Because it’s gonna keep ’em hanging around

I’m not sure this gives Democrats as much of an advantage as Patrick Ruffini thinks it does, but the cultural differences between the parties are interesting and perhaps profound:

The turnout experts, TV whizzes, and all-around gurus of the Grand Old Party have been outnumbered and outsmarted by their adversaries, who have spent a decade retrofitting their entire political infrastructure. The result is a dizzying talent gap between the two parties’ political classes, one that shows few signs of closing as the 2014 midterms begin. In some ways, the GOP is years behind on solving a problem that has no quick fixes.

Most young Republican operatives view organizing as a mere entry point to a career that will eventually lead to bigger, and better-paying, gigs. “Democrats actually set up and train people to think about those jobs as careers,” said Brian Stobie, a partner at the GOP data-management firm Optimus. “A field-organizing roll can be a career over there. In our world, it’s a $27,000-a-year job you can’t wait to get out of.”

I do think that younger Democrats are likely to see a life in politics as being some combination of quasi-academic policy work and blue-collar door-to-door work, whereas Republicans are more likely to see it as talk shows and Regenery hard-covers. There’s plenty of grift available to Democrats too, but look at this way: there’s tons of populist grift money for Republicans, but the grift money available to Democrats is almost all of the Third Way/Democratic Leadership Council variety.

The Times has an article about the incredible number of primary challengers Republicans are drawing. As you’d guess, a lot of these challengers are teahadists who love Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.

Whether the energy these people bring outweighs their craziness and tendency to say things that hurt the Republican party, I can’t say, but they don’t have much of a counterpart in the Democratic party. More wonky Republicans might wish they’d go away but they’re not going to as long as the big right-wing noise/grift machine is functioning.

Democrats’ advantage in areas of policy and data-driven campaigning probably isn’t going away anytime soon. Neither is Republicans’ ability to dominate the freak show and drive national discourse.






48 replies
  1. 1

    Spoon Don’t You Evah? Great song! One of my faves by Spoon fer sure.

  2. 2
    jibeaux says:

    Let’s say your neighboring district is represented by a dim-bulb R distinguishable mostly by being very very opposed to the ACA, voting for the shutdown but trying to keep her pay, saying she needed it, and for leaving unlocked firearms in her unlocked garage where they were liberated. The demographics of the district favor her dumb ass and redistricting in 2011 shored it up further. She won in 2012 with 56%.
    Clay Aiken is running as a Democrat. Because she has made vague noises about something-on-immigration-but-not-citizenship-perish-the-thought!, she has a primary challenge from a tea partier who just lost a civil lawsuit that had something to do with grifting investors out of money for an app which he and his partner promised would be bloatware on phones. I suppose the idea is that he offers all the hatred of Obamacare, all the dumbass gun stuff and foot in mouth disease but with FREE BONUS shootin’ illegals.
    The question is strategic, I guess. Better if the crooked unknown wins the primary challenge, or does a 56-41.4 spread mean Clay’s pretty much doomed in an off-year election so better the ever so slightly less embarrassing stays there?

  3. 3
    MikeJ says:

    @jibeaux: Rather than trying to ratfuck, why not spend your time promoting Dems?

  4. 4
    Kylroy says:

    @jibeaux: Pull for the loon. This is a legislative job, not executive, so pretty much all that matters is party affiliation – your less – crazy incumbent and wingnut challenger are going to vote identically, so you might as well wish for the one who’s easier to defeat in the general (be it this year or down the road).

  5. 5
    NotMax says:

    “What do you mean ‘work?’ We just have to tweak the message.”

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @jibeaux: You want the loon to win the primary.

  7. 7
    jibeaux says:

    @MikeJ: Uh, I’m not trying to do anything right now. I’m just asking which would strategically be better. I have a feeling the people in the district are going to be aware of the candidacy of Clay Aiken.

  8. 8
    jibeaux says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: This is kind of what I was leaning towards. I wouldn’t want him to win the general, but only incrementally more than I’d want her to win the general, so I was thinking root for the wild card.

  9. 9
    J.Ty says:

    @jibeaux: His (Clay’s) first ad video was actually pretty good, I’d bet he has a decent team behind him.

    I keep waiting for the GOP to wither and die so we can spin off a nice Sanders-esque Real Left(tm), but MAN do we have a lot of… it’s not even idiots. Just voters who can’t see past their programming. (Also some idiots.)

  10. 10
    Cervantes says:

    I do think that younger Democrats are likely to see a life in politics as being some combination of quasi-academic policy work and blue-collar door-to-door work, whereas Republicans are more likely to see it as talk shows and Regenery hard-covers. There’s plenty of grift available to Democrats too, but look at this way: there’s tons of populist grift money for Republicans, but the grift money available to Democrats is almost all of the Third Way/Democratic Leadership Council variety.

