Friday, June 13, 2008

LIVE BLOG: Hangin' with the Big Dogs at the Campaigns & Elections Conference Good Bad and Ugly

Well, the Queen of Snark finds herself a wee bit out of her element -- at the Campaigns and Elections conference.  Here's a quick live blog:  the good, the bad and the ugly.

THE GOOD:  First off, I got to meet Doc Sweitzer, the guy who got surprise candidate Michael Nutter elected mayor of Philadelphia.  Now, one of the Queen's very best friend heads up the Philly govt entity responsible for the homeless.  She had nothing but a stream of bitching about the last mayor -- including the fact that homeless people were actually freezing to death in the winter bc of his incompetence.  Well, under Nutter she is moving thousands of homeless people into housing.  This is EXACTLY why we do politics -- to get the good guys elected and to take care of those who can't take care of themselves.  As Sweitzer said to me, "Yep, I got into this business before it was a business -- there are much easier ways to make a living."  GO SWEITZER!  Warrior Queen agrees completely.

THE BAD:  It seems over half the folks here are from other countries.  So ... we are clearly exporting political consulting and campaigning AS IT EXISTS NOW to other countries.  Not necessarily elect-the-good-guy-from-behind-Michael-Nutter kind of consulting, but the get-rich-on-TV-advertising kind of consulting.  Since this is a bi-partisan event, possibly the "do-we-count-the-hanging-chad" kind of a thing.  YIKES!!

THE UGLY:  Talk about get-rich-quick -- the giant scary industry of hangers-on here in the exhibit area (of which we are [GASP] one).   Do ya need a database-opinion research-robocall-geeky sign-buncha buttons-strange new technology-campaign ad-campaign manager or [EEK] on- and off-line media consulting firm (that's us, dear reader) ?????

OKAY THEN -- where does that leave us?  Well, as our wonderful C&E guy Tim said, all of these options give us better ways to reach people, engage them in the process, and get down into the fab rough and tumble of no-holds-barred democracy.  (Well, maybe I paraphrase a bit.) After all, say what you will, there are the Nutters among the political class who -- get this -- SAVE LIVES by being elected. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK, DEAR READER?  Truth?  C&E spin?  Or just a great way for the Queen to placate her conscience about her high billings?  Let us know....  Ciao ciao for now...


Gloria said...

Your majesty, regarding those exported consultants, any sense of which party they're from? Maybe they went into exile waiting for the Bush madness to be over, a luxury many of us wish we had!

Ben said...

Campaign gimmicks come and go (this surefire Ronco social media data mining algorithm will elect your candidate and trim your nose hairs too!) but there will always be a central place in any effective campaign for a good communications plan. If your candidate is worth a damn, and you come up with a good clear explanation of why, and you deliver it through the right media to the right audiences at the right times, you won't need any tricks to win.

Anonymous said...

I'm here at the conference's last day, pushing the last of the pens and candy onto the masses. What have I learned so far? That people LOVE Winterfresh (who knew?), were utterly dumbfounded when we found out about Mr. Russert (his Wikipedia page was changed to the past tense within 20 minutes of the news breaking, I was unsurprised but saddened), that yo-yos are a great tchotchke (because, as one of my colleagues has observed, we're all just gigantic children) and that bloggers frighten people (bwahaha!). Here's to free bagels and shmoozing!

Fathima said...

Attending the C & E conference taught this naive little intern that even out of morbid curiosity you should not walk into a session about Negative Campaigning, unless your soul has already been eaten by goblins. You will find a group of slick, evil people twirling their moustaches telling you that it is okay to say anything about your opponent be it truth or long as you do it with HUMOR. She had to sneak out early to preserve some of her innocence and wipe the slimey residue off her skin. She also learned that if you give away USB drives, people with a lot of nerve will take like FIVE AT A TIME. Those of us with dignity only took four.
But really, despite everything I DO feel like all the people pushing their shiny ads, and e-mail templates and communications strategies really do believe that what they're doing will help and make a difference in some way. Even if they have to give away free candy and toys to do it. Maybe it IS a gimmick, but I conciously choose to fall for it.

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