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Tuesday
Sep072010

Who Is Joe Miller?

NRO has a good look at the Alaska senate hopeful. 

Miller, who recently ousted incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary after securing Sarah Palin's endorsement, was virtually unknown to everyone outside the Miller family before his electoral shock. He is well-credentialed: West Point and Yale Law Grad. He advocates positions near and dear to my heart such as eliminating the Dept. of Education. Plus, he has a sweet beard. Should be interesting to track his progress and his influence this election season and beyond.

Thursday
Sep022010

From the Campaign Trail: "I'm 'The Guy With A Truck'"

By: The Guy With A Truck

Greetings Lasting Liberty readers and fans of the WNBA's New York Liberty who got sent here by Google unintentionally! I am currently in the ditches of a political campaign, and I've been ask to write something for your reading pleasure from the campaign trail every week. It's a little difficult to balance stories from the trail while keeping privacy concerns intact, but no more difficult than, say, being a campaign staffer for a statewide candidate. This first installment will serve as something of an introduction. So in the words of Austin Powers, allow myself to introduce... myself.

I'm a campaign staffer for a prominent Republican candidate currently running for an executive office in a Southern state. I have a moderate level of experience in the political field, but mostly in media and not as a staffer. I'm learning the differences by the day. Media consultants take polling information and craft messages that are made into TV and radio commercials, with social media, telephone calls and mailing pieces as a subsidiary component. Staffers get paid squat to be indentured servants to “general consultants” (a fancy name for people who were staffers 5 years ago and now get paid double to make perfunctory appearances at meetings and create documents that use smart-sounding words to spend money).

We have a media consultant, two general consultants, a pollster, a fundraising coordinator, some mercenary graphic and design people, and then our actual campaign staff, of which I am one of three: a campaign manager, a political director, and then me. I'm officially a “body man”, shorthand for an aide to the candidate. Typical duties encompass a variety of tasks: driving to various campaign stops; keeping the candidate on-schedule and on-task; taking down notes and interfacing with the campaign HQ and other staffers and consultants; and having an unerring ability to locate [redacted] restaurants in order to find the candidate's road snack of choice-- the chocolate shake.

But I'm not a typical body man. Our campaign is understaffed, so I double as a yard sign mule; deputy campaign manager; placator of a finicky media consultant; placator of a panicky assistant to the candidate; legend and inspiration to high-school and college-age interns; enforcer; proofreader; social media, um, “coordinator”; and, most important, TGWAT. The TGWAT role is a universal life precept. Everyone likes The Guy With A Truck.

Oh yeah, and I sometimes moonlight as a professionally trained, degree-holding political media practitioner. 

I am an old man in this game. Mid-20s is old, and I feel my age. By now, most people have graduated to become general consultants (the guys I mentioned earlier), or taken real jobs with wives and stuff. Why? The fewest hours I worked last week was 13. I treated myself on my evening off to a load of laundry, Chick-fil-A, and a nap. Most days lately have gone 16 or even 18 hours. There is no distinction between weekday and weekend. It just means that the type of work sometimes changes. For instance: this Friday will be spent shooting film for a commercial. Saturday will be walking around a parade/festival. Tuesday and Wednesday will be spent driving around the western part of the state for a series of appointments, visits, fundraisers, meetings, speeches, and the like.

The best part about being on the road is that you can spend your mornings in Mayberry and your evenings in the big, bad cities. At one event earlier in the year, the hosts served only Sweet Tea* and lemonade, cheese cubes with American-flag toothpicks stuck in them, BBQ, and cupcakes. After a long drive to a different city, the next event served... an open bar. And a tray of finger sandwiches nobody bothered to touch.

Day-to-day political life is characterized by old people who have nothing better to do signing up to receive a yard sign and then complaining that they have not yet received a yard sign, tech-unsavvy old people equating sparsely-read blogs and anonymous facebook posts by loose-screwed wingnuts as popular and widespread revulsion against our candidate, meeting old people who used to be somebody important but do not realize they are no longer important, old people giving money and pledging support for the candidate, old people telling me what to do before changing their minds and telling me something else, trying to beg young people to get involved in this game, and the persistent, tingling fear that comes from being a front-runner and knowing everyone else has a target on your back.

