Project Wonderful

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Too Unlegit to Uncommit

Iowa Republicans are planning to revoke the uncommitted option in some counties after Occupy the Caucus announced its plans to caucus uncommitted in both the Democratic and Republican primaries.

For those unfamiliar, an uncommitted vote essentially means you show up at the caucus and vote for no one. You literally stand in a clump of people (or vote or whatever Republicans do) supporting "uncommitted" as if uncommitted were a person and you were his or her loyal fan. In 1972 and 1976 "uncommitted" won the Iowa caucus.

There are three main reasons to caucus uncommitted. One, as happened to my favorite Precinct Captain in 2008, is that you can't get enough votes to gain an additional delegate for your candidate, but you can combine with another group in a similar situation to keep the front runner from gaining said delegate. Second is that you would be happy to support any of the candidates in the general election and you want to participate in the party business that takes place at the caucus without stating a preference. Third, as is the case in question, is to show a vote of no confidence in the candidates being offered.

"If you're not satisfied with choices, not happy with the system, this is a way to have our voices heard," said Drew Vesey, a 24 year old activist who plans to caucus with the Republicans.

Again, I couldn't be more excited about the Occupy Movement's choice to bring the fight to the politicians. Maybe it's because I'm an election nerd but participating in the system to threaten re-election prospects resonates much more with me than the ill-defined goals and game plan of the earlier OWS movement.

The Story County Republicans are sore losers. Not that it's any surprise. 2011 has been a banner year for Republicans attempting to "legally" but unethically disenfranchise those who disagree with them. It's not as if Republicans didn't participate in the 2008 Democratic primary in order to deflect support from either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama depending on who they found less threatening. Perhaps if one of the country's two large political parties was not in the business of suppressing the rights and desires of a large and vulnerable chunk of the population, we wouldn't need the Occupy Movement in the first place.

If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the caucus.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mexican Politicians Need to Game the System

Here's the gist. Candidates are not allowed to campaign for the general election until March. However, they can campaign in the primaries, gaining exposure to the entire electorate, now. "Institutional Revolutionary nominee Enrique Pena Nieto and leftist Democratic Revolution Party nominee Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador are both running uncontested and their parties won’t be holding primaries....The ruling conservative National Action Party, however, has not chosen its candidate and the national electoral institute has said its three contenders can campaign for the party nomination until primary season ends in mid-February."

Now the other candidates are all "waaah it's not fair." If you ask me, The Institutional Revolutionary Party and the Democratic Revolution Party should have run puppet candidates in order to give their real candidates a national platform. Head in the game guys, head in the game.

Vaya Con Dios,

An Occupy Action I Can Get Behind...Sort Of.

Okay, so the protesters sound slightly like they're reading aloud from a Dr.Seuss book. They repeat like that in a ripple effect so that the entire crowd can hear them since they're not allowed to used a sound system. Occupy the Caucus is here!

I'm not a fan of the hyperbolic language they use:
"President Obama and the other bought-and-paid-for candidates who give us the brush-off when we try to ask real questions will be forced to hear us as we converge upon their campaign headquarters...we will chase the candidates and their Wall Street cronies around the state of Iowa, dogging their heels at all their black-tie dinners and staged media events, drowning out their empty rhetoric with the strong, clear message of the 99%."

However, there is one sentence in that I love, "We are taking American democracy back!" The difference between this and Occupy Wall Street is that they're bringing the movement to the source. They're doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing: holding elected officials and candidates accountable.

It's not just that I love crazy activists causing trouble at the caucuses that does not involve me. It's that, despite its insistence on working outside the system, the Occupy movement is starting to organize to have impact on elections.

"The presidential candidates – including President Barack Obama – are essentially representatives of the corporate agenda, not the people, because both political parties and their leadership are beholden to the same network of corporate campaign contributors, elite, wealthy donors, war profiteers, and army of big money lobbyists and special interest groups. Our electoral system naturally reflects this reality and the resulting public policy outcomes of each election cycle predictably serve the interests of big banks and multinational corporations before the interests of everyday people, hardworking families, and the environment...The only way to counter the power of organized money is with the power of organized people."

