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Saturday, November 04, 2006

 
Blue Heroes

by digby

As we close in on the election, with our prospects looking good, I think the netroots and the blogosphere deserve a little pat on the back and none moreso than the Blue America Pac, which raised more than half a million dollars this cycle for a very specific and original purpose:

The Blue America PAC was formed on August 24 to raise money to put “Have You Had Enough” on the radio in the form of 30 second advertising spots for various Blue America candidates. As you can see from our list, most of our candidates are in low-cost media markets where just a few dollars will go a very long way. We have no candidates in expensive media markets like NYC or Boston or Los Angeles or Chicago. These are “dollah a hollah” markets. We’re hoping to have people humming their way into the polling booths come November. The story of the song is here and please watch Firedoglake, Crooks and Liars, Music For America and Down With Tyranny for updates—and for the videos.


Howie Klein of Down With Tyranny has posted this letter from the campaign manager of an oregon candidate named Carol Voisin that really does my heart good and shows how valuable these kinds of projects are to the grassroots of the Democratic party:


I'm Carol Voisin's campaign manager, and as we get to the end of the campaign I wanted to thank you again for all that you and the Hadenough/BlueAmerica team have done for us and the other candidates. As you and Rick Brown wrote in the Voisin DownWithTyranny writeup, this is one of those campaigns that has such structural disadvantages (Dems lose by 45%+), that it typically never gets off the ground, with a downward spiral of no belief and no money. This year has been different because Carol is a great candidate and she came together with some highly motivated volunteers, several of us from the netroots. Our weakness was also a strength, as the lack of professionals and insiders has allowed us all to keep the campaign in line with our ideals-- we've made things up as we went along while running an honest and positive campaign that has shined a big spotlight on Greg Walden's record.

Without Hadenough we wouldn't be running any commercials. As soon as we saw it on fdl we put it on Carol’s website (with Walden's numbers next to an explanation about how Coleen Rowley was running against rubberstamper John Kline). Just asking you all if it could get adapted for us seemed like a big deal, yet the answer was always yes, all the interactions were always easy and fast, and soon we were running our own 60 second spot in our only two "metro" areas of Medford and Bend. Since we didn't have much money the ads, played sparsely, were sort of symbolic, but most everything about this campaign has been sort of symbolic, and it felt good.

And then a couple of days ago the Democratic Party of Oregon sprung $10,000 for us to run the ad the last week of the campaign. This is enough so that it will really get seen, and really will bring in some votes. The fact that the DPO wanted to spend money on these ads when the Oregon House is in play signifies that they know that it is helping both Carol and all the down ballot races. People see it and they immediately understand and remember the song and the images, and it pushes them across the action-inaction line. I know I'll never get it out of my head. Our grateful thanks to everyone who gave their time and talent to make this happen, and all the FDL and C&L and other people who make Blue America possible...[there's more.]


This is how you create a majority party, my friends. You make people believe in the party and support them even when they are not immediately "winners" by creating a feeling of solidarity. You make it feel good to be a Democrat again.

Klein called on his pals in the music industry, the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Ricki Lee Jones, and put together a jingle that could be used by candidates all over the country for free and which they adapted for each candidate who wanted to use it. Then they raised money to put it on the radio and the web. It's catchy and fun and gets right to the main question of this election --- "have you had enough?" And whether or not it made a difference in these individual races (it probably did) it certainly gave all these campaigns a lift and an identity and a belief that it was worth it to spend all this time and energy working to get Democrats elected even when it seemed hopeless --- which we now know is something you should never assume.

So, hats off to the Blue America Team, particularly its hardest worker and leading visionary, Howie Klein, who didn't wait for the party to do something and didn't whine about what they weren't doing --- they just went out and did it.

If you haven't seen it, here's the web ad for Darcy Burner:



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