition-signers into the party structure with an effective "Campaign For Liberty"-- like deliberative web structure, designed to actually give them a voice within the Republican Party -- and then hit them up for donations relentlessly, over and over again, until they squeal?  

I am sure to many, the difference may seem trivial at this point, but the way I see it, any change from the present corporate-class domination of the party would be a step in the Next Right direction.

ex animo



Community Organizers?

Suddenly Community Organizers don't sound so bad do they?  Too bad the part leadership has already displayed their blatant disgust for the kind of organizing you envision.

Limits of Community Organizing

You need real time doom and gloom to really turn community organizing into an effective structure that can grow.  It works best when there is a big story to build around.  In the past a new prision, or recently in some urban enclaves a big box retailer, are two examples of real time issues that community organizing can exploit.

I think the better approach is to organize around ideas and tap the locals to provide the effective leadership to use the power of the ideas to produce the change that will only come in small amounts.

Organized around ideas is a better approach where we can hit for average.

Organized around communities is an approach where we'd have to hit home runs.


Message, Motivation, Money and Manpower

We barely kept our head above water in 2004 and got our butts kicked in 2006 and 2008 because the Democrats have been susscessful in pushing one simple message -- "Liberals are smart, conservatives are stupid"  All of their pundents from Jon Stewart to Chris Mathews to Katie Couric beat this drum incessently and it provided the undertone for their candidates who basicly painted our incumbents as ignorent corrupt hacks who were either too dumb or too greedy to look out for the best interests of their constituents.  It didn't help that entirely too often, they were right.  We need to counter this message by recruiting smart dedicated candidates and grooming a more intellectual class of conservative commentators.  Sorry, but Bill O'Rielly and Rush Limbaugh simply are not in the same league with Bill Buckley and Scotty Reston.

The liberals started getting spun up under Clinton when they formed and managed to maintain and increase thier motivation (and venom) throughout the Bush administration.  They have been willing to put up with some fairly cavelier treatment from their own elected leaders because they were focused on a long term goal and willing to do whatever it took to achieve it.  Too many of our people seem to have thin skins and more interest in conducting ideological purity tests than in winning elections and crafting public policy.  The libs will go to the wall to elect someone who agrees with them 55 percent of the time.  The various factions within the conservative movement will stay home unless they get at least 85 percent agreement and then only come out to vote.  You have to give them 110 percent if you need to have phone calls made, doors knocked or attendence at campaign rallies.  Yes, I know the KOS crowd will try to purge the Blue Dogs once they get 250 votes in the House and 60 in the Senate; but until then they will bust their butts to elect them.

Liberals focus their political contributions on a relatively small number of groups like MoveOn, EMILY's list and Act Blue that are actually rather lean and concentrate the vast majority of their funds in grassroots campaign efforts or pass them directly on to candidates.  Conservatives support a wide variety of overbloated organizations that pay excessive compensation to their top management, spend most of their time haranging their supporters to send even more money and only rarely actually use any of these funds for useful campaign efforts (The NRA is a shinning exception to this rule). 

The left uses their funds to support a vitual army of "community organizers".  Obama had more than 750 paid staff on the ground in Florida.  McCain had about 400 nationwide.  When we raise money, we need to spend it wisely.  We need about 1/10th of the national organizations (each with a CEO and Exec. Dir.) and 5x the number of PAID county coordinators.

first we need a unifying message, than we need to get motivated behind it, then we need to focus our contributions more tightly and finally, we need to shift from funding national organizations to supporting feet on the street.

Calling Republicans stupid is nothing new...

Remember how they treated Regan? Amiable dunce. Remeber Dan Quayle and the whole "potatoe" thing?

Did you know that they card that the classroom teacher gave him had an "e" on the end of potato? He has said that he looked at it - and gave them the benefit of the doubt. But the way everybody played it - Quayle was stupid.

Ford? Called him stupid as well. Remember all those Chevy Chase SNL skits with him falling down? That was supposed to be Ford - aparently all because he fell down once or twice while skiing.

John Kerry falls down while he's skiing - and it's the Secret Service agents fault.

Richard Nixon isn't stupid - but that's o.k. - because he's a crook.

You basically have to go back to Eisenhower to get to a Republican president that wasn't considered stupid (or a crook) - and that's way back in the 50's.


this is a really fascinating

this is a really fascinating (and effective sounding) way to defeat the leftist illuminati. The republicans need new and current tactics to change what hasn't worked in the past

#dontgo didn't get

#dontgo didn't get those signups by opposing an auto-bailout; they got those members by shouting at Congress when members tried to go home without a vote on drilling.  Totally different issue.  The only five million number involved with the auto bailout is the number of jobs that could potentially be lost if Congress follows your advice.