WHY A PAC?
If you've checked the Blue America ActBlue page in the last couple of days, you may have noticed a new addition. That ain't no candidate's face the second from the top. No, it's the graphic symbol that our sometime art director, Adam, did to represent our "campaign" theme sung by Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Maxwell and Ken Mosher, "Have You Had Enough?"
If you look at the totals, you'll notice that so far our netroots efforts at Firedoglake, Crooks and Liars and DWT have aggregated nearly $170,000 for our candidates. The median donation is around $30. That's what the power of a lot of dedicated, idealistic people can do. Much of that total is due to the concerted efforts we make every weekend at our candidate forums, where our communities come together with a different progressive Democrat each Saturday at 2 PM (est) to hear about the races and ask questions of the candidates. (All are archived here and I would encourage you to read through the exciting, fascinating sessions.)
But something else came out of one of the sessions. We were talking with Larry Kissell (NC-08) when fellow Tar Heel, Tom Maxwell made a contribution and later offered to lend his considerable musical talents to our efforts. Discussion later revealed that he was one of the key songwriters from the late, great Squirrel Nut Zippers. He and his partner in MaxwellMosher, Ken Mosher (another SNZ alum) offered to write and record a song for our campaign to clean up Congress. Another dedicated progressive musician, Rickie Lee Jones, joined them to record the song. All three have written about why they became involved.
Now it's getting played on some radio stations and online and it's working its way around the blogosphere. Mike McIntee, a supporter of one of our favorite candidates, Coleen Rowley (MN-02), has gone ahead and used the song for a little video. It's a hoot:
A John Laesch supporter is doing another one as we speak. A Jerry McNerney supporter who works as a dj is doing a re-mix with soundbytes from Dirty Dick Pombo. We love all that stuff. And Blue America has a plan for a next step too. And that's why we started the PAC. The PAC allows us to raise and spend as much money as we can, not for candidates per se but to get our 30-second spots on the radio. Unlike the full song, the 30-second spots don't say "It's time to throw the rascals out." They are geared towards each specific district and each mentions the local rascal that it's time to throw out, be it Kline in Minnesota, Brown-Waite in Florida, Doolittle in California, Kuhl in New York or Mean Jean Schmidt in Ohio.
The PAC wasn't easy to set up. My bank manager resisted for weeks, actually telling me that the bank didn't want anything to do with-- he said couldn't have anything to do with-- embarrassing President Bush! And there's so much paperwork! But now it's set up and ready to collect and disburse contributions. Do you want to help? Well, the obvious way is to send some dough, either at that link or by check to Blue America, P.O. Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027. But there's something else we need from you.
Because we're an official PAC now, the FEC doesn't allow us to coordinate anything with any of the campaigns. If you live in one of the districts for one of our candidates, we need volunteers who will help us figure out which local radio stations will be most effective. Suggestions and ideas for a grassroots endeavor like this are not just welcome; they are crucial. Meanwhile, send your friends and family and colleagues to our MySpace page to listen to the song and download it and read more about it.