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October 30, 2007

Small footprint, big impact

Today’s Downsizer Dispatch . . .

Quotes of the Day:

“People only see what they are prepared to see.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Freedom is popular.”
— Ron Paul

Subject: Small footprint, big impact

We foresaw 2007 as our breakout year. We had good reason to think so. Our numbers were all trending toward a crucial, building point . . . at which we could begin buying advertising. Our formula was simple: buy advertising to educate and recruit. Turn that recruitment into money to buy more visibility. Repeat.

It looked like we would reach our starting point for applying this formula this year. Then Ron Paul happened. While our action numbers continued to climb, and we’ve had some impressive months this year, the fundraising numbers flattened, and are now depressed.

But we’re still excited. Ron Paul has demonstrated something that we had intended to prove ourselves using our simple formula of repetitious visibility, education, and recruitment. What Ron Paul has demonstrated is that there is a huge market for downsizing ideas.

All that was needed was one or more vehicles to which the downsizing public could rally.
Ron Paul has provided one such vehicle. It is very interesting to us that Congressman Paul has been able to gain traction as a Republican that he could not gain as a Libertarian (he was their nominee in 1988). This strange truth shows how important factors such as partisan tribalism can be. The same guy saying the same things gets a different result just because he is wearing a different label.

Congressman Paul’s message is attracting people from all across the political matrix (and around the world!), but only registered Republicans will be able to vote for him in most places. Ironically, Paul might win far more votes if he ran against Hillary Clinton in the general election than he could against Republicans in the partisan primaries.

The market for his ideas is there, but the mechanism may prevent that market from having its way.

These problems are a big part of why we founded Downsize DC. We wanted to step outside the realm of partisan tribalism, meaningless labels, and, especially, rigged elections.

We also wanted to be free of the campaign finance laws so as to gain the resources to make our message heard. With all of the media attention paid to Congressman Paul’s fundraising prowess it’s worth wondering how much more he could have raised if there were no legal limits on what people could donate to have him carry their message.

So much for the freedoms of speech, press, and association.

The biggest question is how the public might respond if it was exposed to downsizing ideas everywhere, every day, repeatedly. The Paul campaign is giving us the first glimmer of an answer.

But the thrill of electoral competition creates a hothouse environment for enthusiastic activism. So what will happen when the election is over and the verdict rendered? An election is a sprint, while restoring constitutional government will be a marathon.

We created Downsize DC to run a marathon. We wanted to provide a mechanism that would leave a small footprint on people’s personal lives in terms of time and money, but still make a huge impact.

With a few keyboard strokes and clicks of your mouse, and the occasional one-minute phone call, you can exert pressure on Congress (and eventually the media too). And as the Downsizer Army grows this pressure could become overwhelming without your having to pour tons of personal time into the growing avalanche.

Likewise, hundreds of thousands of monthly pledges of as little as 16 cents a day could buy universal visibility for Downsizing ideas, making our message seen and heard by everyone, everywhere, every day. Once again, the footprint on the individual Downsizer could be small, but the impact on Congress and the media and public opinion would be huge.

This is how we plan to run the marathon.

So we do not despair that 2007 is not shaping up to be Downsize DC’s breakout year, and we rejoice about what is being shown about the potential popularity of our ideas. In the meantime, we continue to build toward our breakout, which perhaps can come in 2008.

We need your help to keep moving forward. We need your help to pay our bills for October so we can be in a position to have our breakout in the coming year. There are only two days left in the month. We are $5,316 short of our budget. That works out to 27 cents per current subscriber to this list. Please make a contribution to keep us moving forward.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

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