Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jiminy Cricket! Liberal Democrats Wish Upon a Star

Posted By on Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 5:07 AM

click to enlarge cricket-thumb-116x140.jpeg
Tennessee's liberal activists, naturally euphoric over Barack Obama's election, think they can work that same magic here in the 2010 governor's race. All it takes is a computer and an Internet connection and--viola!--the campaign contributions will pour in, and the populace will rise up to demand the election of the candidate of change and hope, whichever Democrat that may turn out to be.

Chip Forrester's election as Democratic Party chair was a victory for the grassroots people, who have decided the moneyed establishment is their big problem.

Betty Bean did this story on one of these activists--Knoxville schoolteacher Gloria Johnson, who worked for Obama during her summer vacation. "Before the election, it was 'Obama for America.' Now it's 'Organizing for  America  2.0.' And I'm an organizer," says Johnson, who showed up in Nashville wearing a bow tie to support Forrester on the day of his election.

"They made fun of Chip because he wore a bow tie, so that's why all of the Knoxville people put on bow ties," Johnson says. "They said they'd take their money elsewhere if Chip were chair. It's funny to me that they felt that fundraising is the main part of the party's task - the main problem with the party is getting people involved. ... Even after this past election, I don't think a lot of them understand the effect that the grassroots organization can have."

While the establishment frets, these activists are delighted that it looks like Democrats might wind up offering an unknown, second-tier candidate as their nominee for governor. Their two favorites: Kim McMillan and Andy Berke. Both are bright-eyed and chipper and can pretend to the mantle of change. Berke is young and liberal and Jewish, and McMillan is young and liberal and female. (Let's not talk about all those years she was soooo cozy in the House with the ultimate good ol' boy, Jimmy Naifeh.)

Party veterans are snorting at the naiveté. It's like something out of a Disney movie, they say. When you wish upon a star ... As one of our many anonymous insider sources observes, "These kids just don't get it. They actually think all they have to do is turn on their computer and the money will start flooding in. If you're Barack Obama or Howard Dean, you can raise money online. If you're Andy Berke or Kim McMillan, you can't. They're going to find that out."

Update: Tennessee progressive bloggers--all of them!--are launching what they're calling a "Chip In!" online fund-raising blogathon to support the Tennessee Democratic Party "during this critical rebuilding phase." h/t Kleinheider

Update II: Aunt B says our smug anonymous insider pisses her off so much she thinks everybody ought to rise up and make online donations to the Democrats "because we need to scare the shit out of guys like that."

Update III: Sean Braisted urges donations too. "So, if you are like me, and you don't have a ton of money to spare, but can give up the equivalent of a bottle of Maker's Mark...please help this grassroots movement grow." I don't know about you, but I'm getting all weepy here.

Update IV: Newscoma. "Sometimes it starts with just a few people and a message can grow and spread." Oh God, it's really happening!

Update V: Sadly, some might say, the results of  today's blogathon have proven the smug anonymous insider's point.

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