2008 President - Republicans Archive:

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

VA-Sen: Ben Affleck Should Challenge George Allen

Posted by Bob Brigham

As blogosphere junkies know, Swing State Project has a very special relationship with MyDD. We're all friends and see eye-to-eye on most issues. But, I have to disagree with Chris Bowers when it comes to the 2006 Virginia Senate Race.

When rumors first surfaced that Ben Affleck was considering mounting a challenge to Republican Senator George Allen, Chris Bowers wrote:

Someone like Affleck would be a horrible, media sucking distraction from the 2006 campaign. This would be the equivalent media circus of the 2003 California recall election. It would destroy the generic advantage Democrats are poised to hold in 2006, and from which they will reap huge benefits if Bush's approval rating stays low.

So, please God, no, don't let Affleck run.

While I appreciate where Bowers is coming from, I disagree and think Affleck should seriously consider running for a number of reasons...

First, the (subscription only) National Journal had a great column by Chuck Todd today, via Daily Kos:

Democrats could have nine or 10 races in their crosshairs instead of just seven (one over the bare minimum to win back control).

The reality is that if one were to handicap the current Senate battle race-by-race, a 0-2 Democratic pickup would be very realistic. But as Charlie Cook has pointed out, Senate races never break evenly for both parties.

The key for the party that's got that little breeze at the end is putting enough races in play to win all those toss-ups. In a neutral climate, the 0-2 Democratic pickup prediction would make sense. But it's hard to foresee a neutral 2006 environment.

The makings for a Democratic advantage are brewing. There's no difference between netting three Senate seats and netting six or seven. Once the Democrats are in a position to net a third, it probably means all those slightly-leaning GOP seats are going their way and the gain will be closer to six than to two.

The amount Affleck makes on a single movie is enough for a serious ante and his name recognition, good looks, wife, future baby, and access to political support would instantly make the race competitive. According to Todd's analysis, this race could then easily become a pick-up, helping Democrats win the Senate and ending George Allen's 2008 presidential ambitions.

As for Bowers concerns that Affleck would hurt the Democratic message, I think the following indicates Affleck understands the dynamics, but wants to participate in democracy:

"I seem lately to bring to with me, whether I want to or not, a certain amount of media attention," the 31-year-old actor told reporters Tuesday before a Democratic National Committee fund-raiser at a bar outside Fenway.

"But I think you have to be smart and you have to be judicious and you have to be tasteful and you have to be respectful and you have to know your place," he added later. "I am not an elected official. I am not a political expert. I perceive my capacity here mostly in terms of being somebody who grew up here and wanting to be an ambassador for this city."

When a television reporter suggested that being good-looking, articulate and famous would make him a natural candidate for office, Affleck responded: "Uh, you know, that's a nice idea and I'm very flattered that you say it, but it's a tough fight, you know? I mean, if I think that the entertainment press is tough on me now, I can't imagine what it would be like to have a political agenda, as well."

It's not as if this talk comes out of nowhere. In an interview for the May 2001 issue of GQ magazine, Affleck said: "My fantasy is that someday I'm independently wealthy enough that I'm not beholden to anybody, so I can run for Congress on the grounds that everyday people - be they singers or poets or bankers or lawyers or teachers - should be in government."

While Affleck received a great ton of ink for his work to help John Kerry during last year's senate race, Affleck also stumped hard for Al Gore:

In the final hectic weeks of Campaign 2000, Affleck spent his time passionately campaigning for the Democratic ticket, supporting Al Gore, repeatedly delivering a get-out-the-vote plea: "It's very important to vote. The president will appoint three or four Supreme Court justices."

During the final week of the race, Affleck stumped for Gore in California, Florida, and Pennsylvania. During a stop in Pittsburgh, the star--along with Helen Hunt, Martin Sheen, Rob Reiner and other actors--spent an hour at a phone bank calling registered Democrats. "People in my generation have a low voter turnout. One of the reasons that I'm here is to demonstrate that no matter who you are going to vote for... I think it's important to get involved and get out and vote," Affleck told reporters. "But I'm going to tell people to vote for Gore."