    Care to elaborate, DougJ?

    (Thanks.)

  11. 11
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MikeJ:

    It’s not very clear from the post, but Clay Aiken is the Democrat that jibeaux will be voting for in November. But apparently there is also a ratfucking opportunity available.

    I say, vote for the loon in the primary, and work your ass off for Aiken until November.

  12. 12
    Honus says:

    If exposure to the teabaggers led to popularity, Sara Palin would be president now instead of hosting a show on the Sportsman Network. Please, name one other person on the Sportsman Network.

    I said it twenty years ago when Gingrich became speaker : good. The more people see of him, the less popular he will be. He was gone in two years.

    The 2014 election is going to be a referendum on the tea party. It will be 2010 in reverse.

  13. 13
    beth says:

    @jibeaux: I loved the way she called Aiken a “San Francisco liberal” because I guess “Hollywood liberal” isn’t gay enough.

  14. 14
    jl says:

    Will this D talent advantage do any good for the 2014 midterms? That’s what I want to know.

  15. 15
    J.Ty says:

    @beth: They’ve been using “San Francisco liberal” to talk about Dems ever since Nancy Smash got her gavel… I mean, it’s a dog whistle, sure, but it’s not new.

  16. 16
    Cervantes says:

    @Honus:

    I said it twenty years ago when Gingrich became speaker : good. The more people see of him, the less popular he will be. He was gone in two years.

    I agree, except that it was four (very, very long) years, not two.

  17. 17
    the Conster says:

    but the grift money available to Democrats is almost all of the Third Way/Democratic Leadership Council variety

    and going to Harold Ford Jr. Is there any other reason he’s on that morning show?

  18. 18
    mclaren says:

    This points up the essential weakness of the Republican model of party organization. R’s view politics as a feeder tube for grifting and Ponzi schemes, whereas D’s actually view politics as the process of making public policy work.

    Newt Gingrich’s email feeds touting scams like “Obama’s secret mistress” and phony “cancer cures” represent the tip of a giant iceberg. Ron Paul has run the same kind of direct-mail con for decades, and before that Ronald Reagan ran the exact same kind of mailing-list scam to keep himself afloat in cash for many years between the collapse of his career as Bonzo the chimp’s co-star and his rise as Con Man In Chief. As others have pointed out, conservatism is mostly a con, and the base are the marks. No wonder Republican organizers can’t wait to get out of the organizing and start grifting.

  19. 19
    jibeaux says:

    @Mnemosyne: Not my district. Not doing any ratfucking. Can’t vote for any of them. Just wondering.

    Yes, got to love “San Francisco liberal” as code for gay. Somewhat tortured code, since unlike Renee Ellmers, Clay’s from around here and you can hear it every time he talks.

  20. 20
    Cassidy says:

    @mclaren: Man, you’re sexy when you’re lucid. ;).

    I’m kidding and your comment is spot on.

  21. 21
    Cervantes says:

    @J.Ty:

    They’ve been using “San Francisco liberal” to talk about Dems ever since Nancy Smash got her gavel… I mean, it’s a dog whistle, sure, but it’s not new.

    “San Francisco liberal” has been a slur used by Republicans since the Reagan era.

    You could say the Democrats (Fritz Mondale and company) invited it by holding their national convention there in 1984.

    You could say that, but I wouldn’t.

  22. 22
    J.Ty says:

    @Cervantes: Learning is fun! Thanks.

  23. 23
    Chris says:

    There’s plenty of grift available to Democrats too

    … but with Republicans, grift is a way of life.

    It’s a party that glorifies people for screwing others out of their money, from the Wall Street banksters treating the world economy like a casino to the ex-CEO of Bain Capital that they ran in 2012. (Say what you want about the old robber barons, at least their companies produced goods and services that were of use. The 21st century equivalent literally do nothing but grift. And the GOP praises them to the highest heavens for it).

    It’s also a party that’s become infamous for its tendency to shoot the messenger and its ability to blind itself to whatever it doesn’t want to hear. It’s not even just public policy debates like global warming and evolution anymore – in 2012 we saw that they now won’t even listen to polls on their own election campaigns if they tell them anything other than “you’re doing great!” In other words, it’s the most target-rich environment around.

    And you simply have to look at Fox News to see what happens to these hacks – as long as you’re wrong in the right way and with all the right people, there is no limit to how far you can go. The system will take care of you, no matter how badly you fuck up. Because in their own way, they’re all grifters too.

    The career opportunities the Republican Party offers political grifters are simply stupendous. The GOP is to them what Wall Street is to bankers, what Silicon Valley is to techies, what Hollywood is to actors. There’s no equivalent on the other side – even the Third Way/DLC community is a small town compared to the bustling metropolis that is movement conservatism.

  24. 24
    Chris says:

    FYWP (moderation edition).

