View Full Version : Two RP camapaigns - national and grassroots

Badger Paul
08-01-2007, 11:56 AM
Jen at Paul4All, the Iowa Out-of-State volunteer coordinator wrote a nice piece about the differences between the national and grassroots camapaigns and the FEC rules that keep them apart.

I think it just goes to show, if you've got ideas and projects you want to do for the campaign, JUST DO IT! Don't wait for some go-ahead order from headquarters. This is a do-it-yourslef camapaign and that's why it if its successful will be very transforming of this country:

On Sunday night, some of the members of the Des Moines and Ames meetups met with the national campaign HQ members to talk about the Straw poll. I must tell you that I went in there with a bit of an attitude, because I am one of those who has been questioning the chasm that I feel developing between the grassroots campaign and the national campaign. More than once, I’ve asked myself, “What are they doing?” and “Who are these people?”. To be fair, I also ask myself, “What am I doing?” and “Who the heck am I?” Equal time, you know.

The difference between national and grassroots is evident even to the most casual observer. As I looked around the room, I had to smile at the contrast. The meetup folk were slouching on the floor in casually reclined poses; most of us, if we cut our hair, look like we use a bowl for a template. We write with pencils and bics and snort when we laugh. The national team, on the other hand, wear clothes that are so nice they have their own birth certificates. They wear their sunglasses on top of their heads, have really nice haircuts, and as they sit leaning gracefully against the wall, they toy with cool electronic gizmos that the rest of us stare at in fascination. They use words like “touches” and “charm offensive”. We use words like “borg” and “duct tape”.

The meeting was started with a report on what the Campaign has accomplished in terms of reaching out to voters. National has started a campaign to connect with special segments of the Iowan population, and between this campaign, and the write and call Iowan programs, they expect to reach (or “touch”) over 200,000 potential voters by the end of this week.

One of the national team said, “We want to touch as many people as we can.” and another said, “Isn’t it better to touch someone several times?” I tried not to laugh, but I couldn’t help thinking, “Doesn’t it depend on where you touch them?” <snort>

The meeting continued at a good clip, and we covered the different areas of the Straw Poll that needed volunteer support. It was a pretty good meeting, but I still somehow was bothered by the chasm I felt between us.

So at an inopportune moment, which is the only time I seem capable of speaking out in a group, I told them that I was sensing a chasm between national and grass roots. I said that if we weren’t careful, we would end up with two campaigns. Two campaigns that didn’t like each other. Cats and Dogs, Hatfield and McCoys, Eileen and Sandy Burger (Eileen and Sandy were my next door neighbors when I was growing up and were always fighting over their “real live Lucy” doll who refused to eat spinach or raise taxes.) You get the picture.

I told them that the supporters for Ron Paul want to help. I said, “For example, if you’re doing a radio campaign in Iowa, why not make the ad available, and I know the supporters will run with it and play it all over Iowa! There’s so much we can do together. Can’t you just talk to us? We’re not from the government, we really are here to help!” Realizing that I was beginning to sound like a democrat <teasing!>, I trailed off with, “It’s just that we’re a little frustrated right now…”

It was about then that I noticed that one of the national guys was turning an odd shade of red. Suddenly, he jumped up and with clenched fists exclaimed, “You think you’re frustrated?! You have no idea!” It took me a while to understand what he was talking about, but when the light finally dawned, I realized there was another side to this whole thing that I hadn’t even been aware of.

Here’s the gist of it. The FEC (Federal Election Commission) has a code of rules and regulations that apparently makes the IRS codebook look like nursery rhymes. And, because other groups are not, shall we say, encouraging our campaign it is especially important that we follow the code to perfection. The code mostly deals with money - how it is received by the campaign, how it is used, etc. The tricky part for grassroots campaigns is that our activities must clearly be separate (in general) from the National campaign or someone is gonna end up in a little prison cell with a roommate named Bubba.

So, they can’t give us a radio ad, because then it isn’t an independent action, but a coordinated communication, which requires filing reams of reports, may exceed the allowed donation limit, etc. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What they explained to us is this: They hate it, but they have to live by it. They want, they need for us to do what we’re doing and do more of it. They were as encouraging as they could be, but are very skittish about doing anything that can be misconstrued as incorrect. They don’t want to hear about the projects that we’re working on, and they can’t consult with us on the best way to do them. They went into some more detail, but you can see the general scheme of things, right?

