Sunday, June 15, 2008

Logistics

If the DNC has already relocated to Chicago, as reported by the commenter Molly in the Hillary Clinton Forum, then the plan to move was approved months ago.

I've been involved in the merger of two good sized US corporations. It's not something that can be done at the drop of a hat. Costs have to be scoped, budgets established, plans made, landlords current and prospective contacted, vendors hired, bills paid, accounts closed in DC and opened in Chicago, equipment purchased, staff relocated, reassigned and/or terminated, letterhead and business cards printed, signage created, phone service changed, and that's just the stuff off the top of my head.

I'm not buying the claim that it was a recent decision, quickly executed. Who knew about the merger and when did they know it what remains to be unearthed. Not a word of this was out in the blogs or in the news before this week thatI am aware of. How did such a major logistical operation remain under wraps?

This casts the repeated insistence that Florida and Michigan not be allowed to change the outcome in a new light. If the DNC had agreed to relocate, but Obama lost the nomination, that would have made for a lot of explaining as to the DNC itself taking sides. It also makes the silence of top party leaders over the brutal treatment of Hillary by the press more explicable - they needed her to lose in order to give their own machinations some cover.

Over the last few months I have tried to express my concerns for what the Obama campaign is doing to the Democratic Party. While I am a dyed in the wool Hillary supporter, my objections to what Dean, Pelosi, Reid, Kennedy, Obama, et. al., are doing to the party are swiftly growing larger than whether or not Hillary was treated fairly in the campaign or even whether she was cheated out of the nomination. We are talking about a hostile takeover of the party.

Anglachel

Update: I've been getting some comments and emails that indicate people are confused about the DNC move. So am I. That's why I'm taking my time thinking about it. My first alert to it came from Riverdaughter's post on the Confluence, Hmmm, this is not a good way to achieve Unity, which references a Politico post on the matter. I've seen a few oblique references in new reports, and oddly enough a few political cartoons talking about the move. I read blog posts, most of which reference RD's post or the Politico post. What I'm trying to do is consider the behavior of DNC actors over the course of the campaign in light of the news that a merger has occurred.

Not everything has been or will be shut down in Washington - that was part of the Politico post. There is still staff in DC and the national phone number still works. There are probably legal reasons as well as organizational ones to maintain a formal headquarters. Referencing the merger I was part of, the original company was sold to an international firm which was in turn sold to an American industry competitor. There are still offices in the original location and at the international location, all the brand names are intact, most consumers have no clue that a merger took place, but the business is now run from the headquarters of the final purchaser.

My point here is that the political operations have been merged with a specific candidate's campaign (See post Representation) and that this merger cannot have been considered, agreed to and implemented in a single week's time. This is something that requires logistics, not to mention money and legal sign-offs. This points to two key issues: first, the party leaders have been intending to do this for some time (how far back is yet to be established), which casts their behavior towards *all* candidates in an uncertain light; second, it means that they have subsumed the party to the political objectives of a particular person who has been shown through his campaigning to be divisive and antagonistic to a significant portion of the party rank-and-file.

Through my writings going back before this campaign, I have repeatedly discussed the role of independent institutions in both creating power and defending people from the abuses of power. The behavior of the DNC in this electoral cycle indicates to me that it is not maintaining the party as an independent operator, which reduces its power. The antagonism shown to life-long Democratic voters, right up to the latest sneer that women should just get back to their knitting if they don't like what is being done, indicates to be that the DNC is not terribly interested in defending its constituents against abuses of power.

This is what concerns me and frankly it is more important than whether Hillary got the nomination, even as it is inextricable from her attempt to win it. Along with writing about institutions, I have been writing on the long time divide in the party. I think we are watching the Stevensonians trying to purge the Jacksonians. This is categorically different than simply trying to finagle votes while not really delivering the goods, which has been the behavior up until now. It's why I talk about Whole Foods Nation, the fantasy of a purified "Left" that has hobbled the party since Stevenson.

24 comments:

PUMA.SF said...

Yup, you're exactly right the decision had to have been made months ago. But this shouldn't surprise us as this was a very well orchestrated "railroad" of the Clinton's. These people are truly devious and I must say it did feel great to vote against Pelosi in our last election. It's our time now and pay back has never felt so good. Let's do this.

