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Blue Tiger Democrats

by: matt

Mon Jun 12, 2006 at 13:45:41 PM EDT

With all due respect to our cherished donkey, I'd kind of like to see the logo to the right become the new symbol of the Democratic Party. A large and ferocious animal with big sharp teeth seems to me a better representation of the kind of mindset we ought to have when dealing with the minions of Rove.

Well, here in Michigan, the Blue Tiger is now officially on the prowl.

Meet the Blue Tiger Democrats. It's a brand new organization founded by former Kerry fundraiser and New York resident Bill Samuels. As fortune would have it, Michigan is one of the first three states in the country to participate (apparently MDP Chair Mark Brewer and Governor Granholm have teamed up to make this happen).

The Blue Tiger Dems website (read it and donate here. gives a far better breakdown of their program than I could ever give you here. However, in a nutshell the idea works like this: instead of blowing all of our money on TV commercials, junk mail, and robocalls, Blue Tiger proposes to create ways to harness the volunteer power of the Democratic Party to do positive and helpful things directly in the community, i.e., community service. What kinds of projects? Well, it could be the Utility Impact Education Project, which is focused on helping people in Michigan with their high utility bills. In New York, Blue Tiger has a program for teaching senior citizens how to use computers. Or in Arizona, an affort aimed at helping newly returned war veterans re-adjust to civilian life.

I dig the Blue Tigers - and I think this could actually work. For example, it only stands to reason that having someone from the Democratic Party help you figure out how to keep your lights and heat on would be much more likely to generate loyalty than the latest boring iteration of the same campaign commercial we've been running for the past 20 years. It's a way of putting our values into action and leading by example - and it's how the Democratic Party used to hold its base together.

The thing is, though, this has to be real - as in not just done to create a bullet point on a press release somewhere. If the primary goal becomes press release creation, it will fail. But if helping and reaching indivduals can remain the first priority, I think they may have something. Go Tigers!
matt :: Blue Tiger Democrats
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Love that name!
Of course I'm prejudiced. Mrs. Dudgeon and I own a business called Blue Lion Media.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

Sounds like "Dean Corps"
San Francisco's Democracy for America has had good success getting volunteers to clean up the parks, work at the SF Food Bank, and other good deeds in and around the Bay Area.  Good for others working to encourage more public service.

This is a great idea
I think this is a great idea.

When I started my campaign last year, I had wanted to hold some events for seniors to help them understand the Medicare Drug Program.  Unfortunately,  I was unable to find any speakers last November or December who were willing and/or able to discuss the program. 

I think programs to benefit the community would be great. 

If there is enough interest, we should consider offering a free attorney day and a free accountant day. 

It wouldn't be asking lawyers to take on complex cases for free. It would just be answering questions for people. 

I volunteer at a local free legal clinic and I see a lot of people who want to know if they have a case, or they want help answering a letter from the government, or what to do about a bill collector who is pursuing them even though they had discharged their debts through bankruptcy, or how to get their ex-spouse to live up to the terms of their divorce decree, etc. 

About a year ago I was intrigued by an article I read about an accountant who organized a free clinic to help people fill out their taxes.  I believe the gentleman who organized it was in Chicago and he said he was shocked by the number of low income people who didn't file tax returns -- even though filing would mean they would get refunds.  Their tax situations were not complex but he was able to get hundreds of dollars back for people who really needed that money.  If I can find the article again I'll post a link.

What I don't know is how to get something like this off the ground.  Or even if these types of events would fit in with the Blue Tigers initiative. 


Rhonda's response
Rhonda, you're talking about EXACTLY the kinds of things we're doing now, and will do even more of in the future.  You should email Frank Houston at fhouston@bluetigerdems.com. He's building a whole BTD team in Michigan; no time like the present.

[ Parent ]
Terrific idea!
I made a contribution right away and signed up. Thanks for letting us know about this.

Re: Blue Tigers
Can't help but think of the old missionary-in-Africa strategy: give them rice and medicine today and Jesus tomorrow. But hey, if it works, let it roll! I especially like the tax assistance idea; Michigan still has a large number of "unreached people" who aren't taking the federal EITC that they are entitled to. This ought to work really well in rural areas with a lot of low-income workers who vote Republican because of the God-Gays-Guns stuff but who may be realizing they are better off economically with Dems in charge. And of course, the Blue Tigers can remind filers that it was Clinton who expanded the EITC.

Just one problem, though: because tax season is finished, this idea can't be implemented for the coming election.

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