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June 18, 2007

Why I'm Going to Work for Darcy

Even occasional readers of this blog know that I've been a supporter of Darcy Burner since early in her first campaign.  So it's not likely come as any surprise to learn that I'll be working for her full time come July as her online (and increasingly grassroots) outreach person.  Nevertheless, I thought I'd take this opportunity to share why I'm excited about getting to do this work.

The Netroots and the Dems

Ever since I worked as a volunteer on the Gregoire campaign in 2004, I've been focused on integrating Democratic politics with the new online community and the reinvigorated grassroots world.   I literally spent days for a year or so stepping elected officials and their staffs through how to find the blogosphere and providing ideas and opportunities to meet and work with our local bloggers.  Other folks, particularly Goldy and Andrew, have done the same in their very different but complementary ways. 

In the other direction, I've tried to familiarize myself and my readers with our large pool of talented and progressive officials, candidates and organizations and to distinguish between those that have the capability of dealing with the real needs of our citizens in these rapidly changing times and those that don't. 
So, it was a treat to meet Darcy and realize immediately that she gets the value of the netroots and stays abreast of what goes on in our world.  She knows most of us by our handles and knows where we post, both nationally and locally.  How cool is that?  More importantly, she understands the opportunity for a much needed democratization of the process of governing that the netroots represents.   

When we were first talking about this role that she wanted someone to fill in her campaign, she said, "You have to understand, I'm not doing this just because it will help my campaign.  I'm doing it because it's the right thing to do."

A Grounding in Real Life

I want grounded, compassion people in Congress who will truly represent us and our needs and who know how to be effective doing that.  I want people in congress who will continue to listen to their constituents and to the organizations that represent real people, not just the monied interests.  I did a lot of research on Dave Reichert last year and it is astounding how closely his votes match the interests of his largest donors, folks like the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Chamber of Congress.   
Open Secrets lists the main contributors by category to each candidate, including here Reichert and Burner in the 2006 race.   The disparity in where their money comes from is bad enough but when you dig down bill by bill and see which organizations are sponsoring fund-raisers for Reichert, and how they advertise how closely he has voted with them, it makes your skin crawl. 

I want someone who is supported by labor, by educators, by nurses, by the tech sector, by single moms and by the netroots.  She represents us.

Darcy really truly grew up in a middle class/working class family and her large family has folks at all class levels.  Having loved ones who are grappling with regular, everyday issues of healthcare and education and finding jobs matters.  And it clearly matters to Darcy, who worked hard and has had a large measure of success but who stays connected to the people she loves who have not all done that. 

The Need for a Different Kind of Candidate

Although traditional business associations seem to think their interests lie with the Republicans, I think smart business people will be pleasantly surprised with Darcy's business skills and how she applies them.  She is a new kind of Democratic candidate - progressive but practical.  We hear that she is tech-savvy, and indeed, would likely be the most tech-savvy member of Congress.  In a world where the U.S. is losing its technological lead, it will be critical to have people who truly understand where we are headed technologically. 

However, for me, her ability to understand and articulate complex issues and work collaboratively to address them is equally valuable.   We are heading into a time where we may well need to have good decisions made quickly about issues that matter to the survival of all of us, issues like bringing safe, new energy sources on to combat global warming, issues like pandemic bird flu, issues like bee colony collapse.  That's just a portion of the incredible mess that this administration will leave in its wake. 

We need people who have honed the kind of critical analytical and people skills to take us as a nation into the future.  Darcy can and will help.  I, along with tens of thousands of others, will do everything we can do to get candidates like Darcy into positions where they can ease the transition into the future.

The Power of Congress

Nearly every issue of concern to me in the larger world seems to come back to the decisions made by the 435 members of the House and the 100 Senators, plus of course the President and his staff.   From deciding whether or not to go to war to how to fund family planning in other parts of the world, it matters tremendously who is in Congress.  What people are only learning now, with a Democratic Congress investigating the executive branch, is how deep into the bowels of the bureaucracy the differences can go.

We captured the House but can't override vetoes.  The Senate is split neatly down the middle.  We need another, even larger blue wave next year. 

Running an Innovative Campaign

Working for Darcy, helping her continue to engage the netroots and more deeply engage the grassroots, seems like the perfect place for me to be to have something to do with creating that larger blue wave.  Once Darcy's new website is up and going in a couple of months, my primary blogging will likely be over there.   We hope to make her site interesting enough to pull people to it as a place to discuss the issues and create an online community around her candidacy. 

The campaign is also starting to reach out to the grassroots, both the organized, Democratic organizational grassroots which are thriving everywhere, but also to individual volunteers who want to be a part of changing Congress and can see that Darcy will make a difference.  This campaign will be a blending of the traditional and the new.  That in itself will be not only be innovative but will, I believe, be a winning formula for both rebuilding our democracy and moving us into a new era. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on June 18, 2007 at 01:05 PM in Candidate Races, Strategery | Permalink


This is exciting because it represents an example of how we can innovate and expand our efforts to "take our country back," on the local level.

Posted by: howieinseattle | Jun 18, 2007 3:38:54 PM

Gonna miss you over here, Lynn! Darcy's forunate to have you.

Posted by: shoephone | Jun 18, 2007 4:46:19 PM

The trick will be creating a forum of a kind that brings more people into the campaign and engages them on the issues in a relevant way to keep them coming back for more.

Having you working closely with the candidate will hopefully yield very noticeable and positive results.

Posted by: Daniel K | Jun 18, 2007 5:04:20 PM

Thanks all,

I'm looking forward to this. Lynn

Posted by: Lynn | Jun 18, 2007 8:34:51 PM

Best wishes in your new role - Darcy is luck to have you.

Posted by: op99 | Jun 18, 2007 8:50:47 PM

It's starting to look like another blue wave is going to be a tall order, but one race at a time is something we can do. By the way, there's already one engineer in the House, Jerry McNerney. It would be nice to have another.

Good luck, Lynn.

Posted by: Cujo359 | Jun 18, 2007 10:16:58 PM

Yes Darcy is lucky to have you. I for one look forward to your return after a victory in Nov 08.

Posted by: Particle Man | Jun 19, 2007 1:07:34 PM

In the meantime, when we're up, I hope you guys come by and visit Darcy's website. We're going to try to make it worth your while.

Posted by: Lynn | Jun 19, 2007 9:36:42 PM

Some ideas on grassroots w/ net.


in brief - much of the power of the net hasn't been touched, as old school thinking uses new technology -

instead of a phone tree and snail mail petty tyrants being in charge, now we have email list petty tyrants in charge - at the end of the day

instead of BROADENING participation AND making participation easier, those in charge are trying to use technology to make it easier for them to stay in charge of more

SOS, different day and different tools

= less participation for Darcy, for Gag puke Cantwell, for dogcatcher, for school board, for state rep, for city council...

for OUR community
for OUR democracy

EVERY campaign has the same problems of putting people who want to do stuff with what to do with how to do it with when to do it with who to do it with, AND

so far, the Dems haven't done squat to really really really broaden participation.

bon chance

we've met before, i post at washblog, I'm blunt, and if you think I'm rude ...



Posted by: seabos84 | Jun 20, 2007 7:27:17 PM

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