(This looks like an interesting concept, and it is 8:30 – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Yesterday Armando was blogging about the Netroots being at a crossroads regarding specifically issue action and especially about Iraq, and I proposed a strategy for altering that trajectory called Investigative Issue Action Blogging. I’d like to flesh out that idea here this morning.
Here’s the basic idea: Create blogposts about specific legislation or actions to be investigated that can be researched collaboratively and acted upon, in order to collectively lobby to move a piece of legislative action forward. This includes nominations (i.e. Attorney General), investigations (i.e. Blackwater or Wiretapping) and legislation (SCHIP, FISA, IRAQ, GLOBAL WARMING on and on and on.)
Docudharma is a great incubator for investigative action blogging because it gets enough traffic to develop collaborative action, is new enough to be flexible about trying new ideas and getting them on the front page, and has lots of crossover traffic from other more trafficked blogs, but not too much traffic that longer term projects roll off the page before people can dig in.
In order for this to work, there will need to be a few guidelines:
1. NO RANTING. There are plenty of opportunities for that on the blogosphere. This is not one of them. This is for laser, fact-based focus on ISSUE ACTION and nothing else. No giving up, no resignation, no ranting, no flamethrowing. This is not for protest action for now. Let’s try actual legislative action first. If there is any protest it should be as a specific leveraging tool for action on specific legislation, like this example on net neutrality.
2. NO CAMPAIGNING. See above. No primary challenges, no candidate diaries. Plenty of room for that elsewhere.
3. JUST THE FACTS. The biggest danger to effective action is ASSUMPTION. There will be none of that here. We need to get the real story. Do not assume you know why or how a member of Congress is voting on something. Find out the reality. Find a statement from the local or national press. Give their office a call. When we get a statement, we can analyze it but do not claim true knowledge of motive without factual basis. If you have a theory, research it, or ask for help researching it. (Got info about connections to a particular lobby? Prove it!) The more information we have about the reality, the more opportunities for leverage we’ll find.
4. BE SPECIFIC: WHO WHAT WHERE WHEN, then let’s discuss how. What pieces of legislation are percolating? Who is the author,who are the sponsors? When’s the vote? How many votes are needed? Who is supporting, who is not? What information are we missing that people can research? Who we gonna call? What are the leverage points? What contacts can we develop? Information, information, information. No speculation, no resignation. People have to be willing to call their legislators even if they are Republicans. You don’t get to sit anyone out even if you know they won’t support it. Do it anyway.
Here’s what we need to do to start this off:
1. Will this blog be the incubator for this idea? Buhdy? Armando? Are we up for this? Recommend this diary, start brainstorming. Actionable ideas only, please.
2. What issues can we focus on now? I’m going to start with SCHIP and the override veto as an example. Who will take on starting an ongoing IAB on particular issues? Armando – wanna take Iraq de-funding? We can just start with an action request list, a general brainstorm. Anybody wanna take on the next round of FISA? Maybe one of the green bloggers can take on some votes on global warming? What else? Who can we recruit to spearhead specific votes and issues who are already knowledgeable? What’s YOUR passion? Which one do YOU want to focus on? I don’t think we should do TOO many issues at once to start so we can get our methodology down a little first. We need to keep updated information aggregated and available.
3. Start the IAB Blog Ring. Where can this be crossposted? Are there other blogs that could be the incubator for specific issues, then crossposted? Keep people informed across the netroots. Which front posters on other blogs can be persuaded to support this and post about it, get the word out, do some promotion?
4. Who do you know? Who knows the Hill? Who knows what’s going on? Who can advise us? Who knows someone at Sen Kennedy’s office, or David Obey’s? Or who are you willing to just get on the phone and call? Do you have other contacts that could help to get info? There ARE people on Capitol Hill who support what we want. We just need to find them and partner with them, even if it’s off the record.
5. LET’S GO! WHO IS WITH ME??!!