Saturday, May 31, 2008

Expanding Circles: Winning Congressional Campaigns

How Does a Republican Challenger Beat a Strong Democratic Incumbent?

Toni Gilhooley, Republican candidate for Congress in PA’s 17th Congressional District, served as a member of the PA State Police for 25 years. Her husband, William, served in the same organization as a homicide investigator. When talking about investigations, William says they are exercises in “expanding the circle.”

What he means by that is that his work began with a small circle – consisting of things like a crime scene, some relevant clues, perhaps a few witnesses, and perhaps a suspect (or “person of interest”) or two. Solving the crime meant building on the small circle, seeking out more details and people to bring the case to a good conclusion. In another words, it was necessary investigators to build bigger circles in order to solve the crime in a way that would result in a successful prosecution.

Politics functions in much the same way. A candidate starts out with a handful of staff members, a relatively modest group of strong supporters, as well as a small list of donors. In fact, many potential donors are afraid to contribute, because they fear the wrath of the incumbent. Other people who hesitate to donate would rather not back someone they perceive as a loser.

If an incumbent is to win, he or she must expand the circle. They must get more people to support them – and that, by itself, should lead to an increased number of contributions. Get a bandwagon-effect going, and you’ll be surprised by how many people start jumping aboard. Become everybody’s “favorite underdog” and you’ll soon start looking like the “overdog.”

As a candidate, you need to get supporters to reach out to friends, neighbors, and family members . . . and turn them into new supporters. The way to get support is to ask for it – or, perhaps, to get someone else to ask for it. Get one supporter to attract 10 others – and then ask the ten “newbies” to do the same.

Tell them how to do it (face-to-face, phone, or e-mail) and ask everyone who gets involved to “expand the circle.” Thus, ask people for their support – and get them to do the same with others. (If they send out e-mails to friends and families, ask them to copy you. Explain that the friends will receive exactly ONE e-mail from you thanking them for their consideration and asking them to visit your web site.)

Tell supporters exactly what kind of action – by them and others – is necessary for you to win. Explain also how you do need contributions – small, medium, or large – to get your message out. Point out to people of modest means that small contributions are welcome – and extremely helpful.

Everyone has an e-mail list. I have one with 500-plus activists nationwide, and it grows every bay. If people have a list with 10-20-30 or more people on it, send out e-mails that say, for example, “I met Toni Gilhooley, candidate for the 17th district seat in Congress. She spent 25 years working for the PA State Police, and her husband did the same.

“Toni’s a terrific candidate who’s really in touch with the views and needs of people in our area. I’d like to urge you to look into Toni’s candidacy and support her in any way you can. You can find out about her campaign at: Thanks for any help you can give Toni. I hope you’ll let your friends and family members know about her candidacy.”

Ideally, about 25,000 such e-mails and/or phone calls (and maybe more) would go out. Perhaps 8,000 of the people contacted would go to Toni’s web site, and roughly 400-600 would make donations. (There should be a bang-up video appeal for funds on the web site.)

Ask for votes. Ask for support (and give some specifics about what “support” means). And ask for money. And keep mentioning your web site.

If you as a candidate keep extending your “circles,” at some point a large segment of people in your district will vote for you on Election Day. But the key is explaining to audiences, large and small, exactly how they can help you to win your uphill battle against the incumbent.

On Monday, I’m going to use a football analogy – you can’t go wrong with football stories in Pennsylvania – to show exactly how a big underdog won a very important game. The team did so by figuring out exactly what they had to accomplish to win – and then went ahead and did it.

Right now, I’m one of the few people that believes Melissa Hart. (4th CD), Toni Gilhooley (17th CD), and Marina Kats (13th CD), and a few others (like Tom Manion, 8th CC) can win. They’re running against heavily financed incumbents who will do anything necessary to prevail.

I believe Melissa, Toni, Marina, and Tom can win – if they do everything right. Most importantly, they have to keep expanding those circles.

All of these candidates are opposing well-financed incumbents.

Here's the key: The people who volunteer to help -- and actually do so, by putting up yard signs or going door-to-door -- are the most likely to recruit others who will help. The people who donate are most likely to know others who will do the same. Strength builds on strength. If someone contributes $200 or more, ask them if they'd like to serve on the Finance Committee. If someone contributes $2300, make them one of the co-chairs of the Finance Committee. Have frequent meetings with the entire Committee. Every dollar you spend should be getting you votes.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jason Altmire: John Murtha's "Boy"

To regular visitors, I'll have a new column up about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The keys for Melissa Hart are to: (1) point out that it makes no sense for people to vote for John McCain -- and then to vote for Altmire, who has nothing in common with McCain; (2) make the case that a vote to keep the same people in the House is in no way a "vote for change"; (3) cite the definition of insanity, which is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results; (4) note that the Altmire-Pelosi-Murtha team is supporting the largest tax increase in American history -- one that will be especially hurtful to those paying taxes at the lowest level.

