Friday, July 30, 2004

Credentials

All right...I am working on getting credentialed for the GOP Convention in NYC. How cool would that be.

I have been putting the heat on some of the folks around the office about the credentials and about a new powerbook...

As David Dring says, "Keep asking until someone says 'no'."

Thursday, July 29, 2004

All Sortsa Stuff

As usual, I am running in about 15 different directions. I have 45 things in my head and I can't get one of them done.

We had a special guest in today from Southern California to work on a project that we're going to be rolling out on September 20th. It should be really cool. You'll all hear a ton more about it.

In the meantime, we have a ton of other stuff to work on.

Thanks to Rick Klau's encouragement, we're really working hard to move the blog to a different space and to make it a bit better. We have a great vendor in 1871media, but we (read I) want to do some stuff that I'm not sure that they are capable of....

We'll see. Their guys have been great, but I think that we're overwhelming them a bit.

In the mean time...we're working on a "TV" site. I'll let you guys go try to figure out what the url is. Hopefully by tomorrow we'll have more than a "landing" page over there and by Monday, we'll launch a little "teaser".

More later. My brain is hurting and John Kerry is about to go on

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The Gospel According to Trippi

My co-contributor Lance Stevens pointed out some stuff to me yesterday. He was all a twitter with excitement over the DNC and the online resources at his fingertips.

He pointed out Chris Matthews Hardblogger and some of his contributors.

One of those contributors is none other than Mr. Joe Trippi. I've recently gotten to page 139 and 149 and someone's nametwice! (more on this later)

Anyway, Joe had some things to say about 'Market Demos' and trying to attract some youth's to the movement:

It’s all wrong. The key to this election will be young people, disaffected young people, young people who have never voted before- and I’ll be damned if I am going to come up with some cutesy name for them "like Sons and Daughters of Nascar Dad and Soccer Moms." Just shoot me!

What is remarkable about this election cycle is how for the first time in decades the younger generation of Americans is the most active and energized. How they communicate with each other, how they register, turn out and vote may well decide everything in November.

When it comes to reaching these and other non-party aligned disaffected voters… well, let's just say the power center in this election isn’t where most pundits think it is. It's shifting to some unlikely places:

Blogs. Those daily journals that millions of young people (and now most campaigns) post on the Internet are already playing a huge part in this year’s campaign. With readerships that most daily newspapers in this country would envy, bloggers like Instapundit, DailyKos, Atrios and Wonkette! have actually been credentialed for next week’s Democratic Convention in Boston. They are at the dynamic center of the political debate, giving disaffected voters an instantaneous way to speak their mind and talk back to the political establishment. No more “letters to the editor,” even by e-mail. Blogs happen in real time and politicians and pundits who ignore them do so at their own peril.


So....we're on the right track...

Friday, July 23, 2004

Parks

I was on the Park District Board of my hometown for a few years. I ran for the post right out of college. When I was on the Board, I learned about a fund called OSLAD (Open Space Land Acquisition and Development) funds.

They come from the Department of Natural Resources and are used by Park Districts from Zion to Cairo. They're super effective at allowing Park Districts that wouldn't have the necessary resourcees grab open space.

As we all know, space in the Collar Counties is disappearing at a rapid pace. House GOP Leader Tom Cross and other House Republicans know that OSLAD is a good program. The Governor decided to put the program on a "holiday". Which basically meant that he thought that the state could do better things with the money than buy open space.

Well, the House Republicans began fighting to keep OSLAD back in the budget from the Moment that Rod said he wanted it out.

Well, guess what?

It's back in.

You should call or write your House Republican State Representative and thank him or her.

Because of their efforts, our children will have more parkland to enjoy.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

First Lady's Wax

The Washington Post writes about Laura Bush and her record collection. I've always been a Bushie, but this pushes me firmly into the Laura camp. I'm all over her, now.

She sent Bob Dylan's "at Budokan" to the girls at a summer camp when they were in the sixth grade.

I'd love to pow-wow with Barbara and Jenna. Sit around listening to "Just like a Woman" or "I shall be Released" on bean bag chairs.

Anyway...back to reality....

That's just crazy. Good crazy.

I have all sorts of imagery about that Laura the Librarian and the counter-culture now....

I'd love to see what else is in the collection. GW probably threw in some of his Oak Ridge Boys...

Friday, July 16, 2004

We're Back....Sorta

All right, now that all of that Ditka Nonsense has been settled, we can get back into the groove over at in the JoinCross space. It was certainly a fun ride while it lasted. I never thought that it would have blown up so rapidly and reached so many people.

This really tells me the power of the blogosphere. I kinda used this as a test case for myself. When I compiled the initial media list to blast out the press releases, I only used a handful of 'traditional' print journalists. The top dogs. You know? But what I also included was about 1,000 blog writers. Everyone that I could find, I included in our media list.

That's really how this whole thing blew up. I have been talking to reporters the past few days and have been telling them this same story. They tell me how they read blogs and how they (the blogs) have a way of keeping stories going, creating stories, and pointing out stories that the "mainstream" or traditional press misses.

Let this be a lesson to me and all on the tech team. The day of the blog has arrived. In fact....it was last week for us.

