Category Archives: election 08

Don’t want to lose the zeitgeist

Disappointed that on such a huge day in our country’s history, I happened to be traveling. However, I am pleased that my son who is in 2nd grade was able to watch the events unfold as they happened – and when I spoke w/ him earlier he understood the gravity of what was going on. “It was pretty cool, Dad.” was how he summed it up. Yes, yes it was.

I’ve read on FB and Twitter unbelievable amounts of quotes and snippets from President Obama’s speech today, but this passage (as I watched in a time-shifted way on my laptop tonight then re-read the text) is what gave me the most pause, made me choke up a bit, write a note to my kids to make sure that regardless of what the next four years worth of actions bring they know this is an unbelievably valuable life lesson, that this election was not just about skin color but about getting back to the fabric of who we are and who we should strive to be as a country, what re-affirmed my optimistic lens for this year, and – last – could not be a more relevant message for our industry continually trying to figure out how to meet challenges w/ new instruments…

“Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded, then, is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.”

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Filed under election 08, the rest of the hour

Free Association w/ Election 08

I’m an amateur student of history, especially enjoying presidential politics, so I’m very excited to see how this momentous decision plays itself out. Right now, I have good feelings about the engagement of the electorate in the democratic process…how we hang w/ it remains to be seen. Anyway, seems only appropriate to do a recap in the form of a Larry King ramble

I honestly believe that Obama is the best possible GCV for this country at the point in history in which we are stationed – and that was and is a huge issue on which to place a vote. This country is not red or blue, and neither is the world at large.

The American people do not disappoint when it comes to correcting things. However, time will have to tell if Prez + Congressional Majority = Good Thing this time as history has shown it usually doesn’t go so well.

I missed the John McCain that didn’t need the Republican Party’s money. My friends, had the guy who gave the concession speech shown up for the entire race, things may not have ended differently, but they would’ve been a hell of a lot more interesting.

Of course, had that John McCain run, who would’ve the conservatives voted for? Oh, wait, the conservatives would’ve mercilessly crushed him in the primaries as they did in 00 and he never would’ve been the candidate. Mitt Romney, anyone?

I’m sure this was pointed out somewhere along the line in the primaries, but there could’ve been a ticket of a former real NYC mayor and a former make believe NYC DA. I don’t know, that just woulda been kinda funny and ironic. Sad, perhaps, but funny and ironic all the same.

However, having John McCain be the maverick who truly does reach across the aisle back in the Senate doing the reaching across the aisle probably does more good for the country than John McCain the Republican Presidential Elect who is Beholden to the Republican Party’s Money.

I still don’t think Tina Fey’s all that funny. I’m still bitter about the “clapter” remark as it pertains to John Stewart. It may take awhile for me to get over it, if I ever do. I’m petty like that – I’m extremely pragmatic and rational when it comes to politics, but if you talk sh*t about a comedian I like, WATCH OUT!

So Governors appoint Senators when there are vacancies in their states as I recall. Can Governors appoint themselves? Or do you think Sarah will send Todd to DC due to Ted’s unfortunate felony conviction?

Anybody else notice that the 08 Republicans bear an uncanny resemblance to the 04 Democrats with a notable exception – they don’t have a Barack Obama (or HRG for that matter) waiting in the wings? How bad will the next 4 years have to be to make Palin in 12 seem palpable? Or how far back to the conservative base will they go to prop Romney up as the heir apparent? Or is there another random, unknown out there?

In case you missed it, Pew says Fox News is more fair and balanced than MSNBC. Probably a vast right wing conspiracy.

I’m not sure how I feel about seeing Hannity this bitter. I think I want to chuckle, then it kinda scares the sh*t out of me. Colmes better watch his back.

I still wish Keith Olberman would shut up. Biscuit in the basket…Biscuit in the basket…Biscuit in the basket…

I still think Barbara Walters and Rupert Murdoch should arrange a trade – Hasselback for Colmes. Then they can stop acting like the shows they appear on are fair and balanced.

With all the partisan coverage going on in the media these days, my Independent heart laments this country’s ability to generate a viable and sustainable 3rd party.

At times it’s surreal to me that I am again living in the state that elected Jesse Ventura governor and is in a recount situation for sending Al Franken to the Senate. Irony of ironies: Norm Coleman, career politician, could have a resume showing he lost to a former pro wrestler and a comedian. The man brought professional hockey back to “The State of Hockey” and that’s how they repay him? Youbetcha!