  25. 25
    Tom Q says:

    @Cervantes: Actually, Jeane Kirkpatrick used it right after that convention. George Will applauded madly at her “piquant” description.

  26. 26
    Redshift says:

    @jl: I think it helped in the Virginia off-year elections, which are also low turnout. (Amusingly, when searching for statistics on that, the third and second Google results were a New Republic article from last May declaring that Virginia leans Republican in off years because of low non-white turnout, and an article from the day after the election about record turnout!)

    Part of it was certainly a good organizing effort, and I also feel that two successive Obama victories here have given minority voters a sense of their power to turn elections, and one you get a taste of that, you don’t forget it.

  27. 27
    John Dillinger says:

    It’s not just campaigns. Private sector compensation is so outpacing government gigs at the top end, I can’t see Republicans ever being able to fill all the political jobs if we are ever so unlucky to see them win again.

  28. 28
    Kay says:

    I still think Ruffini is dodging the work part of Obama’s campaigns.

    Funnily enough, I think the fact that he sells digital media may be why he refuses to address the part where you have to hire a lot of people who make 30k a year. It’s in his interest to ignore that. He isn’t selling that. No one really makes money off of hiring 400 organizers. Anyone can do it.

    I DO think it goes to culture. I think it goes to a culture that worships managers and “idea” people and completely ignores the vital contribution of all those people under the manager.

    This is a cultural difference:

    Republicans must look for new blood to fill this talent gap everywhere — from the libertarian-minded minority in Silicon Valley to corporate America. Republican donors should only invest in projects that focus on talent first. For tech startups that go big, it’s usually not because of the technology, but because of the team.

    He’s just talking about hiring better “top people” and he’s ignoring this:

    In swing-state Nevada, where Republicans had hoped the housing bust and vibrant Mormon community would lift Mitt Romney to victory, the totals were even more lopsided: 498 Democrats worked the state, to only 20 Republicans.

    20 people! They had all that money! Why didn’t they hire anyone besides managers? Because they don’t believe people who make 30k a year contribute anything towards a good result in an organization, but they do. They do all the work.

  29. 29
    ruemara says:

    @jibeaux: I ‘d encourage my conservative friends and neighbors to truly vote their conscience and vote for a real conservative this time. AND-my ass would be working overtime to get out the vote for Clay Aiken. His heart is in the right place, he’s a native son who’s done good and he wants to help all the people, not some. Go Clay! I hated your music, so I look forward to you being a Rep.

  30. 30
    Chris says:

    @mclaren:

    Basically what I said in moderation, but I wonder to what extent the base are still the marks. A couple things that were commented on here right after 2012 stuck with me; first, that Karl Rove’s shock at the election results was genuine, and second, that there were people running the local Romney campaign who seemed to be totally pulling numbers out of their ass (e.g. “oh yeah, we turned out 10,000 people in this district!”) At this point, it seems like everybody’s grifting everybody… and like the Karl Roves and Mitt Romneys of the world make just as wonderful, gullible marks as their voter base.

  31. 31
    ruemara says:

    @Kay:

    Because they don’t believe people who make 30k a year contribute anything towards a good result in an organization, but they do. They do all the work.

    Unfortunately, it sounds like local level democrats when they hold office.

  32. 32

    @Tom Q:
    It is critical to remember that in America at that time, ‘San Francisco’ meant ‘gay’. And the current Republican Party never left the eighties. Kinda creepy that way.

  33. 33
    Chris says:

    @Kay:

    I DO think it goes to culture. I think it goes to a culture that worships managers and “idea” people and completely ignores the vital contribution of all those people under the manager.

    Good point. Absolutely.

    The GOP has a terminal case of “too many chiefs and not enough Indians” (it shows up in their economics when their solutions to everyone’s poverty is “why don’t you just start your own business?” – as if you could build an economy with nothing but business owners).

    As translates to their politics… every eager Young Republican wants to be the next Very Serious Person who shapes an entire generation with his brilliance. None of them wants to be the guy doing the unglamorous, nitty-gritty, day-to-day shit like pounding the pavement, knocking on doors, making phone calls, writing and updating databases. After all, these people are drones. Losers. Deadbeats. Workers. People who aren’t smart and risk-taking enough to be the managers. Who wants to be one of them? Who wants all the other College Republicans pointing and laughing at you behind your back because you were one of them instead of doing something serious? Ick.

  34. 34
    J R in WV says:

    @mclaren:

    I’m a register Democrat, have always been, have never voted for any Republican since I registered to vote.

    I get phone calls from Newt Salamander every few weeks, asking me to listen carefully to the following message about (2nd amendment, North Korea is coming to get your guns!(Really!), abortion, Ds going to hell, all kinds of teabagger crazy stuff)

    I always carefully lay the phone down so as not to disturb the connection, so as to cost Newt’s org the maximum connection fees, and go away.

