Pelosi: I want money. Dean: I want help
Before I get into this I want to make something clear: I am a fan of Nancy Pelosi and I am grateful that she is applauding the ascendancy of Howard Dean to Chairman of the Democratic Party.
Having said that, though, I would like to use a recent email solicitation from her for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to illustrate an important point. First of all, here is the text of the email (I can't find a hard link for it):
On Saturday we elected a great Democrat as the chairman of our Party -- Howard Dean. Governor Dean has used the power of technology, the force of his personality, and the depth of his ideals to energize the grassroots, and bring more people into the political process.
I have seen Howard Dean's campaign strengths firsthand as he traveled across the country for House Democrats -- organizing voters and raising money. I have seen people who have stood in driving rain for hours to hear his message. We all thank Governor Dean for his enthusiasm and support for our candidates.
This is a critical time for our Party.
Governor Dean joins the DCCC's new Chairman Rahm Emanuel as a pair of visionaries who are already working quickly to reform our party and refine our message.
Our new Chairmen need you on board. The 2006 elections have already begun. We need the support of loyal Democrats like you to continue in our fight.
Please renew your support in the DCCC today.
Democrats are shaking up the status quo, reaching outside the Beltway for ideas and direction, and striving to strengthen the bonds with the great citizens of this country. We will restore a government that protects the interests of the people against the massive special interests that would use government to gouge them - rather than the other way around. You want real reform, and we will bring it to you. But we can only do it with your help.
We will fight together, and together we will prevail!
House Democratic Leader
Now, compare this with the recent "Message from Gov. Howard Dean". You can read the whole message here.
Notice that both messages are interspersed with hyperlinks. However, while the links in Pelosi's message lead to a contribution form for the DCCC, the links in Dean's message lead to page describing his plan for the DNC and asks for our help in making the plan work. Pelosi's message is a solicitation for money. Dean's message is a solicitation for help. Which message sends the message that the Democratic party wants its supporters to become more involved?
Dean understands something that Pelosi and others need to learn: in the Democratic party, money from the grassroots comes as a result of a feeling of involvement. Dean raised so much money in 2003 because he made people feel like they had an important part to play in his campaign. They became invested personally in that campaign. As such, when it came time ask for money, the bucks flowed in like manna from heaven.
Pelosi needs to learn to trust that we will come through for the Democrats when the money is needed. Until then, she needs to solicit our involvement first before she starts passing around the hat.
A beautiful metaphor from commenter bink over on dKos, "Pelosi's letter is a "hunter-gatherer" attempt. Forage where you remember you were last able to find food. Dean has reached the "agriculture" stage. Plant a field. Watch it grow. Reap a harvest."