I hope the movement continues to move in that direction. All that energy for change in one place is too good an opportunity to waste for self-righteousness and lack of foresight.

Happy New Year from Putin!

"Honest presidential elections in 2012," Putin told reporters in Moscow today, when asked what he can offer to Russians as a New Year's gift. The premier said he was ready for dialogue with the country's opposition groups, though they need to articulate a coherent platform.

Even though he claims that the December 4th elections weren't rigged. Pro-tip, Puty Put, generally when someone offers us a gift, it's something they don't think we already have. Let's call a bear a bear.

С Новым годом!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Taking Back Religion: How did Mitt Romney Get on the Non-Crazy Side of Gay Rights?

Brought to my attention by JoeMyGod. Crazy ultra conservative rabbis denounce Mitt Romney a "homosexualist.*" There's really no reason to watch this video unless you have a soft-spot for hate speech.

That's right. This Mitt Romney:

I shudder to think what that would make me!

I'm pretty sure being the most pro-gay in the Republican primary is like being the slowest qualifier on the Olympic team. You still beat the pants off a normal person. In case anyone else is confused, neither religion nor political office entitles one to be a bigot.

For my friends in the sane community, I enjoyed Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism's Jewish Voter Guide. He does not advocate for a particular candidate or party, but rather a thoughtful political process.

"Jewish tradition offers us an ethical framework to guide our political thinking. And the values it teaches are clear: dignity of the individual, mentschlikeit (acting with integrity), and, above all, rachmanut (compassion). God is addressed as El Male Rachamim (God who is full of compassion). Compassion is what enables us to go beyond ourselves to the beating pulse of the rest of the world, to feel the pain that is not our own."

Whatever your religion, I think we could all benefit from a little more integrity and compassion in our political process.

Happy Chanukah!


*PS. "Gomosexualist" is the actual word for a gay person in Russian. That's not super related.I just think its funny.

And Speaking of Single Women...

So remember all that gossip about Newt Gingrich serving his first wife divorce papers in her hospital room? Remember how he claimed that it was the first wife who requested the divorce? Wah wah. CNN discovered that's not true.
“Defendant shows that she has adequate and ample grounds for divorce, but that she does not desire one at this time,” her petition said. "Defendant does not admit that this marriage is irretrievably broken.”
And WHY did Gingrich want a divorce?
"A confidant of the former House speaker also told CNN that Gingrich said he dumped Jackie Battley — his one-time high school geometry teacher — in 1980 because she wasn’t “young enough or pretty enough” to be First Lady."
First of all, geometry teacher? Second of all, ew. Someone explain to me why Anthony Weiner had to resign, but this guy gets to run for President. But wait, there's more!
Gingrich initially refused to pay alimony — a claim supported by the court papers — and a church had to launch a food drive for Battley and her two daughters.
But you know, marriage is between one man, three women a church yard sale and cancer, so heaven forbid two loving, non-superficial gay people do it. And I guess Newt's children must be lazy if they're accepting that welfare. I guess we should not be surprised that his ex-wife was sick considering Gingrich once claimed that women should not serve in combat because they are prone to infections. (And they might menstruate all over the ammo!)

Don't get me wrong, I am not one for voters becoming the sex police, but this is not a marriage/sex scandal. This is a hypocrisy scandal. This is a misogyny scandal. This is a dangerous, narcissistic man who does not believe that his ridiculous moral standards apply to him. It is, unfortunately, nothing new.

Monday, December 26, 2011

All My Single Ladies

According to to Greenberg Quinlan Rosner single women are one of the least enfranchised segments of our population.

"Unmarried women - who make up more than a quarter of America’s voting-eligible population -- today feel disengaged and alienated from politics and that threatens their participation in the next election, according to new focus group research."