On October 28, 2000, Affleck flew with the First Lady (Hillary Clinton) to Ithaca, New York, where he introduced her at a Cornell University rally. Affleck told the college crowd that Clinton had been advocating for women and working families since "Rick Lazio was running around the frat house in his underwear." Lazio, then a Long Island congressman, was Clinton's Republican opponent.

On Monday, November 6, the final day of the campaign, Affleck was one of several A-list celebrities summoned to Miami Beach by Miramax Films boss Harvey Weinstein for a late-night Gore rally, just hours before polls opened nationwide. The Gore campaign's last event, a final effort to energize South Beach voters, didn't end until about 1 AM, but Affleck flew back to New York that morning and made a surprise live appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show. It was 10:15 when he made his final public pitch from a Rockefeller Center studio, noting that he was "a little bit tired...I've been out getting involved, doing stuff and trying to get people to vote. And that's why I came by here." Also, "Today is the get-out-the-vote day and...I think this is the time to get involved, especially the young folks who are here ... I'm about to go vote," Affleck then said, adding later, "I am personally gonna vote for Al Gore."

Affleck has some political experience, I healthy respect for democracy, strong Democratic beliefs, and the ability to instantly make the race competitive. While Virginia Governor Mark Warner was my first choice to challenge Senator Allen, I think it is important that we put the seat in play. If Ben Affleck is interested, I think he should file.

UPDATE: Bowers joins the bandwagon, meaning Affleck could have the makings of some blogosphere backing if he decides to run:

I now think Ben Affleck should run for Senate in Virginia. Here is why.

The Jack Carter announcement today increased the number of competitive Democratic challenges to Republican-held Senate seats to eight (Arizona, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Tennessee). Over the past week, with Hoeven bowing out in North Dakota and Capito bowing out in West Virginia, the number of potentially competitive Republican challenges to Democratic-held Senate seats has been reduced to seven (Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey and Washington). Thus, for the first time, in the 2005-2006 cycle, Democrats have actually pulled ahead in the number of potentially competitive seats they are challenging in the Senate. [...]

Apart from a decided monetary advantage, one key for Republicans in 2002 and 2004 in the Senate was to create more competitive challenges to Democratic-held seats than Democrats created to Republican held seats. In the final weeks of the campaign, this stretched Democratic resources very thin, and allowed Republicans to pick up almost all of the close Senate races in both years. For example, ion 2004, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania never emerged as highly competitive Democratic challenges to Republican held seats, while Washington and Wisconsin become, if not truly competitive, a lot closer than most people expected. The DSCC was forced to help defend Murray and Feingold, while the NRSC wasn't forced to do much of anything to help Bond, Specter and Voinovich. Democrats managed to do this to Republicans in 2000 as well, when they scored a net gain of five seats.

This is a strategy that should have been obvious to me from day one, since it is exactly the sort of strategy I have been advocating in the House for quite some time. Challenge every seat, aim for the leadership, and reduce the number of minimal challenges as much as possible, thus draining Republican resources away from the swing seats during the campaign as much as possible. It makes sense for the Senate as well.

Thus, no matter how much of a media circus an Affleck candidacy might become, it seems to me that he would be an excellent bonus to Democratic chances in the Senate in 2006. He is already very well known, has good looks and good politics, is a strong speaker, and could easily self-finance his run against Allen, who pretty close the the under-50 incumbent tipping point. Thus, Affleck would instantly increase the number of competitive Democratic challenges to nine seats, further stretching the Democratic advantage in this area. If Lott retires, that could potentially make ten serious challenges to Republican-held seats. And who knows, maybe we will continue to experience good news in places like Maryland, Nebraska and New Jersey, pushing Democrats out to a huge edge in seats we are seriously challenging. [...]

Humble and tasteful, well-spoken and smart, liberal and instantly competitive--Affleck suddenly looks very good to me. With the way things are going, over the past three months 2006 has looked better than better for Democrats all the time. Let's keep that roll going. Run Ben, run.

MyDD also has a poll, go vote.

