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February 25, 2010

Jim Babka, Unplugged – “DC Downsizers Are Heroic”


Dear DC Downsizer,

I’m going to break the most important rule of marketing! And that rule is . . .

Speak only about your reader’s interests, needs, and desires, not your needs and desires

I can transgress this salesman’s edict because our needs and desires match. But until now, it’s possible you may not have realized how perfectly your desires and Downsize DC’s needs are aligned.

You DESERVE to have this information!

First, THANK YOU to everyone who has given recently — especially you monthly pledgers. I need to say thanks up front because, well, I’m FRUSTRATED.

Frankly, I wonder, why isn’t getting more credit, attention, and financial support?

Is this a message of desperation? No, I have a COMPELLINGLY long case to make that Downsize DC is having a real, and in some cases, a HEROIC IMPACT.   

A postcard sits on my keyboard as I write this. It is a picture; the back of a famous conservative, speaking to a Tea Party crowd. There are great signs held by the assembled patriots. Right in the center of the crowd is perhaps the most legible sign. And it reads,


This is not unusual. On Monday, a friend told me about an exciting new website. Yet another Tea Party crowd was the backdrop for the home page. And right in the center, the most visible sign reads,


I saw signs like these at three of the four Tea Parties I addressed last year. One of those Tea Parties, Williamsport, PA, where 4,000 dedicated Americans assembled, decided to make the Downsize DC Agenda — most prominently, the Read the Bills Act — the centerpiece of its efforts going forward. 

It wouldn’t surprise me if the people holding those signs hadn’t heard of Downsize DC before.

But they were holding those signs THANKS TO YOU, the Downsize DC Army

Your financial support provided me an opportunity to meet a prominent movement conservative. You would probably recognize his name. He loved the Read the Bills Act! He invited me to address a roomful of more than 100 conservative leaders in Washington, DC. I did so, and handed out flyers. I addressed this group three times, annually, from 2006 to 2008. And that same leader mentioned Read the Bills, and Downsize DC, by name, in a book he published in ’08.

But the story didn’t end there. Others in the room liked our idea. One group wanted to negotiate Read the Bills details to make our proposal “more sellable.” We politely declined.

Read the Bills naturally appeals to marginalized, minority parties, more than it does the domineering majority. After the GOP lost the 2008 elections, another person who attended those same meetings, with the same idea (that the bill needed to be watered-down), simply stole the idea.

He began an online petition to Read the Bills for 72 hours before a vote. The Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee posted a YouTube video of the stimulus bill, stacked high, with handwritten notes in the margin, made available just 14 hours before the vote. And the Republicans found, quickly, that the populist, Read the Bill theme was a winner.

Now, the Read the Bills meme is discussed virtually every day, by someone on the web. And a watered-down version of Read the Bills has received nearly 300, bi-partisan, Congressional sponsors.


That’s huge. It’s incredible, that a little group with 29,300 subscribers, far fewer donors, and a budget less than $200,000 per year, could make that happen. 

But that’s not all. There are three other recent accomplishments I’m especially proud of . . .

Congressman Ron Paul responded to YOUR requests. He introduced the Free Competition in Currency Act, which would break the Federal Reserve’s monopoly control over money

ONLY was calling for this Honest Money bill. Previously, that bill was three separate bills. ONLY was encouraging Congressman Ron Paul to combine them. Thanks to you, he did.

In the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court repealed regulations on association, speech, and press rights, paving the way to freer, more competitive elections, Inc. was originally known as, Inc. — that is, until the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the incumbent-protecting, McCain-Feingold law. We asserted your Free Press rights all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, with co-plaintiffs like Congressman Ron Paul and Citizens United! And the brief your Downsize DC Foundation filed (with partners) in the recent Citizens United case appears to have had a real positive impact on the Justices.

Another deadline came and went, with the REAL ID, national identity scheme still unimplemented

Most of the credit for this victory goes to dozens of state-level activists, many of whom are DC Downsizers. They persuaded their state governments to choose the path of nullification. fought the passage of Real ID, and defeated it three times. Then, in 2005, it passed in underhanded fashion — a serpentine clustering of Real ID with an appropriation for troops in Iraq. was THE FIRST to stand up, immediately after the passage of the bill, and say something brand new and politically unorthodox: “We will compel Congress to repeal this bill before it’s ever implemented.

