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:
Not content to stop there, the organizers are encouraging participants to call the media and send in photographs of themselves in their costumes.
- 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]
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.