NDN Blog

An NPI DC Event on The Powerful New Political Tools of 2006

The New Politics Institute is putting on a terrific event in DC on Thursday, July 20th. Please come if you are in the vicinity, but even those outside the area might want to take a look at this lineup of topics and people, many in the formal NPI community. And we might be doing a simultaneous webcast, though we will know more about that later. What follows is the email we sent out to locals:

The Powerful New Political Tools of 2006
An Event on How Progressives can Leverage an Array of New Tools and New Media Right Now

There are a wide array of new tools and new media being used by early adopters in the public and private sectors that are totally ready for prime time in politics not someday, not next year, but right now. Come and learn about what they are and how progressives can use them at a New Politics Institute free lunch event from 12 noon to 2 pm on Thursday, July 20th at The Phoenix Hotel at 520 North Capitol Street, NW.

The New Politics Institute will give an overview of the new political opportunities emerging today based on the latest wave of new tools and new media. We then will have short presentations from top innovators and experts in half a dozen critical areas, followed by a strategic conversations between them and the audience. The topics include:

Paid Search Advertising: Jim Lecinski, Midwest Regional Director for Google, leads advertising and operations for Google's major Midwest clients, with nearly 20 years of integrated marketing and online advertising experience. He will explain why Google sold $6 billion in paid search ads last year and how political actors can start to use this outlet too.

Viral Video on the Internet: Julie Bergman Sender is a longtime motion picture executive and producer who produced the well-known viral video in the 2004 cycle starring Will Ferrell playing George W. Bush with horses on a ranch. She will talk about harnessing the explosion of professional and bottom-up digital video on the internet.

Blogs and Next Wave Internet Innovations: Jerome Armstrong is coauthor of Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics, and is internet strategist for Governor Mark Warner’s presidential campaign. He will talk about a range of new internet innovations that are just emerging.

Mobile Phone Media: Tim Chambers is an NPI Fellow who recently served as Sony Corp of America’s Senior Vice President of Advanced Media Platforms and just started his own company, Media 50 Group. He will talk about how those in politics can get onto mobile platforms.

Getting More from TV Ads: Theo Yedinsky, NPI’s Senior Advisor, will speak about what is still a new imperative within progressive political circles: to shift more ad spend from broadcast television to more cost-effective and targeted cable buys.

Speaking in Spanish: Simon Rosenberg, President of NDN who has led a national Spanish language media campaign using soccer and the World Cup, will speak about using Spanish language media outlets to get progressive messages out to a vital and growing constituency.

This event is one of a series presented by the New Politics Institute, a think tank helping progressives master today’s transformation of politics due to the rapid changes in technology, media and the demographic makeup of America. NPI is building a working network of top technology, media, and demographic professionals who want to help move best practices and new innovations into progressive politics. We are developing a body of useful reports that can be found at: www.newpoltiics.net

For more information on the event contact: Tracy Leaman, 202-842-7213, or tleaman@ndn.org

Feel free to spread this announcement around. The more progressives who understand the powerful new tools and new media we now have at our disposal, the better. Thanks.

Peter Leyden
Director, New Politics Institute
leyden@newpolitics.net

Bush: Incoming

An intriguing article in this morning's New York Times highlights President Bush's day-long forray into Chicago, at least partly to "Spotlight Good Economic News". The piece continues:

"The trip coincides with the release of the unemployment report for June, which is expected to show fairly strong job creation. Administration officials are using the visit to spotlight the economy."

This spotlighting sounds like a fun game. Can anyone play? Because it seems awfully generous of the President to spend his whole day highlighting what CNN is noting as job growth being "weak again", and "a weaker labor market than Wall Street predicted." Someone in the Whitehouse Press Corp is going to get it in the neck if that is the best headline he gets all day.

There is some debate among economists as to exactly how good or bad the current job figures seem to be. As this solid article in The Street points out, it depends on which set of figures you chose to believe. But, as the article goes on to say and as we at NDN have said before, the real question the President has to answer is not on jobs, but on wages and living standard:

"The difference of a few hundred thousand jobs occupies the headlines. But it is the hourly wage portion of the nonfarm payrolls report that will provide more clues to the state of the economy .... [because] the dual pressures of intense global competition for jobs and high productivity levels make it difficult for the hourly wage earner to demand increases."

