I just got off the phone with Addison Pate, the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus press secretary. He contacted me in response to my rant about TNDP blogger outreach yesterday, in which I was a little rough on him.
First, he offered his sincere apologies for not keeping bloggers in the loop, and for not responding to my email which he didn't recall getting. He said he had just taken over his post at the time and was trying to get things sorted out. He said it has been a real challenge working with newspapers and local TV news to get out their message. He thinks blogs helped in that regard during this cycle, by keeping some stories alive so the press would have to cover them.
We talked about online communication strategies going forward and including blogs more as a part of that, although there are some concerns to be worked out. He felt that Gray Sasser was referring more to the anonymous commenters than responsible bloggers.
Overall I liked what I heard. Addison gets it and sounds like a young, energetic guy who is open to new ways of doing things to get the House Democratic Caucus message out in as many venues as possible to better inform voters on why their progressive agenda is good for working people and everyone else in the State. Hopefully he will follow through on that, and so will TNDP party officials.
I got a sense that the entire Tennessee Democratic Party apparatus is shell-shocked at the moment, and still trying to figure out what happened and why and what to do going forward. I predict there are wholesale changes coming down the pike, so stay tuned.
The one thing that everybody seems to agree on is that this was a wakeup call, and Democrats absolutely cannot allow this to happen again in 2010. Everybody will have to work hard for the next two years just to undo the damage, much less prevent catastrophe.
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