Surprise: Technology and campaigning will be different than 4 years ago

Is anyone surprised that presidential campaigning, particularly online communication, is going to look and feel different in 2012 than it did in 2008? My god, even the simple act of reading news online is wildly different now than it was then. From the Star Tribune:

The 2012 campaign wars will be waged in ways that were unimaginable in the last presidential race. From the rise of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to the use of “geo-targeting” through mobile phones and search engines, 2012 presidential candidates have powerful tools to track down supporters and keep them engaged.

“It’s easy to forget that when the 2008 presidential was getting started, Facebook and Twitter were barely a factor,” said Mindy Finn, Pawlenty’s new media adviser. “The big shift that’s occurred since then is the growth of participation on social networking sites … half of Americans are on Facebook.”

Search and social networking websites like Google have responded by staffing politics teams in Washington. Facebook recently hired a second person for the 2012 campaign.

But online campaigning isn’t all fun and games. Relying on social networks like Facebook and Twitter cedes some control of the message, as commenters have free rein to attack and criticize. And technical snafus can become a public embarrassment, as Bachmann found out last month when a Facebook town hall event suffered technical difficulties.

Wait, wait, wait. “Cedes some control”?! That’s been the naysayers’ go-to criticism of online communication since the invention of the discussion forum, and it’s as short-sighted today as it was then. Especially in the world of politics, which is such a cacophonous environment anyway — there’s no shortage of other voices and other forums in which people can criticize or support a candidate’s message.

Look at it this way: Critics are everywhere. By establishing, say, a Facebook page for your campaign, you’re not giving commenters “free rein to attack and criticize” (they already have that). You’re building a community of people who will help debate — and sometimes simply shout down — those attacking commenters.

Still, the last two presidential elections have each pushed the bar higher for online campaigning. In 2004 it was Howard Dean’s online fundraising; in 2008 Obama’s online organizing and use of text messages.

The Pawlenty campaign hopes it can make its mark on 2012.

And the story closes with a graf that likely appeared word for word in a similar story nearly a decade ago (save for the Pawlenty-for-president reference):

He still has to do the traditional things to win supporters: speeches, shaking hands, television appearances. But now Pawlenty and other upstart candidates can ask for money or get a message out across the country with the click of a mouse button — and at a fraction of the cost of buying TV time. Said Finn: “The value of engaging online is not proportional to the amount of money spent on it.”

Media Misses Health Trend Story Behind Rating

We’re number six! We’re number six!

It’s not exactly the cheer proud Minnesotans are accustomed to when it comes to health. After all, for four years in a row we were the number one healthiest state in the nation, according to the United Health Foundation. Health has always been one of the centerpieces of our vaunted Minnesota quality of life, but this is the third straight year we’ve been trending downward.

If we stopped dropping at number six, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. But unfortunately, the future may not look so great either. The Minnesota news media reported on Minnesota’s sixth place rating, but none of them connected the policy dots to describe where Minnesota appears to be headed in coming years. As the liberal policy think tank Minnesota 20-20 points out:

The Governor’s cuts to GAMC (General Assistance Medical Care, a state-funded program for low-income adults who have no dependent children and who do not qualify for federally funded health care programs) will increase our number of uninsured come March 1, since not all GAMC recipients are qualified for the automatic transfer to MinnesotaCare. After the six month grace period is over, it is likely that many GAMC recipients will be unable to maintain their coverage through MinnesotaCare due to the procedural requirements and cost. The discontinuation of GAMC is part of a larger $1 billion cut to Health and Human Services and it remains to be seen just how these cuts will affect other programs.
Most of what Minnesota does well (in the United Health Foundation ratings measurements): low premature death rate, a low rate of deaths from cardiovascular disease, low infant mortality comes from the fact that we have a low rate of uninsured people in the state, but if this changes with the end to GAMC and overall cuts to the Department of Human Services, it is a good chance that there will be negative consequences to our low premature death rate, low cardiovascular deaths, and low infant mortality.

The once proud number one healthiest state is now envious of states in the top five. Will we soon be envious of states in the top ten or fifteen? We get a lot of news stories about the political gamesmanship aspects of unallotment. How about more stories about the quality-of-life impacts of the Governor’s unilateral cutting?

– Lovelandsba nice

The End of Unallot?

Five months ago, we ruminated about “Unallot,” the magical fiscal fiefdom created by Governor Tim Pawlenty.

    “Don’t let it be forgot
    That once there was a spot,
    For one brief, shining moment
    That was known as Unallot.”

In the magical kingdom of Unallot, a Governor who feigns surprise about huge deficits that have been forecasted and publicly discussed for months can effectively dub himself a King who is free to unilaterally dictate budgets without involving the co-equal branch of government that is constitutionally authorized to appropriate funds.

Well, today, the Minnesota House voted along party lines to support a lawsuit that would unallow Unallot, setting up a consitutional showdown that now has national political implications. The lawsuit also impacts thousands of vulnerable Minnesotans. Finally, I’d argue, the lawsuit will also affect future Repubican legislators who could be be flattened by future DFL Governors taking up residence in Unallot.

    “Unallot! Unallot!
    I know it gives a person pause,
    But in Unallot, Unallot
    Are those really the legal laws?”

In short, the third co-equal branch of government, the judiciary, will soon decide whether the gubernatorial kingdom of Unallot is real, or make believe.

– Loveland

internet marketing specialist nice

Pawlenty’s Secret Weapon in Iowa

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has been busy preening Presidential in Iowa, which raises an interesting question: Where will his breakthrough political moment come in the Hawkeye State?

Will Governor Pawlenty’s breakthrough come during a spellbinding address to the Muscatine County Republican Women’s Club meeting? Will it come with a well-timed anti-evolution zinger at the all-important Dallas County Republican Steak Fry and Pie Auction? Will it come the old fashioned way, by promising the most special interest tax loopholes at the first joint appearance of all the Repbulican candidates?

Or will T-Paw’s big breakthrough happen during a less conventional event at the Iowa State Fair?

It’s no secret that Pawlenty’s napeline yo-yos with the political winds. So come Iowa State Fair time, if you see Pawlenty put the breaks on barbering out back, you might want to book your hotel room for the Inaugural.

– Loveland
irs debt relief nice