Still one of my favorite articles from the Driehaus campaign

Just going through my documents folder on my PC (why doesn’t Google Desktop search work on OpenOffice.org documents?), and came across the media clips file I kept while the communications director during Congressman Steve Driehaus‘s 2008 campaign.

I have to say that some days working for the campaign felt like we were trying to slay a dragon with kitchen fork, but when articles like this came out, I remember thinking, “Gee, we really are going to win this campaign.” We did. And I am happy for being a part of it.

Chabot told PolitickerOH.com that Driehaus isn’t as well known as Cincinnati councilman John Carney, whom he ran against two years ago.

via Chabot: Driehaus softer than Carney | Politicker.com.

Not to knock the reporter who wrote this. We all make mistakes. But this one seemed rather poignant in the face of what we were doing. Sort of made Steve Chabot’s point, well, pointless, if even the reporter he was talking to did not even know that “Carney” was actually John “Cranley,” a well-established, well-known and term-limited Cincinnati City Council member.

I printed this article out and taped it to my door. I then called the reporter and had a little chat with him about balance. Next time he called me before he wrote a story.

Tweet Congress: Missing our locally electeds

Out in the community
Driehaus calling TwitterFone?

So, does your Congressional representative or Senator want you to know what’s going on? Well, if you look around the Greater Cincinnati area the answer would be mostly no.

Using TweetCongress, an amazingly great use of the Twitter API, you can follow exactly what is going on with your federally-elected officials. What’s even more amazing is that they publicly harass those Members of Congress who are not on Twitter to join.

Here’s what the intro to their site says:

“We the Tweeple of the United States, in order to form a more perfect government, establish communication, and promote transparency do hereby Tweet the Congress of the United States of America.”

via Tweet Congress.

I love it!

As Steve Driehaus‘s campaign communications director, I worked hard to get Driehaus into as much social networking and new media as possible (much was done before I got there, but there was still plenty to do). He was open to it, but, as I think he openly admits, it isn’t his strong suit. Plus, too many politicians think the mainstream media is their best shot and the other stuff is just “extra.” True, to a large extent. But not for long.

I am proud to say Driehaus got much better at it as the campaign wore on (even agreeing to have a blogger meet-up, which was fantastic). TweetCongress says Driehaus is not on Twitter, which isn’t exactly true. It just hasn’t been updated since I posted the last Tweet the day after election day thanking everyone for their support. Get on it, folks! It’s a great way to keep in touch with your constieuents…

Who else is on Twitter locally? Well, if you ask TweetCongress, House Minority Leader John Boehner of West Chester, Ohio – just on the outskirts of the Cincinnati Metro area – is the only one. Rep. Jean Schmidt of the Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District (and my representative, now that I live in Mount Washington) and Rep. Geoff Davis of Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District do not Twitter.

My work on this political campaign and consulting communications on another this past year made me realize one amazing thing: Politicians are waaay behind the curve on the technology front – with one major exception. President Barack Obama. ‘Nuff said.

Driehaus’s Congressional Web site live

Steve Driehaus has his Congressional Web page up and running, though there isn’t much listed on the site yet (plus he has had his new campaign Web site up for a while with it’s new domain name, www.driehausforohio.com, suggesting a possible future run for higher office).

There is on Driehaus’s Congrssional site, I noticed, a crapload of links to just about every social networking and bookmarking site known to man, though. I think this is an interesting and smart step forward for the new Congressman as he faces the challenges of crippled media in Cincinnati and the ever-important need to communicate with his constituents. Now he can easily ask visitors to his site to share what they have read with their social networks.

File photo

I have to mention (being the new media guy that I fashion myself), too, that there is not a link to “Share This,” the locally-founded (still with a local presence) social sharing service, that would take the clutter notch down about 10-fold. I’m sure they will work on this as they tweak the site in coming weeks/months. A quick Google search shows the Congressional site – which currently has a zero Page Rank – has about 42 pages, most of which are empty or needing content. It was likely a pre-packaged template that will eventually be filled with information and finish much higher in Google searches (especially after it gets passed around the blogs and other places).

What is conspiculously missing is any information about the Driehaus’s stances or record thus far in the new Congress (which I admit is new), including any mention, much less a transcript, of the speech he gave after his ceremonial swearing-in Friday in Cincinnati City Council chambers. In it he lobbied for the need to deficit-spend – something President-elect Barack Obama has been saying will be necessary and others have urged him to do once he takes office Tuesday.

“I can’t believe I am saying this,” Driehaus said in his Friday speech when calling for more federal government spending.

After the speech Driehaus shared some about his personal experiences so far in Congress. He told a story about being unexpectedly asked by Congressman Barney Frank to briefly run the Congressional debate as he was about to speak on the floor for the first time. Frank apparently had to rush to a quick meeting out in the hallway and called on Driehaus to take over the debate as he was waiting in line to speak for the first time. The drama only lasted a few minutes, he said, because Frank returned much quicker than either expected.

“It only took about two minutes,” Driehaus said. “I was very nervous.”

A side note: What was missing during Friday’s event? Reporters. There were, I think, two TV cameras there, but, aside from this columnist, no journalists of any stripe. And I had not come to report, but to watch. Further proof that Driehaus will have a difficult time making his case for why he voted the way he did when it comes around to election time next year. The only thing voters will hear will be an overload of political commercials with nary a speck of insight or objectivity. Welcome to the post-apocolyptic journalistic world. Scares the crap out of me.