Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Matters of State: Memories and Mentions

Early this morning West Virginia lost our beloved Senator Robert C. Byrd. He is truly an irreplaceable man of the coalfields, who touched the hearts of many during his years as an elected official. I do not think any words can ever capture the total essence of Senator Byrd.

And while no words seem to fill the void we West Virginians are feeling, there are several words for what is to become of his Senate seat. According to West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, there will not be a special election held this coming November. Instead, there will be an election in 2012 to fill this seat. Wait, 2012? Yes, it’s true. Tennant ruled today that her office’s interpretation of the WV Code meant that any candidate would have to go through a Primary Election.

So what are the latest rumors and whispers? First off, the WV GOP could contest the Tennant’s ruling and go to court to get a special election scheduled for November 2010. That’s the thinking of several key political strategists and consultants at least. Whether or not that happens will be determined in the days ahead, but here are some possibilities:

Manchin could resign and WV Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin would become Governor, then he would in turn appoint Manchin to fill Byrd’s seat. This, however, would not be a favorable option for Tennant because she has her sights set on the Governor’s seat in 2012. If Tomblin was acting Governor for two years then runs for the seat, Tennant does not stand nearly the chance she would if the special election was held in 2012. Tomblin has been positioning himself for Governor for awhile now, and I’ve heard from several sources the Governor will endorse him for this position. Speaker Rick Thompson also has his eye on becoming the next Governor of West Virginia, so Tomblin becoming acting Governor would decrease Thompson’s odds at getting elected as well.

Regardless of when the election for Byrd’s seat will be held, the big looming question is who Manchin will appoint as a placeholder? I feel this depends on when the special election is held. The Democrats know they cannot afford to lost this seat to the GOP, who would love for Rep. Capito to run for this office. Some names being repeated from both West Virginia Democrats and Republicans include; Carte Goodwin, Anne Barth, First Lady Gayle Manchin, Larry Puccio, Nick Casey, and Alan Mollohan (although I hear that’s definitely doubtful).

Manchin has made no mistake about saying that he will not appoint himself and he will not appoint someone for a few days out of respect for the Byrd family. His first priority is to honor our beloved Senator Robert Byrd.

For more information on Senator Robert Byrd: his passing, ; his legacy, ; testimonials,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Before Stiletto~ing Out the Door, Know Which Direction To Go

In both fashion and politics, doing your research is critical before stepping on the red carpet or sending out that first piece of political direct mail.

“Before the first speech, the first commercial, or the first handshake comes research. Nothing is more important or more powerful than knowing what the public is thinking and how these thoughts are shaping their decisions.” -Rainmaker, Inc.

After completing my first Primary campaign cycle at Rainmaker, Inc., I realized just how imperative public opinion research is to campaign message formation. While you may look great on the boob tube, you might not be discussing the right issues or have the right stances that will appeal to voters. If obtaining information about the the needs, wants, and desires of the general public wasn’t important, would thousands of polls be conducted across the United States and the world on a daily basis? It seems every type of business and news channel is conducting daily polling, from CNN to Elle Magazine to Cheerios.

Adlai Stevenson said, “The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal - that you can gather votes like box tops - is, I think, the ultimate indignity to the democratic process.” But image sells, if you craft it correctly.

I can’t help but bring up a Sex and the City episode where Carrie spent way too much on a pair of Manolos so she would be at least as tall as Big’s fiancee, Natasha. Just like Carrie did her research, don’t we all before we walk out into the spotlight? We must know the arena we are stiletto-ing into before we step in. Yet at the same time, evoking an emotional appeal to our audience, be it Mr. Big or the general public, is critical for success.

Compare and contrast former President Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign TV spots with Senator John Kerry’s, what comes to mind? Clinton evoked more emotional response than Kerry, hands down. His campaign manager combined all the research findings, then hooked Americans with association networks of hope and the “American Dream.”

