There are two Americas. The America that gets tote bags at Take Back America 2007, and the America that doesn't. I am in the America that got a fancy tote bag, and that my friends is the highlight of this greatest of liberal confabs.
Honestly, it's a really nice tote bag. The kind of bag you would get as a reward for donating to NPR or PBS. The issue is, from here inside Blogger Boulevard (which has been shunted off to the side but still up front enough to have random nice people tell me they enjoy my work), not everyone got these tote bags. We're supposed to be all about equity here on the left, but clearly a two-tiered system has been implemented.
On to the games.
The main hub of activity at TBA is the exhibition lounge, where various groups shopped their wares, varying from The American Prospect, The Nation and organizations like The Blue Fund who seek to invest in progressive-friendly organizations that -- wait for it -- actually make money. Then there are your pro-impeachment folks who don't want to hear anything about practicality as well as people lobbying for marijuna legalization. Oh, and a guy dressed like Ben Franklin was walking around, being as Ben Franklin as possible. I am a little skeptical of some of the layout, as some organizations like Democracy Corps were positioned one level deep -- no word if this is payback at James Carville for vouching for Scooter Libby. If anything, they've got free fast wifi and comfy chairs, and it's well air conditioned. From this enclave, we plot the revolution.
The two panels I attended were kind of underwhelming, and I don't say that to be mean but to be honest. Although I'm sure the panel I'm speaking on tomorrow will rock more than a world or two. At the "Conservative Failure" panel, it started out with a bang showcasing Max Blumenthal's excellent short film from CPAC but sadly slid downhill quickly after. The stage was monopolized by Connie Rice (cousin to Condi Rice) who spoke extemporaneously about... well, I'm not sure what. She certainly had the conference staff up in arms, speaking way over her alloted time about Life, The Universe, And Everything. People are too polite at these events to tell someone to shut up, but no matter how worthy the cause you're advocating happens to be I don't think it excuses just random rambling about whatever happens to poke into your head.
The other panel, The New Progressive Majority, was less traumatic. Wunderkind pollster Stan Greenberg treated us to a bunch of slides telling us how awesome progressives are, how well the Democrats did, though he did end on a slide with a chart explaining just how much disdain Americans have for both parties. The Democrats are only slightly less hated, on balance. I also discussed with Page Gardner of Women's Voices, Women Vote why her organization seemed so focused on increasing turnout among single women exclusively. She essentially said that the cost to get out the vote with progressive-leaning single women was less than converting a conservative-leaning married woman who was already prone to vote in the first place. That answer kind of troubled me, because I think it cedes too much ground and makes the voting population into a bunch of micro-targets. There should be focus on the entire voting bloc and not just segments that already lean our way. That's how you get yourself one of those majority deals.
More to come...
(You can find more posts like this at OliverWillis.com)