Well, the bill hasn’t been implemented in more than 35 states. And while we can’t get into the details yet, we can tell you that a bill for outright repeal of the Real ID Act will be introduced any day now. And . . . helped write it! I can’t wait to tell you the details of that story.

We couldn’t have done any of this without the help of you DC Downsizers. You are the army that makes everything possible.

But isn’t it amazing that a little group with 29,300 subscribers, far fewer donors, and a budget less than $200,000 per year, could make ALL that happen? 

Well, that’s the end of the good news. Because . . .

I have to tell you that the donation trend line has been down for some time, and February has been a terrible month for online contributions. We expect pledges to be down next month as well.   

And now, we’re at the end of February — a budget deadline. And, I know I’m not supposed to talk about my needs, but we have so many other incredible tools and exciting initiatives planned. Some of them are nearing completion. Others of them have required us to expand our investment — our budget. We’re striving. We’re on fire, but . . .

We’re burning up.

We NEED your support. We want a bigger budget… and more profound successes!

If you’ve never given before, now would be an excellent time to start.

A monthly, credit card pledge is ideal. This gives us an operating base, and allows us to plan ahead — to invest our resources — with confidence. It enables us to take entrepreneurial risks. And amounts as trim as $3, $5, or $10 per month add up to significant support. The average monthly pledge is nearly $15 per month. And we have several $50 and $100 per month pledgers, and even a pledger giving us $200 each month. Please join us as a monthly pledger.

We also need money for the month to come. That means generous one-time contributions. Again, ANY amount of $10, $25, or $35 would help. Please support our progress.

But we could really use some life-savers too — some difference makers, who can give $1,000, $2,000, or $5,000. For those who are capable, we ask you to, please, make a difference.

And if you’ve given before — even recently — please consider upping your support now. The economy has ravaged a portion of our support. Just yesterday, I spoke with a pledger who needed to cancel due to bankruptcy. I hear similar tales once or twice a month. Remember, it was the government that created this economic mess, and worsens it, which is WHY we need Downsize DC. Even people who give routinely tell me they wish they could give more. And YOU might be ABLE to give in a way someone else merely wishes they could.

Yes, we NEED your financial support. Yes, we’re doing a lot with a little. Yes, I believe we’ve earned your support. Don’t you?

Please, help us keep the growing Downsize DC Army moving forward.

Jim Babka
Downsize DC Foundation
&, Inc.

P.S. We toiled in the fields. But 2010 has been a year of harvest! Just look at how the good news has piled up so far THIS YEAR . . .

* The cancerous healthcare bill died, and is resisting attempts to revive it. Last year, we wrote more Dispatches about this issue than any in our history. We’re getting close to declaring a Victory for the Downsize DC Army
* A so-called jobs bill died because it violated our “one subject at a time” principle
* After years of public resistance (including 28,227 messages from DC Downsizers), the government pulled the plug on the cumbersome and counterproductive National Animal Identification System (NAIS) — a DC Downsizer legislative Victory!
* The EPA is putting off imposing CO2 emissions rules at least a year:  We wrote about this in our January 13th Downsizer-Dispatch about the Write the Laws Act.

You played a part. In some instances, we merely had our thumb on the scale. In others, our role was heavy. There can be HUNDREDS of these victories to come, but only with your support. Please give now.

P.P.S. If you can’t give, or contribute all that you wish to, you can still do something very, very important. Make a commitment, that during March, you will recruit one new subscriber to the Downsizer-Dispatch. You might need to write personalized messages to a half-dozen, or even a dozen best prospect friends. You may need to blog about every week for a month, sharing what you like best about it. But so much more would be possible if we had a bigger army. Everyone can do something to build that army. If you’ll make that commitment, just hit Reply, and please send us a list of the first names of the people you intend to recruit, or the name of the blog where you will write about





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