According to Abraham Lincoln, “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Digital, Youth and Politics: The Week's Hottest Moves

I'm so excited for our new #FF political series!! If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to tag your favorite politicians, political consultants, campaign managers, strategists, etc!!
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Digital, Youth and Politics: The Week's Hottest Moves : By Lauren DeLisa Coleman

The times, they are a changin'. Voices previously a bit off the radar are gaining more and more visibility thanks to digital platforms. If you missed the MSNBC segment on the announcement of a new series on Hip Hop and politics, definitely check it out on line. NBC's The Grio and have come together to create what seems to be one of the most extensive and cool looks at hip hop culture's influence on politics, almost since the culture's beginning. Entitled Hip Hop & Politics: From the Beat to the Ballot, the on-line series sizzles with info that any and all policy makers looking to connect better with influential constituents (who also happen to be those who out-index across digital media usage) should watch. Viewing this web series could only help politicians to become more savvy when interfacing with consultants they should be bringing on to specifically target this demo and convey messages to them across on-line and mobile phone platforms.

And in the spirit of further converging politics with digital platforms and youth culture, this writer is joining forces with political consultant Cartney McCracken to create a new Follow Friday series on Twitter. Beginning June 18, 2010 follow either @mediaempress or @CartneyWV to jump onto the #FFRed, #FFBlue, #FFWhite series. The first two will obviously offer Twitter handles of policy makers who correspond to their party color. #FFWhite will feature the Twitter handles of Independents as well those related to the political scene from consultants to journalists and more.

"I feel social media has eclipsed traditional media when it comes to connecting with our government. And connecting is the key world. We started #FFwhite, #FFblue, and #FFred to connect tweeps across the nation, and across the world, with elected officials and with those who are in the political arena. We're not just creating a list for people to follow, we're leveraging the influence of constituents on their government. We're proactively championing more collaboration between the public and it's government," explains Cartney.

Watch for an interesting mash-up of people.

There you have it, two unexpected yet welcome moves as we watch politics further converge with pop culture and digital tech.



Monday, June 14, 2010

Never Judge a Shoebox By It's Cover

Recently I had the pleasure of being able to hear Senator Rockefeller (D - West Virginia) speak to a group of young leaders in Charleston, WV. He spoke about digital scandals, online crimes, and healthcare. When he spoke about universal healthcare, he mentioned something we’ve all heard of, “the public option.” What exactly is the public option? Do you know? Is it just one piece of legislation, or are there several that fall under this heading?

In all reality, the public option is a government-run health insurance agency which competes with other health insurance agencies. Publicly-funded healthcare and the public option are NOT the same. Several pieces of legislation were introduced, and they each covered a certain number of U.S. citizens. According to Senator Rockefeller, his covered several more million Americans than others that were introduced under the “public option.”

In all honestly, I have yet to read any of these bills, but I do know there were several pieces of legislation introduced under the title “the public option.” So many people are against “the public option,” but do they really know what that term/title/brand means? Did they actually take the time to read the bills that were put before Congress? Most likely not, but they still have negative attitudes toward anything called “the public option.”

If you saw a girl walking down the street in covered from head-to-stiletto in Chanel, what would you think of her? Probably that she was some society PR girl who had too much free time on her hands. Why do you judge her that way? Because she’s branded. Did you ever ask her what her masters degree was in? Where she studied abroad? How many volunteer hours she had in undergrad? In summation, before you form an opinion about anything that’s titled or branded, take a second look. Never judge a shoebox by its cover.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Politics Behind Shoulder Pads

The 1980s and early 1990’s saw a wave of shoulder pads in womenswear. And as the study of historic costume continues to prove, fashions mirror the zeitgeist of their times. So I can only think that the re-emergence of shoulder pads in 2010 fashions can’t help but make a political statement.

First, think about who wears shoulder pads and what their actual purpose is: Football players wear them to protect their shoulders during games. Any type of armor we see from the days of knights has a large shoulder component. So in all actuality, shoulder pads serve to protect. They emphasize the shoulders, or the part of the human body that bears heavy loads.

Reappearing on catwalks across the globe in 2010, the shoulder pad makes a political statement about protection. But from what? What’s weighing on us so heavily? Jobs are hard to find, money is tight. But also, the appearance of shoulder pads on the runway could be emphasizing strength and stability. But American designers are not utilizing this trend as much as European designers are. What are you thoughts? And more importantly, when is the last time you wore shoulder pads? How did wearing them make you feel?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Here goes!

This is my first blog posting. I'm just testing to see if I like my layout or not. Fabulous things to come!