24 Oct 2005

Democrat and Republican Email

I got yet another email from Barbara Boxers PAC the other day that I normally wouldn't read, but this time I did, because I wanted to make a point.
Here is the actual email.
I get these emails from her PAC about once every week or two. Almost always about the political flavor of the week (Roberts, Katrina, Bolton, etc), and always very long on words and rhetoric. They are nearly indistinguishable in all of these regards to the emails I get from MoveOn, John Kerry, and DFA. Edwards is the only breakout, mostly because his tend to seem more personal.
The following are some choice phrases, in the order that I found them.
  • radical right-wing agenda
  • Republicans' relentless pursuit for power
  • Byrd is a patriot, a statesman, and a national treasure
  • George Bush and the Republican attack machine in Washington
  • radical right-wing agenda
  • Bush Administration's rush to war
  • thwarted the radical right-wing extremists
  • President's extreme right-wing judicial nominees
  • Karl Rove and the right-wing smear machine
  • right-wing extremists
  • right-wing attack machine smeared and distorted
This email was about 620 words long. Let me sum it up:
Senator Robert Byrd is good. Republicans are bad. Bush is their leader. Bryd angers evil Republicans by stopping thier badness with his goodness. Evil Republicans will now force helpless voters to elect someone else. Give Robert Byrd money.
That was 42 words.
See that? Fewer words by an order of magnitude – easier to read, same message. I like Sen. Boxer, and I will almost always vote Democrat, but this is why people hate politics. What is this supposed to accomplish? People who are on this list don't need to be angered and converted – I think if it was a short, rational call for help, preferably written by Byrd, that would make me far more likely to be interested in helping. What is this angry, head-cut-off red-in-the-face everything-is-at-stake rhetoric about? I get this from everybody, and I'm just tired of it. How is this helping politics? The thing that really burns me about this is that I basically agree with the things they are trying to do, I just hate how they think they have to go about it.
This is not limited to Democrats, certainly the Republican party does it too. I bet actual Republicans are also getting tired of seeing stuff like this spouting about the MSM and the “radical bleeding heart liberals!” too. Maybe instead of fighting down at that level, we should find a different, better way to get people involved. A way that makes it tolerable to be engaged.
Well, it turns out that the Republicans are starting to do just that. Here is another email that is a call for support for a Republican. However, rather than smearing the other side as evil devils in a 600 word rant then asking for money, they ask you to adopt 25 voters, give them personal attention, ask them to vote and talk about the issues. It is easy to help, easy to read, inclusive and respectful – all in about 200 words.
From the email:
Here's how it works: sign up, and we'll email you a list of 25 voters in one Virginia community. You'll call those voters to ask them to support Jerry Kilgore. One week before Election Day, we'll e-mail you the list of supporters you've identified so you can contact them and remind them to vote. We'll give you everything you'll need to be successful, including detailed instructions and a chance to learn about the issues at stake in this election. It's easy – and critical to make sure we turn out Jerry's supporters on Election Day.
This came directly from the RNC. Where is the Democratic party on stuff like this? I am building my own software to provide my own campaign tools like this – why is that necessary? DNC or the DFA or someone should be investing in open source tools for candidates to use for free that will involve people and harness grassroots power. We should be building on those tools every election, we should be leading the way on this – I have always thought of Democrats as the party of the people, yet here the Republicans are engaging thier grassroots while we're asking for money through mass propaganda.
We could be so much more connected, we could offer supporters so much more involvement. We have to get to a point in politics where it's not all about the dollars. This is our chance – where are the new ideas? I am contributing GroundWorks to the progressive political community, who will help me with it, take it to the next level? Alternately, who will convince the DNC or the DFA that they should build thier own? That instead of a $5,000 check to a candidates PAC, maybe providing free, hosted, powerful community and precinct online tools to candidates across the country might have more of an effect?
More importantly – if you were a “decline to state”, and you got both of these emails, who would you help?
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