Back in April, the chairman of the NH Democrats told the party faithful,
“I truly believe in grassroots effort.”
Of course he does, and why not? Who is a better example of the fruit of grassroots work than Chairman Ray Buckley? First by gaining that very seat despite pressure resulting from some personal matters caught on video tape; followed by his management of the first complete takeover by Democrats of the state’s Legislative Branch in combination with the Governor’s office after generations of Republican domination. Given this, the Republicans need to listen when he speaks and understand his strategy as they witness it playing out against them.
“people or society at a local level rather than at the center of major political activity.”
In his April pep-talk, he told Democrats that
“If you look at the voting results of twenty or thirty years ago, it doesn’t look like the same place it is today.”
Gee, I wonder why? After years and years of complacency on the part of the Republicans in charge of things here in the state, they got soft. Tolerating the numerous RINOs (Republican In Name Only) that came to populate their ranks, they got to a point where they were unable, despite a “majority,” to actually run the state in a sound, conservative manner.
When Craig Benson held the Corner Office, and the GOP controlled the House and Senate, did Claremont get resolved? Did government shrink in any substantive way? Did basic, time-tested educational basics get reintroduced into the state’s government schools via policy and local control encouragements? Was there more openness and transparency in the whole business of running the varied levels of government? The answer to all of those questions is “no.” The Republicans came to offer nothing new and innovative for the matters that voters cared about. That, coupled with the disastrous albatross that was the Bush Administration and its lack of progress or explanation for the war, provided the recipe for the disaster that came about last November on Election Day.
Six months ago, Chairman Buckley told Lakes Region Democrats about his plan to manage the grass roots effort he so truly believes in, planning for future Election Day successes:
“We are hiring full time staff with nothing else to do. They’re not going to be involved anywhere else in the state—not going to do anything else. Their full time job is going to be working with the county committees.”
He then reiterated the state party’s commitment:
“There will be one full time person in the county that will be available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for the next year and a half to help organize– to work with you.”
Now, I’m reasonably well-connected to the Republican Party, but, unless I missed it, I know of nobody available to help 24/7. I know that Fergus Cullen is making an effort, but a lack of money in the coffers keeps him from matching the Dems worker for worker. That shouldn’t stop the grass roots from being cultivated, but yet for the Republicans, inexplicably, it has– Especially when we consider those who represent us at the state level. Let’s face it, in order for the “grass roots” to become active and energized, they need something to get excited about. It is hard to build support, recognition and strength when moving into an election cycle if you are continually absent from the scene.
The way the Democrats have done it is simple. In addition to the organization and direction provided by full-time, paid party workers, the leaders they have are always front and center making their case. Hardly a day goes by without one of them being reported on in one of the several newspapers, or they write a letter or op-ed piece promoting some issue or cause, their past accomplishments and future plans—all bearing their name. This steady drumbeat builds name recognition and the appearance of always working to get things done.
Sunday, our District’s Congresswoman, Carol Shea-Porter, was here in Laconia for a town hall style meeting. You know the drill—the featured speaker gives a short speech that is followed by audience questions. Generally unscripted, the answers given to questions asked by ordinary people quite often reveal much that goes unreported in the ordinary course of the news that gets out to the masses. It is a great opportunity to put politicians on the spot, forcing them to reveal positions that might otherwise remain hidden. Not a single prominent Republican “leader” showed up Sunday to take on Carol Shea-Porter. Other than questions asked by me and my Blog partner Skip Murphy, there was nary a dissenting word spoken. Media reports imply that the general feeling with Shea-Porter is satisfaction. Otherwise, people would show up and say otherwise, right?
Six months ago, Chairman Buckley promised to work 24/7 for the next 18 months till the election. His plans have been laid and set in motion. What have the Republicans been doing? Said Buckley in April:
“If we organize up here, and we carry the numbers I know we can carry, we’re going to have some great victories.”
What are the Republicans saying? If you listen very carefully, you’ll hear crickets chirping…