Melissa Hart, the 4th Congressional District's once-and-future Congresswoman

From Friday through Sunday, I'll be writing about one of the biggest political slugfests in the country: the race between former Congresswoman Melissa Hart and the man who won her seat in 2006, Jason Altmire. It's taking place in western Pennsylvania, in the 4th CD, and I'm right here to observe the battle.

Starting in 2006, Rep. Altmire developed an extremely bad habit: he tells voters one thing during the campaign (where he was opposed to the Iraq War timetable) and does the reverse in Congress (where he voted for the Iraq War timetable). He ran as a "fiscal conservative," which in his case meant he would vote for the largest tax increase in history.

On all key votes, Altmire sides with the Pelosi wing of the Democratic Party. On some inconsequential legislation, Pelosi allows Jason to affirm the "moderate" position. That ruse is supposed to convince voters of the 4th Congressional District that the liberal Altmire is not . . . well, liberal.

As syndicated columnist Robert Novak recently said of Altmire, "He doesn't have a conservative bone in his body." That's a problem for Jason in what is a moderate-to-conservative district.

During the Pennsylvania Primary, Altmire spent a great deal of time fawning over one Barack Obama. After the Illinois Senator contemptuously dissed Pennsylvanians -- saying we were a bunch of gun-toting religious fanatics -- Altmire slowed down on the fawning. By now, he may be asking "Barack who?"

Altmire loves to suck up to people of power. If he's re-elected (which seems unlikely) -- his first act in the new Congress would be the same as in the past one: voting for Nancy Pelosi. As a card-carrying inhabitant of the 4th Congressional District (albeit sans guns at the moment), I can assure you that no one remotely like Mrs. Pelosi lives in this area.

Another relatively newfound buddy of Altmire's is Rep. John Murtha, usually called "The Prince of Pork." Near the end of his first campaign, Altmire called the thoroughly corrupt Murtha "my campaign manager." Murtha, then running for Majority Leader, funneled a great deal of money to Altmire, presumably to ensure his vote for the Johnstown congrressman's effort to head the House Democrats.

Of course, Murtha lost that race by a huge margin. Apparently, his Democrat colleagues regarded him with the same distaste he engenders in Republicans and Independents. Murtha loves "earmarks," wasteful spending projects like "The Bridge to Nowhere."

Jason Altmire also loves earmarks. "Jack" Murtha has explained to his younger colleague that they're a great way to buy votes. In good times, earmarks are a way of buying votes with money from people's own tax payments. However, in a time of deficits, they're a way of buying votes with our children's money -- because they're the ones who will end up paying the bills.

Altmire takes some positions that are downright mysterious. For example, he hates the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill. Apparently, his stand has something to do with his previous position as a lobbyist for the vast empire known as the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. You remember UPMC -- it's the "nonprofit" that turned in a surplus (i.e., profit) last year of $676 million.

UPMC funnels huge amounts of money to its congressional errand-boys, people like Altmire and Murtha. Even with its huge profits, UPMC seems to need tens of millions in earmarks. It's motto used to be to "choose a health care provider as if your life depended on it." In the case of the company's CEO, Jeffrey Romoff, when his life depended on it, he elected to go to Baltimore's Johns Hopkins.

By the way, President Bush's Medicare Drug plan has saved my wife and me over $4,000. Other people in the district have had similar experiences, so we really aren't enthusiastic about Jason's positions.

If 4th district voters catch on to Altmire's bait-and-switch brand of politics, he can't win re-election. Bulletin to Jason: they're catching on, and I'm here to help that process along.

More tomorrow about Hart-Altmire.

(I admit I sometimes refer to Altmire as SFB, which is an acronym for "Sneering Fat Boy." I do only because he sneers a lot and is starting to look as overweight as his hero, Murtha.

If you'd like to offer support to Melissa Hart -- and I hope you do -- go to her website at: She needs your help now to begin sending Altmire on his way.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Allyson Schwartz

On my Hillary Supporters for McCain site, I have a guest piece by Jean Avery about how McCain should consider Alasska Governor Sarah Palin as a running mate. Jean Avery is someone you should know -- her site is: -- because I hope she's one of many national figures who will "adopt" and support Pennsylvania congressional candidates.

I'll be writing more Wedenesday evening on the Kats-Schwartz race, which could be a monumental battle. The added material will be in boldface.

The Almanac of American Politics ("The Bible of Politics") contains the following information about Rep. Allyson Schwartz's background: "Her mother fled Vienna as a teenager in 1938 after the Germans annexed Austria and traveled alone to America, where she settled at a Jewish foster home in Philadelphia."

Mrs. Schwartz's mother was fleeing mass murderers who wanted to kill her because she was a Jew. Hitler's human killing machines were not a whole lot different from the Islamic terrorists who massacred nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. Like the Nazis, the modern Islamic fascists seem to kill people almost for sport.

Unlike her mother, Allyson Schwartz seems totally unable to grasp the nature of evil. That causes her real problems in grasping the problem we face in the Mideast. We face individuals who want to kill us -- and anyone else who gets in their way.

