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02/20/2004

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Marsman

Mark,

A terrific post. I only recently discovered your blog, and have been coming by with some regularity. Only wish you posted a bit more often ... but not everybody can be as productive as, say, Calpundit. (Look at me: a professional writer, and I'm way too intimidated by the whole thing to start my own blog just yet!).

I hope you are right in all of this. The McCain-Feingold bill had seemed to me to be a tire necklace for the Democrats, given the ease with which Bush and his cronies raised so much money. But my specialty for years has been writing direct mail fundraising letters (mostly for progressive and environmental non-profits), and what has always struck me was how thoroughly worthless most -- not all, but most -- direct mail from political campaigns really is.

The problem is, generally, a compulsive need to be "politic." If you get creative, if you try to sound like a real human being talking to another real human being, if you go ahead and say what you REALLY think about the opposition's slimeball policies ... oh, they have a hissy fit and edit it all out. I've written precious few packages for political campaigns (some for Ann Richards, some for Hillary Clinton, and that's all), but I quickly learned to censor myself rather than listen to the consultants who'd hired me whine about what I was giving them. And even at that, the campaigns watered it all down even more!

I noticed that the Dean campaign, by contrast, came out swinging all the way. And their internet-base stuff was remarkably casual. I think it made a huge difference. And I suspect that since the spigot has been closed on big donor giving -- and, as you so correctly note, the fundraising cultures must change -- they are ALL learning to be a bit more aggressive and upfront in what they send to donors and potential donors.

Thanks again for your encouraging post.

-- Roger Keeling

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