UPDATE: Watch President Obama speak to the nation as well as more detailed remarks from Ambassadors Power and Rice on Syria

http://wh.gov/syria

(69% of Americans view speech positively: http://www.mediaite.com/online/poll-69-of-americans-viewed-obamas-syria-speech-positively-61-favor-his-approach)


The bottom line is the military threat as well as mounting evidence from Human Rights Watch and others seems to have worked (good article by Nicholas Kristof about it) as Russia and Syria are now offering a deal to sign the UN treaty on chemical weapons and give them up even though they didn’t admit having them days ago: http://nbcnews.to/13GPD6Q

Granted, the tactic of a public ultimatum calling for Assad to give up his WMDs should have been part of Obama’s pitch the same way Bill Clinton and of course George Bush called for Iraq to give up their WMDs with the verification of UN inspectors but apparently it had been discussed previously. Ironically, maybe it wasn’t tried because it sounded too much like the Iraq scenario.

But to review the debate so far…the “experts” on both sides have truly trivialized the debate on Syria argument with posts like about how Obama said he was against “dumb wars” , so here’s a quick reminder of what a “Red Line” looks like….because its definitely not some arbitrary thing Obama dreamed up:

Only Nasser in Egypt and Hussein in Iraq crossed it since WWII and both were dangerous aggressors who invaded our allies like the Axis Powers did.

The fact is the U.S. is the only country on Earth truly willing and able to ensure #neveragain. It is the price of leadership….if we don’t want to lead then we can sit back and let countries like Russia help spread genocide and anti-gay sentiment around the world instead.

To clarify, the President is NOT proposing that we intervene in a very complicated civil war…even if our missions might overlap. That’s because this kind of destruction is not the result of weapons of WAR…it is a result of weapons of GENOCIDE.

Hence, everyone can be “anti-war” but are they also “anti-genocide?” And if so, does that mean doing nothing about an active campaign of murder or can it also mean a “pro-peacemaking” position to stop it by any means necessary after all other alternatives have been exausted.

So, with relatively low cost to U.S. blood and treasure via air strikes that are separate from the civil war, we can probably deter further acts of genocide already banned by international law….regardless of what the UN votes on in 2013.

It might take more than a few days to stop it, but to say that this deterrent won’t affect anything or save lives is ignoring how it ended the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo (total of 0 allied casualties)…remember that bullies don’t handle getting punched back very well.

This is the exact OPPOSITE of the Iraq War. Instead of using a fake reason to wage a real war, this is a real reason to wage a military action to deter weapons of genocide.

If every military action was a WAR then Israel would be at “war” with Syria based on their own strike recently….but Syria and Russia didn’t lift a finger in response because they know it isn’t worth it.

Unfortunately, our politics are not grown up enough to realize the world is not black-and-white so we compare everything to other things we heard of without discussing the details of a policy instead.

For example, it is easy to criticize the fact that the Obama administration rejected supplying the opposition with gas masks because they thought they might actually somehow be used by either side against the other, but apparently sarin gas only needs to touch the human body to kill so they wouldn’t have helped anyway.

But regardless, Syrian Dictator Bashar Assad killed 1,400+ civilians (including 400+ children) on 8/21/13 via a sarin gas-launched missle attack…that is about 3000% more deadly than the typical daily civilian casualty rate and an unacceptable genocidal tactic.

Yes, 100,000 people have already died during the Syrian civil war since March 2011, but if you consider that approximately 36,000 were civilians that breaks down to about 40+ per day for even the most recent violent months of the war. So, if the chemical attacks continue, Assad could double the total of civilian casualties in less than a month.

THE RESPONSE:

I agree with John Kerry’s powerful case (Video & Transcript) and the President’s statement (Video & Transcript) for taking action on Syria now regardless of the split in a mostly uninformed public on what the war is all about. Here’s a primer and some additional bullet points so you have some background.

The good news is Obama is asking for congressional authorization for a limited military response to degrade Assad’s ability to massacre his people. Yet that’s also the bad news as many politicians, like the experts, are playing armchair general during a complicated military effort or are parroting their ideological bases right now who have collectively decided against intervention “Because Bush” or “Because Obama.”