Allyson Schwartz has no understanding of why there has not been a repeat of 9/11. She either doesn't know or doesn't care that more than 5,000 members of al Qaeda have been killed in Iraq. Those 5,000 dead fanatics will not kill any Americans in New York, or Washington, DC, or Shanksville, PA -- or in Montgomery County.

I doubt seriously that Allyson Schwartz has personal knowledge of any American serviceman or servicewoman. I don't think a lot graduates from Bryn Mawr and Simmons College, her alma mater, end up in the military. In the gatherings of cardiologists and various left-wing groups, you won't find many veterans.

Some of the people of Montgomery County and Northeast Philadelphia may feel they can tolerate the continued presence of Allyson Schwartz in the House of Representatives. But if they care about the protection of themselves and their families, they really should re-think their views.

When Schwartz's mother came to America in 1938, there were people like her daughter Allyson in Congress, although none of them was female. Those were the people who wanted nothing to do with "Europe's War." They didn't want American soldiers fighting and dying in somebody else's conflict.

Of course, FDR -- and there are current no Democrats remotely resembling him -- understood what was at stake. Alas, Rep. Schwartz will never understand, because that not the way she "practices politics."

Marina Kats understands. Where Allyson Schwartz is feckless, Marina is downright ferocious. Allyson Schwartz's mom, a woman who looked evil right in its face, would have loved Marina. So will a lot of people in the 13th District.

I actually hope Rachel Magnuson (see below) keeps throwing verbal spit balls that boomerang back to make the Schwartz campaign seem ridiculous. Tomorrow's (Thursday's) column also will be on Kats-Schwartz. Friday and Saturday I'll be writing about Melissa Hart (R) against incumbent Jason Altmire (D). Sunday and Monday will highlight Toni Gilhooley (R) versus Tim Holden (D). If you like this site, please tell your friends, supporters, and local GOP organizations about it. Thanks.

Marina Kats, Republican candidate for Congress in PA's 13th Congressional District. Lawyer, entrepreneur, patriot, and mother.

Over the next two days, I'll discuss two very important races: Melissa Hart (R) versus Jason Altmire (D) in the 4th District (western PA outside Pittsburgh) and Marina Kats (R) versus Allyson Schwartz (D) in the 13th District (Montgomery County and Northeast Philadelphia). Frankly, Altmire and Schwartz exemplify everything that's wrong with the U.S. House and their actions (and inactions) are major reasons why Congress has a 22% approval rating.

Marina Kats v. Allyson Schwartz

Allyson Schwartz's spokeswoman, Rachel Magnuson, is noting mainly for spewing venon on Schwartz's behalf. When it became clear Marina would be the Republican nominee, Magnuson told The (Philadelphia) Bulletin that Schwartz "should do well against someone 'who has made her money being an immigration and criminal defense lawyer.'"

In other words, Marina is worthy of denunciation because she actually works at a real job -- as opposed to a government one -- and has created scores of well-paying jobs. Those are the kind of jobs that Democratic candidates always call for -- but never seem to create. If anyone asks Mrs. Schwartz what jobs she's actually "created," I fear she would point to her attack dog, Rachel Magnuson.

How, by the way, has Schwartz made her money? Most of it appears to have come from her marrying a mega-wealthy cardiologist, Dr. David Schwartz. He, of course, made his vast riches from a health care system that Schwartz now supposedly wants to hit with a legislative wrecking ball.

Are we to assume that a repentant Dr. Schwartz will want to return some of the vast millions he's accumulated? Oops, I forgot: leftists like Allyson Schwartz don't want to tax wealth; they want to tax income. Thus, if you're already wealthy (like Dr. and Mrs. Schwartz), you'll do okay with Schwarz-enomics. If you're a wage-stiff, well, prepare to pony up.

Somehow, Ms. Magnuson feels the voters are supposed to admire Schwartz for marrying well -- and criticize Marina for making her own money. I don't think that will play especially well in either Montgomery County or Northeast Philadelphia.

Marina Kats has made a lot of money, mainly because she's one of the best lawyers and entrepreneurs east if the Mississippi. To that we can only say, "You go, girl." The money Allyson Schwartz has made in various bureaucratic or government jobs has -- unlike Marina's -- come at taxpayers' expense. Allyson Schwartz would no more work in a private sector job than she'd dance the hula at Independence Hall.

The aforementioned Ms. Magnuson noted that one of Schwartz's priorities was "fighting crime." Since the Philadelphia area has one of the highest crime rates in the nation, it would appear Schwartz's crime-fighting crusade has been a flop.

Congresswoman Schwartz's fundraising benefits apparently from the fact that she seems to know a number of wealthy cardiologists (are there any other kind?) in addition to husband David. She also generates money from the "usual suspects," including "Emily's List" and Generally, those are people who don't like the America we have come to know; they'd much rather we had the influence and power of, say, New Zealand or Iceland

Marina Kats has a decent chance this year of upsetting Allyson Schwartz. She can't outspend Schwartz, who has sold out to every unsavory group in America, but she can outsmart her.

Everyone who knows Marina describes her as tough and tenacious. Everyone who knows Schwartz describes her, as they would Ms. Magnuson, as a bully and a blowhard. My bet goes to the tough and tenacious.

