Monday, May 23, 2005

Hands Across the Border: ''Thoughts from the DFO Summit''

Democracy for Oregon met this last weekend: "This weekend I attended the Democracy For Oregon Progressive Leadership Summit. Here are some of my quick thoughts on what I heard: Jim Dean was the first keynote speaker. He really does sound a lot like his brother. He is fully on board with DFA as a vehicle for doing for the Democrats what Ralph Reed did for the Republicans in the 80s and 90s. He described several examples of how DFA efforts boosted Democrat efforts nationwide. He pointed out how DFA helped candidates as much by getting volunteers out for their campaigns as they did giving them money. Probably even more so. He talked about how even a "losing" race can boost Democrats when a competitive candidate can bring 1000 more Democrats to the polls who will also vote for other candidates on the ticket. My thoughts: We have to redefine our conception of "winning" and "losing" beyond the simple calculus of who actually comes out on top in any particular race. I have always said that Howard Dean did not "lose" the race in 2004 since his primary purpose in entering the race was to change the direction of the party (he never really expected to get the nomination). Few would argue that he failed in that goal. Therefore Howard Dean was a winner.

For the afternoon session I attended the "how to deal with the right-wing hate machine" panel with Thom Hartmann. Thom talked about the state of progressive radio today and where it might be heading in the near future. Progressive radio is one of the hottest commodities in the radio bizz today. EVERYONE is interested in it. Air America and Ed Schultz have proven that there is a market for it. We will soon start seeing major radio markets with MULTIPLE progressive stations (Thom said that an announcement of such was already imminent). Once that starts to happen, and it proves to be commercially successful, the impetus will be there for the development of a 24 hour cable news channel to counter FOX. This could all happen within the next 2-3 years."-from the Interesting Times blog.

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