Puget Sound Island Girl said...

People need to open their eyes and see what is happening here.

I still can't get over the fact that the DNC is moving (or has moved) to Chicago, Dean is trying to get Hillary's name off of the ballots and/or Dean may stop a convention from happening.

Where is the outrage???

Padma said...

I agree. This is now way beyond Hillary and how her campaign was railroaded and humiliated. I think we including Hillary was being taken for a ride. What do we do now? Anglachel, people like you who have a bigger voice than the individual voters like me have to start something, I don't know what, but something to stop this hostile takeover, right? I can't and don't believe the whole party is behind this. Who knew what and when did they know it? They must have planned this outcome all along. I just don't understand that everybody in the party is on board with this -- how can they? This is not democracy.

Cathy said...

I recall reading a post somewhere that Dick Durbin convened a mtg to "defeat" Hillary. They adopted a strategy that had worried Bill Clinton of nominating a candidate of color (for him Colin Powell) that press would not touch. It probably was your's . . .

Throw in the A-List blogger's tantrums over Dean and you have a potent brew. Of course the hypocrisy comes through by not placing it in Mountain West (their "next frontier").

How Hillary must have terrorized them? All that money almost going for nothing. (Hell; it did go for nothing - she beat them.)

But then I remember how much money I spent and I stop smiling. (h/t to Confluence poster who first raised that issue tonight.) Then I realize I still tossed a grenade so it was worth every dime.

We owe the Party nothing at this point -- not even a fight for it. As far as I'm concerned this mandates a third party. It may have to wait until after the election to see where the most disaffected folks will come from (real democrats now disillusioned or moderate republicans bereft since their last best chance lost). But come it must.

Here's my question to you and others. When did Hillary finally realized that all hope was gone? That final day when all her supers fled? Or sooner and she decided to go out with a bang?

Had she figured it out sooner maybe she would have pulled out sooner and tried the third party route.

GrandMe said...

We need to keep speaking but perhaps change the dialogue (or monologue, since no one listened),
to reframe it so it's not about Hillary and our anger about her treatment, because in the long run we may be making it tougher for her by being so vocal. I suggest talking about the party misdeeds, the move to Chicago, our disgust with the mixed message of "follow the rules" while doing as they pleased in the RBC, etc. No name calling, just the facts. Be specific. We need to make it clear that no one controls our votes-- not the Dem. party, not Hillary. Simply and without rancor give the reasons why we/you will not vote for O. Don't quit.

GrandMe said...

to continue--is there a place where we could write, maybe just a paragraph or two, nothing long, where we could express our dismay with the DNC, the candidate or address remarks to the superdelegates? There are plenty of blogs where we talk to each other, I'm thinking of a site to which we could invite the DNC and supers, and they could choose what to read, without being inundated with emails themselves.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

Wow. This is the first I've heard of the move of the DNC to Chicago. That's completely crazy!! WTF is going on??!! If Hillary had won the nomination and moved the DNC to NYC, it would be unthinkable. She would be labeled a power-mad psychopath, and I would be the first to label her as such.

This is insane. The DNC should always be headquartered on neutral turf. I am so alienated from this new Democratic Party it's shocking.

I never before understood people who said: "I vote for the best candidate, regardless of what party he/she is in." I never understood it because each political party stood for an ideology, and your own ideology either meshed w/ the party or it didn't.

But now I understand. Neither party appeals to me anymore. I now have devotion only to a particular candidate.

Wow - how the world does change.

Palomino said...

I think Hillary Clinton stayed in it as long as she did in a sincere, last-ditch, all-out effort to save the party from itself and the nation from Obama, or at least to make all of us bear witness to the coup by proving that she was and is the stronger candidate. If I know anything at all about Hillary and Bill Clinton, they are now playing the hardest of hardball. Dean badly mismanaged the financial part of his job as DNC chair, and now, until he's publicly outsed, he'll be fetching lattes for whomever Obama slips in to replace Dean. Stay tuned.

CognitiveDissonance said...