Posted at 03:11 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Republicans, Democrats, Netroots, Virginia | Comments (4) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Monday, October 03, 2005

2008: Harriet Miers, Republican Presidential Hopefulls, and Right-Wing Blogs

Posted by Bob Brigham

During the John Roberts nomination process, a great deal of newspaper ink was devoted to which 2008 Democratic hopefuls would vote to confirm. This time, the story won't be about Senators Hillary Clinton, Evan Bayh, Joe Lieberman, or Russ Feingold. The nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court means the question will be whether Senators Bill Frist, Trent Lott, George Allen, John McCain, Sam Brownback, or Chuck Hagel will seize the opportunity to distance themselves from an unpopular President while capturing turf with a conservative base that has reacted unfavorably to George Bush's pick.

In terms of field position, last week the Democrats were playing Red Zone defense and now the line of scrimmage is deep with GOP territory.

Of further interest, is what role will the blogs play in this process? As was noted earlier, the Republican base is disgusted and Republican opinion-makers can hardly stomach the idea of Harriet Miers sitting on the Supreme Court.

Reaction from Republican Blogs

Very consistent and "disappointed":

John Hawkins of RightWingNews goes further than me and calls Miers a "disaster"
Michelle Malkin is "utterly underwhelmed"
Powerline is also disappointed.
Confirm Them is underwhelmed.
John Podhoretz calls it dumb.
Mike Krepasky at Red State rightly says the President has some explaining to do.
Polipundit isn't exactly thrilled but is willing to give her a chance.
Andrew Sullivan is going the "Crony" route. But can we say he's wrong?
Mark Levin says that the President "flinched"
Betsy Newmark has a hard time putting an adjective on just how disappointed she is and says the President bowed to pressure.
Gerry Daly is in the "Anger" stage (#2 of the 5 stages)
Captain Ed is "mystified", and not in a good way.

Much more here. The Republican blogs will probably at least have veto power of the 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee and they seem pretty pissed off. Will Sen. John McCain cement his maverick status while covering his flank and vote "ney"? The analysis seems to suggest that this is opportunity could catapult a presidential bid for a candidate who cares more about conservative ideas than loyalty to President Bush.

Reaction from Democratic Blogs

Daily Kos (Kos):

More immediately, this is the sort of pick that can have real-world repercussions in 2006, with a demoralized Republican Right refusing to do the heavy lifting needed to stem big losses. That Bush went this route rather than throwing his base the red meat they craved is nothing less than a sign of weakness. For whatever reason, Rove and Co. decided they weren't in position to wage a filibuster fight with Democrats on a Supreme Court justice and instead sold out their base.

We'll have several months to pick through Miers' record, as well as highlight her role in any number of Bush scandals (like Georgia10 notes).

But my early sense is that this is already a victory -- both politically and judicially -- for Democrats. In fact, it should be great fund watching conservatives go after Bush. He may actually break that 39-40 floor in the polls, given he's just pissed off the very people who have propped up his failed presideny.

Update: Yup, Democrats are fully aboard. Reid's statement on the flip. Cue in more anguished wails from our esteemed colleagues on the other side of the aisle.


Wingnuttia is rather angry at the choice. I don't think this is because they're really concerned that she's not conservative enough for their tastes, although that's part of it. They're angry because this was supposed to be their nomination. This is was their moment. They didn't just want a stealth victory, they wanted parades and fireworks. They wanted Bush to find the wingnuttiest wingnut on the planet, fully clothed and accessorized in all the latest wingnut fashions, not just to give them their desired Court rulings, but also to publicly validate their influence and power. They didn't just want substantive results, what they wanted even more were symbolic ones. They wanted Bush to extend a giant middle finger to everyone to the left of John Ashcroft. They wanted to watch Democrats howl and scream and then ultimately lose a nasty confirmation battle. They wanted this to be their "WE RUN THE COUNTRY AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT" moment.

Whatever kind of judge she would be, she doesn't provide them with that.

More Blogosphere Reactions

Via Atrios, we learn there is even a new satirical blog on the subject: http://harrietmiers.blogspot.com/

The fracture is funny, from the Harriet Miers blog (sexism in the -- gasp -- GOP?):

I just sent this email to info@redstate.org (and yes, spammers are going to find that email address...)

You never pulled any crap like this with John Roberts. This is because I'm a woman, isn't it? You're afraid of what I'll do.

Seriously, your "sources" are getting sick of your attacking me for no reason other than I support the President. I'm not the only person here who reads your stupid blog, do you know what I'm saying?


