Sarah Palin responds to crosshairs controversy, hugs metaphor tighter

Sarah Palin got into some controversy late last week when she posted what her critics have described as a “hitlist” of Democrats who voted for the healthcare reform bill that represent districts previously held by Republicans.

To be sure, the rhetoric surrounding the debate has been intense including controversy where a coffin was allegedly placed on the front-lawn of a Congressman (the claim is disputed).

John McCain (R-AZ) weighed in to offer that talk of “target” districts has been used politically by both sides for years and years. Indeed, even in Canada, one division of a party’s “war room” is the “target seat management” desk. And you thought that we Canucks were all polite and peaceful! As an aside, the Green Party was the sole exception and referred to their war room as a “nerve centre” during the last election.

Democrats and those on the left complain that the rhetoric, especially from those in the Tea Party movement on the right has been troubling, suggesting that some in the movement hope that revolution will come to bring change as it did after the same event over 230 years ago that inspired the name of the current group of self-described “patriots”. And as any group that combats another will do to make a point about their opponents, fringe elements will be emphasized by the one as representative of the whole of the other.

Palin, in response to the criticism, has posted another Facebook post which looks to diffuse the controversy by more tightly embracing the metaphorical. In the post she writes,

March Madness battles rage! My family and I join millions of Americans enjoying college basketball’s finest through March Madness. Underdogs always get my vote as we watch intense competition bring out the best in these accomplished teams.

The Final Four is an intense, contested series (kind of like a heated, competitive primary election), so best of luck to all teams, and watch for this principle lived out: the team that wins is the team that wants it more.

To the teams that desire making it this far next year: Gear up! In the battle, set your sights on next season’s targets! From the shot across the bow – the first second’s tip-off – your leaders will be in the enemy’s crosshairs, so you must execute strong defensive tactics. You won’t win only playing defense, so get on offense! The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons – your Big Guns – to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win.

Focus on the goal and fight for it. If the gate is closed, go over the fence. If the fence is too high, pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, parachute in. If the other side tries to push back, your attitude should be “go for it.” Get in their faces and argue with them. (Sound familiar?!) Every possession is a battle; you’ll only win the war if you’ve picked your battles wisely. No matter how tough it gets, never retreat, instead RELOAD!

– Sarah Palin

What do you think of Palin’s rhetoric? Does it serve the GOP well to whip up its base over Obama’s successful passage of the healthcare reform legislation? Do the Republicans need to regroup under a new issue or is it just the messaging that is unhelpful? Or do you believe that this is the right track and tone for the GOP to take to make gains in November?

Rob Willington presents at the Manning Centre conference

Rob Willington is the brains behind the campaign that got the GOP’s 41st Senate vote in the Massachusetts special Senate election.

He gave a lunch time presentation on social media and how the MA republicans used online technologies to elect Scott Brown to the senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy, a Democrat.

On Facebook, Brown advised that politicians should engage potential voters not just with political content but with non-political content as well.

With YouTube, Willington advised to use YouTube as a publisher as a search engine. This means to promote relevant keywords and content.

Twitter was used as an example to use every facet of a social media strategy to promote means by which a campaign can collect data about its supporters.

The Brown campaign was one of the first national campaigns to use Google Docs to manage data flow into spreadsheets to manage RSVP lists and donor lists. Forms feeding into spreadsheets automatically populate your lists.

Google News alerts are appropriate for campaigns to gather new information as its posted on your candidate and their opponents.

Data is gold in a campaign. Data collection can be done via petitions, polls and events.

In the US, talk radio is dominated by conservatives. The Brown campaign collected 70,000 mobile numbers from advertising short codes on lawn signs and twitter. The Brown campaign would send texts when their opponent was on radio on would include a call-in number to jam the lines with Brown supporters.

Ning was used to create the “Brown brigade” to create local groups. Ning is like Facebook but a whitelabel solution to mobilize local cells in your campaign.

Willington was able to target online ads to activists inside and outside of the state discretely. For ads inside the state the ad would be for volunteers. For outside the state, the ad would be to make calls from home to voters within the state. GOTV ads would be visible to Repubican heavy areas on election day.

By the end of the campaign, voluteers were waiting an hour and a half in line outside of the campaign office to make calls.

Willington advised that volunteers have more skills than licking envelopes and making calls. Find skillsets in your volunteers (iphone app development, final cut pro) and put them to work.

Moneybombs were successful for the Ron Paul and Scott Brown. The Brown campaign invented the “Voter Bomb” where people could sign in and claim responsibility for bringing out a number of their friends to vote for Brown.

The Brown campaign changed how campaigners win elections online. Willington gave a great presentation.