Of course, any Republican who voted for the Iraq War who doesn’t support this resolution is a total hypocrite, especially because these are the same geniuses who claimed Clinton’s strikes on Kosovo and Afghanistan to punish Bin Laden for the embassy bombings before 9/11 were part of some “Wag The Dog” diversion from the Lewinsky scandal.

But progressives who supported intervention in Darfur and even Rwanda should be thinking twice too. Aside from the usual suspects regurgitating their typical “anti-war” talking points, even the more sober critiques of The Daily Show have become surprisingly flippant with segments that even compare American involvement in the Middle East to British imperialism despite the fact that I see faint economic advantage in getting involved.

And hence, Democratic elected officials or former elected officials who understand our responsibility in the world are lining up behind the President in the House (Nancy Pelosi), Senate (Elizabeth Warren), Policy (Tom Perriello), Grassroots (Howard Dean) and future Presidential candidate (Hillary Clinton) communities.

Meanwhile, there are already reportedly two million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Turkey and other countries, with five million displaced people within the country’s borders….so the emerging threat of a massive WMD campaign would force millions more to try to escape the blanket use of terror anywhere and everywhere in their country.  The costs of an increased refugee migration will fall upon the shoulders of the U.S. and its allies who already are supplying billions in aid.

Even if Assad takes further action against civilians, further U.S. involvement will have to be re-authorized but the world community will become more and more united so the “slippery slope” will be mitigated…but is Assad really so dumb that he would risk his regime further after possibly losing his much of air force and command & control abilities?

WHY IT MATTERS:

This course is a minimal approach that keeps in mind that due to the divided nature of the international community, partly because of Russia’s funding of Assad and typically anti-humanitarian vote on the UN Security Council, as well as the reflexive rejection of a anti-WMD campaign by the UK Parliament, the “coalition of the willing” might only include France and few other nations.

But frankly, the lack of sufficient American intervention earlier might have led to the situation we’re in now….an Appeasement 2.0 strategy where we allowed an aggressor to use WMDs on a small scale several times and finally have no choice but to act under less favorable conditions.

If a two-bit dictator can use these weapons now and not be punished then the biggest problem is not even what he did but what does he and other world leaders could do next as a result.

The U.S. announced in June that it would arm the rebels as a result of the less clear reports of WMDs being used but that support never really came and it definitely wasn’t a big fat Stop sign regardless so now Assad is ramping it up beyond debatable levels. So, maybe it’s 14,000 dead next time or maybe neighboring allies like Turkey, Jordan or Israel become affected.

Meanwhile, other rogue states like Iran will be emboldened to kill opponents and go nuclear while nuclear states like North Korea will be further strengthened by their cloak of WMD protection.

Some are reminding us that we didn’t do anything to Iraq after they killed tens of thousands with chemical weapons on the Kurds and Iran in the 80s…well, look how that turned out! We later fought two wars because of Saddam Hussein after he emerged as a wider threat to the region.

So, we might resent serving as the “World Police” is the price we pay if we want to live in a secure world, because when we don’t intervene (Pearl Harbor, 9/11) these things have a habit of approaching our shores eventually.

This was the work of the Greatest Generation that we must continue.

A world at the mercy of these kinds of tyrants is a world of further danger and poverty that affects us all.

FWDPROGRESS ARGUMENT SUMMARY:

“Support for a resolution to respond military to the use of WMDs in Syria”


-> “Heart” Talking Points
(how the policy reflects our liberal democratic values)

* Why the “Red Line”: Using chemical weapons and genocide acts are banned under international law as a result of the devastating effects of such warfare during World War I and World War II

* The result of such an attack is an exponential increase in civilian casualties that increased the rate of civilian deaths by about 3000% because of ONE attack and are well beyond the parameters of acceptable war violence that could grow if unchecked

* Limited military action has no relation to a pre-emptive war or strike, or even a direct engagement in the civil war conflict, because it is a focused act of self-defense against the genocidal acts against the civilian population of Syria

-> “Head” Talking Points (how the policy reflects our national and socio-economic interests)

* Due to the lack of international will or capability, the U.S. is the only nation on Earth that can stem the crisis, which already surpassed the use of conventional weapons several times prior to this incident due to the lack of a global response

* As in the cases of Bosnia and Kosovo where there were 0 allied casualties, U.S. military intervention can utilize cruise missles and stealth or unmanned aircraft to damage Assad’s war-making capability at little risk to American soldiers or civilian lives in comparison to allowing the attacks to continue.