Yes, this move is the "tell," the evidence that this whole nomination was fixed from the get-go. I can't even begin to express my outrage at that - that these supposed leaders have basically stolen the millions of hours Clinton's supporters have devoted to get her elected, to say nothing of the many millions of dollars we've contributed. And they seem to be doing it with no remorse, with no understanding that this is so wrong from so many different perspectives.

I'm so outraged I can hardly find the words to express it. I'm feeling the way I've felt these past 8 years as I've watched George Bush totally pervert what I thought our country has always stood for, as I watched him actually torture people, or arrest innocent people and just disappear them like the KGB used to do, or told his aides that the Constitution was just a "damn piece of paper." I've felt helpless rage at what George Bush has done to us, knowing there was very little I could do about it. And the year when we finally have one chance to change it our Democratic leaders decide to pull this obscenity! Sometimes I think we are truly lost.

seattleg said...

I agree -- this election is about so much more than just HRC vs BO. The Democratic Party leadership is screwing Democrats and trying to become the Party of power, media and money, no different from the Repugs. They've abandoned all their values to ensure economic equality, labor rights, women's rights, human rights and civil rights. They represent nothing and no one.

I don't think HRC knew -- I think she expected to call super delegates on Wednesday after SD and MT and make her case for her being the most electable and the strongest pres. But, no one would listen to her they just showed up at her doorstep and told her she had to quit. These were her friends and supporters and people she cared about...so without their support she didn't have a chance.

gendergappers said...

So much is specultion that I'm finding it hard just what to believe or even keep up.

One blog states that Dean took Hillary's delegates away; another says she has refused to give them up.

Now it seems much more is going on ie the move to Chicago, than we ever imagined. Is there any kind of fact checker for these?

Padma said...

Cathy, I think Clinton realized it right after all the caucuses and may be the Potomac primaries. You see the turning point for her in Ohio and TX and the gusto with which she campaigned there and the rest of the states that came after that. This was not just going out with a bang but warning people of what was going on. If she had succumbed to pressure and had left early on, all these party shenanigans about FL and MI and the move to Chicago and the fix would not have seen the light of day and she must have known that.

pm317

admin said...

This move has been planned for a long time. Obama expanded his Chicago operations in Spring 2007. Check out the amount of space and click through the photo gallery in first article. Notice anything missing?

ChiSunTimes 04/07.

ChiTrib 07/07.

Sextus Propertius said...

Whether or not you think Obama's de facto nomination is legitimate (and I don't), this merger of operations has the potential to be truly disastrous for downstream candidates. Does anyone really think that the combined Obama/DNC operation will spend anything on downstream races in states that aren't strategic to the Presidential race? Since the whole operation is focused on the Presidency now, will there be any funding at all races in states where either Obama or McCain has an unassailable lead.

There's a census in 2010.

That means that the state legislators who are elected in 2008 and 2010 will, in most states, be drawing Congressional district boundaries during reapportionment. A Republican sweep of state legislatures could give them a solid hold on the House for the next decade (not that Pelosi has been able to achieve much with the majority she has).

Shainzona said...

I am seething. Absolutely seething.

Riverdaughter has a post about the theft that has taken place and I agree 100%. The DNC should be held accountable - perhaps even legally.

What a way to start a week: The DNC moves to Chicago in the matter of a few days (they normally can't find their way out of a paper bag, but they manage to pull this off); Dean won't even let HRC's name be put into nomination for a roll-call vote (hey, forget that she won MORE VOTES than the guy that is being forced down our throats); and I read that Obama "will let" all of the MI and FLA delegates be seated at the convention (oh, thank you, Lord Obama!).

I am over the edge. I need to go swim for about an hour to calm myself down.

HOW DARE THEY?

madamab said...

Anglachel - I am a project manager that has been involved with two corporate mergers in the past two years. You are dead-on. From an IT standpoint, these things take six months to a year at the very least.

This is absolutely infuriating, and is the main reason I will not vote for Obama. I saw this train coming down the tracks a while ago, and I'm stepping out of the way before it plummets into the canyon.

P.U.M.A.!

RayN said...

