Some interesting parallels with Dean/Obama 50 state strategy and the proposed Liberal 308 strategy.

This is a very timely op-ed over at CNN about how Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean’s “50 state strategy” plan was attacked by some of the the Democratic strategists and  politicians – as was Obama’s decision to adapt it for his presidential campaign – as pie in the sky thinking, but how they were vindicated:

Dean’s insistence on having a Democratic Party that existed in the heartland, and not just California, New York and Massachusetts, was brilliant in that it made clear that the party recognized the rest of America…If Democrats are going to achieve success on the national level, they must have significant enthusiasm on the local level. It’s hard to get your supporters ginned up for a national campaign if they see no infrastructure, especially local get-out-the-vote operations.

Gee, does that sound familiar to anyone up here north of the border? If you’re in the Liberal party of Canada, it should. If it doesn’t, then you didn’t pay very good attention this past election campaign. There were other problems as well, which we all know about and that will get touched on in later posts, but in too many ridings, it appeared that GOTV was non-existent.

From a personal standpoint, I can tell you I was up in Guelph during the by-election before it got cancelled, and I can tell you that the team of Frank Valeriote had a very impressive ground-game, and enthused local volunteers. It was probably that ground-game that allowed him to resist the blue tide in SW Ontario on election night – but in far too many other ridings, it appears a lot of that was missing.

The article goes on to talk about Obama’s adoption of the 50 state strategy, and how this decision too was derided by the so-called strategists – but how he too – with the help of Dean – was correct in pursuing it:

When Obama announced that he was implementing a 50-state strategy, he was laughed at. But here we are with six days left in the campaign and the Republicans are having to spend precious dollars on ads in Montana, North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada, GOP locks in past elections…changing the attitude among the nation’s Democrats was also vital, and that’s where Dean played a role. The former governor of Vermont saw firsthand the sorry shape of the party when he ran for president in 2004. Republicans, led by Karl Rove, perfected their voter registration efforts, targeting voters down to the neighborhood, block and household. They knew that to win they needed a well-oiled machine that wasn’t activated every four years; it needed to be active all year round and in every election cycle. So Dean put the people and resources behind substantial voter efforts in a number of states, and they went about rebuilding a crippled party that had no central voter registration effort, an outdated database of supporters, a fundraising arm that heavily relied on trial attorneys and Hollywood types, and a message that changed depending on the day.

Again, does this sound and look familiar, Liberals? Again, if it doesn’t, I’m not sure what you were seeing, because it seems pretty similar to the state of the LPC right at the moment.

The editorial concludes with this line: Old pols always said that all politics is local, and the only way for a revitalized Democratic Party to expand its reach nationally is by re-branding the party on the home front. That takes time, money and leadership, and Howard Dean was willing to put his money where his mouth is.

This question should also be asked by the party members of the LPC: which Liberal leadership candidate and supporters will not only be dedicated to the reforms structurally and organizationally that are badly needed in the Liberal Party, but also be willing to put their money where their mouth is, as well as the dedication and persistence and courage to do so when some in the LPC hierarchy may resist this and also call it “pie in the sky” thinking?

Who will endorse and implement the Canadian version of Dean’s plan here? Whether you call it Liberal 308, or “10 + 3”, I believe (and I think many of our supporters believe)  it needs to be done sooner rather then later. Grand vague statements of being for “renewal” are fine. Citing specifics for what type of renewal you want and how you go about it are better, and of course, actions speak louder then words.


(cross-posted at Scott’s Diatribes)


  1. Excuse me Scott,

    But no one elected you as the leader of the grassroots movement of the Liberals. And you of all people have absolutely no right to tell any active Liberal what to do.

    For full disclosure for those of you who do not know, I was communications director for Frank Valeriote in Guelph. I slaved on that campaign for 12 weeks – travelling from Scarborough to Guelph to get Frank elected. And Frank won.