* Even with a sustained campaign, air strikes will require a relatively low economic cost compared to the current investments of billions of dollars in arms and non-lethal aid that have already been expensed and will most likely break the Assad regime’s commitment to further war crimes in favor of self-preservation

* Growing violence destabilizes the region and could affect Israel, Turkey Jordan or other allies that the U.S. is pledged to defend

* Rejecting the role of “World Police” and ignoring war crime violations could inspire Assad or other rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea to further pursue the acquisition and use of WMDs that could create a worldwide crisis, and like with Pearl Harbor or 9/11, some day could return to our shores


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I also was concerned over his treatment in solitary confinement but I hope most civil libertarians are happy with the Bradley Manning sentencing yesterday.

At 35 years, he only received 30 minutes in prison for each of the 700,000 documents he published on Wikileaks and according to Ezra Klein he is eligible for parole after eight years in prison…that is just SIX MINUTES in prison per document.

Considering that some progressive-leaning news sources I trust have only shared one item he leaked that would qualify as “whistle blowing” so I think that’s a pretty positive outcome.

In the video, an Apache helicopter kills 11 Iraqi men because they thought they were part of an armed gang they were tracking with an RPG and AK-47s but it turns out only one man was armed. Then when a van comes to pick up a wounded man who the helicopters were holding off on firing upon, they fire again and kill the driver. A Reuters journalist was also killed but its unclear in the article whether he was in the van.

So, this leak to bypass Pentagon stonewalling of the Freedom Of Information Act request for the video from Reuters is understandable even though the information might have been eventually released.

Yet this is ONE incident and I’m not aware of any other evidence that would totally reframe the case. Regardless of our personal opinion on whether they should have been classified, were the remaining 699,999 documents critical to sharing further “whistle blowing” incidents?

It seems Manning didn’t share too many new facts and mostly just de-classified tons of information to get revenge on the Defense Department….and in the process committed de-facto espionage because he gave secret information to ALL our enemies (not just one) via the web.

I don’t think that is a protected right that many Americans are familiar with and cheering on this kind of cyber-vigilante behavior is not going to build the credibility of crusading activists and reporters like Glenn Greenwald who called the sentence: “Sick, sad, pathetic, and disgusting.”

Regardless of the mistakes of the United States, no citizen deserves a blank check to reveal details of our country’s national security apparatus and the “heroism” of a Manning or Snowden is tarnished when they act like they have one….and as a result help Russia and other countries or factions who are a much greater threat to human rights.

That is the problem with the “libertarian” ideology…when you migrate from the cause of Liberty to Hypocrisy.

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DC Comm Tech for Progress POST:

 

If a message is never sent and no Data is collected…does A/B Testing make a sound?

We were given another great story in the Washington Post about the Obama tech advantage this week but also saw another great example of the Democrat’s Achilles Heel of this analysis….and it offers a lesson for ANYONE trying to expand their brand.


The thing we need to remember is the pioneers of “Big Data” are nothing unless they have an audience to measure. That is why I am a big believer in being “product-driven” or “customer-driven” or “movement-driven” before trying to make your organization “data-driven” when it should be “data-supported.”

If you don’t have a real world strategy based on basic principles of supply-and-demand or marketing etc. then the data won’t matter or even exist for you to analyze.

So, make sure you have mastered the most concepts of engagement before you worry too much about what it all means….like the goal of getting a launch video uploaded to your web site and share with your followers within 48 hours.

On Tuesday, Alison Grimes announced a run for Senate against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, arguably the most powerful Republican in the country on Tuesday, and she apparently is already leading in the polls….but two days later this is the link to her launch event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sYrq_1UuXQ


Just in case its been fixed, here is what it looked like as of 12pm August 1st:

And what made it even harder to catch? The video wasn’t shared anywhere else!

I received emails with nothing about it mentioned for days and check out the @alisonforky account over the last couple days….nothing about the video:



Here is my response at 12:10pm August 1st…which was followed by a tweet to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee asking the burning question of why can’t we get an intern to follow their key races to catch these things?

