Project Wonderful

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Thank you to everyone who voted for me for the Most Valuable Organizer Award! And sorry for spamming your facebook walls. Voting is now closed. I doubt I'll win but, and I mean this in all sincerity, knowing 130 people took the time to vote for me (and that people actually read my blog) feels like a prize unto itself!

If you are going to Rootscamp this weekend and want to blog about it here, please let me know.

Have fun!


Euglogising Elizabeth

nb: I deleted this post because I thought it was too harsh in light of her death less than 24 hrs after I wrote it. Then, after reading facebook messages from my former colleagues, I thought the best tribute I could pay would be to put it out there honestly.

Normally, I don't think I have the right to weigh in on public figures' personal troubles, but Mrs.Edwards played such a profound role in the shaping of who I am, that I feel somewhat justified.

Elizabeth Edwards lent a narrative element to my life. I identified with her because she was sick. I imagined myself playing first lady to a more charismatic, less intelligent politician, sacrificing my career and my sense of self for the cause. That didn't work out so well for her, and there but for the grace of God go I.

When I met her, she wasn't particularly nice to me, but how nice would I have been to someone praising my husband who had cheated on me while I had cancer and was now asking me to keep it a secret?

Finally, when John Edwards let the other shoe drop and admitted to having an affair, Paul Krugman said this. I would argue it is even more true of Mrs. Edwards. I always got the feeling that she was pushing her husband to be more progressive:

"One more thing: if we do get real health care reform, a lot of people will owe a debt of gratitude to none other than John Edwards. When Mr. Edwards dropped out of the presidential race, I credited him with making universal health care a “possible dream for the next administration.” Mr. Edwards’s political career is over — but perhaps he and his family can take some solace from the fact that his party is still trying to make that dream come true."

Of course, when it comes to that family and gut instincts, I've been wrong before. Mrs. Edwards could be a power grabbing, money grubbing superficial jerk. Maybe she is a jerk, but a progressive one. We've all known a few of those. Like so many people and things from that time, it isn't just black and white (or red and blue). Being sick, after all, doesn't necessarily make one a good person...but it does serve as a reminder that we're human. And so, if only for my own sake, I'm choosing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Whatever her motivations, Elizabeth Edwards didn't intend this to be her legacy. I'm guessing she had higher hopes for her marriage, her political ambitions, her family. I'm guessing she thought her sacrifices would be worth it. If one or two things had gone differently, she might have been right. Can I really blame her for misjudging John Edwards? After all, so did I. She was progressive, smart, ambitious and had a compelling personal story. Maybe she should have run for office.

So there's a lesson to be learned: Better to make it on your own than with someone who doesn't deserve you. I hope her generation is the last generation of women to have to learn this the hard way.

For all her faults, I'll choose to remember her for what she meant to me at the time and what she could have been.

I feel for you, Elizabeth Edwards, and I honor your legacy. I hope that you and your family find peace.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mark Dayton, Uffda!

In case you haven't heard, Mark Dayton has officially won the Minnesota Governor's race.

Congratulations to Gov-elect Dayton and to the wonderful activists who made it happen!

No matter how many recounts they go through, DFLers will always have a special place in my heart!

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's about damn time.

New Yorkers lobby for early voting, same day registration, etc.

Because we are 47th in voter turnout. Ya think?

Organizer Store- Holiday Edition

Is there a special organizer in your life? A boss who has been an inspiration to you in the past year? An ill advised campaign relationship that you have decided to extend into the holidays?

What to get for the Organizer who has everything?

Sure, you could go the traditional stocking stuffer route, but why not get her something that shows that you really get her?

Behold, the organizer's wish list...

1) A T-shirt Quilt. Between my sorority days and the various campaigns I've worked on, I can barely see my floor for the t-shirts strewn all over it. Memories too precious to throw away and too ratty to wear as anything other than pajamas, what more practical way to preserve and display them than a cuddly blanket? Campusquilts is the company I found through Google, but I am sure there are many companies that do this. Simply select a background color and send them your t-shirts and they take care of the rest! If your time vs. money equation works out so that you want to attempt your own and you have the artistic talent, there are instructions to make a T-shirt quilt here.

2) Campaign Barbie! Okay, technically, Barbie for President. They come out with one every year of a Presidential election. This is a link to buy it on, but a friend got me mine at a thrift store. If your organizing friend is a lady who can get rough and tumble with the boys but still likes to slip on a dress every once in a while, this is a gift that she can kept on her desk year round to remind her that you appreciate her for the special blend that she is.

