The Arrogance of the State Clinton Campaign

The Chair of the 36th District Democrats, Peter House, recently received what he described as a "chilling" phone call from the director of the state Clinton campaign. James Kainber wanted the help of Democrats who would do grassroots organizing on behalf of the Senator's presidential campaign. Peter House replied that he knows the grassroots Democrats in his district and that most of them don't support Sen. Clinton.

Using one of the oldest tactics around--what amounts to the "bandwagon" argument--Mr. Kainber claimed that 30 LD chairs had already signed on to support Sen. Clinton. Kainber said that the activist contingent of the Party isn't lining up behind Clinton, but it really doesn't matter. After February 5th, she'll have the nomination sewn up. Our February 9th caucuses will, in effect, be irrelevant.

Peter House is not new to politics, and he's blessed with a fairly thick skin. He's experienced enough to know that political operatives like Mr. Kainber will say all sorts of things to line up support for their candidates. What concerns Mr. House is not the 30 LD Chairs who supposedly support Sen. Clinton. (We can assume that was a lie.) Rather, he's concerned that if Democrats feel the nomination is already decided by February 9th, many of them will stay home from the caucuses. That would be a serious problem for LD organizations and the state Party. Part of our strategy for reelecting Gov. Gregoire is to enlist the help of Democrats who turn out for the caucuses and to set them to strengthening the Party for the 2008 elections. Mr. Kainber may believe his efforts are good for his candidate, but if they're bad for the rest of us, then they must be resisted.

I would add that I find Mr. Kainber's approach to be particularly arrogant. I've been around the game long enough to know that arrogance is nothing new to politics, but Mr. Kainber's brand of arrogance is telling. Mr. Kainber could have asked Peter House what the Clinton campaign could do to appeal to grassroots Democrats. After all, we're the ones who deal with the large diversity of issues that concern local Democrats: everything from the condo conversions at the Lock Vista apartments to the Iraq war, from the intricacies of school board races to global warming. Instead of asking for his support, Mr. Kainber tried to dupe a seasoned political activist into succumbing to his oily arguments. It didn't work. Peter House's letter to his fellow LD Chairs is as follows:

Peter House
Chair, 36th District Democrats

October 27, 2007

To:  Washington Legislative District and County Chairs

"This is the Clinton Collective.  Prepare to be assimilated.   You will adapt to service us.  Resistance is futile."

I am writing on behalf of the Executive Board of the 36th District Democrats to ask that you resist making an early endorsement of a presidential candidate.  We need to keep the campaign alive in this state in order for our caucuses to succeed.

Let me say some more.

I got a chilling phone call the other day from James Kainber.  James told me that he is running the Washington state division of the Hillary Clinton Campaign.  He wanted my opinion on who might be good to do the grassroots organizing in my legislative district.  He ran through a list of names of folks from the 36th who had volunteered with the Clinton campaign and asked if I knew any of them.  His list had about 15 names and I knew only one.  I explained to James that I work with and know the grassroots, get-off-your-butt, door-to-door, year-in, year-out Democratic activists and that, in my district, these folks tend not to support Senator Clinton.

"Ya, ya, ya," responded James.  He told me that he and his colleagues are well aware of that.  

Then he got to the "resistance is futile" message.  He told me he has called all the Legislative District Chairs, and so far 30 support Hillary Clinton.  Even though the activist part of the Democratic party is not lining up early behind Hillary Clinton, that really does not matter.

Then came the gut shot:  "All of this will not matter after Feb 5 because the nomination will be sewn up that day."

February 5th is the day of a slew of state primaries...what Dwight Pelz calls Stupid Tuesday.  On Tuesday February 5th, the field will be substantially narrowed.  It may even be that one candidate gets enough votes to effectively end the nominating process.

Our caucuses are a few days later, of course, on February 9.

A done-deal nomination would be bad for party activists because it would let the air out of the excitement around the caucuses.  All of us will by then have put in hours of planning and spent lots of money preparing for the caucuses.  If we get low turnout, we will miss the chance to recruit new folks into the party.  We will miss the chance to meet the "Challenge from the Chair" of getting an increase in voter turnout.  I also shudder to think of the money we might lose.

Now, maybe you have a candidate that you have endorsed and you are not willing to withdraw your support, but I ask you please to refrain from talk of inevitability of the nomination of any candidate.  Resistance is not futile.  Our party depends on it.


Peter House, Chair, 36th District Democrats

The Executive Board of the 36th District Democrats endorsed this letter unanimously.

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I got the same call from him. He read me the list of names and I told him those people I knew. It was about 2 out of 15.

He told me the same thing, that "I'd like to think that at the end of the day we'd all be Hillary supporters" and "it will all be over February 5."

My response was "YAWN! Anything else I can help you with, Jim?"

Let's all just work on making the caucuses successful, and on maximizing turnout for volunteer recruitment. Kainber has his job to do and we have ours. Let's not make more of it than there is.

If perception is reality, then the world must be flat and the sun must revolve around it.

by ivan on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 07:04:31 AM PST

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This from a former Executive Director of the State Party.  Thank heavens the current director is so focused on helping the grassroots be all that we can be...

Top down approaches like this are something I would expect from a Conservative Republican campaign, not a Progressive Democratic campaign.  Telling, isn't it.

If Hillary is the nominee, I will work to put a Progressive Congress into office so that we'll have enough votes to ensure a VETO OVERRIDE on H.R. 676.  I'm just saying.

by chadlupkes on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 08:29:52 AM PST

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   I'm glad we have Jaxon now.