All of this is backed up by the recently released May personal income and outlays figures. These show paypackets flat. Again. But don't take our word for it. Take the word of an article published today in that noted cheerleader for progressive causes, Fortune Magazine

"This is serious trouble because America's great economic story is that living standards keep rising, especially when times are good. But living standards are not rising right now. That is the kind of deep disruption that over time can lead to economic and political crisis."

Perhaps this would be a bit of economic news worth spotlightling. What say you, Mr. President?

 

Morning Roundup

- The Post's top editorial today speaks to this era of the conservative movement, one we call here at NDN the "gee, governing is hard" phase.  Global trade talks started in 2001 have collapsed, again, as the United States simply cannot do what it takes to get a deal done.  As the Post writes...."THE BUSH administration faces a dilemma in the wake of last weekend's breakdown of world trade talks. It can allow the hope of freer trade to die....[and] risks being blamed if trade talks fail -- as now seems likely."  More evidence that the main theme of the 2008 elections will revolve around the cleaning up of the Katrina-like mess left by the Bush years. 

- Calderon is declared the winner in Mexico, but we all know this thing isn't over yet.  EJ Dionne has a nice piece comparing this election to our own contested election in 2000. 

- Watched most of the Lieberman-Lamont debate last night.  Joe was commanding, and at times looked like the national leader he has been. However, he seemed more passionate about attacking Lamont then he did in making his case for what we will do for the next six years.  Lamont was fine, but unconvincing.  He simply looked like he was a few levels down from Joe, though a nice and good guy.  All in all Joe probably gained more from the debate, as he effectively planted seeds of doubt about Lamont, and Lamont did not do enough to make himself look like a viable and serious alternative to Joe.  And what is the deal with Lamont not releasing his tax returns? Seems like such a rookie mistake, and shows how hard it is for first time candidates to win a race at this level. 

I offered a my advice to Lieberman yesterday in a long post.  I still believe it is his race to lose, and I hope he ends the race by talking about his vision for where he wants to take the country, and what he has done for Connecticut.  It is all about Joe now.  He should turn away all these folks coming into the state to campaign for him.  Everyone knows the Democratic establishment supports him.  After all he has the State Party, the DSCC, the US Senate leadership, Labor, Planned Parenthood, the environmental groups - everyone - with him. 

Lieberman's least compelling lines these past few days has been his assertion that there is no room for someone like him in the Democratic Party.  Come on Joe, the whole organized Party is behind you.  There is plenty of room in the Democratic Party for someone who supported the war.   That is not the issue - the issue is whether you have become too much a defender of a failed Administration, and left your Democratic roots.  This is an easy one for you to take on, as you did, last night (not so effectively I thought, by the way). 

- In other news of the day the decision to keep DeLay on the ballot in Texas seems like sweet justice.  Not sure we all should be excited by what is happening in Gaza, as the body count rises and the endgame is hard to discern.  Reminds us that the Administration's approach to the Middle East seems to have not worked out all that well.  Gay marriage suffers a set back in New York, indicating that this may be a long and drawn out struggle. 

- Finally, the World Cup. Yahoo's FIFA World Cup site is excellent.  Among the best things you can find there is video of all the top goals.  The first stage of NDN's five month long "mas que un partido" campaign ends this weekend with the final games of the World Cup, with our television ads running on Univision in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas, and our radio ads with Andres Cantor running in every market in the nation on Cantor's radio network.  For more on our campaign visit www.ndnfutbol.org, and feel free to offer your thoughts here. 

Initial reports on the ratings in the US have shown explosive growth for the World Cup in both Spanish and English.  The strategy behind the campaign - finding a low cost and effective way to reach tens of millions of Hispanics in the US - certainly seems justified given the extraordinary performance of the Cup so far. 

I'm rooting for Zidane. 