Marina, born in Russia, is a patriot who reveres the flag, our country, and its servicemen and servicewomen. Schwartz, born in America, often acts as if she'd rather be someplace else. It's time for voters in the 13th to send her to that "someplace else." I hear Aruba is nice.

The Bulletin article is worth reading:

Novak on Jason Altmire: "There does not seem to be anything conservative about him"

Exclusive: Blue Dog Blues
by Robert Novak

Conservatives rationalized on May 13 when Republicans lost their third consecutive special Congressional election, in the supposedly safe 1st District of Mississippi. After all, they said, the victorious Democratic candidate Travis Childers, sounded more conservative during the campaign than his losing Republican candidate. He was a county official, a good old boy who the voters figured would be an independent conservative vote in the House as one of the Blue Dog Democrats.

But once in Washington, he drank the Democratic leadership's Kool Aid. In the first 13 House roll calls contested along partisan lines after Childers took his seat in Congress, he voted with the Democrats 12 times. Childers fit right in with the Blue Dogs elected in 2006 to give Democrats control of the House after a dozen years of a Republican majority. They won office by campaigning as independent conservatives.

But in the House starting in January 2007, they have voted the Democratic line -- with no exceptions -- more than 80 percent of the time.The Blue Dogs are different in kind than the old "Redneck Caucus" or the "Boll Weevils" -- genuinely conservative Democratic members of Congress from the South who constituted a virtual third party on Capitol Hill for half a century beginning in the mid -1930s.

But the South's seats in both House and Senate once held by Boll Weevils are now mostly occupied by Republicans. The Blue Dogs come from all over the country, from districts generally conservative but not traditionally or firmly Republican.

In 2006 when the political currents were running against the GOP, they could campaign as conservatives opposed to Republican corruption and hypocrisy and against knee-jerk liberalism. Their profile: hard-line on immigration and terrorism, highly critical of President Bush's war policy, pro-gun and usually pro-life, contemptuous of Republican deficit spending. They pledged they would not be beholden to Nancy Pelosi in Congress.

But as House members, the Blue Dogs from the Class of '06 have followed the Pelosi line. In HUMAN EVENTS of April 18, 2007,I tracked 10 of them who consistently voted as Speaker Pelosi wants. A survey of their performances since then shows they have not changed. Most are usually dependable votes for the majority party on issues where the leadership cracks the party whip.

Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-Ohio) a millionaire undertaker, is avowedly pro-life and pro-gun and was considered a moderate conservative as a longtime Ohio state legislator. But in 2006 he comfortably carried his southeast Ohio district, which was formerly represented in Congress by Gov. Ted Strickland and looks safely Democratic. So, Wilson voted the party line on all eight issues, including the two tax increases. Party regularity again was linked to how safe the district is.

But that surely is not the case with the only other selected Blue Dog with a perfect Democratic record on the eight issues: Rep. Jason Altimire (R-Pa.). He is a former Congressional aide and health industry lobbyist, and there does not seem to be anything conservative about him. He apparently joined the Blue Dogs because he represents a swing district where former Rep. Melissa Hart (R-Pa.), whom he defeated in 2006, is trying again in 2008.

Rep. Chris Carney (D-Pa.), who defeated the scandal-tainted Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pa.) in a Republican district, faces a tough Republican challenge from a new candidate this year. But that has not stopped him from voting with the Democrats on all of the eight issues except for the House version of the FISA bill that did not provide immunity for telephone companies.

The Blue Dogs say remarkably little on the House floor. Representing shaky districts (except for Charlie Wilson), they don't want to offer anything that will come back to bite them. However, Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-Kan.) let her emotions get the best of her last year at a Congressional hearing on Iraq. When the respected retired Gen. Jack Keane testified that the surge is working, she walked out of the hearing and said: "There is only so much you can take."

After upsetting the world famous miler and five-term Congressman, Rep. Jim Ryun (R-Kan.), in 2006, she applied for membership with the Blue Dogs but has broken with Democrats only on FISA and energy out of the selected bills.

What is clear is that Blue Dogs are neither conservatives nor independents. They only campaign that way. They are hoping that in November they can ride through the current political ethos for at least another two years.

Mr. Novak is a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report, a political newsletter he founded in 1967 with Rowland Evans. For the full article click here

Monday, May 26, 2008

Republican Challengers: Winning Political Tactics

Candidates and Staffers: It makes great sense for every candidate to be on Slatecard, which is an independent organization raising money online for Republican candidates. You can get more information on Slatecard and its fees (which are modest) by e-mailing Joe at: I've heard nothing but good things about the organization.

Note to Candidates and Supporters: In the columns below, I discuss how candidates can get more visitors to their web sites. Today, on one of my national blogs, I'm getting more than double the usual number of visitors. Analyzing where they're coming from ,I can see that the "catchy" title is bringing most of them. The title is: Kanjorski's Words Driving Democratic Defeat. Also, I have the same photo/caption that I do below this comment. I also note on that blog that I got my first visitor from the following: Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh Municipality. I invite to visit that blog and see how I'm getting more people to beat a path to my online door: Remember, the more visitors you get, the more people will contribute. Give people good reasons to visit your web site, and the more money you'll raise.

