Sunday, September 09, 2007

Dear Fred - please find second gear

In the astronomically unlikely event that somebody who once shook hands with Fred Thompson's babysitter will read this, here it goes.

Fred - Your online announcement video was too long by half. It should have ended after your autobiographical story with an invitation to watch other (also shorter) videos, and to otherwise poke around your website. All I wanted was for it be over.

There's not much wrong with the content of your message, just the presentation. There is indeed a demand in the Republican party for a first-principles candidate, as you appear to be projecting, but unfortunately our principles are often either out of favor with the voters or the voters don't believe that we eat our own dog food, as evidenced by the prescription drug entitlement, the "bridge to nowhere", and Larry Craig.

Our principles need to be easily digestible in bites no longer than 90 seconds, and voters need to think we mean it this time - even if it seems we didn't mean it in the past.

As you jostle around your campaign staff in a transition from a kitchen table campaign to a war-room campaign, remember that you can't just jettison the idea of a new-media communications strategy. Winning the nomination will take both a top-rate traditional campaign as well as an outstanding new media strategy.

A fantastic looking website is only the beginning. A serious new-media strategy will give potential supporters more than a web-widget for fundraising. A top notch web campaign is more than a half-hearted blog. Your supporters need a way to connect with each other to spontaneously organize, and they also need a link back to home-base.

In short, you probably should have kept all your old staffers and merely added to the payroll, creating two parallel campaigns. In "real life" as well as online, you need to distill the conservative message down to meaningful, common sense concepts so we can have a fighting chance against socialized medicine and trade restrictions. In short, go read a few of Reagan's speeches. You're supposed to be the Reaganesque candidate, no?

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