One of the things I’ve been both surprised and amused by is how many project things upon bloggers–ones people like they tend to think they share almost all the same attitudes and ones they dislike they tend to ascribe all bad things to.
And some of the comments lately bring me back to this. First, in terms of unity, there are times I might try and figure out how to do that, but even though I call myself a partisan blogger, that doesn’t mean I don’t make observations regardless of how uncomfortable they might make some.
Part of what I think has made ArchPundit somewhat interesting to read if you are a complete political dork is that I do more than just argue from a partisan viewpoint. I do race analysis and I attempt to put events in a larger context. Many probably think I do a bad job at that even, but it’s part of the point of ArchPundit to me.
So with that goes criticizing people I like or generally find to be similar to me in viewpoint. It happens a lot, but usually people notice when I’m talking about candidates they are closely tied.
A recent exmple would be my criticism of John Sullivan’s fundraising. I like John and his campaign for several reasons, but his fundraising came up short and I can’t say much more than it was inadequate. I think John understood that too.
But when I make observations about campaigns I don’t think it does any good to not point out the problems (as well as good signs) regardless of whether I like them, hate them or am relatively neutral.
Specifically with the Cegelis campaign if you look at the criticisms I made, it was after the third quarter report came back with high spending. Before then I was relatively positive about the fundraising. In some posts I made clear points about why I thought the spending was problematic and I don’t see the snarkiness many say they saw. I know when I said the toast line it was much later and the pattern wasn’t changing. That was snarky, but that was after pointing out the issue many, many times.
And there’s a good reason to point out these things–one is that if you value grassroots campaigning, pointing out when it’s done well and not done so well allows people to see that grassroots isn’t just a euphemism for no cash and no chance.
One of the criticisms I heard filtered down from donors and from donors in the case of Christine is that the financial plan wasn’t clear and so some were reluctant to donate. I tend to think public reasons for donating are different than real reason. Most of the time donors give because they have a feeling. Not having been in those conversations I can’t say whether it was accurate or not, but from the patterns in the FEC reports, there seems to be evidence that this wasn’t baseless.
None of this says that the hard work done on Christine’s campaign was wasted or dumb or anything of the sort–mistakes belong to candidates and campaign staff–though staff is secondary to the candidate. It doesn’t make Christine dumb or useless either–it just says that there were some serious flaws in that campaign from strategic choices made. And the most recent points were made in conjunction with the Duckworth campaign.
AFSCME and SEIU were heavily involved in Duckworth’s campaign and they are another form of grassroots action, but done differently from the volunteer mode.
The problem as I see it is that the home grown organization and two of the best Illinois unions at organizing voters didn’t reach as many as I’d hope for in an increasingly competitive district. Just as I don’t think that makes SEIU useless, it doesn’t make Christine’s campaign useless, but it does mean Democrats still aren’t getting this right.
Getting back to my main point, if you enjoy it when I criticize or make fun of other candidates, you have to understand your candidate is fair game too.
Finally, while there are a lot of raw nerves, and those who have made it the center of their lives for the last several months, this isn’t the most acrimonius of primaries. No FEC complaints floating about, no personal attacks from the candidates, and no gloating from the winning candidate.
I’ve seen all those in a campaign I was very close with some similar dynamics to this race and I did get over it and even did some postings for Russ Carnahan after that race. That doesn’t mean I think people should run out and jump up and down for Duckworth if they were Cegelis supporters, but give it some time. Some will find it okay, others may not. That’s okay, find a different campaign you do feel good helping out. I will say that if you are a voter in IL-6 there is a tremendous difference between Duckworth and Roskam.
I’m probably cynical enough that I forget people don’t expect to get screwed in a political campaign. I’m also cynical enough to think that whether someone is really screwed over is largely relative. You do much better expecting to get the raw end of the deal and figuring out how to get around it than complaining about it. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t complain or work to change what you don’t like, but it shouldn’t swamp the message or the plan.
I’m excited about the 6th District race. I think we have some real problems figuring out how to effectively reach likely Democratic voters, but this should be a fun one to watch.