Hey kids, I hope you fellow East Coasters survived our recent back-to-back disasters, but don’t forget, an earthquake followed by a hurricane means only one thing — be ready for a rain of blood and toads soon. But if that or any other catastrophe looms, I now know that I can count on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for the latest news. In fact, since August 28th, his office has sent me the governor’s latest news via email at least EIGHTEEN TIMES in only three days, a number which is tragically low because I deleted the first few messages before I realized I was witness at the birth of a new literary genre. Of course, “news” is in the eye of the beholder, since this missive from earlier today is typical of the stream:
Today, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno will travel to Atlantic City and other boardwalks to remind residents and tourists that the Jersey Shore is a great place to visit following Hurricane Irene. The Lt. Governor will meet with tourism and business officials in Atlantic City and make several stops in Point Pleasant Beach, Lake Como and Asbury Park.
I’ll see you guys at the shore! (But only if Snooki’s along for the ride). Other messages touted the governor’s hurricane-related appearances on the “Today Show” and “Meet The Press” or noted other leaderly actions, as when “Governor Chris Christie Sends Letter to President Obama Requesting Immediate Relief for Hardest Hit New Jerseyans with Expedited Federal Declaration of Disaster” (that federal money’s awfully tasty when you really need it, right Chris?). Handy stuff! Particularly if you’re into studying the mechanics of self-promotion.
Of course, many of these messages are standard press advisories, which for some reason are also going to the governor’s blogger outreach list — a list on which I am proud to serve, whether or not I ever signed up for it, since his office typically sends video links only a couple of times a week. But 20+ messages in three days? Perhaps a bit of overkill…particularly for a blogger list that’s obviously not geotargeted, since DC’s a little far from Trenton for his storm warnings to be relevant. Blogger relations folks, do us all a favor: even when the water’s rising, think before you open the communications floodgates.
Interesting — mobile and email are two things I’m asking people about a lot as I’m getting ready to re-write “Winning in 2010″ for the 2012 cycle. More to come on that front soon, and you can listen to today’s show at 3 pm Eastern on WSRadio. Past shows are archived at the E-Voter Institute site, where you’ll be able to catch it in a couple of days if you can’t listen live today.
With final assembly taking place to Houses of the Holy and then some Muddy Waters, sitting at a table on the front porch of Dos Gringos on Mt Pleasant Street as afternoon thunder and lightning rolled through…DC in the late, slow summertime.
Here’s a fun idea — the folks at Progress Texas have put together PerryForPresidentFML, a website whose whole purpose is to make it easy for you to send out unflattering-but-true messages about Texas Governor and new Presidential candidate Rick Perry over Twitter. From the intro:
Now that conservative TX Gov Rick Perry has officially launched his Presidential campaign, it is important to remember the lasting legacy he will leave for Texas. After 25 years in public office and 10 years as the Governor, Perry has dramatically changed what Texas looks like for future generations. Below are just a few of his accomplishments.
That text is clearly tongue-in-cheek, which you might already guess from the “FML” in the site title. Scroll down a bit and you can flip through the aforementioned “accomplishments” in the form of pre-packaged Tweets, any of which you can send through your own Twitter account by pushing the handy “Tweet” button. Some samples:
In 2003 Texas led the country in child abuse death. Perry responded to this by cutting more funding from Child Protective Services #PerryFML
Rick Perry’s budget eliminated funding for state Reading, Math and Science Initiatives #PerryFML http://ht.ly/5ZaqW
Rick Perry gave $16 million in state technology grants to his top campaign donors #PerryFML http://ht.ly/5ZaqW
Under Perry, Texas ranks 1st in percent of uninsured children #PerryFML
Clever! Obviously, this is a single-purpose website, rather than an attack-on-all-fronts platform like the Texas Democratic Party’s new MeetRickPerry.com, but it still has some room for growth. For instance, why not include a rolling display of all Tweets using the #PerryFML hashtag to show public support? Even better, it’d be great to see this prepackaged-Tweet feature incorporated into other sites like MeetRickPerry.com that have a similar mission — united we stand, and all of that. Thanks to Marta Evry for sending this around.
Start your week off right by watching the video below, in which our own Beth Becker lays out ways social media can play into local campaigns. In the process, she makes a good point about how the need for speed implies that campaign managers trust their staff to make decisions on the fly.
Drew Westen’s recent critique of Barack Obama’s presidency and Jonathan Chait’s devastating rebuttal raise a question for me: what matters more in politics, messaging or mechanics? In Westen’s much-discussed New York Times piece, rhetoric and positioning are key: Obama’s failings are fundamentally driven by bad messaging, weak leadership and a failure of conviction. Bullshit, suggests Chait: Obama has in fact “used exactly the kind of rhetoric Westen accuses him of refusing to deploy,” but structural and practical obstacles like “special interest lobbying, the filibuster, macroeconomic conditions, not to mention certain settled beliefs of public opinion” can defeat the loftiest of presidential speeches.
Regardless of where you come down on Chait’s critique of Westen’s thesis (I’m mostly siding with Chait), it suggests another angle of analysis: most punditry, particularly of the blog and cable news variety, focuses on the messaging side of politics. What narrative is a politician pushing? What’s the content of his or her speeches and advertising? Who is judged to be winning the rhetorical war of the moment? On the occasions when the mechanics of winning an election do get discussed, it’s typically in the context of fundraising, which in turn matters mostly because it pays for television advertising.
Over the past week I’ve noticed that Congressman Gerlach has received some good attention for a very worthy issue: protecting puppies. Politics doesn’t always have focus on the disagreements we have and I can certainly give credit where credit is due. I mean, I love puppies too.
In fact I am quite certain that when Sonia gets a little older, she is going to ask Surekha and I to get her one and I am not sure I will be able to resist. But as honest as I am about giving Jim some praise, I also have to be honest that in these dog days of summer, what I really want him to focus on is job creation. And I think that is what most Americans want too.
So if you have a Twitter or Facebook account, I ask you to donate a bit of your time and re-post the following message on your wall:
@JimGerlach I love puppies too, but what about jobs?
The candidate they’re having this conversation with has an impressive road show. When she finishes her speech in Council Bluffs, a team of grips starts loading a stage, two tents, an American-flag sign, and a jungle of A/V cables into a truck. One of them tells me his last job was working on Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Two Bachmann aides with iPads strapped to their hands like catcher’s mitts mill around the crowd, signing people up to vote for Bachmann in the straw poll. They offer paper tickets, too, glossy things that promise free food and a Randy Travis concert at the Ames Straw Poll.
A YouTube video of a kitten watching a YouTube video of a kitten? Duuuuuuuude, that’s meta. When the internet simply Cannot Handle This and implodes, taking The Entire Universe with it, blame Burt Edwards for the recommendation, via HuffPo. Happy Friday.