PA's 11th district Democrat Congressman Paul Kanjorski, a symbol of corruption, assuring two of his constituents that a Democratic Congress will ensure that they live forever.

Republicans Challenging Incumbents in Pennsylvania (and other states) -- what works (and helps you raise money) and what doesn't work? In politics, some approaches that used to be successful (such as handing out campaign buttons) are no longer effective. Almost by definition, Republican challengers of Democrat incumbents will have less money and so they must rely on low-cost, high-impact tactics. Doesn't the candidate with the most money win? Not necessarily -- look at the Bob Casey victory ($17 million spent) against Sen. Rick Santorum ($27 million). "If you can't outspend them, then you have to outsmart them."

One approach that really works in presentation/discussions is to use a moving anecdote (one that reveals something about you and your life). Here's an example from 13th district candidate Marina Kats (as reported in The Bulletin):

"Ms. Kats differs with Mrs. (Allyson) Schwartz (Democrat incumbent) strongly on whether Washington should act presently to phase out the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq. Speaking to The Bulletin from her law office in Feasterville, she described looking upon an American flag that was flown for a year and a half over the base of her colleague Christopher Hudock when he was called to active duty in Iraq. Upon returning, he gave Ms. Kats the flag to hang in her office. She describes it as a reminder of the imperative that America prevail.

[Kats says] "I am supporting the withdrawal of American troops as soon as possible, but only when it is safe to do it for us and our national security interests." My comment? Perfect.

More on what works (and what doesn't) follows:

What doesn't work? Campaign buttons . . . because most people wear them once. Buttons have gone the way of the smoke-filled room. (If people ask for them, have a few around.)

What does work? Eye-Catching yard signs . . . particularly in much-travelled areas . . . they're better than billboards. (Caution: volunteer to put the signs up yourself so that they don't end up in someone's garage.)

What doesn't work? Expensive multi-color mailings . . . because they're not cost-effective and usually get treated as junk mail.

What does work? Talk show appearances . . . where the candidate pays nothing and gets to mention his or her web site several times. Exploit "free media" to the greatest extent possible.

What does work? Candidates' web sites that give people a reason to keep returning . . . and to use word-of-mouth to get others to visit. To get people to return -- and to recommend the web site -- it's necessary to keep refreshing it . . . with new pictures, videos, cartoons, press releases, and the like. Don't have a "one (visit) and done" web site.

What doesn't work? Robo-calls that automatically dial a zillion numbers and (generally) leave a message on voice mail. Such calls have worked in the past, but they are starting to back-fire. DON'T overcall people and, when you do call, make sure there's a human being available.

What does work? Mini-Town-Hall meetings . . . which can take place in a supporter's family room . . . and might have a dozen people (or more, hopefully). Critical to give the people information about the web site . . . to ask for votes and support, including financial. Give them a REASON to donate . . . an appeal that speaks to their interests. If you have six people at a meeting ask them to contact ten friends each. Leverage, leverage, leverage.

What doesn't work? Letters appealing for funds . . . when the most effective fund-raising should be actual face-to-face or "virtual" face-to-face (on the web site). There are exceptions to the this rule . . . but if you're going to do "mailing for dollars," you need to have fundraising professionals involved.

What does work? Identity and affinity appeals . . . meaning that if you're a female talk to women's groups . . . or if you're a former police officer talk to lawmen's and lawwomen's groups . . . or if you're of Russian descent, talk to groups of Russian-Americans, including people who live "outside" your district. People are more likely to give you their time and money if you're "one of them."

What doesn't work? Taking out print ads in large dailies . . . because it's too expensive.

What does work? Taking out less expensive ads in weekly papers . . . which tend to stay around longer than dailies . . . and actually get read.

What doesn't work? TV ads (expensive, $$$$$$$) in major markets . . . because they're very high cost . . . and they work less well in each election cycle . . . and they irritate nearly as many people as they attract. In the Pennsylvania Primary, Obama spent $10 million on wall-to-wall TV ads, and he ended up 9.2 point behind Sen. Clinton, who spent a fraction of what Barack did.

What does work? Radio, radio, radio . . . drive time . . . drive time . . . drive time. I can still hear Christine Todd Whitman's voice from her highly effective radio campaign in New Jersey against Sen. Bill Bradley. Vary the times, lengths (30 seconds or 60), and subjects. Keep mentioning your web site . . . and your need for listeners' support.

What does work? TV ads (yes, they sometimes make sense) that put an opponent away . . . when he or she makes a major mistake. Check out the Heather Wilson bio in and scroll down to her race against Romero. He said he opposed the death penalty . . . and Wilson immediately put out an ad that said (correctly) that Romero opposed the death penalty for child assaulters who murdered their victims. And Senor Romero's campaign went down like a rock thrown in the ocean. . .

Note: Please visit Cong. Wilson's web site at: She is an absolute jewel of a candidate.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Key Words: PA Republican Challengers

What doesn't work? Campaign buttons . . . because most people wear them once.