    And now we have Scott Tribe here, thinking he is some big time leader in the Liberal grassroots, trying to tell me and other hard working Liberals what to do, even though he did nothing this last election.

    Quite frankly, Scott, your arrogance knows no bounds. Simply because your track record as a Liberal is appalling.

    Here are some of Mr. Tribe’s sins.
    1) Scott was given the username and password to make changes to Martha Dennis’ web site (Martha was the Liberal candidate in his riding). He could have made any content change that he deemed necessary. But Scott only changed one page during the entire election. That’s really working hard there, Scott.

    2) I constantly prodded Scott to get off his ass and go out to Martha Dennis’ campaign office to do ANYTHING to help out. Scott said it was too far for him to go from Tillsonburg where he lives to Woodstock and considered that a valid excuse.

    Excuse me while I throw up in the barf bag on the Greyhound bus that I practically lived on during the election.

    3) Scott takes great pride in torpedoing Liberal candidates. He did not like what former Parkdale High Park Liberal MP Sarmite Bulte had to say about copyright legislation. So he gets his Progressive Bloggers to write posts calling for Bulte to be voted out in the 2006 election. Bulte ended up losing to Peggy Nash, and Peggy went to the ProgBlog picnic to toast Scott Tribe.

    Way to help the Liberal team there Scott.

    4) He also has problems with Liberal Dan McTeague.
    It looks like Scott does not believe in keeping the Liberal team all united, because God knows that a divided Liberal Party will do wonders to help us get elected.

    5) Way back when the Liberal caucus decided not to defeat the Harper government and it was discovered that Martha Hall Findlay and Bob Rae convinced the caucus not to go to an election. Scott contact me to help him “initiate a contact campaign to send emails/letters or even phone calls to those noted in the media as being the most resistant to calling an election right now… and I’m focused on Bob Rae and Martha-Hall Findlay as the persons most likely to receive this.”

    I refused. An effort to try and publicly embarrass two good Liberals does not help the Liberal cause.

    6) Scott also repeatedly called the Liberal caucus “Nervous Nellies” who “don’t get their act together and walk the walk, instead of talking the talk and then sitting on their hands doing nothing”

    And yet Scott did nothing during this last election. He stayed home, whining and crying about the Liberal Party not doing what he wants.

    I took time off my studies and have little money, but I believed that Guelph could use my skills more than Scarborough-Rouge River (my local riding) and went out of my way, out of my own pocket, to help there. If Scott Tribe is willing to put in THAT kind of sacrifice, then we will talk. Pontificating is not enough.

    That’s what Liberal 308 really means, at least that’s what I think. Liberal 308 means you trying as hard in your riding as you’re telling me to try in mine. Scott Tribe does not even try. In fact, he works AGAINST the Liberal cause whenever it suits him. I commend the intentions of Liberal 308, but by having Scott Tribe as a leader in your group really weakens your cause. If everyone put in the minimal effort that Scott has put in the last election, the Liberals would have as many seats as the Greens.

  2. Liberal 308 needs the help of all who wish to make it work.

    I believe that, as Liberals, we can exchange personal criticisms between individuals, let’s keep this type of chatter to a minimum. It doesn’t help the movement to have potshots taken at individuals who put their names forward to assist.

    The intentions of Liberal 308 are to unite the grassroots around the idea of renewal. I commend anyone who makes an effort to contribute to that cause. There are five administrators with access to updating the web page and all elements. Some of us have more technical skill than others. The idea is transparency.

    We have several ideas for discussion topics and as soon as we organize that information here then we can get more involved in that direct action.

  3. Joseph, you raise a number of interesting points. Of course the party needs to change, but how are we going to change along with it? Hey, when most relationships hit a speed bump, both partners need to do something to move things along… and you can’t wait to change only until the other side does. Are we going to put in some extra effort as well?

    There are ridings in need of funding. How about finding a few and then organizing funding raising drives among the people who support the idea (to let people know the funds came from the group, tack on $3.08.) It’s a start of something. Anyway, it’s an idea.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s