Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Liveblogging the event

Arrived 5:30, and they couldn't find my name on the list. Signed up a second time at the registration desk, with the aid of the two staff people. Very friendly & courteous. Hopefully I won't start getting duplicate emails from Rebuild The Party. We shall see.

5:45. Announcement that the program is about to begin. "Everyone please find your seats." No one is, they're all standing about as I sit here hammering away on the Crackberry. Introduction by Patrick Ruffini and the two other co-founders of Rebuild The Party whose names I don't catch.

5:50. Sharon Day, candidate for RNC Secretary, talks about Twitter and how quickly she got up to speed with it, and how technology helped the Dems win down in Florida. Says she's gotten more Twitter activity than four of the chairman candidates. If she wins, she says we will close the new media gap.

5:55. Several RNC members talk, as do the Rebuild The Party founders.
Guy from Google, Peter Greenberg, sitting right in front of me, comes up, talks about how he wants to invest Google on the right, not just the left. Patrick Ruffini talking about the youth vote and the internet, and not surrendering it. Why did they start RTP? Just two years ago, we were way behind, running an outdated campaign model. Fundraising through bundlers is not scalable in the internet age. Didn't work out, using the old model, whereby sending the most mail and making lots of phone calls, you raise more money. Talks about arguments within campaigns to actually zap online presence as ineffective. Video content, specifically YouTube, offers a huge opportunity. YouTube is not just kids in their basement, it's a very powerful tool.

6:15. Why did we lose, the internet? NO. We were out of touch. Failure to adapt across board. We need to get to work immediately. What did the Dems do? They built a movement first, then got the money. Shows a huge Obama rally early in the game, like summer 2007. There, they got email addresses. Those were used to ask for not just money, but time and support. Simple message of "change." Trusted supporters. Use the two-way web. Flood the zone. Amazing multimedia web and net presence. Committment matched with resources. Huge online disparity. 46.9 million raised off 1700 youtube videos. 500 million total raised online. 13 million email
addresses. 2 million website members. 27k local Obama groups. Much bigger pie than McCain in terms of fundraising. Online made the difference. Obama used that to run more TV than anyone else ever.

6:28. Old playbook is dead. Dean made the blueprint for Obama. GOP didn't learn. Internet and new media needs to bw #1 organizational priority for RNC and state parties and campaigns. Change the way we do things. New generation of candidates. Challenge every house race. Make
it about the supporters, not the candidate or the staff. Always be ready to adapt and reallocate resources. Things will change. Talks about mobile platforms and what Obama did with Google Earth.

6:40. Wrapping up presentation. Talking about smaller effort of email fundraising vs. Old school events. Rearrange priorities around new media. Lost young voters 2-1. Not good. They are reached through new media. Working on board of advisors for rebuild the party, to feature elected officials. Rob Willington is point man for that too. I immediately think of Bob Marshall and Ken Cuccinelli.

And video, food, networking. All in all, reasonably impressive. Bright, dynamic, articulate crew, who just might shake up the party establishment if we have the right people in charge, and they listen. It really is all up to us, the activists to force the old-school types to listen.

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