What does work? Yard signs . . . particularly in much-travelled areas . . . they're better than billboards.

What doesn't work? Expensive multi-color mailings . . . because they usually get treated as junk mail.

What does work? Talk show appearances . . . where you pay nothing and get to mention your web site several times.

What does work? Candidate web sites that give people a reason to keep returning . . . and to use word-of-mouth to get others to vist -- See Column Below

Recently, I've been talking a lot with my friend and associate Rajan Vaish, a computer genius who lives in India and advises American political campaigns. One of our subjects has been "key words." They're words -- or, more often, short phrases -- that will attract the notice of the software used by Google, Yahoo, and other search engines. Rajan is a human geyser of key words. He has, as we say in America, broken the code.

(When Rajan becomes very rich and famous, remember who first told you about him.)

Basically, it boils down to this: if you use the right words and phrases, you're more likely to be one of the first 10-20 links listed when someone is "googling" (or "yahooing"?). It's somewhat analogous to what advertisers do when they use certain words or phrases to get consumers' rapt attention.

For example, phrases like "pain relief . . . youthful skin . . . new technology . . . youthful appearance . . . freedom from depression . . . free trial . . . lowest prices" and the like appeal to consumers in America and the West. Words that indicate youthfulness, freshness, inexpensiveness, and the like work, so advertisers use them.

With Google and similar search engines, it's a little harder to generalize, because whether words or phrases work depends on the category. If you're pitching a political candidate, you will have different key words than someone peddling "silent" lawnmowers or migraine remedies. What works in youth-loving America wouldn't work as well as in old-age-respecting China. In fact, in China or Japan, someone like John McCain would qualify as a whippersnapper.

What did I think were good key words for this column? Look at the title (excluding the word "for"). I have a hunch -- I didn't do a study -- that the phrase "key words" might wake them up at Google or Yahoo. I avoided my instinct to use the phrase "Republican candidates" and instead took a shot at "Republican Challengers." It sounded "sexier" than the mere candidates.

Oh, and I just took out the bland "for" and put in PA. I thought a lot more people would be searching "PA" than "for." My goal -- like the Republican challengers' -- is to get as many people as possible to come here. Up to this point, I haven't worried too much about that.

The title has five words. I read that Google doesn't like titles of more than five words. If you look at my archives, you'll see dozens of articles, all of them with titles of about five words.

Okay, what does this mean to my Republican candidates -- err, challengers? It means to choose your words carefully. Choose words that are going to attract visitors to your web site -- and, hopefully, to your cause.

As most of the candidates I'm supporting know, I advocate the use of the web site as a major fund-raising device. Everything there, including the words used, should say: "To get my message across, I need your financial help. I'll deeply appreciate any amount you give, small or large."

I advocate that candidates have a short video on the main page of their web site. Videos have great appeal -- much more than, say, an essay. In the world, last year there were seven billion videos online, more than one for every person in the world. Alas, video talks and mere prose walks.

If you can attract 100,000 visitors (sounds like a lot, but isn't if you use the right key words), you probably can get roughly 1,000 of them to donate money. You can of course request their e-mail addresses, which means you can ask them again. "Those who give tend to give more." To my wife's dismay, I fit firmly in that category.

Mr friend Diana Irey, unheard of until she challenged John Murtha in 2006, got 7,000 contributions, with at least two from every state. She had a great web page and still does (

Diana, although she's physically teenie, is a fierce competitor and a fiery orator. In her video, she didn't ask for money. I think that was a mistake, but next time for Diana -- and there will be one -- I'm sure she will. I will badger her until she does!

What words should you -- as a blogger or a candidate -- avoid? Don't use terms like the following (beloved of an earlier generation of Republicans): "fiscal responsibility . . . fiduciary . . . national security . . . or current-accounts deficit" or acronyms like "FISA" or "CENTCOM" or "NSA." Nobody knows what they mean -- except for people enamored of "DC-Speak."

Instead of fiscal responsibility, talk about "not spending money we don't have." We ordinary Americans know about that. Rather than fiduciary, talk about basic honesty and respect for people who own shares in a company. In the case of national security, it's better to say "protect you and your family."

When I worked in the oil industry, I was researching prices once, and I encountered an economist who talked "the price elasticity of demand." I used it in several speeches in this way: "Price elasticity of demand is a fancy way of saying 'When something costs more, people buy less.""

Any time a candidate -- or anyone in politics -- feels inclined to use a big word or jargon of any kind, they should resist the inclination.

So, if you're a candidate what should you do with your web-site, now to be turned into a money tree? You should give a short audio-video presentation -- two-minutes or less. That's about 200 words.

You should appeal directly to visitors for their support. You should tell them right where the contribute button is and ask them to click on it. You should establish close links between you and the visitors.

On Tuesday, I'm going to talk more about key words and web sites. I'm not going to give out everything I know or suggest. In a sense, it's proprietary, which in my unusual definition means I don't want Democrats to get it. I have some regular visitors from the House of Representatives and, welcome as they are, they're probably my candidates' opponents. To them, I say, in the words of John Belushi, "No Pepsi for you!"

