Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Gov. Mike Dukakis on Grassroots Organizing

Below Boston has some must-see video of former Governor Michael Dukakis speaking at a South Shore Democrats party for former Massachusetts Democratic party chairman Phil Johnston. Dukakis has been talking about the need for precinct-level grassroots organizing to anyone who will listen for a long time now -- years -- and he brings this message to the gathering of Democratic activists. I transcribed some of his speech:

I wish I could tell you that Democrats around the country understand precinct based organizing, but you know they don't. They don't. We've got all these consultants, some of them my dear friends, who never rang a doorbell in their life, and they have no idea what happens when a real human being who lives in the precinct, is part of the precinct, talks like the precinct and looks like the precinct goes out and knocks on doors. You've done it. Deval did it; we all did it for him. Yeah, you raised some bucks in the end, John [Walsh], but I don't know what he was outspent by, overall. It was huge, and he won by twenty-one percentage points. And it had everything to do with that grassroots precinct-based organization.

And folks, we have got to do precisely that nationally beginning now in every one of the 185,000 precincts in the United States of America. All fifty states, 185,000 precincts. No one's going to tell me we can't do it. And I'm depending, Phil, on you and John to go out there and deliver that message nationally. I wish I could tell you the state chairs get it. They don't! I've talked to them and they don't understand. They belittle it. You know "that's yesterday." That's baloney. We have the most dramatic example of the effectiveness of this right hear in the Commonwealth because of what happened last fall.
The speech is short, and it's well worth watching the whole thing.