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Entries for January 2012

31
The two things that matter most in a political campaign are being right with the Lord and money. Today, candidates in the Republican Primary for Congress in the 13th District filed their year-end FEC reports. They showed total income for each campaign:
 
George Holding: $462,500. Paul Coble: $135,200.
 
Now, before I go any further, I should say I’m completely partisan when it comes to George Holding. His father, Robert, was one of the original Jessecrats, his uncle, ‘Snow,’ was Finance Chairman during one of Jesse’s campaigns, and his brother, Robert, handled media in three of Jesse’s campaigns. I’ve known George for nearly 30 years and I’m hard at work on his campaign.
 
Now, back to the FEC report.
 
George and Paul Coble both announced last summer.
 
Their first FEC reports – for the third quarter – showed they had raised:
 
George Holding: $234,000. Paul Coble: $97,000.
 
The latest reports show the money they raised in the 4th quarter:
 
George Holding: $227,700. Paul Coble: $37,300.
 
During the last quarter, Paul Coble raised $36,600 in individual contributions and $700 he loaned his campaign – George Holding raised $166,200 in individual contributions and $85,000 he loaned his campaign.
 
It’s not everyday a candidate who’s never run for office raises more money than a candidate who’s been running for nearly 20 years. And it’s a sign.
 

 

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31
Last week I was literally at sea – on a cruise. For the last 48 hours, I’ve been immersed in the stormy seas of Democratic politics.
 
The first thing that struck me is the generational divide.
 
Many older Democrats (i.e. – older than me) see Perdue’s decision as a potential disaster and Erskine Bowles as the only reliable lifeboat.
 
Younger Democrats (many much younger than me) see this as an opportunity to get new faces and new blood into the party’s leadership. They’re talking about Richard Moore, Grier Martin, Brad Miller and, until today, Anthony Foxx and Cal Cunningham.
 
Two groups won North Carolina for the Democrats in 2008: young voters and African-Americans. Now they’re saying: Don’t we deserve a seat at the table?

 

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31
Prediction: Erskine Bowles won’t run. Suggestion: He shouldn’t.
 
Yesterday I gave Laura Leslie and Rob Christensen all the reasons Erskine would be a great governor. The problem is that he’s a terrible candidate. Even he has admitted: "I have empirical data that I was a terrible politician."
 
He has proven it twice. That should suffice.
 
Why end a long and distinguished career in business and public service with another brutal campaign and a defeat? Why lose a campaign for governor 40 years after his father became the first Democrat in the 20th Century to lose a campaign for governor?
 
Erskine should exit quickly, and Democrats should look elsewhere. More on that later.

 

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30
In politics, you’re never beaten until you give up. Governor Perdue is now officially beaten.
 
She proclaims she’ll keep fighting and she’s no lame duck. She apparently gave a rousing speech to the Sanford-Hunt-Frye dinner. Still, she’s laying down her sword and walking off the field of battle.
 
No doubt she feels beat up: beat up by campaign investigations, beat up by the Republican legislature, beat up by carping Democrats and former supporters, beat up by the media.
 
No doubt she didn’t want to risk being the first North Carolina governor to lose a race for reelection.
 
From that personal standpoint, her decision makes sense. But she had a larger responsibility. And some Democrats feel like she put herself ahead of her responsibility to the party, the state and the progressive cause.
 
After all, Democrats nominated her to be their candidate for governor four years ago. And a Democratic tide carried her into office.
 
In 2000 and 2004, Democrats nominated and elected her to be lieutenant governor.
 
Didn’t she have a responsibility to stand and fight against all the evil things she says the Republicans are doing?
 
Doesn’t she put Democrats in a hell of a spot now? Another Democrat won’t have her baggage, but they also don’t have her head start raising money. Every dollar they raise from now to May will go into the primary. After that, the winner will have to reload quickly against a Republican opponent who has a four-year head start.
 
Worst of all for some Democrats, Perdue proved that Bill Faison was right when he predicted she wouldn’t run.
 
No matter what she says, she’s a lame duck. She still has the veto, but wavering Democrats won’t have to worry she might be in power another four years.
 
Spin it how you will, giving up is giving up.

 

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30
I’m just back from a week-long cruise to the western Caribbean – Grand Cayman, Honduras and Mexico. Did I miss anything?
 
I’ll be catching up and weighing in. Plenty of material from last week!
 
Thanks to Luther Snyder, Nation Hahn and the anonymous bloggers for their great contributions last week. They set a high standard for Carter and me to match.

 

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27
With Governor Perdue’s announcement that she will not seek reelection the North Carolina political landscape has shuffled quickly. As of today, candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor (with Walter Dalton’s entry into the Governor’s race) have 107 days to raise money, reach voters, and win a statewide primary. This compressed schedule is unprecedented in North Carolina politics.
 
In order to quickly build buzz, build their list, raise money, and reach voters, all of the candidates should seize the opportunity to become the social media candidate for Governor/Lt. Governor.
 
A few hundred bucks spent on targeted (read: don’t just throw ads up...) Facebook advertising, web videos produced at the fraction of a price of television ads (make sure that they have an actual narrative and theme), a well designed website (could be had for less than $12,500), and well written emails can begin to build the foundation that is needed.
 
The joy of the internet is that it moves at light speed, which is necessary in this short of a campaign.
 
The steps above will get you the foundation of what you need, but to get to the next level you really need to embrace the power of social media.
 
