Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Democrats: Stop, Think, Walk

So there’s going to be this rally/protest on Friday evening at a fundraiser being held for Richard Pombo. The fundraiser will take place at a farm outside Stockton, and Pombo has arranged for a special guest, House Majority Leader John Boehner (OH-08), to be present. Now, normally I’m a big fan of these types of protests — here’s a photo from another action undertaken by the same group (Tri-Valley Democrats, using MoveOn.org materials) that does a great job of making an important point. That’s Congressman Pombo’s government-leased Lincoln Town Car with signs and giant red hands that say “Richard Pombo — Caught Red-Handed.” They’ve coordinated the right message with the right target and the right delivery. Terrific!

[CORRECTION: The "Caught Red-Handed" protest was staged by Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund; Tri-Valley Dems merely posted the pictures on their website.]

That being said, I’m more than a little skeptical about the plans being made for this Friday evening:
Join fellow anti-Pombo Activist [sic] for some Street Theatre and Media Grabbing Activities near the fundraiser. We invite you to join us with signs, costumes and entertainment.
Uh-oh. Street theatre in rural Stockton? Oh, it gets worse. Here’s the list of costume ideas:
  • Endangered species - condor, polar bear, fish
  • Abramoff with a suitcase full of money
  • Snorkel and fins - levee danger
  • Surfers protest probable oil spills - bring your surf board [sic]
Not content to stop there, the organizers are encouraging participants to call the media and send in photographs of themselves in their costumes.

So great. Richard Pombo hasn’t played the “Democrats are just a bunch of Berkeley radical/enviro/extremists” theme effectively enough — now Democrats need to show up with a rag-tag group dressed in condor outfits, snorkels & fins, and surfboards to prove to every resident of the Central Valley that we’re certifiably insane? Just how hard is it to figure out what the press angle is going to be for this event? How hard is it to figure out how those images of wacky Democrats will be used by Richard Pombo?

One of the most difficult obstacles Democrats face in CA-11 is reassuring voters that our candidates can be trusted to show responsible leadership in these difficult times, that we have credible plans and we have the skills and courage to execute our vision for making America a stronger and better country. Trying to convey that message while dressed as a fish is damn near impossible.

While it may be mildly entertaining and serve to release some pent-up Democratic angst, this “street theatre/media grabbing” is incredibly counterproductive to the hard work that committed Democratic activists are putting into Jerry McNerney’s campaign day in and day out: walking precincts, registering voters, phone banking and the like. If all the people who were planning on donning their polar bear outfits and heading to Stockton Friday evening just stopped, thought for a second, and instead decided to go walk a precinct, I guarantee you we'd be a lot closer to victory in November.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well put. It sounds like Pombo's re-election machine is throwing bait to those who plan to demonstrate. You can be sure they will have cameras ready to capture the "theater" for use later.

The voters who need to be turned to McNerney are moderate Republicans who will be turned off by such antics. Pombo knows that and that's why his people are probably behind the call for bafoonery.

6:50 AM, August 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Better yet...Just join Jerry's actual campaign event with Boxer at the same time.

8:12 AM, August 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The McNerney campaign is off to a late start on their November field campaign. Usually Congressional races have their field teams meeting in mid July, with canvassing starting in late July. This gives time to build the necessary momentum by September.

It will take a huge push for the campaign to meet their outreach targets.

12:59 PM, August 22, 2006  
Blogger babaloo said...

Anon 3 --
Hmm. You mean like Richard Pombo's crackerjack field operation?

2:16 PM, August 22, 2006  
Anonymous Ed Yoon said...

I agree with Babaloo, and I found out about the "press release" on the August 25 protest rally in Stockton that went out apparently yesterday too late to stop.

Condors? Street parade? That's called a circus the last time I checked. THANKFULLY, the actual event WILL be controlled to look professional and stay on message. This is the event advisory that went out this morning from me to the press:

Event Advisory: “Pombo in Their Pocket” Protest Rally in Stockton on August 25
Rep. Richard Pombo raises money from special interests with the help of GOP Majority Leader John Boehner while refusing to meet with his own constituents to “explain himself”

Stockton, CA – On Friday, August 25, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, MoveOn.org Political Action, and local labor and environmental activists will hold a “Pombo in Their Pocket” rally in Stockton to protest Rep. Richard Pombo raising money from special interests with the help of GOP Majority Leader John Boehner while refusing to meet with his own constituents to “explain himself” of numerous allegations on his unethical behavior.

100+ protesters expected
Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund
MoveOn.org Political Action
Local labor and environmental groups and activists
“Pombo in Their Pocket” protest rally outside of the Pombo-Boehner fundraiser
Assembly at Route 4 on Charter Way and Roberts Road, Stockton, CA
Rally will be outside of the fundraiser at 3198 Roberts Road, Stockton, CA
Friday, August 25, 2006
5:30 PM


THIS will be the event, not a street theatre or circus. I hope as many of you will still consider participating in it to get EFFECTIVE press coverage from this event.

My staff and I and our volunteers will pull out of the event if it becomes a circus and we see a bad story coming out because of it, and since I don't want to pull out if at all possible, at least my staff and I will do what's necessary to ensure that this is a credible, newsworthy protest against Pombo for him being in the pocket of special interests.

Ed Yoon
Campaign Manager, CA-11
Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund

5:48 PM, August 22, 2006  
Blogger babaloo said...

Ed --
Thank you for the clarification. It's a big relief to hear that you understand my concerns and share in them. I know that your previous activities have been well-thought-out and well-executed; I hope this one lives up to your usual high standards.

6:02 PM, August 22, 2006  
Blogger Ed Yoon said...


As a clarification, the "Caught Red-Handed" protests on 8/16 and 8/17 that resulted in getting a pic of Pombo's taxpayer-funded Lincoln LS was actually us. It's me who took that picture of Lincoln. As an FYI, I'm organizing MoveOn.org Political Action's "Caught Red-Handed" campaign in CA-11 out of our Defenders office, and I always try my best to make sure that all earned media-intended activities are clean, professional, and on message.

As far as I can help it, the 8/25 protest in Stockton will NOT be a circus. If it becomes one out of my control, then I'm pulling out of it instead of being part of something that could tarnish the image that we need of anti-Pombo activists, Defenders, MoveOn.org Political Action, and Jerry McNerney.

6:54 PM, August 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pombo with no volunteers!

If he has to pay all his canvassers, that'll eat up money...

9:08 PM, August 22, 2006  
Anonymous Tom Benigno said...

Mr Yoon:
Am I to assume that you were not happy with the picketing that we participated in? I thought for the amount of people there that we had, it went quite well. Pombo's people were rude and were using poor language. We were very polite and did what we set out to do. If we did nothing else we let them know that we did not support Pombo and his cronies. Many of my old friends were at the Pombo event and recognized me being there. I even had some calls about it last night and this morning. How did we like the dust and the heat while they had a great dinner? Was it worth $500.00 per plate? I don't think so.

Tom Benigno

7:51 PM, August 26, 2006  

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