Hint: I don't think candidates can go wrong using these words: "your money . . . your family . . . your personal freedom . . . your retirement savings . . . your home . . . your rights as an American . . . your protection from harm . . . your piece of the American Dream" And, oh yes, "our country . . . our flag . . . our way of life."

For new visitors, these are the Pennsylvania congressional candidates I'm supporting in every way I can:

Michael Livingston (2d district) at
Melissa Hart (4th district) at
Toni Gilhooley (17th district) at
Marina Kats (13th district) at
Tom Manion (8th district) at
Craig Williams (7th district) at

If you go to those sites, you won't get a free tank of gas (but I bet "free gas" is a Google favorite)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bombshell: Dems Lied About Iraq

At the bottom of this column I talk about a number of people (and there are more I will mention soon) who will play a role -- ranging from marginal to critical -- in the Pennsylvania campaigns. They are "online friends" but much more than "imaginary friends," although I admit they all energize the imagination. The individuals mentioned are all very, very good at politics, especially the "low-cost, high impact" campaigning that I celebrate regularly. I hope you'll visit all of them. Some of these people (especially Rajan) know how Republican candidates can raise more money ("the mother's milk of politics," as Tip O'Neill called it). As with anything in life, you get money by asking for it -- although it sure helps to do it in the right way. A candidate's web site - used wisely -- can be a money tree.

Scroll down to see some very-important-people that few people have heard of . . .

The material below from PA GOP Chairman Rob Gleason is a spectacular bombshell regarding the Democrats in 2006 knowingly lying about the Iraq War. It has major implications not just in PA's 11th district (where Rep. Paul Kanjorski is running against Republican Lou Barletta) but nationwide. Cong.Kanjorski (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area) admitted -- he's a moron, by the way -- that Democrats lied about the Iraq War in order to win the 2006 election. Of course, that means they also endangered our fighting men and women for political gain. I will be writing about this all weekend, initially at: (you're here now). I sincerely hope Senator McCain discusses Kanjorski's statement and its implications. Please disseminate this as widely as possible. This is the gaffe to end all gaffes, and it is a game-changer. Rob Gleason's statements follow:

Congressman Paul Kanjorski Admits Democrats Lied To The Public On
The War In Iraq To Win Control Of Congress In 2006,
Knowingly Endangered Our Troops

HARRISBURG - Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Robert A. Gleason, Jr. released the following statement on recent comments made by Congressman Paul Kanjorski admitting that Democrats lied to the public regarding ending the Iraq War in order to win back control of Congress:

"In light of his admission that he and other members of the Democrat Party lied, I believe that Congressman Paul Kanjorski should do the honorable thing and resign immediately. He violated the trust of the people of his district and betrayed them through his purposefully deceitful remarks. I demand that other members of the Democrat delegation come clean as well and let the public know if they were part of this conspiracy.

"Paul Kanjorski said that the Democrats ‘stretched the facts' for political reasons during the 2006 election cycle. As a veteran, I find Congressman Kanjorski's admission to lying about the facts of the War startling. The fact that Paul Kanjorski and the Democrats put their own political interests and thirst for power above the lives of the brave men and women fighting to protect our country sickens me. By misleading the nation and the world about the progress being made in Iraq, Kanjorski and the Democrats put the lives of our troops in danger, and they should be deeply ashamed of themselves. This is a sad day in American political history."

At a recent event, Congressman Kanjorski told a crowd the following about the Democrats 2006 election strategy:"I'll tell you my impression. We really in this last election, when I say we...the Democrats, I think pushed it as far as we can to the end of the fleet, didn't say it, but we implied it. That if we won the Congressional elections, we could stop the war. Now anybody was a good student of Government would know that wasn't true. But you know, the temptation to want to win back the Congress, we sort of stretched the facts...and people ate it up."

Click here to watch the Congressman admitting that the Democrats political strategy in 2006 was to knowingly mislead the public on the War in Iraq.

My comments: The Democrats in Pennsylvania who lied about the Iraq War for political gain include: Chaka Fattah (2d District), Jason Altmire (4th district), Joe Sestak (7th district), Patrick Murphy (8th district), Paul Kanjorski (11th district), John Murtha (12th district), Allyson Schwartz (13th district), and Tim Holden (17th district).

Gee, how many of them deserve to return to Congress so they can continue lying to us? Zero seems like a good number. All these Democrats are career politicians, perpetually feeding off the public trough. They can conceive of no other "job," nor can anyone imagine them holding one. Please, my fellow Pennsylvanians, put them in the unemployment lines. To Pennsylvania Democrats and Independents, you do have other choices than to vote for this pack of liars. Stand up for Pennsylvania, America, and the truth by voting them out of office.

In 2006, Cong. John Murtha knowingly lied when he called American Marines "cold-blooded killers." He did so in an effort to win the position of Majority Leader. Cong. Murtha's despicable behavior demonstrates that Paul Kanjorski is not the only member of Congress who should resign. Of course, Murtha is so self-absorbed that there is no way he intends to leave his role as "The Prince of Pork" other than to exit feet-first. Twelth district voters should help him on his sorry way.

