Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Waking Ohio Up...

I thought I was done...

In the On Point radio broadcast "The Marketing of the President," New York Times correspondent Matt Bai describes the Bush campaigns pyramid scheme as both "visionary and disquieting."

We've spent enough time here at the Toaster talking about why the marketing of the president was visionary, but what's so disquieting about an efficient, powerful volunteer program that produces tangible results?

Bai points out the key ingredient left out of the Bush team's grassroots jambalaya: originality. In creating the much-touted grassroots scheme that beat John Kerry in Ohio and carried the presidency for Bush, Mehlman and Rove established the need for a uniformity of thought at all levels of the pyramid. Directives and talking points came from the top and flowed down to all points of the pyramid in the same way that Bush hypothesized his tax cuts would. People like Betty Kitchen, Bush's 66-year-old Clark County chairwoman who had been running local campaigns for years, were put in positions to tow the Bush/Cheney line and meet recruitment quotas in a strict, performance-oriented system. One of the main goals of the program, thus, was "keeping people very much within the program."

The result: The amazing thing about top-down mentality is that results can be quantified and progress can be charted. There's no question that this level of organization, which according to Bai had never before been attempted on such a scale, was instrumental in securing the 70,000 votes that carried the state for Bush.

While the Mary Kay-influenced pyramid scheme can certainly be touted for its ingenuity and effectiveness, Bai's right in reining in assessments of its self-promoted grassroots civic empowerment.

1 comment:

Justin said...

*knock knock knock*

"Mister Toaster...Avon calling"