And the same goes for Matt, and Bill, and Rush. I can't believe you turn your back on the President the moment he supports a WOMAN. Your going to regret this.

Okay, now I'm not going to talk about that anymore.

UPDATE: And "Big Mike" (HAH!), screw you, seriously.

This is funny.

Posted at 03:40 PM in 2008 President - Republicans | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, June 27, 2005

2008: Bill Frist Bid FUBAR

Posted by Bob Brigham

A couple of months ago, Senator Bill Frist was widely viewed as a front-runner for the GOP nomination in 2008. But now that seems almost laughable. Today it is a rib-breaking laughable.

First, the Washington Post headlines, Is Frist Up to Task Of Being President?. Of course, any time the press feels the need to ask such a question, the answer is no.

But Frist is in more trouble for this:

Washington, DC – Earlier today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and his 2000 Senate campaign committee, Frist 2000, Inc.

The complaint alleges that the Frist 2000, Inc. failed to disclose a $1.44 million loan taken out jointly by Frist 2000, Inc. and by Frist’s 1994 campaign committee, Bill Frist for Senate, Inc., making it appear that Frist 2000, Inc. had significantly more money that it actually had.

In June 2000, Senator Frist took $1 million of the money that had been contributed to his 2000 Senate campaign and invested it in the stock market, where it promptly began losing money. In November 2000, Senator Frist sought to collect $1.2 million he had lent his 1994 Senate campaign committee. As a result of the stock market losses, however, Frist 2000, Inc. did not have enough money to repay the loan. Senator Frist solved this problem by having the 1994 and the 2000 campaign committees jointly take out a $1.44 million bank loan at a cost of $10,000 a month interest. Frist 2000, Inc. did not report this debt on its FEC disclosure forms.

The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) requires full disclosure of any loans taken out by campaign committees. Yet only the 1994 campaign committee, which had been largely dormant, disclosed the loan. The loan papers, which are attached to CREW’s complaint, are signed by Senator Frist personally on behalf of each of the campaign committees.

Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, said “it appears that Senator Frist deliberately broke the law by failing to disclose the $1.44 million loan in Frist 2000, Inc.’s FEC filings. Senator Frist was clearly trying to hide the fact that his 2000 campaign was over a million dollars in debt. Given the large sum of money involved and the fact that the violation appears to have been knowing and willful, the FEC should refer this matter to the Department of Justice for possible criminal prosecution.” (emphasis mine)

Somewhere between incompetent and corrupt is not a favorable position for a candidate. Frist has gone from Flop to FUBAR and trending worse.

Posted at 12:59 PM in 2008 President - Republicans | Comments (2) | Technorati

Thursday, June 02, 2005

2008 GOP: Aschcroft Not Running, Just Visiting Iowa

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the Des Moines Register:

Ashcroft, in an interview, said he was not planning to run for president. "I hope (the visit) sends a signal that we understand how important Iowa is to shaping the next presidency," Ashcroft said. "I want to make it clear I'm not running."

Quite a mixed bag. On hand hand this is good news for the Republicans. If you're only as good as your last hurrah, then Ashcroft is still less desirable than a dead guy. On the other hand, this is yet the latest example of the American Taliban's plotting to ensure the GOP nomination goes to the most rabid zealot.

Following the 2006 backlash, the GOP is going to have some serious soul-searching thrust upon them. If the rank-and-file decide to continue their support for a one-party, theocratic government, then the 2006 backlash will quite likely extend through 2008.

Posted at 11:15 AM in 2008 President - Republicans | Technorati

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Bill Frist Flops in New Hampshire

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last week, Senator Bill Frist was a frontrunner for the Republican Presidential Nomination in 2008. Now, he is just another could-have-been who overplayed his hand, went all in, and lost.

In New Hampshire, it was noticed. From a Manchester Union Leader Editorial:

Frist has again showed that he is no match for Senate Democrats. If he cannot effectively lead 55 Republican senators, how can he be trusted to lead the party and the country three years from now?

This is when the words, "GAME OVER" flash across the screen.

Posted at 11:49 AM in 2008 President - Republicans | Comments (1) | Technorati

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Frist Chickens Out on Nuclear Option

Posted by Bob Brigham

Two days ago, I wrote:

As the 2008 Presidential campaign heats up, it looks like Frist is the crazy one and Santorum the one doing the daring, but too chicken to do the deed.