It's not surprising. Off the top of your head, how many prominent single female politicians can you name? No matter how many sympathetic officer holders there are, it's hard to feel enfranchised by a government in which you can only go so far. That's why I'm such a big proponent of The White House Project, "a nonprofit leadership development organization that invites, inspires, and equips the next generation of diverse women...[single and otherwise]... to lead in business and politics." Please click on the link to check them out.

Without question, single women are marginalized in politics and in society. But the solution is not to become less involved, it is to become more so. Don't you think, backing down is exactly what they want?. At a time when Republicans are attempting to balance the budget by taking away our say over our own bodies and the only woman in the Presidential race is Michele Bachmann, single women need to be more involved now than ever. We need to continue to become candidates, fundraisers, and influencers until it is impossible to even think about winning an election without us.

As Rosie the Riviter would say, "We can do it!!"

Make your lady vote count!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Tis the Season

Ugly sweater party, Christmas eve 2007 with my beloved coworkers.

Me with said friend, Christmas 2007. Look at us! We were babies!

I had the absolute pleasure of visiting with one of my best friends from Edwards '08 this week.
We stayed up all night drinking beer, watching West Wing Christmas episodes and reminiscing about the good, the bad, and the ugly of our days in Iowa.

That Christmas my boyfriend drove my car off an icy road into a cornfield and a friendly neighbor rescued us with a tractor. Then we drove to a former naval officer's supporter housing, ate various kinds of greasy overcooked vegetables and pies, and watched a special on the top ten most unique McDonalds. It sounds like the last place I'd want to find myself now, but at the time it was perfect. It was our first day off in months and one of the last times we'd all be together.

A week later, we'd participate in the historic Iowa caucuses. Then I'd be off to South Carolina on a losing campaign and the rest, as they say, is history. Still, if I could go back in time to tell myself one thing about that cycle, it wouldn't be that Barack Obama would win the caucus or what a jerk John Edwards was. It would be to appreciate those moments because for all the craziness, the yelling, the poor planning and the frustration, I would never be a field organizer again... and as glad as I am to have grown up since then, there are some experiences you just can't have doing anything else!

My New Year's resolution is to spend less time worrying about the future and find more things to appreciate in the moment.

I am incredibly grateful for friends I've kept from campaigns and the new ones I've had the good fortune to meet this week.

Seasons Greetings and Campaign Love,

Watch this Christmas themed 2008 Caucus video! I couldn't find a way to embed it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Coffee Is for Closers Only

I had to share. This is sign hanging up in the Appleton, WI Recall Walker office. Love it. If you're a closer you should help them out.

(Click here for more info.)

Organizer Store- Holiday Edition 2011

What a year it's been! I can't believe it's been over a year since I've worked on a campaign! Grad school is incredible, but let's face it, nowhere near as incredible as my campaign family! This whole Gosling thing has reminded me of how special the people I work with are and how lucky I am to be a part of this community. I wish I could get these all, for all of you, but in true campaign fashion, I'm just going to encourage you to get some wealthy old volunteer (perhaps one who is so opposed to doorknocking he climbs down chimneys) to donate them. (And Click Here for last year's list!)

1.) The Democratic Dream Mug

Coffee is a Field Organizer's best friend. Now you can do your part to turn red states blue even as your pour yourself a mug! The map turns completely blue with heat! Big shout out to my friend (and sister), Arielle Jacobs who bought me this as a Secret Santa gift this year! From the aptly name Unemployed Philosophers' Guild.

2.) The Ostrich Head Pillow

I've often thought that campaign offices should have those cots in the back like they show in police stations in Law and Order, but that's not going to happen for a number of reasons. Behold the ostrich head pillow! Now you can nap through a conference call without ever leaving your desk! Also, I enjoy that it looks completely ridiculous.

3.) Organizer Wall Art
In case your organizer friend did not receive last year's t-shirt quilt, here's another do-it-yourself gift s/he might enjoy. Turn old campaign t-shirts into decorative keepsakes! Instructions here.