 

Then guess what appears at 12:40pm…a tweet with a working link to the Kickoff video!

Notice the 12 retweets in less than an hour…..by 6pm, the number was 25, including the DSCC. It was the 4th most shared campaign tweet of the week….behind a twitpic of the launch and two about new polls BUT ahead of a tweet mentioning a live stream of the launch that we were all supposed to watch as it happened.


And the video itself, which was posted at the same time, has nearly 800 views as of 8/2:


But this is just a local mistake by a young candidate’s campaign,, right?


Yet one has to wonder….with all the interns at the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Senatorial Commitee, couldn’t there be at least ONE who could check out the candidate web sites (especially the most important 2014 race in the country) and maybe tell their bosses whether they’re functioning? I mean, if the national party is presumably going to give this campaign money shouldn’t we at least expect the web site to offer basic timely news about itself?

 

I haven’t seen such a mistake with the Obama campaign and its successor Organizing For Action, but time and time again I have seen them hype big speeches and NEVER share the video….in circumstances ranging from the Democratic Convention to just last week after his much-hyped speech on the economy.


Check out their flurry of tweets before the speech:

 

Yet after live tweeting the President’s remarks and re-posting them….it was on to the next:

 

Yes, the last tweet is about the ANOTHER speech….apparently assuming that this is the 1950’s and we can only watch live programming as opposed to On Demand.


Hyping content then forgetting about it after the fact, despite the fact that most of your audience won’t see it as it happens, seems like a waste of energy. Even though a live video might get more attention, by definition it CANNOT go viral….and even if the whole speech isn’t watched it is definitely a great tool to spread news of a campaign in motion.

The White House is better about this usually but they did their account did the same thing….as neither shared the speech via email either. Here’s a sample…a post-speech message about a petition without the video or any content included:

 

And here is the only video Alison Grimes shared by email this week…her kickoff intro by President Clinton:

 

Now we all know that Obama’s campaign, the White House and even Alison Grimes have many followers but the lesson here is how many opportunities do they miss because they are so interested in Big Data or fundraising or other tangential things that they miss out on catching the larger fish of Big Engagement?

That’s even more true because this pattern extends well beyond videos in the Democratic Party….and by putting key elements like content and relationships in the back seat we lose a huge potential advantage to grow and strengthen our supporter base.

Unfortunately old habits die hard so we have a lot of work to do! Case in point, after quite a performance at the big Fancy Farm political picnic where the candidates got to speak last week this is the Grimes campaign “ask” email on Monday:

(no, that link doesn’t show the video)

 

So, although they did share it on twitter, her ONLY direct line to her supporters missed this whopper that i bet would’ve inspired them to click the donate button:

 

“If doctors told Sen. McConnell he has a kidney stone, he’d refuse to pass it!”

-Alison Lundergen Grimes

 

 

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Besides already having a Democratic President to support while her condoned Super PAC is over-zealously asking for money from random people on facebook, I think Hillary Clinton’s fatal flaw is that I don’t think I have seen her fight for anything that wasn’t a slam dunk….since Health Care Reform in 1993 at least.

I’m not sure if that experience was a good learning experience or not. Did it make her gun shy, and regardless, will she be a better collaborator in the future on a big issue?


I feel like Hillary is partly a victim of the more difficult struggles her generation faced to break the “Glass Ceiling” and her style of leadership reflects it as her main focus has been being as tough as a Man and what seems to work is by thinking like a Man to not buck the system much.


Other than supporting generic “women’s rights” I think the reality remains that Hillary hasn’t stepped out of her comfort zone lately, and therefore, her compatriots have been better at her prior roles then she was.


First, despite the polls that probably are caused by the GOP Congress dragging him down with them, you can still see Obama’s ability to engage the public as a Presidential figure that won in 2008 and he still uses today despite the obstacles to his agenda:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/a-better-bargain


Now, it could be easy to write off that comparison, but look at her successors and you realize its a pattern:


“For now, Middle East peace push is John Kerry’s show”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/07/29/john-kerry-middle-east-peace-push/2597143

“Gillibrand: Military commanders are ‘failing’ on sexual assault”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/07/30/gillibrand-military-commanders-are-failing-on-sexual-assault/?wprss=rss_election-2012&clsrd


Over the last couple of years, I went along with the Pro-Hillary Conventional Wisdom as she served admirably as Secretary of State after her bitter primary defeat, but the fact remains, her leadership is locked in the past and might be more about Hillary than anything else.