Capture behind the scenes photos using Instagram and post to Facebook and Twitter.
 
Share stories, tidbits, and anecdotes about the candidates that show them to be real people, who care about the rest of us.
 
Post rough cut videos of the family spending time together on the road.
 
Speak in the candidates own voice through the social media.
 
Brad Miller, Cal Cunningham, and other potential candidates have already shown a willingness to use social media to elevate their voice. If others seize on their example, and make it part of the campaign’s DNA, then they have a real shot.
 
Simply putting up a Twitter account (Lt. Governor Dalton...) isn’t enough, you must use the platforms to show that you are different if you hope for real success.
 
Guest Blogger Nation Hahn is the Director of Engagement at New Kind (http://www.newkind.com) in Raleigh.
 

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26
Explaining that his chances of winning reelection look dim, this morning Democratic Congressman Brad Miller announced he will not run.
 
About an hour later Governor Beverly Perdue explained that, because the one thing she cares most about is schoolchildren (who, she added, are victims of Republican legislators cutting spending), she’s not running either.
 
Follow the logic:
 
Brad Miller says he won’t run because he’ll probably lose.
 
Bev Perdue says she won’t run because she’s fighting for school children.
 
You have to appreciate Brad Miller’s candor.
 

 

 

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26
Gary is taking a break this week from consulting, blogging and politics. He invited several TAPsters to contribute blogs during his hiatus. Here's one of them:

Art Pope likely has never thought of himself as allied with the oft-bashed-as-liberal news media, but the mainstream media has succeeded in giving undeserved credibility to Pope’s squadron of institutes that serve as cheerleaders for partisan Republican causes.
 
News media now regularly quote the Pope-bankrolled Civitas Institute in news stories with no hint of its conservative orientation.
 
Moreover, smaller newspapers around the state, desperate for content after the newspaper business laid off reporters in droves, have begun running Civitas reports as news stories, even though the biased reports lack opposing viewpoints.
 
Mind you that Civitas is unlike some of Pope’s other dollar store think tanks, like the John Locke Foundation, which publishes agenda-driven research and news stories. Civitas has an appendage that funds, operates and executes campaigns to defeat Democrats, while maintaining the defense that its campaign operation, Civitas Action, is separate from the institute. Never mind that the same guy runs them both. This is like a McDonald's manager arguing that the drive-through is a separate operation.
 
Even larger mainstream publications, like the News & Observer, are providing credibility for Pope’s operations. The N&O’s John Frank recently wrote a front page story on the Republican-led legislature’s midnight session – the one devoted to passing legislation that undermines the state teachers association after the group stood up to GOP education cuts. The story examined whether, among other flaws, the legislature’s session was constitutionally convened. Frank quoted two experts: a scholar at UNC’s Institute of Government and a top lawyer at Pope’s N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law. The Pope lawyer (who, not surprisingly, said that the General Assembly's procedure was fine) was quoted without any qualifier about NCICL, such as Pope’s funding or its six-member board that includes two men who held state office and one who ran statewide – all as Republicans. Frank failed even to mention that House Speaker Thom Tillis' legal counsel, whose job would include advising Tillis on issues such as the constitutionality of the 1 a.m. session, was hired directly from – wait for it – NCICL.
 
Congratulations, Mr. Pope. Your institutes have arrived, and what’s left of the mainstream media paid for the ticket.

 

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25
Gary is taking a break this week from consulting, blogging and politics. He invited several TAPsters to contribute blogs during his hiatus. Here's one of them:

Mitt Romney’s reluctance to turnover his tax returns proves yet again how important it is to FALL FORWARD FAST in politics.  What started out as a refusal by Romney melted into a “maybe” that inevitably became a “must” three days after a thorough drubbing in the South Carolina primary.  Now front page news, we learn that yes, indeed, Romney is among the .01 percent of the 1 percent. His effective tax rate is a modest 15 percent and his charitable contributions include a $1.5 contribution to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In addition to offshore funds in Ireland, Germany and Luxembourg, Romney’s wife has a cushy $3 million cash account in the United Bank of Switzerland. Ooh la la.

When will they ever learn? The one thing that still unites Americans of all persuasions is that they want their politicians to tell the truth, and tell the truth now.

As Barney Frank said in a 1/22/12 New York Times Magazine profile when asked about his encounter with a male prostitute in front of George Bush’s locker in the Congressional gym, “ When I was confronted, I told everybody everything.  Lawyers are very, very good at keeping you out of prison, but they will sacrifice your reputation and credibility to do so.  So don’t be evasive and don’t be cute.  And unless you think there is a serious chance you’re going to jail, don’t listen to your lawyer.”
 
Newt Gingrich, are you listening?

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24
Someone ought to say a kind word about Ron Paul – after all, he may be the last of an almost extinct species in American public life: An honest politician.
 
A politician who doesn’t spin at all.
 
Ask Newt about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and he’ll tell you they paid him for his advice ‘as an historian.’ Ask Mitt Romney about ‘venture capitalism’ and he’ll make it sound like roses in bloom. But not Paul. Ask him about Iran and he’ll give you a straight answer even when he knows it may sink him.
 
And what reward has Paul reaped for his candor: He’s been called crazy-as-a-loon and unelectable.
 
It’s a hard kind of politics: Honest = crazy = unelectable.
 
What’s wrong with this picture?

 

 

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