Last Thursday, DNC chair Tim Kaine invited several Black bloggers, including (site that shall remain nameless), to a meeting/conference call to discuss the DNC’s efforts “to inform, engage and empower voters” for the mid-term elections. Yours truly listened in on the conference call, and it wasn’t what I expected it to be. I was under the impression that it was going to be about what Black bloggers can do to help elect Democrats in November and help PBO, you know, like a strategy session, but it was basically a Black blogger presser with Mr. Kaine playing the role of Robert Gibbs and the “influential and prominent Black bloggers” playing the roles of April Ryan and Jake Tapper.
It started off with Mr. Kaine giving a rundown of the DNC’s goals for the mid-term elections — to re-connect with 2008 first-time voters, to increase outreach to the African American community, because our community will make the difference — and what they have achieved thus far — outraised the Republicans 5 months in a row and are en route to outraising them for a 6th consecutive month, haven’t accepted PAC money since Kaine became chair, PBO’s achievements, explanation of the new DNC website and its tools…etc.
Then he opened the floor for comments, and the majority of the questions/comments were either about policy, “What Have You Done For Black Folks Lately?” type questions or criticisms. Only one blogger, Deborah Hines of Legal Speaks and soon-to-be-writer for HuffPuff, asked a question concerning strategy, which was does the DNC plan on expanding its talking points mailing list to include bloggers. Kaine said that it was a good idea and he will consider it.
Kelli Goff from HuffPuffin asked a policy question. I was surprised she was invited because she’s a journalist from the mainstream media. A blogger from African American Pundit asked Kaine if PBO was going to do something specifically about Black unemployment (Kaine pushed back basically saying what we’ve been saying all along: PBO can’t make policy specifically for Blacks, that the policies he has implemented — HCR, Financial Regulatory Reform…etc. — will disproportionally help Blacks…etc.). CPL from JJP asked why the Dems, particularly the Blue Dogs, aren’t being more forceful in pushing the Dem message. Another blogger asked a question about small businesses. (Kaine said that now that financial regulatory bill has passed, and Austan Golsbee is head of the WH Council of Economic Advisors, the focus will shift from financial policy to small businesses). Another blogger asked if there was a rift between the DNC and OFA. The folks from Politic365 were there and their questions were policy focus, with one of the questions being about how can PBO be more engaged with the Black community to avoid Adrian Fenty’s fate. Someone from Blogging While Brown asked about having a larger presence of Black bloggers at the DNC convention in 2012.
Needless to say, I was disappointed. IMO, these Black bloggers didn’t come to this conference call looking for ways to help PBO and the Democrats, they came looking for a story to blog about and to say they met with Tim Kaine to up their blogging credentials, or to front like they told the DNC about themselves. For example, CPL’s post about the event came across as being all about how she and other Black bloggers took it to Kaine and the DNC.
The caliber of bloggers who attended. They’re guaranteed to get the word out, but we all let the Governor and the DNC staffers know – “DON’T TRY TO PIMP US AND LEAVE US HANGIN’”
BULLSHIT. This convo NEVER HAPPENED on the conference call. Everyone was cordial and professional, prefacing their questions with, “Thank you for inviting us”. There were no Billy Bad Asses in attendance. Besides, the only word that they’ve gotten out is “Obama ain’t shit!”. But I digress…
We spent the rest of the meeting with the Governor’s staff, but the most prolific comment came from Deborah Hines of Legal Speaks, and she said this directly to Gov. Kaine:
“The Democratic Party is not telling the STORY so that voters GET IT. You can’t throw a laundry list of accomplishments at voters and hope they’ll remember what you did. Nor can you be aloof or out of touch with the base that got you to the dance. It was Mayor Fenty’s downfall, so hopefully, the POTUS is paying attention.”
This must’ve happened after the conference call was over, because this wasn’t said during the call. And what’s with the bs comparisons to Adrian Fenty? Black bloggers really need to stop spreading that mainstream media talking point.
CPL says that PBO and the DNC need to “learn to tell the story”, well, what about her and the rest of the Black blogosphere? Why didn’t she mention that Kaine said the DNC was on it’s way to out raising the GOP for the 6th month in a row? Or that the DNC is working heavily with OFA to get those first time ’08 voters to head to the polls? (And why is she acting like Howard “I Actually Approve of The Tea Party” Dean is acting like loyal soldier?)
I ain’t mad at Tim Kaine, the DNC and OFA. For MONTHS, Black bloggers have complained and accused the White House and the DNC of ignoring Black people and the Black blogosphere and taking us for granted, yet when given the space and opportunity to help PBO, they act like the White House press corps.
So, I say all this to say: Just because a blog/blogger describes itself/himself/herself as “African American” or “Black” doesn’t mean they have President Obama’s or our community’s best interest in mind.
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