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The Real Lessons Of The George Clooney Fundraiser

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"We will not walk in fear, one of another, we will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason. If we dig deep into our history and our doctrine, we will remember we are not descended from fearful men."

-- Edward R. Murrow, March 9, 1954


"Because fear's always worked one way or another. An election of fear has always been one of the great tools of any election. But the reality is we are not the descendants of fearful people. We're not. So no, we're not going to ban Muslims from this country. That's never going to happen."

-- George Clooney, co-writer/director of "Good Night and Good Luck", on "Meet the Press", April 17, 2016

Mr. George Clooney should be tasked with explaining things more often, because his breakdown of why he was raising "an obscene amount of money" for Hillary Clinton was as confident and good-natured as any candidate's campaign manager could dream of.

First, do not go out of your way to insult your opponent, Instead, agree with them when they are right and compliment them on their stands on issues. This shows you are not small and scared but expansive and optimistic:

GEORGE CLOONEY: Yes. I think it's an obscene amount of money. I think that, you know, we had some protesters last night when we pulled up in San Francisco and they're right to protest. They're absolutely right. It is an obscene amount of money. The Sanders campaign when they talk about it is absolutely right. It's ridiculous that we should have this kind of money in politics. I agree completely.

Second, clearly explain the difference between a strategic goal that both you and your opponent agree on, and an unpleasant but necessary tactic in achieving that strategic goal:

GEORGE CLOONEY: ... But, you know, I think what's important and what I think the Clinton campaign has not been very good at explaining is this and this is the truth: the overwhelming amount of money that we're raising, and it is a lot, but the overwhelming amount of the money that we're raising, is not going to Hillary to run for President, it's going to the down-ticket.


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It's going to the congressmen and senators to try to take back Congress. And the reason that's important and the reason it's important to me is because we need, I'm a Democrat so if you're a Republican, you're going to disagree but we need to take the senate back because we need to confirm the Supreme Court justice because that fifth vote on the Supreme Court can overturn Citizens United and get this obscene, ridiculous amount of money out so I never have to do a fundraiser again. And that's why I'm doing it.

Third, while explaining why you chose the side you did, once again refrain from gratuitous dickishness and reinforce your respect for your opponent's passion and positions:

GEORGE CLOONEY: Well, I've worked with Secretary Clinton as Secretary particularly when the Sudan and South Sudan were looking to vote for their own independence and it was an incredibly dangerous time for that country. And there were, you know, hundreds of thousands of people's lives at risk.... I found her to..be knowledgeable and to be-- and to care about the issues. And we've worked together since then and I've been a very big fan of hers. But I want to say this: I really like Bernie. I think what he's saying in this election is important if you're a Democrat. Again to have these conversations, I hope he stays in for the entire election and if he were to win the nomination, I will do whatever I can including if asked a fundraiser like this again to try to give him or her, Hillary, I hope she wins a Senate because honestly we see what happens when a President tries to get their Supreme Court justice confirmed without the Senate.

With a few phone calls and without breaking much of a sweat, George Clooney can round up enough wealthy Liberals to raise $15 million dollars to fund Democratic candidates.

To fight an uphill battle to change our politics.

Which has been poisoned almost beyond recovery by a vast Conservative media empire with access to virtually unlimited resources.

And yet...

When it comes to funding even a basic, bare-bones Liberal media infrastructure to push back against the Hate Machine behemoth it's Mainstream media enablers, there are no George Clooney fundraisers. Instead, we are perpetually fighting a series of desperate, rear-guard actions. Perpetually on the verge of collapse. MSNBC is being dismembered right before our eyes. Air America is long gone. And across to board, Liberal radio, blogs and podcasters dance for dimes just to keep the lights on.

Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. --

Edward R. Murrow

excerpted from Driftglass

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