I wrote that after Santorum indicated he wanted to chicken out on the Nuclear Option after GOP polls showed the folly of such an action.

It looks like I was wrong, it looks like Frist is chicken, too:

Senate aides say that Senator Bill Frist, the Republican majority leader, has decided to defer a fight over the rule change until at least after the May recess, postponing a confrontation that many had expected as early as next week.

So Frist doesn't have the guts to declare war on a two party system, but he also doesn't have the guts to stand up to the religious zealots who will use tomorrow to try to start a holy war.

Frist and Santorum -- the GOP leadership is crazy in the head and weak in the knees.

Posted at 05:55 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Republicans | Technorati

Thursday, April 21, 2005

2006 Senate: Voters Fear "Nuclear Option"

Posted by Bob Brigham

Earlier today, I posted on Santorum's Slowdown of the "Nuclear Option" -- which was rumored to be in reaction to internal polling showing that such a move would doom GOP Senators in the 2006 election.

This is true, and some smart Republicans decided they didn't want Frist's lust for absolute power to sink the ship, so somebody leaked the numbers...

This is the current state of the GOP, staffers leaking ugly numbers to keep the religious zealots from destroying the institution of the U.S. Senate. From the AP:

WASHINGTON - Private Republican polling shows scant support for a plan to stop minority Democrats from blocking judicial nominees, officials said Thursday, as two of President Bush's most controversial appointments advanced toward a possible Senate confrontation.

These officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a recent survey taken for Senate Republicans showed 37 percent support for the GOP plan to deny Democrats the ability to filibuster judicial nominees, while 51 percent oppose.

Additionally, the survey indicated only about 20 percent of Americans believe the Republican statement that Bush is the first president in history whose court appointees have been subjected to a filibuster, a tactic in which opponents can prevent a vote unless supporters gain 60 votes. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, noting the survey data has not been made public.

When timing collides with hubris, ain't it a bitch?

Coincidentally, the polling was presented to GOP aides a few hours after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to send the nominations of Texas judge Priscilla Owen and California judge Janice Rogers Brown to the full Senate for confirmation. Bush picked Owen for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and Brown for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia.

Democrats filibustered the nominations in 2003, preventing a final vote on both. Bush resubmitted the names when the new Congress convened following last fall's elections.

Conservatives have signaled they hope Majority Leader Bill Frist will use either Brown or Owen — or both — as the trigger for a confrontation with Democrats.

At this point, if Frist chickens out his Presidential campaign becomes a joke. On the other hand, the GOP moves forward, then they are jumping off a bridge. It appears that the Republican Senate is just another extremist cult with a suicide pact, because public opposition means nothing to the zealots who think they are hearing the voice of God:

Republican strategists concede their efforts to swing public opinion behind their move suffered in the wake of congressional intervention in the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman in Florida who was being kept alive with a feeding tube. The survey suggested the GOP faces a challenge if it hopes to gain significant public support before moving ahead on banning judicial filibusters.

"Polling on this issue is not going to make a difference. We are going to try to do what's right," Hutchison said during the day.

Crazy fuckin' idiots.

The Family Research Council, a conservative organization, has arranged a rally for this weekend in Tennessee to build support for the GOP plan and accuse Democrats of waging filibusters based on faith. Frist is scheduled to appear by videotape.

Again, the GOP is lead by crazy fuckin' idiots.

Posted at 10:21 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Republicans, Republicans | Technorati

PA-Sen: Santorum, from Showdown to Slowdown

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Hill:

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a leading advocate of the “nuclear option” to end the Democrats’ filibuster of judicial nominees, is privately arguing for a delay in the face of adverse internal party polls.

Details of the polling numbers remain under wraps, but Santorum and other Senate sources concede that, while a majority of Americans oppose the filibuster, the figures show that most also accept the Democratic message that Republicans are trying to destroy the tradition of debate in the Senate.

The Republicans are keeping the “nuclear” poll numbers secret, whereas they have often in the past been keen to release internal survey results that favor the party.

