Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lessons from the trenches of 2008.

2008’s electoral results are getting clearer as we close in on a final result in MN and GA. As President-elect Obama sorts out his administration and we all eat turkey sandwiches there are some great lessons to be learned from GOP campaigns of 2008.

In the coming weeks I will interview consultants, campaign staff and candidates to look at the tactics and where they made a difference. Before I start the interviews I want to hear from you on what questions you want answered.

Some of the questions I am considering asking are:

  • What campaign on the GOP side showed real innovation in fundraising?
  • What campaign on the GOP side had the most effective use of New Media?
  • What candidate on the GOP side best leveraged earned media to get traction?
  • What campaign on the GOP side showed the greatest comeback?
  • What campaign on the GOP side showed the best mobilization of grassroots supporters?
  • What campaign on the GOP side had the most effective GOTV organization?
  • What GOP media consultant showed the most appreciation for web video and integrated it into their mix?
  • What GOP pollster was the most accurate?
  • What GOP mail vendor had the most creative and effective designs? (yes, I am biased)
  • What GOP campaign showed the best ability to integrate it’s website into its’ over all campaign operation?
  • What GOP candidate has the biggest ideas for the future of our party (even if they lost)?
  • What GOP campaign showed the best use of its email list?
  • What GOP campaign was really good at the small stuff? (yard signs, bumper stickers, t-shirts, etc)

    I also have a sizeable list of people to interview, if you have some you would like to see, let me know.

    Email your suggested questions and interviewees to

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I am not moving to France...

Election Day has come and gone and my Political Party’s nominee for President has lost. I am disappointed but not disheartened. I am looking forward to the debate within the Republican Party to find our true core again.

A couple of things first, congratulations to President-elect Obama and his supporters. In 2000 and 2004 I was dismayed by the lack of respect and abundance of contempt that President Bush (and those of us that supported him) received from those that lost. Regardless of the deep and substantive differences I have with President-elect Obama it would be a mistake to not recognize how historic his election is. He is the first African-American President and represents the completion of another chapter in America’s troubled history on racial equality. His campaign shattered traditional models of volunteer mobilization, fundraising and technology use. All of which are good things for American democracy. I am sure that in the coming months I will have strong words for him in difference of policy but there will be plenty of time for that.

Next, leave Senator McCain alone. Enough of the arm chair quarterbacks and back seat drivers meaningless whining. In most polling I saw, we could not even get 30% of Americans to admit they were Republicans so it is no surprise that we could not get a majority of them to vote that way.

Time and time again I hear voters tell campaigns to “not tell them why the other guy is wrong, tell us what your guy will do!” Maybe we as Republicans should consider that question a bit before we start getting a worked up and wild-eyed. In 1996 we screamed and yelled about how unethical and corrupt President Clinton was. You can ask President Dole how well that worked.

Who are we and why should voters give us a chance again?

Are we fiscal conservatives or fans of big government solutions? Are we social conservatives, moderates or something in-between? Do we believe in free market solutions or tariff managed trade? Do we believe in being “safe” all the time or are we ok with balance of less security for more liberty? Do we believe in “exporting” the gift of democracy or letting others figure it out for themselves? Do we think that there is still some room in our country for people who were not born here but believe in the idea of America as much as we do? Are we helping the “poor” by not making them pay taxes?

I used to think I could articulate the “Republican” position on these pretty well but lately I am not so sure.

Even before McCain conceded I had emails and text messages from friends and journalists asking if Governor Palin would be our standard bearer for 2012. Whoa, let’s hold our horses a bit. We need to know where we are going before we pick a leader. The good news is we have some time on our hands to figure that out now that Democrats control both houses of Congress and the White House.

I have been proud to be a Republican in the past and am sure I will be in the future. Our party has a great history of shaping our nation’s policy and providing the great leaders to do it.