I've never cared much about party; I've voted all over the ticket, Republican, Democrat, Green--whoever makes the most sense. I've thought for awhile that the two-party system provides at least some checks and balances. So the damage Dean et al are doing to the Democratic party concerns me, because it is damaging to this system. A third party will take some time and effort to get going, and meanwhile it'll be all Republicans, all the time. Not good.

Anna Belle said...

GrandMe, I agree. We need to be building a narrative, a convincing one for voting against Obama. It is unlikely that we can sell many legitimate left-value voters to vote for McCain, so the strategy is going to have to be to vote against Obama. There are a number of legitimate reasons for doing so, including the fact that Obama represents the left version of W. Bush, and leads a neoliberal coalition that seeks to subvert traditional Democratic values. This DNC move and the money game he plays are important exhibits in that narrative.

(formerly kentuckiannna)

orionATL said...

i'm glad someone is talking abut this. i read about it the day it was announced (last thursday?). the followng day i went looking in wapo and nytimes for follow-up/explanatory articles. i found very litle except a paragraph or two in political columns.

no solid reporting at all that i could find.

and apparently no curiosity at all on the part of the press.

by the way anglachel,

you are cited today at rezkowatch

Thomas B said...

While I can understand the concern, the DNC is not a company. It is more like a shell corporation with minimal staffing that is used every four years as a vehicle for raising and distributing money on behalf of the presidential candidate.

The core DNC operations staff -- accounting, HR, IT -- is fewer than 50 people, even if you include the direct marketing. The rest -- political, communications, high-dollar finance -- are very transient and completely change over every four years with each new chairman. Field only exists in the GE campaign. As far as I can tell the core staff aren't going anywhere and Obama is just doing what every nominee does, taking over political, communications and finance to serve his needs. Obama's position is a departure because he is not relying on public financing, so he is not as dependent on the DNC's ability to raise money in chunks of $28,500 to spend on uncoordinated independent expenditure (TV) and field.

What Obama's move shows me is that Howard Dean's program to build the DNC as a field organization is over. Obama will use the 50 state rhetoric but he is taking over the resources of the DNC and using them to further his election rather than to build the party. Every DNC Chairman tries to build something strong enough to survive the nominee but few succeed. Ron Brown was probably most successful with the coordinated campaign system in 1992, but Dean is more like most Chairmen who leave little behind.

My Name Is Earl said...

This seems to be, at least, partially about removing anything Clinton-based from the party completely. A purge, as it were.

Whatever I thought before this, definitely now no $$$s for the DNC.

I read that the DNC was practically broke so perhaps Obama made an offer Dean couldn't refuse.

What will Dean, Pelosi, Brazile et al do when/if (fervently hoping) Obama loses? The party will have been ripped apart. With this, I don't see a rapprochement between the factions in the Party is possible.

Now with Obama blowing off Ohio, how many more states can he just forget about and still think he can win in November?

Strange times indeed.

carissa said...

Hey, I was one of Dean's 50 State Strategy organizers for two years and we could barely get fliers in time for nation-wide door knocking campaigns that had been planned for months, but now suddenly they are able to turn on a dime and move to Chicago?

Right. Now I know why they were all so confident this would be "settled" by June.

jangles said...

Anglachel I have been following this Chicago coup trying to figure out what it is all about and sensing that this is a much bigger thing than it appears to be. But your post here just blew my mind wide open---of course, there is no way this was not somewhere on the drawing boards months ago. I too have been involved in mergers and you are right, you can't do this on a dime. I have been thinking that Obama was regally overreaching and would find the chaos of trying to merge his campaign and the full DNC a significant undertow to trying to run a presidential campaign. So I was thinking the blowback would be hard and down stream. I did not think the opposite because it is so breathtaking in its audacity and villainy---that planning for this has been underway for months! OMG, you are right. This is like a political 9-11 right in our faces. Where is the PRESS!

dee4hill said...

Hence, The Radical One's overt arrogance. I've been telling my family for a couple of months, that the DNC has had the whole shebang planned, that the fix was in, of the Clinton's oust and Obama's "selection." And now the Chicago move. It is crystal clear. We have been bamboozled by the Thugs.

The Democratic Party is no more.