There are not many cities in this state I haven't seen, and I'll see most of them again over the next couple months. A few I will see in precious few hours, so it's time to cut this short so I can go to sleep.

*This is capitalized because it is a proper noun.

Ed. Note: The Guy With A Truck is a pseudonym for an actual campaign staffer working for a prominent Southern Republican running for a statewide executive office. His blog posts from the campaign trail will appear weekly through the campaign season. 

Tuesday
Aug032010

Debating the Stimulus

Great stuff from CNBC's Kudlow, a discussion about President Obama's stimulus spending between Kudlow, former Clinton Administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich, and National Review's Kevin Williamson. Best part is at the end when Reich accuses Williamson of "Herbert Hoover economics" and Williamson says "Nah, Hoover was an activist."

Another great Williamson line, "We spent $1 trillion and only managed to get a couple of dozen monkeys high on cocaine."

Most excellent.

 

Monday
Aug022010

Will Boxes in Senator on Abortion

We don't or haven't talked much about abortion on Lasting Liberty. This is due in large part to cultural issues having taken something of a backseat to the more pressing issues of runaway government spending, Obamacare, and the prosecution of two wars. Furthermore, with President Obama occupying the Oval Office, we know that pro-choice judicial and high court nominees are going to dominate.

That said, George Will's recent piece on Sen. Boxer's (D, CA up for reelection) borderline extremist abortion views is quite interesting. 

Wednesday
Jul282010

Random Thoughts on the Summer, Part II

…. Since MSNBC is down in ratings, they ought to sell a little book called MSNBC Mad Libs. Then have viewers fill them out and send them in for MSNBC anchors to read live on air. Sample: President Obama’s new energy proposal is (awesome/brilliant/Lincolnesque). It will help create (5 million, 5 billion, 5 trillion) new green jobs. It is paid for through taxes on the (evil/Hitlerian/child-molesting) oil companies. Unfortunately, Republicans are being (obstructionist/racist/poo-poo heads) and holding up the legislation. Then, since the mad libs will be indistinguishable from what is actually said on MSNBC, have viewers try to guess which one is the mad lib…

… I know, I know, you can often flip the game and play it during Hannity on Fox News, too…

…Perhaps the worst aspect of media bias in this country has to do with how reporters and newscasters assign motive. All too typically, a Republican will be cast as having some alterior or nepharious motive while the Democrat’s motive is pure. Case in point is the immigration debate where Democrat’s want “comprehensive immigration reform” out of good-heartedness and a sense of social justice, not because they want to add a huge new block of Democrat voters. Meanwhile, Republicans oppose such efforts out of xenophobia and mean-spiritedness, not because they want existing laws enforced and a better more organized way of keeping track of who enters the country…

… Candidates are often said to be judged on whether voters would want to have a beer with them or not. The more I think about it, the less I would want to have a beer with President Obama. He’d talk too much and try to be an expert on everything. And nobody wants to have a beer with that guy… 

… That sect of people on the right known as “birthers” who think President Obama was secretly born in Kenya remind me of those parents and coaches in Little League who require kids to wear those ridiculous, big helmets with the facemasks on them—just because they go way too far doesn’t make their underlying principle wrong. In the case of Little League, it is completely unnecessary and silly for parents and coaches to require the stupid facemask helmets, but their underlying concern for their kids’ safety is completely right and good. The notion that President Obama was born in Kenya is wrong, unhelpful, and a little batty, but the underlying principle that he is unfit to be president is completely accurate…

… I don’t know, but the whole LeBron James saga didn’t stir my passions one way or another. But for those who criticize LeBron’s decision here’s a little thought exercise: You are a top 5 person in the nation in your field. You are offered the chance to team up with your close friend who is also top 5 in your field and work together, in South Beach with no state income tax while single and in your twenties. Is anyone turning that down? Seriously?...

… I believe there are very few political writers who are worth reading every time that they write.  For me, that list includes Charles Krauthammer, Jonah Goldberg, and Mark Steyn. Quickly moving towards that list is NY Times conservative columnist Ross Douthat…

... Thanks, don't forget to tip well.