Democrats & Liberals Archives

The $7 Million

John Edwards and John Kerry seemed to head for Dick Cheney’s “safe location” after they bagged $7 million in first quarter fundraising.

In fact, that is what “the book” says you should do. What counts, according to “the book” on running for President, is “money in the bank.” Even with his poorer, $5 million haul in the second quarter, Kerry bragged yesterday he has $11 million in the bank.

But if money is just sitting in the bank, what good is it? Money needs to be put to work. (This is why Bush’ economic policy isn’t working — the money he gave to the rich just went into the bank, not into investments, because they don’t see any profit.)

In a campaign that means money must be put to work building more support, and getting volunteers on the ground. Here's a secret Edwards and Kerry have yet to learn -- one committed volunteer is worth 10 paid staffers.

It's true. Volunteers will go through walls for you. Volunteers will eat pizza and beat feet 24-7, or nearly so. Paid staff will work its 40 hours and then put its hand out.

So this is what Howard Dean will be doing with his $7 million. He is going to make sure his computer operation can scale. He is going to make sure his volunteers in all 50 states have scalable computer operations as well. He is going to build his mailing list, through monthly Meetups. He is going to have 40,000 people writing personal letters to people in Iowa (the first caucus state) this month. He is going to have his people invade Democratic Party meetings throughout America in August.

Every time a Meetup site gets crowded he will split it. It's not 40,000 people in 1,000 locations, but in 10,000, 20,000 locations. And when he gets to 80,000, in a few months, they will be meeting in 20,000 or 40,000 locations. And at every one of those meetings newcomers will be urged to speak, to "testify," about what brought them there. And their opinions will be heard, cheered, validated. They will be welcomed, and they will become committed.

Howard Dean will use his $7 million to build a 21st century campaign, an Intimate, Interactive campaign that scales both physically and online, ca campaign people can commit to.

And when we next see Howard Dean on the national stage he won't be just an anti-war candidate. He will be a man with the political appeal of a Ross Perot (balance the budget, it's just that simple) but without the paranoia. He will be a man who combines the passion of a Bill Clinton (health care, equal rights, America leading, not ruling) without the bimbo eruptions.

Together, those flawed men took 62% of the vote against Bush 41. With a nationwide organization, with an interminable occupation, and with an economy that still can't get out of its own way, what do you think he can do against Bush 43?

Money doesn't matter. What matters is what you do with it.

Posted by Danablankenhorn at July 1, 2003 9:03 AM