This was originally posted at Howard-Empowered People, after commenter Barry posted a  link to the article Joe Trippi’s Renaissance in the comments. That link didn’t work for some reason, but I was intrigued enough to go track down one that did. Ah, where to start…

This cycle, three presidential candidates courted him. He signed on with ex-Sen. John Edwards after bonding with Elizabeth Edwards — there’s a whole separate story here about how he’s fitting in. But he’s in. That “Hair” video — vintage Trippi. Edwards hired Trippi in part because Iowa is Trippi’s specialty — he helped Walter Mondale and Dick Gephardt win the caucuses — and Edwards needs to win the caucuses.

Well, obviously I can’t let the words “Iowa is Trippi’s specialty” pass without comment. Let us all take a moment and think back fondly to the magic that Joe worked for the Dean campaign in Iowa. Oh, wait…
As far as the “Hair” video, I did see it, and agree that it was clever, but as one of the people who commented on the Trippi article remarked, it came too late.  Now that sounds familiar–raise your hand if you remember being frustrated with the Dean campaign’s sluggish response to the “scream” story.

Here’s something else I remember from the months leading up to the 2004 primaries. I remember, for the first time in my life, actually donating to a political candidate. Not only that, but putting up a “bat” and actually soliciting donations. That is so not me. But I believed in Dean. And I believed that I was part of a “people powered” campaign. I remember many other people feeling the same. For example, “Ramen for Dean”–someone was going to eat Ramen for lunch and donate the savings to the campaign. At least that’s my recollection. The point is, people made real sacrifices.

But ultimately, we were not really “shareholders” in the campaign. Many of us balked when the official ads started going negative. We were disappointed in general with the low quality of the ads, and begged anyone who would listen to use some of the ideas that we in the grassroots were offering for free. Like the “Who we are” ads some of us made in response to that dreadful ad the Club for Growth ran against Dean in Iowa. Begged “anyone who would listen”…ah, there’s the rub. The article goes on to say

The small-dollar Internet donor base attracted by the Dean and flogged relentless by Trippi has transformed the party’s fundraising. Democrats actually counterpunch these days. Every single campaign uses Trippi-patented tactics to raise money. The men and women Joe Trippi cultivated on Dean’s staff have stormed the gates and occupy positions of power in major party and campaign offices.

More “gate storming”, huh? Much like the “gate crashing” that the proprietor of Daily Kos touts, the ordinary people are still stuck outside those gates. It’s all well and good for the campaign professionals to pat themselves on the back for the “genius” of soliciting small donations from the teeming masses. But if that’s all you want from us, and you’re not going to listen to our ideas or be prepared to answer to us when you make bad choices in the way you spend the money we donated…well, we might just decide we can put that money to better use.

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