Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Signs of life in the Illinois GOP

I’m not sure what to make of the fact that the thing on my blog I’ve been asked about most in the last month is “what the $*!@ is the GOP doing on your blog?” For those that haven’t noticed, Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross’s office has been advertising on this site for a little over a month. (In case that doesn’t count as a disclaimer, here’s a disclaimer: Tom Cross is advertising on this blog.)

But… but… I’m a Democrat! Why is a Republican advertising on my blog? Well, that’s what I wondered, too. But their money’s as green as the next guy’s, and I was experimenting with Blogads anyway, so, what the heck.

Well, this post from the other night about their political technology strategy might give you a hint as to why I’m interested in what they’re up to:

I’ve said it before, but I was at a White Sox game and I talked with a guy named Brian Timpone from 1871 Media. He basically said that “we’ll (GOP) never have the built in troops of Union Goons to go out and do our organizing, but we can out-smart them by using the advantages of the net”.

I’ll ignore the slam on unions (I was just best man in a friend’s wedding, he’s a union member in NYC, and let’s not forget that our policemen, firemen, teachers, and many other citizens are union members) and focus on the real point: if Tom Cross and his staff have anything to say about it, the Illinois GOP will soon get its act together and start organizing.

They have some enormous advantages already (largely a result of starting early) and are asking many of the right questions. I had lunch with Jake Parrillo and Jason Kueper last week. Jake is Cross’s head of tech strategy, and Jason is an intern who was one of Howard Dean’s Perfect Storm volunteers in Iowa. (For those wondering from that link what Jake’s notes on my advice meant: read Interface. I wrote up a review of Interface here — it’s definitely worth a read, whether you’re a political junkie or not.)

Jake knows they don’t have all the pieces in place yet. But they’re working on it. And their tech strategy isn’t the only thing they’re paying attention to; after the March primaries, every Democrat in DuPage got a congratulations letter from him.

Bottom line: I like Jake. He’s smart, young, and eager to figure out what he doesn’t know. And if a candidate can be judged by the people woh work for him/her, then Tom Cross is a candidate to be taken seriously.

Fortunately for Illinois Democrats, all indications are that things will get worse for the GOP before they get better.

Now if only the Democrats could get their act together, then we might actually make, you know, progress.


  1. Who's this Jake Fellow?

    Thanks for the kind words...

  2. My other question is whether politics and business issues can coexist in one blog long-term. Perhaps blogs are a different medium for which different rules apply. But a steady drumbeat of party-centered politics is apt to turn off at least half the readers sometime. When the discussion turns back to business or software, they may have moved on.

    Or may have not...

  3. I think it is great that Tom Cross is on your site.
    Like you said, his money is just as green.

    On the issue of Dems getting their act together, they are...slowly. Just as long as they stay two steps ahead of the Repugs, they will be o.k.

    Rob Freedman
    Candidate for Clerk of the Circuit Court

    P.S. Rick, you do a fine job making politics and business mix. It works because politics is the business of selling ideas, and an image.