Speaking of Hollywood, some there say they’re not a bunch of pinko commies, or in homage to Colbert’s consistent assertions, Socialists. There are a few who even say they’re not like Al Franken. I still recall, and agree w/, Howard Stern saying in the 00 or 04 election that if you’re swayed by famous people’s political views, you’re a moron.

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Filed under election 08, media coverage, riffs

Here’s to hoping this is, at least, the next to last Election 08 post…

Just want to capture a thought or two the night before…

I’m pretty confident in two things:

First, the Amercian people tend to dole out reprisals when Presidents go too far or one party rules the roost for a tad too long, even if they did OK. Just going back to ’52…

Truman –> 20 years of Dems, WWII won, Cold War started, Korea –> Eisenhower
Eisenhower –> 8 years of blandness (but effective blandness) –> JFK
LBJ –> Vietnam, general hard-headed-ness and cantankerous-ness –> Nixon
Nixon/Ford –> Was a crook/wife wasted on national TV giving tour of White House –> Carter
Carter –> Told us to put on a sweater to solve energy crisis –> Reagan
Bush –> Career behind the scenes guy, 3rd party candidate steals needed votes –> Clinton
Clinton –> 8 years of not blandness (but effective not blandness) –> Bush Redux
Bush Redux –> Not feeling like doing the recap, think we’re all familiar right now –> ?

The real question comes down to will the congress be of the same party affiliation as the President. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve seen the Republicans have been doing a lot of local spending and canvassing for candidates. Seems like a sign of some sort.

Won’t go through a timeline on prez + congress being same party, but that has proven to be a real Achilles heal for a sitting President in the past in terms of longevity and popularity (OK, one relatively fresh example: HRG health care plan proposal ’93, Newt’s “Republican Revolution” of ’94, HRG moved out of limelight a bit). Per that example, and many others not given, the American people tend to fix that in mid-terms. The bad news is the second half of the four years for the sitting prez can prove tough even if people got elected w/ promises of “reaching across the aisle.” The mid-term correction tends to be, if this is possible, more derisive, partisan, and “base hardening” than most since every seat counts in order to effectively set up the next prez election. Especially now that the election cycle is easily 2 years long.

Second, how the Redskins fair in their game directly prior to the first Tuesday after the first Monday has proven 100% accurate, I believe, 17 times, back to Eisenhower. They win, and the party that had the popular vote the previous election wins. They lose and the party that didn’t have the popular vote the previous election wins. They lost.

If you’re still w/ me, then you will grant a history dork a couple of interesting asides…

I always say an umpire or a referee never really decides a game. In any close game, if you go back and think of a couple of plays, situations or streaks that occurred, you can see how the outcome could’ve gone the other way, regardless of a “bad” call. Hanging chads and the Supreme Court did not beat Al Gore. If he was so damn smart, how could he lose to W, a man the Dems have done not much more than call an idiot for 8 years – yet they lost to him not once but twice? If Al had the association of the prevous 8 years of, for the most part, prosperity, why was the race so close? Oh, yeah, it was a marketing decision – to disassociate himself w/ Bill Clinton. Oops.

Prior to W, Truman had the record for the lowest approval rating of any lame duck president. I’ve heard from some of his supporters that W will be seen in a positive light light Truman when time has passed. What’s that saying about hindsight?

Would JFK have been a Carter (won because very different than previous and then the mistake was realized based on his actions in office) or a Clinton (obvious flaws but great vision)? Had he been able to get around those, but kept us engaged in Vietnam, I’m struggling to see how he could’ve been Clinton-esque, obvious flaws or not.

Give Carter a TON of credit for parlaying his ability to be an eternal optimist and compromise into big things after the unsuccessful 4 years. He’s done a lot for this messed up world in which we live.

HW was very good at what he did prior to becoming Prez – get sh*t done in a complicated world w/o needing limelight (in many cases, it was probably best that it not be in the limelight). Not so much when it came to the vision and charisma needed to lead the free world. Ike won a war and the world was just starting to get complicated (though he was always suspicious, as was Churchill, of Stalin), so his lack of charisma as Prez gets a pass.

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(Lack of) Political Media Strategery

As mentioned, I’ve had more than five calls in five days from the Republican Party of Minnesota imploring me to vote for McCain/Palin and Norm Coleman (non-Minnesotans: the dude that was mayor of St. Paul, brought professional hockey back to MN, has been a senator for 6 years, and is running against Al Franken).

This fine Sunday morning, I had a wonderful flier in the handle of my storm door, not the first of those either in the past 5 days.