When they were done talking about the restrictions on them, I blurted out, “Wow, I feel so free!”. And I do. Do you see what this means? It means we don’t have to wait on the national organization to make decisions. We don’t have to feel stymied because we don’t know what they want. The truth is this: they can’t tell us! It’s not that they don’t want to, it’s just that they aren’t allowed to. So, you and I can promote Dr. Paul with our best efforts. We can coordinate with each other and help each other as we have been doing. And we can do more of it. While we cannot and indeed must not depend on national, we can support them as best we can so that they can work fully within the limitations that exist, because the national campaign is also vital for success. But, we must move forward within the grassroots movement. The truth is that Dr. Paul’s message, our message, is simple and clear enough that once people hear it, it speaks to them. That’s the only direction we really need. All we have to do is let people know about him.

In the end, there are two campaigns - national and grassroots. But now, instead of thinking of us as two little kids fighting over our “Constitution Ron” doll, I see us more as Captain Navarre and Isabeau from Ladyhawke - two lovers under the spell of an evil wizard, unable to “touch” each other, but soon to be set free and return justice to the land. The only part I can’t decide is who’s the hawk and who’s the wolf.

08-01-2007, 12:24 PM
I agree, the campaign coordination thing is a huge impenetrable wall that can't be breached. But while we're happy to go do the things we're doing with so much enthusiasm, our NOT being able to issue press releases on our own behalf (at the campaign's request) to local media outlets pretty much keeps our hands tied.

08-01-2007, 12:24 PM
Can this be stickied please?

08-01-2007, 12:57 PM
I see the wall between our two campaigns as a help not a hindrance. It lends complete credibility to the grass-roots campaign.

08-01-2007, 01:10 PM
Man I hate the FEC.

They need to get this message out to the supporters though because I know a lot of them, myself included, are upset at the lack of communication.

08-01-2007, 01:10 PM
Wow great post!

08-01-2007, 01:14 PM
Ron Paul Revolution Trailer:

Narrator: "The 2008 Election."
Panning Shot of Washington DC

Narrator: "In a World of Government Control"
Giuliani shouting into a cell phone- "I want them fined for every sign!"

Narrator: "One Man Stands Tall"
Sweeping Camera shot behind Ron Paul, standing to vote the single vote of opposition, Camera Focuses on his profile "Once Again, I must respectfully decline"

Narrator: "His fate depends on the success of two campaigns"
Camera panning up to show the official campaign reps on one side, grassroots on the other

Narrator: "One campaign traditional"
Camera shows the staff in the office, looking at charts

Narrator: "The other Revolutionary"
Camera showing a meetup group hanging a banner on an overpass

Narrator: "But when a man aims to change the nation"
A shady figure monitors Ron Paul on a monitor, then angrily shoves the monitor off his desk.

Narrator: "He draws enemies from all sides"
News reporters start hounding Ron Paul outside his office.

Narrator: "A house divided"
Grassroot supporter yells "What are they DOING with that Money?"

Narrator: "Cannot Stand"
Ron Paul Staffer looks over a flyer saying "They are going to cost us the election"

Narrator: "But In America, Unity comes from Freedom"
Staffer talking to a grassroot supporter "We can't work with each other, but we must work together" Supporter says "Then we'll see you on the other side"

Narrator: Next fall, change is coming
Quick shots of rallies, Pollsters shaking heads in disbelief, Giuniani standing infront of mostly empty chairs, and Ron Paul waving to a crowd of hundreds of thousand on the Mall in DC.

Narrator: Ron Paul: Revolution.
Screen flashes "2008"

Ninja Homer
08-01-2007, 05:08 PM
Bump... and 2nd the motion to sticky.

08-01-2007, 07:23 PM
I absolutely agree, with the point of view that if you think something needs to be done, go do it. Or perhaps ask people to help you. But don't wait for your great idea to be picked up by the headquarters.

This is the OPEN SOURCE campaign. If you have a real sense of initiative, you probably belong in the grassroots anyway.

08-01-2007, 07:57 PM
I think this is very important and answers some burning questions and concerns that have come up. The grassroots needs to understand that the national campaign is not sitting on its laurels--it's doing everything it can to get Paul elected. It's up to us to do the same in our own way.

Another request to sticky!

08-01-2007, 08:21 PM
please sticky

08-02-2007, 12:21 AM
mods please sticky.