The Conversation

Politics: Policy issues, legislation and political topics of all sorts.

Campaign 2012: Three Million Political Ads for a Cost of $2 Billion

Feb 15, 2013 4:33 AM PT

A new report reveals that there were 3 million political ads related to the congressional and presidential campaigns for a total cost of almost $2 billion dollars in 2012. 

The study also found that although both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney aired most of their ads during local news programming, the Obama campaign also bought significantly more air time on talk and reality shows and niche cable networks than the Romney campaign.

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Re: It's Not Just a Tech Issue

Feb 14, 2013 5:49 PM PT

In response to It's not just a tech issue:

Liz, I totally agree that the problem is bigger than the technology aspect.  It is, however, a good case study in identifying our weaknesses.  We have leaders who are too set in their ways to listen to new ideas, consultants who sell services with little information on whether they work, young leaders who become jaded and move out of the movement, and people like me who complain about it too much ;)

Democrats Think Money Grows on Trees

Feb 14, 2013 4:20 PM PT

In response to Sen. Harkin: We Do Not Have a Spending Problem: I'm kidding. Democrats don't think. 

John, I wasn't shocked to see the Senator from Iowa, Tom "Obamacare is Just a Starter Home" Harkin, become the latest Liberal to claim that America doesn't have a spending problem. First came Princess Pelosi (D-Calif), who on Sunday told Chris Wallace, "we have a deficit, it isn't as much as a spending problem as it is a priorities problem. Um, Okay. Then, a few days later Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) proclaimed, "the country has a paying for problem." We "haven't paid for what we bought, we haven't paid for our tax cuts, we haven't paid for war," Hoyer said.

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Does Universal Pre-K Involve a Moral Hazard?

Feb 14, 2013 11:59 AM PT

Kevin Drum was for universal pre-k long before it made it into the President's State of the Union speech this week. Today he has a post at Mother Jones titled "The Biggest Value of Pre-K Can't Be Found in Test Scores." Drum concedes, based on his reading of the data, that pre-k's "long-term effect on reading and math test scores is fairly weak." But he believes there are other compelling reasons to recommend it:

pre-K does seem to increase high school completion rates; reduce rates of substance abuse; reduce felony rates; increase lifetime income; and improve non-IQ cognitive traits like the ability to delay gratification, the ability to hold a job, and the ability to control your temper.

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Re: The Tech Deficit: What Really Works?

Feb 14, 2013 11:57 AM PT

In response to MUST READ: Can the Republicans be Saved from Obsolescence?:

I totally agree with Ben Domenech's assertion in the Times' article that Republican elders generally aren't as supportive of new outreach ideas.  However, I think this recent blog post also resonates:

I was at a conference recently, where a clever consultant showed off a massive integrated awareness/fundraising campaign they'd done for a client.

It was good-looking and comprehensive. In addition to direct mail and email, there was print, outdoor advertising, transit ads, and a Facebook strategy.

Slide after slide of the slick, attractive creative went by.

Someone behind me gasped. It was a sound of admiration and envy. No doubt they were feeling sadly inadequate at the dull one-dimensionality of their own fundraising.

Funny thing was, I happened to have some inside knowledge about the campaign. Guess what: It didn't work. The Facebook part of the campaign brought in five small donations. The print ads did a little better: A few dozen gifts, most of them from current donors. There was no measureable response from the billboards or transit advertising. The only part of the campaign that you could call successful, the direct mail, did worse than it does most years.

The campaign was a dismal, crushing failure.

It was killed by a combination of abstract messaging, an unclear call to action, and (most of all) high spending in unproven media.

But it sure looked good on Powerpoint.

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What Team Romney Got Wrong in 2012

Feb 14, 2013 11:23 AM PT

In response to What the NYT got wrong on Republican tech:

While there's something to be said for better use of technology and messaging on the Republican side, I don't want to see us copying the Democrats' cynical tactics. I want our messaging to be based on the truth - not what consultants say is popular. Sometimes poll results are based on misconceptions. A good politician goes about changing people's minds - not putting their fingers to the wind.

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Technology vs. organization

Feb 14, 2013 10:30 AM PT

In response to What the NYT got wrong on Republican tech:

It occurs to me that technology is a force multiplier for organization, not a replacement for it.  The Romney team wasn't the first organization I've seen that made such a mistake.  If the tech had actually performed up to specifications under Election Day stress, they'd have done better, but they were still running very short on the kind of shoe-leather go-get-the-voters operations they needed, and which Democrats excel at, particularly in big-city machine areas.  Let no one forget Election Night 2012, when after weeks of observable ennui about an incumbent with a weak record, those big cities erupted like blue mushroom clouds over the electoral landscape.  

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A question about Obama's manufacturing hubs

Feb 14, 2013 8:07 AM PT

You know those "manufacturing hubs" Obama said he wants to blow another huge stack of taxpayer cash building?  Does anyone know if they'll be manufacturing job-killing ATMs or corporate jets?

It seems like only yesterday that a core tenet of Obamanomics is that industrial advances wipe out jobs.  I thought at the time he really should be agitating against farm machinery, which has resulted in an absolutely stunning productivity increase, eliminating countless jobs in an agriculture sector that used to be extremely labor-intensive.  The mandatory imposition of Amish farming techniques would create a huge number of jobs, and also address the problem of obesity, because it's very physical work once Big Technology is out of the picture.

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