In light of the talk this week about the rumored “Business Arrangement” that is the marriage of Hillary’s top aide Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner, which reminds us of some similarities in their story with the Clintons, you’ve got to wonder what the priorities are.


Despite Bill’s great talent for engagement and work with the Clinton Global Initiative, I think Hillary in particular might have more of a Passion for Politics than a Passion for People.


So, despite the adoration right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if a “Not Hillary” candidate emerges again in 2012…unless that Passion for People truly emerges.


Otherwise, she risks the downfall of Tracy Flick in “Election” who forgot that elections ARE popularity contests…and some people do have inherited advantages but you don’t become as popular as them by simply working hard and playing it safe with who you talk to and what you say:


tracy-flick

“You see, I believe in the voters. They understand that elections aren’t just popularity contests. They know this country was built by people just like me who work very hard and don’t have everything handed to them on a silver spoon.”

 

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VOTE: 6/11 *OPEN Primary Day

Northern Virginia Voting Information:

http://www.bluevirginia.us/diary/9451/you-can-vote-inperson-absentee-in-the-june-11-democratic-primary?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter  

Find statewide polling places and voting offices here:

http://www.voterinfo.sbe.virginia.gov/PublicSite/Public/FT2/PublicPollingPlace.aspx

PREVIEW: Lt. Governor & Attorney General Primary Election http://www.arlingtondemocrats.org/candidates

WATCH: 6/5 Arlington Lieutenant Governor’s Debate

http://bluevirginia.us/showComment.do?commentId=33355

 

 

ENDORSEMENTS:

 

I’m going to start by sharing the honest analysis of two of the most prominent grassroots voices in Virginia: Blue Virginia’s Lowell Feld & NLS’ Ben Tribbett, then share my thoughts on why I support these candidates as well mostly based on one key element that Democrats must address to win without President Obama on the ballot: ELECTABILITY

 

The only poll shows many undecideds:

http://bluevirginia.us/showDiary.do?diaryId=9398#.UaY5svQjkHU.twitter

 

…but there is lots of information we can consider before choosing our candidates for November.

 

Aneesh Chopra for Lt. Governor:

aneesh pic

http://bluevirginia.us/showDiary.do?diaryId=9059#.Uaex5GPWEf4.twitter

http://notlarrysabato.typepad.com/doh/2013/06/vote-for-aneesh-chopra.html

aneesh logo 2

 

My FWDPROGRESS Commentary: Aside from leading in a poll and his legit support from progressive Virginia Congressmen Jim Moran, Gerry Connelly and Tom Perriello (2009-2011), the fact is Aneesh’s skills as the first-ever U.S. Chief Technology Officer under President Obama are essential to attracting young, minority and other Federal voters so we can win in November. And not because he’s a young Northern Virginian who is a charismatic speaker that might interest Obama voters….it is because he is a better organizer who can actually help turn them out.

 

CASE STUDY: This past week i tried out Aneesh’s Digital Grassroots platform that he has been promoting and i matched 333 facebook friends with the campaign’s voter list and have been empowered to use an online tool to call them and otherwise i now know who i should encourage to vote for Aneesh this weekend.  Meanwhile, I finally decided to try Ralph Northam’s email list and he is sending me emails to ask for $50.

 

Ralph is being very bold on some issues right now and was even endorsed by the Washington Post, but as someone who seems to have considered switching parties as recently as 2009 (see Ben’s endorsement) and who began his campaign by using a Crab in his logo, which is a regional symbol of the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland(!) to most Virginians, it seems we would be going in a “Creigh Deeds” direction with a tone-deaf campaign on the ballot.