    I also get mailers from various wingnut groups, even the NRA…

    A waste of their money, so always happy to help!

  35. 35
    Kay says:

    @ruemara:

    It’s the cultural crisis of the US, don’t you think? He’s encapsulated the whole thing, if inadvertently :)

    They should do that. They should hire the “top teams” from Silicon Valley and the corporate world and then just have 9 “losers” going door to door, to cover… Nevada.

    Make them temps and don’t give them health insurance, just to complete the picture.

    This is a clue:

    “What is the third-party group that is equivalent to the labor movement on our side?” Lundry asked. “Is it the chamber? Probably not.”

    What would you say are some cultural differences between the labor movement the Chamber of Commerce? They didn’t follow that thought out :)

  36. 36
    mclaren says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I think the “San Francisco liberal” meme as a curse-word actually dates back earlier than that, to the 1960s. Remember where the sex-drugs-and-get-your-freak-on hippie stuff started? Haight Ashbury district, San Francisco.

    San Francisco since the sixties has been a code word among conservatives for “counterculture,” which is the Great Satan of all Republicans.

    The R’s aren’t just stuck in the eighties, they’re still battling the counterculture of the sixties. Except that by the 2010s, “counterculture” means pretty much whatever everyone under age 60 is doing: premarital sex, toking a little weed, using sex toys with the wife/girlfriend, watching a little kink on the internet.

    The Republican party is so far behind the times, it’s a wonder they haven’t campaigned on bringing back slavery and banishing the automobile in favor of horse-drawn carriages.

  37. 37
    Chris says:

    @mclaren:

    Except that by the 2010s, “counterculture” means pretty much whatever everyone under age 60 is doing openly and unashamedly: premarital sex, toking a little weed, using sex toys with the wife/girlfriend, watching a little kink on the internet.

    FTFY :D

    No one’ll ever convince me that the pre-1960 were any less prone to sex and drugs. Just, with a wink and a nudge and a “don’t tell the pastor” understanding (unless the pastor was involved as well, which wouldn’t surprise me either). The sixties “counterculture” just made it okay to be open about these things instead of everyone bullshitting for appearances’ sake.

  38. 38
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @mclaren: it’s a wonder they haven’t campaigned on bringing back slavery and banishing the automobile in favor of horse-drawn carriages.

    They’ll get there. First, ban those damn curly light bulbs, then we’ll see some real changes.

  39. 39
    Cervantes says:

    @Tom Q:

    Actually, Jeane Kirkpatrick used it right after that convention. George Will applauded madly at her “piquant” description.

    Yes, I remember. One-time socialist turned right-wing stalwart. Now there was a UN Ambassador, wasn’t there, who never lied about her talking points? I had the dubious pleasure once of taking her to a Glenn Gould performance.

    Anyhow, it was when the Republicans convened a month later in Dallas — Jeane was still a Democrat then, mind you — that she chastised “the San Francisco Democrats” because “they always blame America first.” Did George Will find it piquant? This I don’t remember precisely — but he would, wouldn’t he, insipid fool that he is?

    Strange looking back now.

    Wasn’t Charles Krauthammer still writing speeches for Mondale in ’84? I do believe so.

  40. 40
    Cervantes says:

    @mclaren: Actually, “liberal” wasn’t yet a curse-word in the ’60s. That came a bit later.

  41. 41
    Cervantes says:

    @Kay: Hilarious. Thanks.

  42. 42

    Wait, you can make almost 30K a year as a community organizer, if you’re willing to work for Satan’s policy preferences as a Republican?

    Hmm.

  43. 43
    Yatsuno says:

    A field-organizing roll

    Does it have poppyseeds?

  44. 44
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @J R in WV: Your comment gave me a much-needed belly laugh today ;-)

  45. 45
    Doug says:
    A field-organizing roll

    Does it have poppyseeds?

    @Yatsuno: It certainly doesn’t have a copyeditor.

  46. 46
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @mclaren:

    I think the “San Francisco liberal” meme as a curse-word actually dates back earlier than that, to the 1960s. Remember where the sex-drugs-and-get-your-freak-on hippie stuff started? Haight Ashbury district, San Francisco.

    As a supporting cite, I’d offer up “Okie from Muskogee,” released in 1969:

    We don’t make a party out of lovin’;
    We like holdin’ hands and pitchin’ woo;
    We don’t let our hair grow long and shaggy,
    Like the hippies out in San Francisco do.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Chris:

    … the Karl Roves and Mitt Romneys of the world make just as wonderful, gullible marks as their voter base.

    They were fed made-up-facts all the time by their chosen media sources. It catches up to you; allow yourself to believe a bunch of untrue things, and projections formed using that knowledge base will be wildly wrong. (None of us are immune to this.)

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