"Our base doesn't need motivating. The only thing that matters is the independents in the swing states."
How do people manage to live through 15 years of history and learn nothing?
What do they think wins elections? What do they think gets independent voters to come out or stay home? How do they think you get your people to the polls? It is the motivated base. The people giving those $25 donations, the people sleeping on floors and eating cold pizza in campaign headquarters instead of working their jobs or going to school because they BELIEVE. It is the people so infused with passion about these issues and this election that they will proselytize their friends, their neighbors, random people on street corners -- anyone who will stand still long enough to take a flyer. And, as the Republicans long ago discovered, for every person you annoy through such tactics you gain five people by exposing them to a different perspective or at least persuading an opposing voter to reconsider.
It's the people willing to go to St. Paul to get the crap beaten out of them -- even when the world doesn't care. It's the people who will stand in line with video cameras on election day, meticulously documenting efforts at voter suppression. And its the people who care enough to follow this day in and day out, so that when you need them they are there.
"Our base doesn't need motivating." So we can suck all the air out of the room, make all the wrong political decisions, vote for things like FISA immunity and then wonder why we can't raise money anymore, and end up persuading the independents you so ardently woo that you are no different from the Republicans because you stand for nothing! And then you stand amazed when -- once again! -- the Republican base which is pumped, petted, groomed, teased, and titillated to an explosive climax on election day screws you once again. And you sit there going "gosh, how can people be so stupid as to vote the same way again? I guess we better go back and do the same thing we keep doing again and again until those stupid people stop voting the same way again and again."
Happily, demographics and the rewards of victory continue to bring new infusions of fresh blood.
Consider the difference in organizational skills in the Republican National Convention from even four years ago. As I observed in this post on my professional blog, not only did the McCain people maange to run an image of Walter Reed Middle School instead of Walter Reed Medical Center behind McCain on his green screen because thy messed up a Google Images search, they managed to have protesters infiltrate their convention despite having massively more security on the ground than the Ds had in Denver.
This is no longer the mighty juggernaut of old. It is an empty and hollow shell. Stop trembling and get ready to kick ass.