 

N4P POST: Learn More & Get Involved with Aneesh Chopra!

http://www.networkforprogress.com/2013/06/09/aneeshchopra

 

Mark Herring for Attorney General:

MHerring_266

http://www.bluevirginia.us/diary/8352/my-first-endorsement-for-2013-mark-herring-an-attorney-general-we-can-be-proud-of#.Uaey1FDmDQ4.twitter

http://notlarrysabato.typepad.com/doh/2013/06/endorsement-for-attorney-general.html

 

My FWDPROGRESS Commentary: I have learned over the years why experience matters and this is one of those reasons. Although Mark’s campaign has been pretty traditional and has had trouble winning local Democratic straw polls but the statewide primary electorate is more important. Ben Tribbett has reported that Justin Fairfax has not purchased the voter file, which is essential to targeting voters by mail, phone or canvassing, and to get on the ballot he needed to spend $100,000 to gather over 10,000 signatures (well-above the going rate).

Mark has been a State Senator in “Battleground” Loudon County since 2006 who has a legislative track record and is speaking out on several key issues, so despite having a rising star potential and being endorsed by the Washington Post, the fact is Justin has never run for office before and hasn’t learn how quite yet. In the general election the statewide Coordinated Campaign will pool field operations but this is a test of running for public office that we can’t ignore if we want to win the Attorney General’s job back for the first time in decades.


The poll shows the race is tight, but this dynamic probably will be the deciding factor.

 

via Northern Virginia For Obama

(connect and learn more)

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OFA needs to follow the advice of Karl Rove this time: Implement a NEW 50-State Strategy and develop young leaders for 2014 & Beyond

Narrow Victory of Obama’s Data-based Ground Game over Romney’s Money-based Air War means Democrats will need to focus more on Social “Grassroots Out” Organizing not just “Small Ball” with Yes We Can-Lite in post-Obama era

(10 Reasons why “Obama 2012” was a step backwards for Social “Grassroots Out” Organizing below)

WASHINGTON, DC – The following is a statement from Jim McBride, the President of Network For Progress, a social and media-savvy grassroots organization inspired by the “Yes We Can” Movement of Hope & Change, on the successes and failures of Tuesday’s presidential election. He will present on the topic at New Organizing Institute’s RootsCamp on November 30th, 2012:

“At first glance, when it comes to the 2012 election for President Obama and the Democratic Party, a Win is a Win. Considering all the money and lies and voter suppression efforts thrown at them almost as many states went Blue as 2008 and despite being heavily on the defense the Democrats grew their Senate majority.”

“The campaign made great strides in terms of efficiency of field outreach and rapid response to make sure they targeted the right voters with the right messages and defined Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch corporate raider while responding to the phony charges of his campaign and third-party operators.”

“Yet after 32 months of job growth and a safer world with our troops coming home and Osama Bin Laden dead, is this a surprise? Didn’t Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Nixon and Eisenhower win re-election with bigger margins while Johnson, Carter and Bush Sr. failed because of obvious economic or security worries?”

“Obama was hampered by the lack of sharp messaging on the economy and health care that hurt Obama hard in the first debate and most importantly, the step backward on committing to the concept of ‘grassroots’ organizing that has been developed in recent years by the use of the Internet to connect supporters, especially young people, into tight-knit communities that socialize together, work together and WIN together.”

The result was another defeat in the House and the nationwide presidential vote margin dropping 7 percent:

“Exit Poll 2012: Obama slips with youth”  http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83438.html?hp=l4_b2

“For all the talk of “trick down” vs “middle out” economics, we saw the Obama campaign offer a “top down” over a “Grassroots Out” outreach strategy that focused heavily on fundraising efforts to combat Super PACs that eventually proved to be ineffective and primarily engaged supporters as only “followers” of Barack Obama not each other. Basically the organizing equivalent of “small ball” in baseball except you pay big money for over-priced free agents then only use them to scrape forward by stealing bases and drawing walks instead of going for a home run.

“Hence, the use of an exaggerated “Battleground State” focus that ignored many House candidates even in targeted states so despite winning the nationwide popular vote the heavily-redistricted country needs a focused campaign strategy to flip from one party to another.

Democrats need to move fast because the GOP is learning as even Karl Rove is taking note of how the Democrats got to where they are today with a 50-State Strategy where Democrats can compete in every race in every community across the country:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/karl-rove-howard-dean-strategy_n_2122459.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

“The consequences are clear as when you favor building persuasive yet “cold” relationships with voters and skip building relationships with your supporter base who can build real “personal” relationships with voters you have lost an opportunity to engage the electorate in a truly impactful way that is needed to have loyal supporters ready to turn out again in lower interest years in 2013, 2014 and beyond.”