My advice to Joe

As I wrote the other day, Joe Lieberman is an old and good friend of mine, and I am supporting him in the Democratic Primary.   He and I come from the same county in Southwestern Connecticut, where most of my family still lives, and he was instrumental in helping me get NDN off the ground ten years ago.    

His decision this week to seek an independent line on the November ballot has hurt his chances of coming back to the Senate next year, but I still believe that he has the tools at hand to win the Democratic primary outright.  He has had a sizable lead in the polls, a tremendous record of service, a demonstrable mastery of Connecticut politics, an inexperienced opponent and is as many know a good and thoughtful man.  If he closes strong and speaks to the concerns Democrats in Connecticut have about him - starting tonight in a debate with Lamont - he will win the primary and cruise to victory in November. 

But the key to victory is for the Senator to show a better understanding of what has created the anger towards him in Connecticut and around the country.  From his comments he believes it is his support of the war in Iraq.  I disagree.  Many of us who support the war, and continue to believe setting a date for a troop withdrawal is not a good idea, have not generated the opposition the Senator has.  His troubles began late last year when he scolded the Democrats for not rallying around the President's questionable performance in Iraq.  He attacked John Murtha publically, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal re-iterating his attacks against the Democrats and became a weapon used by the Republicans to pummel other Democrats.  Many, myself included, felt this brief but biting campaign waged against his own Party was over the top, gratuitous and undermined Democratic efforts to create a much needed debate about Iraq.  Harry Reid, had to take the extraordinary step of repudiating Senator Lieberman, and asked him to refrain from such attacks in the future. 

In talking to Democrats in Connecticut, including my relatives, it is clear that it is not his stance on the war alone that has generated the anger towards Joe, it is a sense that he is no longer interested in working with Democrats to oppose what they see as a dangerous and failed Administration.  The photos showing up again and again on the blogs are versions of "the kiss," a shot from the State of the Union when the Senator embraced the President.  This image has nothing to do with the war and everything to do with betrayal.  His decision to go independent this week only reinforced this core sense among Democrats that he is no longer on their team.   

This is a much more searing, and much more powerful indictment of the Senator and his character than saying he was wrong on the war.   Unlike his position on the war which he will not change, the impression that he is now working too closely with a failed Administration is something that he has the power to address and fix through his public statements and his paid advertising in the final month. 

How? He needs to make it clear that he agrees with the two-thirds of the American public and more than 90 percent of CT Primary voters that the country is going in the wrong direction, that he is disappointed with the way the President has governed the nation, and that he will spend the next six years working to put it all right. 

This overwhelming majority of Americans who have come to believe that the President is weakening the nation are correct in their assessment.  Average families are making less money today.  Deficits have ballooned to historic levels, and the tax burden is shifting from the wealthy to the middle class.  Health care and energy costs have soared.  Poverty, personal bankruptcies and crime are rising.  As Katrina showed our Homeland is not secure.  It has hard to argue that with the chaos in Iraq, and the election of militants in Palestine and Iran, that the Middle East is better off today.  Afghanistan and Somalia are heading in the wrong direction, the Russians are acting irresponsibly, North Korea has fired missiles and anti-Americanism is surging in Latin America.  Our hard-earned liberties have been violated by this Administration, in ways that a GOP controlled court declared unconstitutional last week.  And of course, it is been during this time that Republicans have presided over the greatest set of criminal scandals in its history. 

If the Senator wants to win he should make it clear that he believes the Republicans and Bush have failed our great nation.  Additionally, he would be smart and tactful to acknowledge that even though he believes that the outcome today in Iraq has been worth the the money spent, the lives lost and the long-lasting damage to the image of America around the world, he understands that a majority of Americans and an overwhelming majority of Connecticut Democrats see it a different way and that he respects their views; and that while he believes that pulling out of Iraq would be a mistake, he has been heartened to see democracy work as it was intended.  We are having a debate about a very serious matter facing our country.  Reasonable people can disagree about Iraq, and have, very publically.  And it is through this debate - required of a nation like ours - that we will achieve the best outcome, and ensure that the interests of the American people are served. 