While these numbers are secret, Santorum's poll numbers are public and sinking. The GOP now has solid evidence that the "nuclear option" is political suicide, yet they will probably do it anyway. The backlash brewing against the zealots could be a powerful force in 2006 Senate elections. While Santorum may have cold feet, this has gone too far for Frist to chicken out. As the 2008 Presidential campaign heats up, it looks like Frist is the crazy one and Santorum the one doing the daring, but too chicken to do the deed. Keep handing them rope and please, somebody make some popcorn.

Posted at 02:48 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Republicans, Pennsylvania, Republicans | Technorati

Thursday, April 14, 2005

2008 President: Ask Dr. Bill Frist

Posted by Bob Brigham

If you are interested in more information on the 2008 Presidential bid of Senator Bill Frist, I recommend you visit Ask Doctor Frist.

Thanks Atrios!

Posted at 11:04 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Republicans | Technorati

Monday, April 04, 2005

Anti-Sam Brownback

Posted by Bob Brigham

In the comments, our friend KansasNate gives us a heads-up about his new blog, which is dedicated, "to the Savaging of Sam Brownback" (R-KS).

The Anti-Sam

Posted at 02:27 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Republicans, Activism | Comments (1) | Technorati

Sunday, April 03, 2005

2008 Presidential Campaign

Posted by Bob Brigham


WASHINGTON - Politicians invariably answer the question about presidential ambitions by saying it's too early. Or they're too busy to be thinking about running. Or they're too focused on being re-elected senator or House member or governor. Don't believe them.

While sidestepping the question, they're often hiring consultants and visiting places like Iowa and New Hampshire.

No one has announced his or her candidacy for the White House in 2008, but there's plenty of speculation about who might run. Of course, no potential presidential candidates let on that they're after the top job. [...]

Some politicians don't bother to try to quash rumors that they might run.

"One of the issues is whether saying that you're in the running for the White House compromises your current position," said political scientist Charles Franklin of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "For some, it doesn't matter."

So, for example, when Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., was asked by a TV reporter early this year if he would "rule out" running for president in 2008, he responded, "Why rule it out?"

So who is running for President in 2008?

It is hard to tell, but we might as well start keeping score. Here are some names I've heard, please add in the comments anyone who should be included who I've left out. Since we have around 1,000 days until most people start paying attention, we'll have plenty of time to examine them all.

2008 Presidential candidates - Democrats;

  • Evan Bayh
  • Joe Biden
  • Barbara Boxer
  • Wesley Clark
  • Hillary Clinton
  • John Edwards
  • Russ Feingold
  • Al Gore
  • John Kerry
  • Gavin Newsom
  • Barack Obama
  • Bill Richardson
  • Brian Schweitzer
  • Tom Vilsack
  • Mark Warner

2008 Presidential candidates - Republicans:

  • George Allen
  • Haley Barbour
  • Jeb Bush
  • Dick Cheney
  • Bill Frist
  • Newt Gingrich
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • Mike Huckabee
  • Chuck Hagel
  • John McCain
  • Bill Owens
  • George Pataki
  • Condoleezza Rice
  • Mitt Romney
  • Rich Santorum
  • Randall Terry

Posted at 03:13 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, 2008 President - Republicans | Comments (4) | Technorati

Monday, March 21, 2005

GOP Overextended

Posted by Bob Brigham

New Polling Numbers:

New polling numbers on the Schiavo case have been released by ABC News. Here are some highlights:

- 70% of Americans say it is inappropriate for Congress to involve itself in the Schiavo case.

- 67% of Americans “think the elected officials trying to keep Schiavo alive are doing so more for political advantage than out of concern for her or for the principles involved.” (Just 19% believe the elected officials are acting out of concern for her or their principles.)

- 58% of Republicans, 61% of independents and 63% of Democrats oppose federal government intervention in the case.

- 50% of evangelicals oppose federal government intervention in the case, just 44% approve of the intervention.

- 63% of Catholics and a plurality of evangelicals believe Schiavo’s feeding tube should be removed.