“More analysis into turnout and tactics will come but here is a quick look at how beyond the “memes” many of the Obama web site and social tools stagnated and then regressed through the campaign. EVEN ON ELECTION DAY.”

10 REASONS WHY “OBAMA 2012” WAS A STEP BACKWARDS FOR SOCIAL “GRASSROOTS OUT” ORGANIZING:
#1 OUTREACH STRATEGY: A great example of the focus for this election was how Instead of using a community-based approach OFA’s 2008 Generation Obama program was turned into the DNC’s Gen44 fundraising program in 2009 and late game efforts like “Young Americans for Obama” only focused primarily on students not the MAJORITY of young people who are not in school during ages 18-39. Intern-level “fellows” were put in charge of constituency outreach programs as late as September 2012.

#2 ORGANIZERS: Generally not trained or don’t use online or offline social organizing methods leaving few opportunities to build relationships or connect on a regular basis through tools like meetups, facebook, chat and text.

#3 SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS: Branded communities like Tech for Obama were basically fundraising themes and lacked customized content as tweets overlapped with the purposes of more general purpose accounts. Twitter accounts would often RT people who praise the campaign using recommended hashtags but rarely would share more relevant and more independent content.

#4 EMAIL GROUPS: The most common form of organizational communication is email but organizers were not armed with the capability to send local newsletters or didn’t make them available to many supporters and did not use My.BarackObama.com community groups on the web site since 2007. In addition to lack of use of My.Barackobama.com there was no use of existing facebook groups for organizing either.

#5 WEB SITE REDESIGN: Although “Dashboard” was introduced in June 2012 (over a year after campaign began) it was basically a repackaged version of My.BarackObama.com and was hardly visible on the Obama web site as finding My Profile, My Groups My Events and other features were difficult. Splash pages emphasized a donation ask over supporter or voter engagement.

#6 WEB SITE EVENTS: The capability to creating your own activity on the web site was essentially unchanged from 2008 as users had to use HTML language to format their text and could not make URLs clickable.

#7 EVENT SEARCH: Sorting through Events by date or topic was advertised but not functional so users were forced to view a barrage of listings only narrowed by requested search radius. Users could only classify their events as Volunteer or Fundraising not Social or Outreach. In fact, the only way to find events is under the Volunteer heading of the home page.

#8 EVENT PROMOTION: After first debate no emails were sent to supporters about watch parties in their neighborhood and rare mention of events on social media and NO ability to view RSVPs on the web site or use of facebook or eventbrite tools to increase interest beyond a core group of guests.

#9 ELECTION DAY DISABLED FEATURES: Grassroots events were suddenly no longer visible on the Obama web site as everyone was directed to canvass-only events. They were only searchable if you knew to go to www.barackobama.com/events. Also, ALL mybo groups were removed from the site and their email addresses were no longer functional. This rendered any communication about Election Night Parties among supporters impossible for web site users. This sounds ridiculous but possibly occurred because of web site traffic distractions yet their is no excuse for silencing your supporter network at the height of the campaign.

#10 POST-ELECTION DAY: Currently, even more web site features have been disabled as pretty much all that is left is an email sign up and fundraising platform.”

“With the Arlington Young Democrats, Northern Virginia for Obama, Generation Obama and now Network For Progress I have seen people strive to use social and media-savvy tactics that make organizing more effective with the understanding that if we don’t build our capability we will fall behind. In 2012, we were victorious but did fall behind against competitors that in many ways were inferior than past election cycles and demographic trends further on our side.

“Whether it be the 150 people who connected with each other on our Northern Virginia for Obama facebook event to the Saturday Rally with President Obama and President Clinton in Bristow, VA, including the dozens who coordinated canvassing and carpooling, or the 35-person N4P phone bank advertised on the Obama web site and social media on Election Eve, the Best Practice lessons are everywhere. This is how we helped start the campaign in Virginia in 2007.

“Reports indicate this is no accident as since Rahm Emanual became Chief of Staff their has been a lack of interest in maximizing the potential of the President’s 13 Million BarackObama.com email list, 23 Million Twitter followers and 33 Million Facebook fans because “old school” Democratic operatives watered down the Movement for Hope and Change that won the Presidency.

