Thursday, December 09, 2004

Chose wisdom before wealth

Howard Dean has a column in The Hill today (man, for a "loser" he is certainly everywhere these days) in which he talks about the use of the web in politics (link). He points out what has become obvious to us but may still be lost on the older generation of political operatives: the web is more about organizing than raising money.

I am reminded of the story of how God offered the gifts of wisdom or wealth to Soloman. Soloman chose wisdom and that wisdom helped him to eventuallly achieve great wealth.

The web makes a similar offer to politicians: you could treat it as just another money source and it will probably work for you that way. But the much greater riches the web has to offer comes in the form of greater citizen involvement in your campaigns. That involvement has a greater capacity to spread your message, get out the vote and, ironically, increase your campaign contributions.

Put this way: you could spend $1,000 developing a web-site that will ask for contributions and will produce $10,000 in response. Or you could spend $1,000 developing a web-site that will encourage organization and involvement and will produce 1,000 volunteers who will spread your message to 10,000 voters who will contribute $100,000 to your campaign!

The message: if the message is good and the organization is good than the money will follow.

Now that's the kind of message legislators weary of constant glad-handing should welcome!


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