Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

If I were running for president…

Jerry Stratton, May 28, 2011

If I were running for president…

  1. I’d seed YouTube with regular five- to ten-minute videos. So that when they’re quoted out of context, it’s easy to watch the whole thing. Do one or two every week on the critical issues facing the nation. Keep them simple. One topic to drive the discussion of the day. By making them short, it’s also easy to provide a written transcript.
  2. While I’d try to use media known not to twist words, every interview I did outside of my control would also be videotaped by my own camera people; if there were any issues, I’d post the uncut video online; permission to do this would be a requirement for the interview. If the video is longer than ten minutes, break it into ten-minute sections, but…
  3. I’d limit interviews to 20 minutes or less, so that when the press quotes me out of context—or just makes shit up—the real thing is easy and quick to watch when I post the uncut version.
  4. Road trip. Get out, get about, meet people, talk with them.

Like… Paul Ryan. Look what he gets into in three minutes and five minutes.

And watch him defend the path to prosperity on Special Report.

The rest of the media is about Ryan pushing grandmothers down stairs. This looks like Paul Ryan is taking Sarah Palin’s advice: use friendly media if the make-believe media won’t let you answer questions with real answers.

Rule One of whoever wins the 2012 Republican Primary has to be do not trust the media. After watching the difference between the cut and the rare uncut versions of media interviews during 2008, I simply don’t trust any interview unless the uncut version is available. The uncut version isn’t available? Then the aired version doesn’t factor in; for all practically purposes it doesn’t exist. You want to talk about it, post the uncut version first. Then we can talk about it.

Ann Althouse claims that that was the Thompson strategy during the 2008 primary; the problem is, it wasn’t. It started out that way, and the few videos they put out helped him considerably before he could announce. But it looked like he switched advisors when he announced his candidacy, because after his announcement he ran a pretty standard campaign except that he tried to talk about issues when the press didn’t want to. Since he only talked about issues, the press didn’t run their interviews with him or they used short cuts to show how intractable he was, and it looked like he wasn’t doing anything. If he’d done weekly videos, he would have made an end-run around the press.

If he had continued his Internet strategy, every video he put on YouTube would have gone viral, like the few that he did before and after the campaign, the Michael Moore video and the borrowing to save video. Instead, we got a seventeen-minute generic video in front of Iowa, and, as I recall, a last-ditch effort in one of the Carolina’s1.

Michael Turk, who worked on Thompson’s Internet strategy, confirms my suspicions:

Unfortunately, the staff turnover that began in the late summer had an almost immediate effect on the Internet operation.

As the Communications team focused on traditional media tactics, their attention increasingly turned away from the Internet. The commentaries became less frequent, online initiatives were no longer part of the equation.

Anyone who wants to implement a strong Internet strategy is going to have to have the strength to tell experienced, establishment insiders “no”. No Republican candidate can trust the press, and this means that the press cannot be their only strategy.

If you’re going to try an Internet strategy you need to be able to get your message across, like Ryan does. Take John Hayward’s advice:

The lesson I would recommend other candidates learn from Palin, even if she decides not to enter the race, is her knack for expressing complex issues in accessible and memorable ways. This is not easy to do. Only the master of a topic can become a good teacher, by making it simple.

Which brings me to number four: I’d also go on a road trip across the country; you can’t run a campaign from a DC bunker. Going on a road trip gives you an opportunity to do things wrong, sure; but it also gives you the opportunity to do things right. If you have principles, and you know how to apply your principles, they will shine through. Get out and really talk with people, not to them or at them. Be on the bus.

Like Sarah Palin is doing. Now, I’m going on a road trip too (more later), but that doesn’t mean I’m running for President. Technically, then, it doesn’t mean Palin is running. But if she starts doing three- to ten-minute videos, watch out.

  1. Which my Google-fu isn’t strong enough to find.

  1. <- Mimsy Election Mailbag
  2. Mitt Romney’s Day ->