So, buckle up, and stay tuned to this space. RhodesSchool is back in business.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Pats on the Back

Dan Johnson-Weinberger who is a bright, but progressive political follower had some things to say about the Draft Ditka Movement
My hat is off to the Illinois GOP media operatives who have launched the Draft Ditka campaign. My guess is it's ... the smart guys running ... Tom Cross' online media work.

It's a brilliant tactical move.

...And to get Mike Ditka in the converation about the Senate race? Brilliant! They've got *nothing* right now. They don't even have a candidate! And somehow just talking about Mike Ditka as a potential candidate gets more attention than Barack Obama. It's great, great media work by the GOP operatives. Notice the conversation isn't about the almost unprecedented train wreck where there isn't a candidate in mid-July and the potential replacements keep saying no (Rauschenburger pulled out a few days ago). Instead the converation about the IL GOP is about a fresh, fun story involving a Chicago icon. Just great work.

I think that the goal of these savvy GOP operatives is to get Ditka to take the chairmanship of the IL GOP Party after Judy Baar Topinka steps down. Because although Mike Ditka would make a truly awful U.S. Senator, he has the potential to be an amazingly good party chair. He'd raise money. He'd raise excitement. He'd raise spirits. And through the force of his celebrity, he'd soften the moderate/conservative split that haunts the state party. If these guys get Ditka to serve as party chair, then we progressives better start studying them --- and copying their every move.

Thanks Dan. This is the new face of grassroots. As Joe Trippi says: "The Revolution will not be Televised".

I'll Just Post the Whole Thing...

From Dan Johnson-Weinberger (again)
Chris Rhodes runs a blog. He's got a breezy style, shoots from the hip, makes fun of some of the GOP trainwrecks, is a partisan White Sox fan and has some interesting things to say. He linked over to my site today. It's here.

The bizarre part is that he is the official blogger for Tom Cross, the Illinois House Republican Leader.

Has anyone else seen a political figure that hands over the keys to the website like that? I mean, can you imagine a John Kerry or George Bush website where the blogger has a little fun at their own party's expense? (His little riff on Terry Parke and ABBA is awesome).

I think it's great. And it's a symbol of the new style for House Republicans in Illinois. The House Republican caucus had a little revolution in December of 2002. With a new map and the Dems sweeping state government, Lee Daniels decided to step down as House GOP Leader.

Most of the suburbanites (especially the women) decided they wanted to end the top-down, initimidation and discipline style that Lee Daniels had shown through the 90s. They backed Tom Cross, and the leadership team for the House Republicans is about the opposite of a parliamentary whip.

On just about every single vote, House Republicans vote whatever way they want. There is rarely, if ever, a caucus position that is binding on the members.

It sure isn't like that in the other three caucuses, where the leadership runs things.

And no other caucus even has a decent website. Go check out the www.joincross.com site. Just look at the name: *join* Cross. Not TomCross.com. Come, reader and *join* Tom Cross. Get involved. It's the same spirit as the Howard Dean campaign, only for the House Republicans.

They're doing everything right. Raising money from small donors. Sending a message out about the big bad villain (usually Mike Madigan, but sometimes Governor Blagojevich). Making people feel that their small efforts matter in a bigger picture.

I wish the Democrats had half as good a web strategy. I can hear most of the old school captains now, even as I type this. They'd say: "Computers don't vote." But somebody who is plugged into the net has got to get Madigan's ear on this stuff. I don't know who. Because Tom Cross might not have a shot to become Speaker this decade (because of the Democratic map), but if he keeps his media guys working this well, there will likely be some more statewide GOP victories in 06 than just Judy Baar. We Dems can't keep depending on the base every election, and getting swing voters by demonizing the Republicans. That worked in 02 for Rod ("20 years of Republican corruption"), but it won't in 06. Now we Dems have to earn those swing voters. Aping Tom Cross' site would help.


So, those leader guys still diggin me?

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Maybe....Getting....Some...Things....Right

As I told you guys last week, I had lunch with Rick Klau up at the world famous Applebee's on Route 59 in Aurora/Naperville. As I told you then, this guy's got it. He cut his teeth politically in a high-stakes environment of the Dean for America. Anyway, he wrote us up a bit today on his blog. As expected, he was very nice about everything. When I broke bread with him, he did comment on the fact that many vistors to his blog comment on the GOP ad. It's obviously part of our stragegy. I figure, we'll continue to work on the GOP'ers through traditional means. In order, though, to be successful globally, you've got to show people that you are not crazy. By reaching out the the Dem blogs or Independent blogs, or Green blogs, I figure, we're showing people that we're not all nut balls. (I am just kidding).
Jake knows they don’t have all the pieces in place yet. But they’re working on it. And their tech strategy isn’t the only thing they’re paying attention to; after the March primaries, every Democrat in DuPage got a congratulations letter from him.

Bottom line: I like Jake. He’s smart, young, and eager to figure out what he doesn’t know. And if a candidate can be judged by the people who work for him/her, then Tom Cross is a candidate to be taken seriously.

My real question is..."who's this 'Jake' guy? Since when did he become the 'boss' over on the tech side? I hear that he doesn't like to hear 'no'. We better reign him in...
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