Posted at 03:05 PM in 2005 Elections, 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Republicans | Comments (1) | Technorati

Friday, January 21, 2005

The Small Blog as the Small Donor of 2006/2008

Posted by Tim Tagaris

You couldn't escape it. During the 2004 election cycle, Internet fundraising was all the rage. From Howard Dean's $40 million, DailyKos and ActBlue, to Terry McAuliffe receiving credit, some of it undeserved, for leveraging the small donor to pull even with GOP fundraising efforts.

That's great - for whatever the real reasons - the Democratic Party did a terrific job of using the Internet to raise money in small amounts as a counter to a traditional GOP advantage. But guess what? The Republican (Noise) Machine will learn, and we had best get ahead of the curve.

If the small donor was the phenomenon of the 2004 election cycle, the small blogger might very well be the next great hope for the Democrats.

The online financial contributions had implications for finance (and comm.) staffs working campaigns across the country. Leveraging the small blogger is predominantly a technological offshoot for traditional field programs (and comm). And as many of us know, the field organization is where is gets done in a grassroots effort. They are the group that will put in hours of tedious study to pull every last vote out of each precinct in a candidate's universe.

Much like everything else in the field plan, organizing the small blogger is laborious and requires a commitment often unmatched by other parts of traditional campaigns. The good news is, so much of netroots outreach crosses formerly compartmentalized groups within a campaign structure; so you can share the burden. What fun!

Let's begin.

If you listen to the pundits, why was the GOP finally able to effectively counter the Democrat's field operation? I have heard it a million times, you probably have as well, it was "the neighbor to neighbor strategy." Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove crafted a plan that had people convincing others in their communities to vote for President Bush. By most accounts, it worked terrifically.

We can accomplish the same thing using our netroots. The beautiful thing about this plan is that we have all the resources necessary to accomplish it without some sort of direction from the powers-that-be. But let's take it back into the campaign setting, because that is the reason I started writing this. Rest assured however, the blogosphere has every resource it needs to make this happen without direction.

Think about the characteristics of the small blog. Many of us run our own. You know the blog your friends, co-workers, and maybe your parents read? The same one you link to in your Kos diaries to boost your visibility? Yes, that one.

It's the blog that generally gets the same 15 people, most within same community you are targeting, reading it a few times a week/month. Maybe you see where I am heading now?

I propose that we take that personal neighbor to neighbor strategy and lead it in a technological direction.

Let's assume you are working on a campaign that has a very clear message. You are part of a functional effort that sends out consistent press releases, talking points, and uses the Internet to foster participation within your congressional district, legislative district, or even statewide.

Step 1: Start collecting each and every single blog that exists within the universe your campaign is operating in. Find them out, email them directly, then introduce yourself and your campaign.

Step 2: Give your supporters the tools to create their own blogs. And do it your website. Heck, it takes 3 minutes to start a blog - walk them through it on your homepage or get involved page. Get a volunteer in the office whose task it is to take people through it step by step over the phone if necessary.

Step 3: If a blog, even a small blog, asks for an interview, grant it! If it gets to be too much, then schedule a weekly/bi-weekly half hour conference call with all the bloggers who want to participate.

Step 4: Back to the press releases and talking points. Send them to bloggers. Send them in the same mass email that you are sending out to the traditional media outlets. Give them the same opportunity to ask questions of the campaign.

Step 5: Invite bloggers to attend your events, just like the press. Make your press conferences and events wi-fi when possible.

Step 6: Nurture the relationship. Rinse and repeat. Bloggers love the inside scoop before the newspapers can get it in print the next day or the news broadcasts it a few hours later

And this plan holds for medium sized blogs as well. The ones that candidates and their staffs would have never dared to enter before because there weren't enough ATM cards found on a consistent basis.

There are some great medium sized blogs out there on both sides of the aisle. There are quite a few of those smaller blogs that have HUGE POTENTIAL in the state I am working now; they include: Young Philly Politics and Philly Future. Pittsburgh Webloggers is also a great source.

The way that traditional communication directors compile lists of newspapers, reporters, journalists, and their contact information - that is the way they need to start with bloggers, especially the small bloggers within their universe.

Finally, cross your fingers and hope they remember you when they go big! Until then, just be content as you work with them to spread your information to their families, co-workers and friends in the district which you are running.

Posted at 02:18 PM in 2005 Elections, 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, 2008 President - Republicans, Activism, General, Netroots | Comments (1) | Technorati

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