Dave Gibney Pullman

by gibney on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 08:44:24 AM PST

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is part of the take-over of elections by consultants that is depressing civic engagement.

Sadly, this approach often works.  It is anti-democratic.  People aren't fooled. They know this is going on.  

Are we seeing the rise of a democracy movement that will move us beyond this?  I see hopeful signs that this may be the case.

by noemie maxwell on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 01:22:58 PM PST

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Kainber is pretty small potatoes compared to Mark Penn.  A partial list of Burson-Marsteller clients whose public images they were hired to refurbish is posted below.  The CEO of Burson-Marsteller is Hillary Clinton's pollster and chief campaign strategist, Mark Penn.

Philip Morris
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Burson-Marsteller#Burson_Marsteller.2C_the_Tobacco_Indust ry_and_Campaigns_on_Secondhand_Smoke

Entergy Nuclear and its little problem with their cooling towers collapsing on their nuclear power plant in Vermont

Three-Mile Island 1979 accident

Union Carbide and its Bhopal chemical disaster in India 20 years ago

The government of Saudi Arabia three days after 9/11, embarrassed by the hijackers being mostly Saudi

Former Romanian dictator Nicolai Ceausescu

The military junta that overthrew the government of Argentina in 1976

The government of Indonesia, perpetrators of genocide in East Timor

Their newest marquee public relations client--Blackwater mercenaries

And don't forget that Burson-Marsteller has long bragged about its successful tactics for countering union organizing

by eridani on Fri Nov 02, 2007 at 09:11:13 PM PST

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When I heard that Jim was going to run the field campaign for Hillary in Washington I knew something like this would happen.

I want to assure you that this directive did not come from the Hillary Clinton campaign. I am very active in the campaign in California and no one has been told to say anything remotely like this. In fact, we are told to act like we are behind and to take nothing for granted. Polls in this state have Hillary up by 25 to 30 points and we are still actively campaigning.

I agree with Peter that Jim should have asked what he could do to connect to the grass roots, although you would think that with Jim's so-called experience he would have known what to do.

Just like the Washington State Dean campaign in 2004, don't always  judge the campaign by it's workers.

by Greg Rodriguez on Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 05:02:52 PM PST

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I am a  36th LD Dem, having just moved from the
43rd, and have been following this conversation.
I did military family outreach for John Kerry
from National and was a coordinated campaigner in
WV.  I had a chance to learn and execute a
typical ID and persuasion phone call effort.

Sounds like Jim Kainber was following standard
practices in his phone calls to LD chairs.  An
organized and well executed strategy for
identifying Dems, getting them excited about a
candidate and getting them to the caucuses is a
good thing in my book.  It is realistic to begin
a bit of consensus building and even persuasion
as we look toward the caucus and beyond for the 08 election.  

As a grass roots organizer for a Veterans &
Military Families group (my hubby was activated
with an Army Reserve unit from Seattle), I think
that some of the posters on this thread should be
aware that the terms "activist" and "grass roots"
belong to a very diverse set of Dems.

As a note, I have had very positive interactions
with Jim Kainber both when I volunteered at the
WA Dem Awards at Benaroya Hall when Senator
Clinton was in town and also today at the Team
Hillary Training today.  

Today was a very positive experience and a little
less than half of the attendees had never been to
a caucus or volunteered for a campaign before.  
These are energetic individuals and consistent
voters whose enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton is
taking them to the next level.  

Jim delivered an excellent training about the
entire caucus system, and I assure you, the Feb.
9 caucus was stressed as very important, both by
Jim and the two Clinton staffers sent from
National.  There were thirteen 36th LD dems who
invested all of Saturday to benefit from the
caucus training offered by Jim Kainber et.al.  We
were encouraged to attend Thursday evening
monthly meetings with our 36th friends and
neighbors and get involved in a variety of races
and issues.

The Democratic Party will only benefit from the
investment Jim Kainber is making in getting a new
breed of activists involved in the party though
campaign training and caucus organizing.  These
well trained Dems will graduate from this
election with strong skill sets that will benefit
our party for years to come.

Julie Tackett

by JulieTackett on Sat Nov 10, 2007 at 06:08:07 PM PST

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thank you very much

منتديات دليل مواقع منتدى قريش منتدى صور الكون شبكة اسلاميه العاب مركز تحميل تحميل صور
اداره مواضيع المميزه تعارف تبادل نصي تبادل روابط نصيه اهدائات ترحيب تعارف خدمة الاعضاء الرئيسيه مواضيع اسلاميه مواضيع عامه نقاش حوار السياحه السفر الاخباريه جريمه اثاره الرياضه سيارات دراجات ناريه الاسره المجتمع شباب العربي ابناء ادم عالم حواء بنات حواء عالم الطفل الطفل الطب الصحه مطبخ الزواج الحياه الزوجيه ديكور اثاث منزلي اشغال يدويه الابداعات الشعريه الابداعات الادبيه همس القوافي شعر عذب الكلام خواطر قصص روايات ترفيهيه العاب مسابقات نكت ضحك فرفشه افلام انمي افلام كرتون المكتبه الصوتيه المكتبه السمعيه الابداع التصوير الفوتغرافي فوتشوب فلاش سويتش صور صور ورده تصاميم الاعضاء ابداعات الاعضاء تقنيه الالكترونيه الاتصالات كمبيوتر برامج كمبيوتر برامج ماسنجر ماسنجر هوتميل ماسنجر ياهو جوال موبايل برامج جوال ارشيف مواضيع مكرره مواضيع محذوفه

by shooooq on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 09:35:53 AM PST

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