“This is why we need to be an Advocate, Community and Resource for the grassroots to NETWORK FOR PROGRESS. But we need the party to take up the cause as well to eventually plug people into winning campaigns other than OFA.

“Now is the time to move beyond worshiping one great communicator and organizer by building a network of millions of Barack Obamas.”

 

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“I am an Obama National Delegate at Large, I got elected Because of My Hard Work in the Democratic Party, it was a Dream Come True That I got Elected, so if you help me to go to Charlotte, I will be so happy, also I love helping out in the community.

Volunteering is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. When I help others, I feel great about myself.”

– Toora Arsala, Virginia DNC Delegate & Kristin Cabral for Congress intern

Learn more about Toora on his Fairfax Connection Profile

How did Toora beat the odds to even become a Delegate? Read that story by blogger Ben Tribbett (aka “Not Larry Sabato”) here: Toora Arsala 1, Don Mark 0+

And Toora’s hard work has not only made him a Delegate but his passion for President Obama has been so inspiring that his Mom eventually switched her party leanings in support of her first-generation American son, who is a testament to the power of citizenship and the influence of relationships with volunteers like him.

TOORA’S MOM WAS RECENTLY LAID-OFF AND HE NEEDS HELP TO PAY FOR HIS $1,000 HOTEL (5 days x $200) AND TRAVEL EXPENSES SO LETS SPONSOR HIM TO MAKE HIS TRIP HAPPEN!

WE’VE RAISED MOST OF THE MONEY AND JUST NEED A FEW HUNDRED MORE BY NEXT WEEK! Any extra money we raise will go toward his date with Miss Wyoming (see below) and transportation for future volunteer work he does!

PLEASE DONATE $5, $10 OR MORE HERE: http://www.networkforprogress.com/contribute

(we will earmark this weekend’s donations for him)

Why donate $1,000 toward a fraction of a TV ad when we can change a hard-working young man’s life?

To prove our point, this was Toora’s post on facebook after N4P raised $234 and he was bid on for a date by Miss Wyoming United States 2012 Mary David at our date auction last week:

“Had The Best Night of His Life, Thanks to Jim McBride, Lauren Hall, Anjon Roy, and the Rest of the GODC Group, They Helped Me Fundraise For Charlotte, and They Helped Me Get a Date with Mrs. Wyoming, Thanks Again Everyone, Now I am Very Excited for Charlotte!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

 

BACKGROUND: Why we need a “Yes We Can” Movement not a “Yes YOU Can” Donate campaign approach

Network For Progress Founder/President Jim McBride thinks the lessons of 2008 haven’t been learned at the grasstops and need to be taught by the grassroots: “One of the reasons N4P was created is to serve as an advocate for the grassroots people who actually make a difference in campaigns by talking to voters and building relationships in the community and that includes situations just like this.”

“ALL young people should courted for their votes and support, yet Toora, a super volunteer who has done hundreds of work for the party and deserves a spot at the convention, after an unlikely victory against party bosses to become a Delegate is also stuck with over $1,000 in expenses to participate,” McBride continued.

“Instead of learning the movement-building lessons of 2008 and investing in development and community-building programs to support hard working activists and connect with leaders of the future, the party and campaign apparatus often enables an ‘enthusiasm gap” by spending millions on TV ads and communicating via spammy fundraising emails that marketing gurus will tell you offer exponentially less bang for the buck than giving this young man the opportunity of a lifetime….that creates a DEMOCRAT for a lifetime,” noted McBride. “If we value friend-raising (facebook or the real kind) over fundraising it will actually be more affordable than TV ads and require LESS $3 donations for Dinner with Barack that most young people won’t be able to attend and STILL probably can’t afford.”

McBride has worked in communications for over two decades and ran press relations for the IAFF’s Fire Fighters for Kerry campaign during the Democratic primary in 2004. He has hosted grassroots events in the region ever since as President of the Arlington Young Democrats and DC’s Generation Obama chapter as well as a key member of Virginia For Obama during the 2008 Primary as the statewide Volunteer Database Coordinator who organized the earliest watch parties and phone banks in the region.

Questions? Contact Jim McBride @ jimmcbride13@gmail.com


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