Scott Chacon, who is running in the CA-11 against Richard Pombo, makes a good point about recent emails he’s received from both Democrats and Republicans. The Dem emails are overly long, and when you get down to it, ask simply for you to send more money. The GOP emails he received where shorter and asked for action:

(The GOP email) rather than smearing the other side as evil devils in a 600 word rant then asking for money, they ask you to adopt 25 voters, give them personal attention, ask them to vote and talk about the issues. It is easy to help, easy to read, inclusive and respectful – all in about 200 words.

There have been some good examples of using internet tools (email, websites, yadda, yadda) to pull people into the process, to engage them. Asking for money and votes are the two least important ways to engage people. Votes are of course the nut of any campaign, but not democracy; engagement is.

Money, on the other hand, while it fuels the campaign has also help develop a professional political class that seems to say “anything worth while on a campaign or in politics needs to be done by a professional.” Politics shouldn’t be a business. There should be smart people involved, but it should also be open.

As a party, we shouldn’t be asking people to cut us checks and then going off and spending it as we see fit. We should be urging them to get involved in the party, campaigns and politics in general.