If I’m undecided and you call me five times in five days when my number is on the Do Not Call list (yeah, I know politicians get special status, but I’m in this industry…if I’m Joe Insert Name Here, I may not be as in the know w/ such things), then paper my front porch w/ your fliers when the “No Soliciting” sign is roughly a foot from my door handle, you’re not really getting credit for listening to my needs. And most likely not getting my vote as two things I remember vividly less than a week before voting are things that PISS ME OFF!

I guess the irony is that at this point in the game it’s usually the Dems reaching for high frequency desperation tactics. Regardless, do these people not have media/advertising strategists working for them? Or have they not learned from Dem failures of the past 8 years and the media strategies they used to get there. Oh, wait, they probably do and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

And let’s not forget 30 minute infomercials. Personally, I was asking myself where the foamboard charts were. “We’re in deep doo doo, folks.” Now that’s how you connect w/ Joe Insert Name Here.

My only comment is HRP used his own money to buy two 30 minute blocks of time, which came off as a bit pretentious and showy but he was a 3rd wheel looking to shake things up.

BHO, a major party candidate, used the funds he raised by not adhering to policies of fund raising that he said he would adhere to before he became the nominee. I get that he more than any other modern candidate accumulated a ridiculous amount of minimal contributions from a ridiculous number of people by activating the true base, in the trenches, part of the electorate to get the money. And I greatly applaud that because that is a sound use and activation of strategy that understands that all politics is indeed local.

However, he is now the candidate talking about spreading the wealth around who is buying 30 minutes on three major broadcast networks on the mass-est of mass media.

A thought: How about you finish strategically where you started? Produce the video for straight to digital distribution to re-ignite the base and get them passing said video around to their undecided friends vs. wasting dollars on the committed base and the competition’s committed base. Polls right now show a huge advantage in electoral votes, but most agree that the 10 million or so undecided voters are the key. If you buy into the promise of social media, as you seem to based on how you’ve used it throughout, then the best way to persuade the undecided is via their friends and family who aren’t undecided.

Just a thought. After all, you were the man who advocated using a scalpel vs. a hatchet in the 2nd debate. You can apply that analogy a bit more easily to media strategy than trillions of dollars of debt. At least I think so…

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Filed under advertising effectiveness, bad media, communication platforms, competition, election 08, media usage, push vs. pull, video

People don’t like telemarketers…or politicians

So why would politicians use telemarketing? The Republican Party of Minnesota has now called my home no less than 5 times. I’m sure the 20 percentage points McCain is trailing Obama by here in Minnesota is easily made up by continually pestering people by phone in their home. I like that the people who passed the Do Not Call List left a loophole open so they can bug me to vote for them.

These are the same people, i.e. those in government not Republicans vs. Democrats, who are trying to regulate away effective online advertising…unless, it would appear, they see the benefit in using it themselves. All politics is local, so hows about stopping calling me and perhaps reach out to me surgically via the cyberweb?

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Filed under bad media, election 08

Quote of the Day – POTUSA as Global Communication Vehicle, Riff, GCV as buzzword

Lump sat alone in a boggy marsh, totally motionless except for her heart

No, no, I’m kidding. I’m a kidder. At least I am now…later in this post, I’m going to be pretty serious…

“The modern Presidency is as much a vehicle for communication as for decision-making, and the relevant audiences are global.”

10.13.08 New Yorker, Talk of the Town, spelling out why BO makes more sense than JM (and SP for that matter)

When I see the blistering, sarcastic, sardonic tone of the commentary by “my friends” in the electorate – many of which also happen to be card-carrying members of that raggedy segment of the electorate known as the media/marketing/advertising industry – on the candidates via, primarily, what could be considered “global communication vehicles” (or, in current industry parlance, “social media” – Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.), I think you can all ZIP IT and just point to this quote.

Seriously, this freakin’ election has been going on for 2 years – more actually if you really think about it (BO’s speech at the DNC before becoming a senator, Bush crushing McCain in SC primary via dirty media tactics – I’ll come back to that later). Screaming at each other when you mostly all agree about something really isn’t helping. Effective frequency has been broached. Tell it to people who might need to be influenced – i.e. those who are undecided since media outlets on the left and the right are saying those few million of us who exist will be the ones deciding this thing.

Frankly, the tone of what’s being spewed forth from those outlets makes me think if I didn’t have a career in this media/marketing/advertising industry I’d probably just stay home because I can’t figure out which is the lesser of two evils. That, my friends, sounds like a potentially relevant strategy – be so derisive in your communication that you harden the base and generate so much disdain in the democratic process that the undecided just don’t bother. Short sighted, perhaps, but effective nonetheless.

