How is the Unity08 Corporation going to fix the broken political system if it keeps fibbing about itself?
In a New West blog post, Heath Haussamen misstates the goal Unity08 set for itself when it started up back in 2006 when he writes “The group set a goal of singing up 1 million members when it formed in the spring of 2006.” Unity08′s own documents show that its initial goal was 20% of the electorate, or 25 million delegates. From that goal, Unity08 retreated in the spring of 2007 to a goal of 10 million delegates, a goal repeatedly and publicly stated. As recently as August 25, 2007 Unity08 CEO Bob Roth repeated the goal of ten million delegates.
I don’t blame Haussamen for misstating Unity08′s delegate goals, since Unity08 has done such a thorough job of obfuscating them recently. Unity08 corporate executives have stopped their “ten million delegates” claims in interviews with the media, and a delegate who signs in at unity08.com today will see that Unity08 lists a current count of 120,201 “members” (some of whom are e-mail listserv recipients, not actually delegates) and proclaims this number to be 12% of its goal of 1 million. It’s hard to keep up with the Unity08 corporation’s morphing descriptions of its principles and goals.
But Unity08 corporate Chief Executive Officer Bob Roth isn’t even satisfied with Haussamen’s inaccurately downgraded description of Unity08′s delegate goals. Roth responds to Haussamen in a comment:
Well-written article, Heath. The rush to membership that you suggest should have or should be happening is just not the plan that we envision here at Unity08. We’ve taken the time this past summer and fall to strengthen the infrastructure, build the team, and put the plans in place for ballot access and the June Online Convention. We’ve been in contact with the major media outlets along the way. We’ve briefed more than 60 candidates, some who have announced and others who have not yet done so. We’re ready… and America is ready, too.
We believe that Unity08 is perfectly timed. After the two parties make their choices (probably as early as February 2008), supporters of the losing candidates will feel homeless. And after a few months more, many who thought the party choices were the right ones will suffer the buyers’ remorse that historically occurs. For these people and, the independents yearning for another choice, the Unity08 online convention in June 2008 is timed perfectly.
VP, Online Marketing
But that’s not true. It’s simply not true. Look to Politico’s June 20, 2007 report, for which reporter Josh Kraushaar interviewed Unity08 co-founder Gerald Rafshoon. As of June 20, Rafshoon indicated that Unity08 had a “goal of one million by the end of 2007 and 10 million by the winter of 2008.”
If you don’t believe Politico’s interview with a Unity08 CoFounder, look to Unity08′s own stated plans in the spring of 2007 as an indication of how Unity08 saw itself reaching that one million delegate mark by the end of 2007. As part of the plan to implement its goal, Unity08 Founders’ Council member and Rules Committee member announced the Unity08 Trailblazers program, of which he was to be the coordinator. Fogel sent out this official announcement on May 15, 2007 (the text of this e-mail is currently not available on the internet, but I can forward it complete with headers to any person looking for verification):
We’re about to start our most important outreach for Unity08 Delegates and I want to be sure you’re a big part of it– both as a major participant and as a tester and shaper of the program. (I apologize for the length, but this is really important to our success.)
We call it the Trailblazers.
Each Trailblazer team will start in the middle of May with a Captain (I’m hoping you will be one) and at least ten Trailblazers. Each Trailblazer agrees to recruit at least ten Unity08 Delegates over the next two weeks and to recruit at least two more Trailblazers to do the same over the following two weeks, and so on, for the six months until November 6th (exactly one year in advance of the 2008 election).
Each Trailblazer should be able to sign up their ten Delegates in two weeks just by reaching out to the folks they know — family, neighbors, close friends, co-workers, etc. If people want to go beyond that, great. But if everybody in the six-month chain just does the minimum, the result for the team would be over 800,000 Delegates. No kidding. Most teams will probably fall well short of that goal, but we are hoping to have over 100 teams working at this. So, you can see, it is a big deal.
Over 100 teams, each of which gathers 800,000 delegates if they do their bit. Even if “most teams will probably fall well short of that goal,” 100 times just 1 percent of each team’s goal — 8,000 delegates — would still garner 800,000 delegates for Unity08 in its six-month Trailblazers campaign. A very big deal, all to be accomplished by November 6, 2007.
How’d the Unity08 Trailblazers’ effort pan out? As of December 7 2007,the Trailblazers website is currently offline, suffering from technical difficulties. Hey, man, I can relate; Irregular Times just had a two-day crash (although we don’t have over a million dollars in donations and a staff of dozens and a plan to run the first-ever national online presidential nomination in just seven months without a glitch and all that jazz). The Trailblazers website has been broken and offline for some time now, apparently left in the dust of Unity08′s latest web upgrade. But by checking out Google’s last cache of the website on October 31 2007, one week before the six-month program was to have reached its successful end with hundreds of thousands of delegates recruited, I see that there were 104 trailblazing teams established. 66 of those 104 teams had only recruited one new Unity08 member. Even Unity08 CEO Bob Roth himself recruited only 3 members as part of the Trailblazers program. In all, the Trailblazers program netted Unity08 326 new members.
No, CEO Bob Roth, the Unity08 corporation certainly had big goals for this year. And no, they weren’t realized. You can try to stuff that reality down the memory hole, but as you can see every once in a while a few facts clog up the chute leading down to the furnace.