4.) Donation Alarm Clock
I posted about this over the Summer, but it deserves a second mention here. For the organizer who can't get herself out of bed in the morning, it's an alarm clock that donates money to organizations that you hate every time you hit the snooze. Kind of gives a whole new meaning to "when you're not working the other side is. "Also please note the "hateable" organization highlighted in the picture, it's like they were begging to be featured in the organizer store. As the product name suggests, you snooze you lose...literally.

5.) Doorknocking Mittens
A must-have for winter canvassing in Iowa! These are pretty pricey, but I'm pretty sure I bought mine for cheaper. Un-velcro the top to knock on a door, and then slip 'em right back on.

Hoping to have some more (potentially Gosling themed) gifts for you by the new year! Happy Holidays! Wishing you a 2012 filled with joy and success!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gosling goes Campaignsick

So in case you haven't heard, which is unlikely if you follow this blog, I made a Campaign Staff Ryan Gosling tumblr.

Various Gosling memes have been traveling the internet for weeks now, but I was particularly inspired when my classmate, Kelsey Keech created one for our public policy school.

Really, how could I have not done this before? It combines three of my favorite things: campaigns, puns, and off color humor! (Shirtless men talking about campaigns and puns are not half bad either.) Anyway the thing went viral. It was even shouted out by New Organizing Institute and VAN!

I got a reminder of the creativity and wit of my fabulous cohorts. Campaign people are some of the best and funniest people in the world! Here are some of my favorite posts:

You can get to the full tumblr by clicking on "Hey Girl" at the top of the page.

Peace, Love, and Walklists,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Supervillain or Newt?

Would that I could take credit for the funniest election related website today. Behold,! The site is exactly what it sounds like. You're offered 10 nefarious plans and you have to decide whether they were hatched by Newt Gingrich or a super villain. It's upsettingly difficult.

Yes, this is my second post in a row ragging on Newt Gingrich, but that's what you get for being the front runner.

Faithful Republican, Unfaithful Husband.

You can tell a lot about a person by who their friends are. Click to read the story behind the billboard.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Taking Back Religion: Weak

There's already a lot being said about this ad all over the internet, so I will let your own conclusions about what my thoughts might be. It is so offensive, such a parody of itself, that I would totally buy it as Jason Sudeikis in a wig.

My only explanation is that Rick Perry is throwing a Hail Mary, or as we liberals call it, a Homosexual Gaga.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

In Post-Soviet Russia, elections hold YOU

The director of internationally funded election monitoring organization, Golos (voice), has been detained in Moscow, on the eve of Russia's parliamentary election.

As my host mother in St.Petersburg brilliantly pointed out, "Voting for president in Russia like voting for the weather." Meaning you can vote, but good luck with that having an impact.

I'm not disputing that tomorrow's election will be transparently corrupt, but if Russia sent people to monitor OUR elections we'd be all "You're kidding, right?" It's corrupt. We know its corrupt. They know its corrupt. They know we know. Leave it alone.

Congolese citizens take voter protection into their own hands.

"Dear Ballot Box, I hope you will tell me a story with a happy ending on December 6. It is the one I wrote."

This article is a must read for people interested in first or post-conflict elections, or anyone who is considering not voting in 2012.
People die for the right to vote and have their vote counted, whereas so many Americans take it for granted.

Out of the Frying Pan?

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

This video is a pretty good primer on last week's Egyptian election. One thing they don't cover is that, for infrastructure reasons, the country is voting in three waves, divided geographically, so although it was an election to national parliament, the national election is not over. As predicted, the Muslim Brotherhood, an anti-Israel, sometimes anti-American, Islamist party took the most votes. Some protesters boycotted the elections saying that the military still held too much power, and that parties other than the Muslim Brotherhood had not had enough time to organize.

That's always a paradox that many Westerners don't consider in holding an election: Just because a country transitions from dictatorship to democracy, does not mean that it will necessarily share our values, which we saw as a concern during the Arab Spring. Moreover, the more democratic a state, the more free and fair its elections will be, but to be a true democracy, a country has to have had free and fair elections. At some point, you just have to hold the best election you can.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

No Public Funding for Presidential Elections

This would be huge news. Except there's no way anyone was going to win a Presidential with public financing anyway.