Though he has through his own mistakes opened the door for an inexperienced newcomer like Lamont, Lieberman has time to right himself, address the concerns many have, and remind all of us why he had become so popular and respected in the first place.  More than anything else he must state simply and clearly that he believes the President of the United States has failed us, and that he will work to find a better path.  All of this seems easily within his power to do. 

Finally, the group of people who should be most worried by what is happening in Connecticut are not Democrats, or moderates, but Republicans.  For the lesson of this race is that embracing a failed President and his deeply unpopular government could cost many at the polls this fall.      

Morning Roundup

- The Post has a front page piece laying out how the world seems to have gotten much more troubling of late: "From deteriorating security in Afghanistan and Somalia to mayhem in the Middle East, confrontation with Iran and eroding relations with Russia, the White House suddenly sees crisis in every direction." Republican foreign policy expert Richard Haas sums it up: "The danger is that Mr. Bush will hand over a White House to a successor that will face a far messier world, with far fewer resources left to cope with it."

With wages down five years in a row, our Homeland Security efforts still a mess, our defecits skyrocketing to historic levels, the world itself growing more menacing and global trade talks breaking down there can be little doubt that the Bush and the Republicans have left America much worse off than they found it. 

- Every paper covers the immigration debate, with the Times weighing in with an aggressive editorial against the border-enforcement only approach.  Kudos to Senators Specter and Kennedy for working in a bi-partisan way to promote the most effective, and sensible solution out there, the current Senate bill.  The DNC joined the fray with a new Spanish-language radio campaign, calling on the GOP to get serious about solving the immigration problem and stop playing politics.  The new ad echoes the themes established in NDN's spring radio campaign that aired with the support of NDN's members across the country. 

- France and Zidane continued their remarkable run in the World Cup, beating a spirited squad from Portugal 1-0.  Spanish speakers can hear NDN's radio ads this weekend during the final two games across the country on Andres Cantor's radio network, and on Univision in El Paso TX, Albuquerque NM, Denver and Colorado Springs CO, Las Vegas NV, Phoenix and Tucson AZ and Tampa and St. Petersberg FL.  To see and hear our initial round of ads in our "mas que un partido" campaign, visit www.ndnfutbol.org, where you can also order NDN's cool, attractive t-shirts, jerseys and soccer balls. 

If we missed anything else important feel free to write it up in the comments section below.  Have a good day. 

NPI Fellow Jennifer Nix lays out the new tool of quick books

The New Politics Institute's new fellow Jennifer Nix has written an excellent case study in the most recent The Nation about how progressives can leverage the new tool of quick books. Her How to Create a Liberal Bestseller is a magazine article, but it could also be considered as part of NPI's growng body of work on how to use a burgeoning array of new tech, new media, and new tools. She explains, among other things, how she was able to take advantage of the progressive blogosphere to catapult Glenn Greenwald's new book How Would a Patriot Act? to a New York Times bestseller. Nix has now refined a proven approach to get big ideas from progressives quickly into relatively small, readable books that can immediately impact the public debate.

 

Interdependence Day

It might be two days out of date, but Sebastain Mallaby's unusually sane article on trade and energy security will age well. He points out how wrong-headed - not to mention economically illiterate - the energy policies of the world's big powers have become. Remembering 1990s vintage interdependence can help reverse the drift.....

Mallaby notes that The US wants to make more of its energy at home. This can only make the country less safe, by making itself more vulnerable to energy supply disruptions in one country (i.e. itself). Meanwhile Russia pointlessly antagonises its neighbor by meddling with their gas supplies, and China equally pointlessly buys up African oil fields they could otherwise have access too on world markets. Ultimately Mallaby hits the bullseye:

"There's no sense in these nationalistic conceptions of energy security. As Daniel Yergin has written recently in Foreign Affairs, real energy security requires setting aside the pipe dream of energy independence and embracing interdependence."

Its pleasing to see someone making this argument for greater interdependnce, particularily so on the day the Doha round finally, and tragically tanked. Their collapse is just one more, latest example of a failed response by politicians to the challenge of globalization. More interesting is how Peter Beinart recently pointed out in a pangyric to Tony Blair's final year, how progressives in the 1990s crafted out a different, better approach.......

