Friday, September 20, 2013

Everyone's a Campaign Consultant - Choose yours wisely

Have you noticed how many new campaign consultants pop up every year? Is this the hot new career move, or what? For you candidates or potential candidates out there, vet carefully.  Does your consultant have a track record? A winning one that is. Does he/she have experience in your type of race? Cost isn't everything. Winning is.

Why anyone wants to join this profession is beyond me. It's tough. It's fast. It can of course be heady and ego-boosting when your candidate wins. Are some consultants past thir sell-by date?

Age isn't the issue; recycled campaign ads, generic mail messages, lackluster attention to detail. Those can be clues. Sometimes the "Young and hungry" are going to give you better, more personalized service.  Sometimes it's the experienced team that specializes in your campaign. This cycle (2013) is set, but 2014 and beyond is just getting shaped up.

There is an art to campaigning. Less is more, and all that. If your message is more words than pictures, you may have a problem. If your signs are unreadable, you just wasted a bundle. How much is the commission (if any) your consultant adds to the cost of print, media or other materials? Is a flat fee a better deal?

And if you're a woman, consider a female consultant who "gets" your particular needs. Still ask all the pertinent questions. But women helping women is still a good thing in this male dominated world of politics.

Ask these questions and more at the beginning of the relationship. And you can always break up if the "fit" isn't right. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mixed Bag - Miss America reflects Diversity, but it's still the same old show

Now we have an Indian American Miss America, which on the one hadn is great. The pageant is reflecting diversity at last. And the nastiness that goes with it. Of coiurse maybe that's because a lot of the fans of this type of beauty pageant are the same people who like to ogle scantily clad girls on the beach or catcall women from their perches on concstruction sites and big trucks with booming basses.

But to me, it's a mixed bag. Contestants still have to parade around in swimsuits (now "only" 15% of the points are awarded for the swimsuit competition, according to Wikipedia ) ball gowns (20%), and answer generally insipid questions on current events (5%; the other 60% divided between talent and personal interviews. Obviously this Miss America, Nina Davuluri, is no bimbo whose breathless goal in life is "world peace," (not that that's a bad goal, but it's also a stock answer to the predictable questions). She's aiming to be a cardiologist, which the scholarship money winners receive will surely help with.

But, must we continue to stereotype women, of any nationality, with the need for Barbie type good looks and toothpaste ad smiles to make them acceptable? To be fair, there's a Mr. America contest too, for bodybuilders who sport overdeveloped muscles and are just as stereotyped, if not worse.

Real men, real women, should not need to enter body-centric contests to prove themselves or attain higher education.

Maybe it's time for a "Real American" contest. Would the winner be an overweight, undereducated non-voting fast food eating TV watching individual symbolizing  the worst of middle-America, or a member of one of the fast growing minority populations who so many of the haters of an Indian American Miss America consider too outside the mainstream to even consider?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Should you leave one elected office to pursue another in your first term?

Sometimes, people get the bug to move up the food chain in politics before they are ready. Or before their constituents are ready for them. If you're in your first term in a modest local office, school board, city council, sewer board, it might not be the best move to mount a run for State Senate.

I could say it all depends, and it does, of course. Everything is relative. But it's unusual to make such a leap unless you are particularly suited for the new office.  Those who voted for you the first time around are likely to see you as personally ambitious, not publicly minded. There are exceptions of course. If an open seat comes up and you ARE particularly suited for it, have done your homework, are exceptionally charismatic or have a compelling argument to make or issue to back that no one else can do, go for it.

But don't let your ego outrun your ability. Humility does not necessarily disqualify you from holding higher office. Hubris might just tank your political career in its infancy.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Just so you know - Campaign Slut - the TV Show

Well, it really ought to be a musical:

Here's the gist:

Dora, aka the Campaign Slut, is a mid-fifyish woman of ecclectic stycle and brilliant insights.
Lila is her sidekick. one of them must channel Elsbeth Tascioni as played by Carrie Preston on The Good Wife.

There are other characters, geeks, hipsters, brainiacs and ever-sniffing journalists.

They win campaigns for the most unlikely characters. All on the side of right. No left. That is the good side.

The first episode is all about Reverend Ronnie and the No Fracking No Way Church of the Earth, who has decide to launch a run for office. She has been born again multiple times, which makes her imperious to all insults. She must be a woman of generous proportions, with a booming voice. She has a dedicated choir of followers who hum, chant and sing aloud as the circumstances dictate. They also dance. (See what I mean about a musical?)

Her opponent is Pastor Paul, a rasty right wing lapdog for the oil companies, masquerading as the charismatic leader of a mega-church.

Dora's job is to reign Ronnie in enough to get her elected, while exposing the real power behind the Pastor Paul and his Church, while avoiding the gossip mongers and tabloid journalists who dog her trail.

So if you are of the acting (singing dancing?) persuasion, let me know and we can rock and roll for a pilot.