3) Speaking of special blends, Starbucks Via. I'm a big fan of creature comforts and of Starbucks coffee. The great thing about these instant coffee packets is that you can keep them in your glove compartment, in true organizer fashion, and have access to good coffee anywhere. If your friend doesn't already have one, you can pair this gift with a Starbucks Gold Card loaded with an amount of your choosing. With discounts on refills and syrup plus a free drink every 15 purchases, it's the gift that keeps on giving! (Both available at

4) For the truly decadent operative, why not a Swavorski Crystal Clipboard? This company makes them for race cars, but there's no reason you can't get one made for campaign purposes. Because it's totally impractical and will wind up breaking you say? Okay, but is jewelry really any better? Just think of all the opportunities she will have to show off this gift to her coworkers. This is personalized bling that she will get use out of and won't give her the momentary heart attack that she's being proposed to.

I realize these gifts lean lady-centric, so feel free to send suggestions for gender neutral gifts.

Until then, happy holidays!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ivory Coast Update

NYT Article Here.

Two parallel governments in a steel cage death match. Who will prevail? Stay Tuned...

Friday, December 3, 2010

'Tis the season for street canvassers

How do you deal with street canvassers?

You know, the people who stand on the sidewalk and ask you for money for Greenpeace, Planned Parenthood and the like.

Whenever I am walking with a friend and we're approached by a person holding a clipboard, I can almost hear my companion's inner monologue, "Please don't stop Nancy, don't do this...ugh here she goes."

As someone who has had to approach people on the street on a professional basis, I can't bring myself to bristle by. Comedy promoters maybe, but political fundraisers never. At the same time I am not willing to give them money. For one, if I have time to be walking leisurely down the street, I am likely unemployed at the moment. Second, call me paranoid, but I am not giving my credit card number to a stranger in a red vest. And, third, on advice of my favorite financial expert, Suze Orman (a big contributor to progressive candidates) , I plan my giving carefully, and according to this article, only 8% of money raised through Grassroots Campaigns goes back to the client organizations.

So, what to do? I stop and smile and firmly state that I will not give them money. Usually it sounds something like this "Hi, Cameron, nice to meet you. I am happy to sign a petition if you have one, but I am unemployed and I won't be able to give you money." If they push, I state again "I hear you, but there is no way I am able to give you money today."

It may sound harsh, but my rationale is that by being firm, yet polite, I am acknowledging that they are a person with a legitimate request and am not wasting their time. It's the most I could hope for in a similar position.

Do you guys feel guilt and camaraderie in this situation? I would love to get feedback from someone who has actually done this job. Am I right, or am I being the worst cross between a field organizer and a New Yorker?

What do you think?



According to this article, 17% of votes cast in New York City in the midterms were not counted.

Not that I should be surprised. Check out this post from the primary to read my feelings on the subject.

When, when, when are we going to figure this out?

And you thought we were a mess...

Elections were held in the Ivory Coast last week after being delayed for FIVE YEARS.

"The winner should already be known. But on Tuesday night, with reporters looking on and television cameras rolling, an electoral commission member with ties to President Laurent Gbagbo grabbed sheets of voting results as they were about to be announced. He crumpled them, then angrily tore them up...Troops have been summoned to this commercial capital. A 7 p.m. curfew, strictly enforced, has been proclaimed. Normally teeming streets were deserted on Wednesday, except for armed soldiers and United Nations forces."

This article is really interesting as is this more recent one in which the election council declares current President Gbagbo the winner in a decision rejected by the UN.

I'm going to spare you my trite commentary on the peaceful transfer of power, (I get chocked up when I imagine the exchange between George Washington and John Adams) and just leave you with the suggestion that this story is one worth following.

Mad Hater

The President of the Tea Party thinks only the landed gentry should vote.

"The Founding Fathers originally said, they put certain restrictions on who gets the right to vote. It wasn't you were just a citizen and you got to vote. Some of the restrictions, you know, you obviously would not think about today. But one of those was you had to be a property owner. And that makes a lot of sense, because if you're a property owner you actually have a vested stake in the community. If you're not a property owner, you know, I'm sorry but property owners have a little bit more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners."- Judson Phillips

I think my favorite part of this quote is the nonchalance with which he addresses the voting rights of say...African Americans and Women, like "some we wouldn't think of today, but really whatever."

Interpreting The Constitution this way is the same as interpreting The Bible to justify homophobia. As long as we're taking the cafeteria approach, it seems obvious to me that we should lean toward the spirit of a document (compassion, equality, etc) and not the antiquated bigotries of a particular time. But hey, that's me. What do I know? I'm a woman.

Besides Women and African Americans some other groups that would not be able to vote under this "strict interpretation" students, anyone who rents their apartment, many people in the armed forces, people who live in a home owned by their spouse, senior citizens in nursing homes...

Granted, this plan would out work well for Judson Phillips and his cohorts. So I propose this: we put his plan to a vote, but first my plan to require an intelligence test before registering. Obviously, this is not something which I would actually advocate, but neither would Mr. Phillips, for very different reasons.