Wednesday, October 8, 2014

On the Campaign Trail - A Day in the Life, Part II

A day in the life of a campaign consultant isn't all about the usual things, getting the mail ready, vetting your client's message and his photographs (no white shirts; don't stare right into the camera), buying cable ad time.

It's dealing with lots of small crises ("My opponent copied my message!" Well, it must be the right message then. "Someone is stealing my signs!" Then they must consider you a threat. Besides yard signs don't vote. And so on).

It's also getting calls and emails from friends who are running and just want a word of advice. Like the water board candidate in another County who wants me to take a quick peek at her email message asking for volunteers and endorsers. I do, and then advise her she must be much more direct, and calling is better than email; at least follow up with a phone call when you don't hear back.

Like the committee head who is running a tax measure in a nearby town, and wants my opinion of their handout (not so good). I suggest robo calls. Yeah, everyone hates them, but if you don't have money, they work, with the right message (really short) and the right messenger (a local celebrity or the fire chief for a public safety measure or a parent for a school bond). Oh, can I help with the script?

Sure. I'm only partially in it for the money. Hey, consultants have to eat too you know. But happy to help out a fledgling campaign Who knows, if they win, they might just hire me for their next run. And it wouldn't be campaign season if I wasn't just a little frazzled.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

On the campaign trail - a Day in the Life

Besides the campaigns I am actually running, here's how my day goes:

Candidate A who didn't want to hire a consultant because he has a good committee to help him calls. "Help," he says. "My committee is making me crazy."

"what's the problem?" I ask.

"They all hate the mailer I put together, you know the one my brother in law in advertising did for me?"

"Smart committee," I think, but do not say.

"So how can I help you?"

"Can you just look at it and give me a few tips?"


"I'll pay you."

"OK," I relent, sure this is a mistake. Then follows a flurry of emails. The committee is right. The mail piece makes no sense. Not only that, it doesn't even have the most basic information, address, FPPC number, or email.

"Hmmm, could use some work," I type back. "Could use some consistency. And you have to have a way for voters to get in touch with you."

"What do you mean consistency?" he writes back and we're off.

Hours later, we have something that just might work, with a new graphic designer, and a print shop that can get it to the Post Office in time. Oh, but wait, it has to get the approval of the committee first.

"About my fee," I finish up, naming a very fair amount about half what I would normally charge for a rush job. I'm still awaiting his reply.

And this is all before breakfast. Stay tuned for more of a Day in the Life.

Monday, October 6, 2014

They're baaaack! More on fake anti-consumer ads

Those of you who have been around the block a time or two will remember those "Harry and Louise" ads which were so effective in causing the Clinton-era health reforms to tank. Well, meet "Ana and George", a supposedly small business-owning couple who worry that if Proposition 45 passes, it will take away the power of the "Independent Commission" to set health insurance rates for Californians, and give it to a politician, who can take millions in special interest money. And that's why they're voting against Proposition 45.

Well, that would be a bad thing, if one word of it were true. It isn't. Ana and George are simply Harry and Louise reincarnated. And according to Consumer Watchdog, a creation of the same ad man, Rick Clausen, who gave us Harry and Louise in the first place. And Rick Clausen appears to be a puppet of the insurance industry, which has to date spent $37.5 million to defeat Proposition 45.

So Ana and George are not real small business people. What about the independent commission they lament is being sabotaged by that dastardly politician? There is no such animal. What there is is the Covered California board, a board appointed by politicians, (many of whom in fact, take millions themselves from insurance companies). And Covered California has no power to regulate rates. All they can do is implement the Affordable Care Act.

Oh, and that corrupt politician? He's Dave Jones, the Insurance Commission elected by the people of the State. And he takes not one dime from any insurance company or their minions.

So far, the law does not allow him to regulate health insurance rates the way it does auto and home insurance rates. What he'd like to do is put the brakes on runaway health insurance rates,  just like Commissioners do in 35 other states.

We passed Proposition 103 regulating car insurance rates in 1988. Now we need to pass Proposition 45, to put the brakes on Insurance rates!

Yes on 45 spot with real nurses here.

No on Prop 45 with fake Ana and George here.