We are facing huge long-term problems: a real unemployment rate of 18%, dysfunctional banks that are "too big to fail", a regressive tax structure that's stifling economic growth, prisons that are bursting at the seams, urban schools that are struggling, a health care system that still needs major reform, the lack of a coherent national energy policy that will protect our economy and the environment, and a government that has been encroaching on our civil liberties. For decades we have lived with irresponsible public policies from career politicians in Congress who care more about increasing their party’s power and getting re-elected than they care about solving long-term problems. They haven’t been honest with us, and they have been lousy public servants.
I’m different. I do not want to be a career politician. I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I’m a Problem Solver. I want to force members of Congress to be responsible, and implement sustainable solutions to real problems. Please read the positions I present on this website, and spread the word to friends and family.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
"New Ideas and New Process" Speech at Primary Watch Party
The primaries are over. The multi-millionaires have bought their prizes, and they have joined Tom Marsh and me on the ballot in November in the races for Governor and U.S. Senate. Linda McMahon alone spent more than $300 dollars per vote! But now, the campaign begins in earnest.
Tonight my campaign begins an exciting new phase. I’ve talked about many issues over the last year, and presented over 30 detailed position statements and solutions on my website, in debates and forums, in interviews and speeches, and on my monthly TV show. Now my campaign is going to focus on building a new political process, a new way to re-engage the voters who have been disgusted with politics, and who have lost faith in our democracy.
These last weeks we have seen the most relentless and prolific negative advertising I have ever seen. Commercial after commercial that insult our intelligence, and focus on some narrow, fabricated negative issue to attack an opponent. Aren’t you tired of being treated like an idiot that can be bought with millions of dollars of advertising? We want real conversation, not just showmanship! I want to help create a process that will elevate the level of discussion, and increase participation and accountablity, and I want your help. Tonight, I want to talk about a new type of campaign.
A few weeks ago I attended an event during Social Web Week in New Haven. I met some amazing people, who are passionate about rebuilding our democracy, and our democratic process. I’m delighted to say that they’ve agreed to help me build and champion a process to elevate the level of social discourse and increase involvement using social media. This may sound corny, but we want to create something new, using a social web, that will give everyone a voice and a chance to participate in the dialogue; something that will live on beyond this election, something that candidates in the future will ignore at their peril. Here’s what we want from our candidates: Answer the question that you are asked, honestly and completely, instead of sidestepping it or answering a different question. Stop rolling out attack ads that focus on some narrow and distorted issue, and instead have a civil conversation with the voters and the other candidates about ideas and how to solve our problems. We have the tools to do this, and I want to demonstrate how to do it with my campaign.
This will be the most transparent and inclusive campaign in history. Everyone will know where I will be, and what I am doing, in advance, and everyone will be invited to be there. And much more than that, I am asking everyone to be a full participant in the conversation. In person at events, online with unedited posts on my blog, through open conversations on twitter every week, I want everyone to talk to me, for as long as they’d like. I am asking everyone to re-engage in the political process. We will develop better ideas through inclusion! And we can build a new social web for civic engagement that will live on beyond November, to change the status quo, and in the long term, repair the lack of representation and true give and take in politics. It will be a model for politicians, so that, perhaps, they might become the public servants that represent us in a way that our founding fathers intended.
This campaign isn’t about me. This is about reversing the degradation of our political process, and rebuilding our democracy. You know what the negative, superficial advertising does. It drives down voter turnout and suppresses participation. The other candidates know this, and they’re doing it on purpose. Well, I am the ANTI-APATHY candidate. This is what you can expect from my campaign: Listening and dialogue, positive and constructive brainstorming, honesty, and open participation. I invite the other candidates to join me in this. And I ask you, the people, to help. The country needs you, our democracy needs you. Apathy is not allowed. Vote to raise the level of civic discourse by getting involved! And, there are a lot of people in this room tonight that will show you how to start. Find one, and introduce yourself.
Thank you for listening! And I will stick around to talk with any of you for as long as you’d like.