For the love, people, most of you are in jobs where you need to figure out every day who the best prospects are for your or your clients’ messages, how you should best craft those messages to change perceptions and actions, and where/how often you need to say the things you need to say. Practice what you preach. Get out of the echo chamber.

And if you all really believe in the power of “social media”, seems this would be just the sort of thing “social media” can be used for to do more good in spreading the word in a beneficial way…right? Or is “social media” just about showing your network that you’re blistering, sarcastic and/or sardonic? Take a cue from BO – his use of social media as a positive force in spreading and effectively (and efficiently, I might add) explaining his message and refuting the other side’s POV has been masterful. It has had a great influence on this Indy.

Of course, I’m giving the vast rabble of the electorate a lot of credit for being rational people who will respond rationally when spoken to rationally. Worked pretty well in times of crisis for other Presidents – Abe in his speeches and proclimations leading up to and during the Civil War, FDR and his “fireside chats” during the Depression and WWII, JFK debating Nixon and during the Cuban missile crisis, etc. I think 2000 and 2004 proved pretty well when they’re spoken to irrationally w/o an effective or coherent rational response they will behave irrationally. It’s a shame JM decided it best to mimic those derisive tactics that brought him down in the ’00 primary. Against a rational and relatively impervious candidate (vs. a reactive and overly emotional one) they just don’t work. Oh, and remember it almost made you switch parties in ’04. Now that’s a true maverick.

BTW, I’m really liking “Global Communication Vehicle” as opposed to “social media”. “Social Media” feels less and less relevant every day – or maybe it’s brilliant in it’s simplicity…who knows w/ these things; as an industry we lose interest relatively quickly in buzzwords and trends, or maybe we think we’re just so damn good at developing new buzzwords and trends we feel the need to do so consistently to substantiate our existence and make our jobs seem a lot more complex and hard to keep up w/ – maybe we all just just double our aderol and suck it up. What was I saying again? Oh, yeah.

So, Global Communication Vehicle sounds really big and important. It has a nice sounding acronym – GCV. It refers to what is accomplished by using it – communication – vs. the container in which what happens occurs – media (though that whole “vehicle” at the end is a bit disconcerting, but, again, “V” right after the combo of “GC” just sounds so euphonious – someone get me a nickel for using that word now). It takes it beyond a seemingly trivial use – to socialize – and makes it seem like Colin Powell as Barack Obama’s top advisor on international matters could use it to fix Darfur or see K-G and B in Putin’s eyes. Ooo, new shiny object is prrriiiitttyyy…..


Filed under bad media, communication platforms, election 08, media coverage, quote of the day, riffs, twitter

Political Twitter

At first I thought the Twitter coverage of the election was a spectacular thing. It was fascinating to see in real time people’s reactions to the first debate.

I noticed that the audience composition of those participating in #debate08 was actually relatively balanced. Maybe not as many McCain supporters as Obama supporters, but there weren’t as many of “The L Words” in there as I thought. Super scientific, I know, but the pro-McCain comments were not lacking is the point.

To that end, as this second debate was unfolding, I started to notice that the comments were primarily in a few clusters.

1. Sound & Fury Signifying Nothing: Trash talk about the candidates styles, nothing on substance, general snarkiness.

2. I’ve Got a Bat and the Horse Isn’t Dead Yet: Random regurgitation’s of facts and figures on specific topics being discussed that only a person who is voting based on a particular issue would know about.

3. Fact Checking Lurkers: Not sure if they’re w/ the various campaigns, but some well-informed people seeming to plant well-timed topics.

And then I shut my laptop.

I realized that those three categories meant you were dealing w/ people who, by and large, had already made up their mind. They’re just playing a tennis match at this point and I’m wagging my neck around as the ball goes back and forth. It’s not helping me one bit.

I realized I was looking at everyone else’s thoughts and throwing out my own pithy 140 character or less quips based on the soundbites of the debate I was able to catch when not reading everyone else’s comments about the debate that was on the TV about 8-10 feet past the laptop with which I was enthralled.

I’m not really sure how I’m feeling about Twitter’s use in this way now, but I do know I won’t be on the laptop for round 3 next week. I’m thinking there is some fascinating evaluation that needs to be done to see what it all means and how it can be better used to influence because I can tell you for this indie it’s not all that influential.

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Filed under communication platforms, election 08, twitter