"Blair's vision predates September 11. He began developing it in the late '90s--in the wake of the East Asian financial crisis and the Kosovo war. In those two disparate events, Blair saw a common thread: interdependence....For Blair, the lesson was that, in a globalized world, countries export their problems--often across continents. And, as a result, Great Britain and the United States could only ensure their prosperity and security by more aggressively helping other countries govern themselves."

And this is not an approach that Beinhart has cunningly crafted onto Blair. It is one the British Prime Minister developed himself, in his visionary Chicago speech in 1999. Then dubbed "The Blair Doctrine", it is worth reading both as a critique of the current administratios policy and a hopeful template for progressives in the future. Sadly, this approach is everywhere in retreat. Our only bright hope is that its ressurection has rarely been needed more.

Morning thoughts

It has been said that the greatest tragedy of our failure in Iraq has been how it has weakened our capacity to project power aboard, and tackle emerging challenges and threats.  Today we are witnessing what should be considered a series of routine challenges emerge - the provocative threats of Iran and North Korea, the faltering of Afghanistan, the corruption of Russia, the growing anti-Americanism in Latin America, the sorrow of Sudan, the slide of Somalia.  Is it me or does America seem to be more bystander than leader in all these cases? Watching, waiting, buying time as our attention continues to be on Iraq? Has the world lost the America it knew for much of the 20th century, benelovent superpower, counted on to put things right?

Will be interesting to see how the Administration handles the contested Mexican election.  Given the way they won ugly in 2000, not sure they have will have the moral upper hand here. 

The Times reports that the Republicans may have found a way to unify their party on immigration.   It is classic Republican play - long on politics and marketing, short on solving the problem.  Look for more on this vital issue in future days here and at NDN's immigration site

And in honor of the World Cup, don't forget to order your cool NDN soccer gear at www.ndnfutbol.org today!

July 4th roundup

My family and I had a wonderful day today.  Our DC neighborhood, the Palisades, has been hosting a small town style parade for 40 years.  It is a spirited, old fashioned parade with a 21st century twist - floats, candidates, marching bands and South American dancers, candy for the kids and the new thing this year little plastic wristbands.  It was hot as always, too hot, but somehow it makes it all that much more a community thing, this suffering together. 

We read the Declaration of Independence together for the first time together last night as a family.  I enjoyed it.  Reading those magic words outloud was a pleasure.  It is a little long for young kids, as my two boys left the room soon into the reading.  But my 11 month old daughter Katie of course made it through the whole thing. 

This afternoon, we watched Italy outlast Germany in a fast-paced but still somewhat unsatisfying World Cup game.  Given how disapointing the American team was this year, we should all take consolation that they outplayed Italy in their 1-1 draw, and now Italy is heading to the finals.  Keeps reminding us of the saying, on any given day....

Finally, on to Joe Lieberman's suprising announcement yesterday that he is petitioning to get on the November ballot as an independent.  I am supporting Joe, and hope he wins.  But like Hillary Clinton I feel I must support whomever the Democratic nominee is for US Senate in Connecticut, a contest to be decided in early August. 

Joe Lieberman has been one of the most thoughtful, serious elected officials I've ever come across.  He was able enough to get on the ticket on 2000, survive the incredible anti-Democratic wave in 1994 and beat Lowell Weicker in a remarkable upset in 1988.  He is not just a thought-leader, he is an accomplished pol.  Therefore I will give him the benefit of the doubt that his move to start collecting petitions will help him return to the US Senate, but from where I sit it sure makes his task look a whole lot harder. 

I will have more thoughts on the Lieberman race over the next few weeks. 

Excited about the new blog

Thanks to Mike for getting the new blog up today.   We are all still learning how to use it, but expect much more content on it from NDN and our friends across the country.  All part of a new, more distributed content creation system we will putting into place over the next 6-9 months. 

Feel free to offer suggestions, comments, and help us make this and various other sites more powerful tools to advance our brand of politics. 

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