More about Jason Altmire, Murtha's "piglet," this afternoon . . .

Republican candidates:
Michael Livingston (against Fattah)
Melissa Hart (against Altmire)
Craig Williams (against Sestak)
Tom Manion (against Patrick Murphy)
Lou Barletta (against Kanjorski)
William Russell (against Murtha)
Marina Kats (against Schwartz)
Toni Gihooley (against Holden)

Please support these outsanding candidates. You can do so by clicking on their names and going to their web sites. Their opponents are gathering money from hate-America groups like and the Please give as generously as you can to the GOP candidates.

"Since most Democratic congresspeople in PA are dumb as doorknobs when it comes to Iraq, they invariably follow John Murtha's lead." ON PAUL KANJORSKI BELOW.

Kanjorski is the second ranking Dem on Finacial Services. He's chairman of the Capital Markets, Insurance, and Goverrnment Sponsored Enterprises Comm. He's the 4th ranking Dem. on the Oversight and Goverment Reform (!!!!!) Committee. He voted FOR the Iraq Timetable. He is a major misuser of earmarks and in that works very closely with "The Prince of Pork," John Murtha. He was involved in the "Cornerstone" scandal, getting huge earmarks for a company that was supposed to turn coal to oil. Instead, it turned itself into bankruptcy. Former employees of Cornerstone said Kanjorski "often took an active role in its operations." A Penn State University described the Cornerstone fiasco as "The Three Stooges meet anthracite." His seat is described as "safe," but it is a lot less safe today than it was last Saturday. The median income in Kanjorski's district is well below the national average. The poverty rate is above the Pennsylvania average (See Michael Barone, Almanac of American Politics, 2008, pp. 1410-1412) His opponenet this year is Republican Lou Barletta, mayor of Hazleton.

The great friends that I've never met in person:

Jim Fryar writes on American politics (very, very well) from Australia (at http://jimmunro.blogspot.comRajan Vaish writes on American politics from India and is a computer expert wroking for the McCain Campaign and for several campaigns in Pennsylvania. He has never set foot in America (and I've never been to India).

Jean Avery (Tigrefan) has an extremely important blog: She writes with a beautiful style about the McCain effort.

Kathy Morrison is an expert in online politics and blogs at:

Brad Marston ( and elsewhere) played a major role in getting John McCain the nomination)

Sharon Caliendo of Norman, OK, is the world's leading expert in "low-cost, high impact" politics (especially "football game politics"). I am in awe of her (

Adam Brickley ( graduated from college last Friday. He ran the national "Draft Sarah Palin for VP" and is the best young political activist in the country

SJ Reidhead (Cindy) is perhaps the best political writer in the U.S.on The Pink Flamingo at Blogharbor.comThere's a book (or two) in here somewhere.

More names will be coming in the near future . . .

Friday, May 23, 2008

Free Money for Congressional Candidates

A congressional candidate without money is one who can't get his or her message out.

I spent a good portion of my life as a speechwriter for big corporations that paid me more than I may have deserved. Bad news? I spent the money. Good news: I enjoyed doing so. I'm offering to write appeals (200 words or so) for candidate videos, mainly for congressional candidates. They would include direct requests for money, and they'd appear as videos on the candidates' web sites.

I will do this only for Republican candidates for federal office -- otherwise, my arms would fall off. If anybody needs assistance, or knows a candidate that does, they can contact me at:

The goal would be to get as much as a 1.5% response from web vistors. That would mean 1,500 contributions out of 100,000 visitors. One candidate I know had more than 1 million visitors. One-and-a-half percent is a big number but it is doable. The candidates should see results within a few days.

The $$$$$ deal with political web sites is to figure out ways to get lots of people to visit. Then, hit them with an appeal -- an offer they can't refuse. Actually, most will not donate, but many will.

You need to get a horde of people to visit your web site. To do that, you have to give them a reason to go there -- and return. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, half of life is just getting people to show up. There are ways to make that happen.

I'm only making this offer to congressional candidates, because otherwise my arms might fall off from excessive "keying."

(Scroll down for the material on 17th district candidate Toni Gilhooley.)

If you're interested, write to me at: I'm not restricting this offer to Pennsylvania candidates.

Pennsylvania candidates I'm endorsing: (Craig Williams, 7th CD) (Melissa Hart, 4th CD) (Michael Livingston, 2d CD) (Toni Gilhooley, 17th CD) (Marina Kats, 13th CD)

I'm also strong supporting Heather Wilson, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in New Mexico --

Any revenues generated from Google AdSense (to your right) will go to these candidates.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Toni Gihooley, Mike Livingston: Heroes

See Toni Gilhooley's important press release at the bottom of today's colum . . . Also, please visit my national blog ( for a piece on why John McCain should choose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his V-P running mate.

This weekend I'll start writing about Michael Livingston's fascinating race in Pennsylvania's 2d congressional district (Philadelphia west of Broad St.). Mike is running a smart campaign that's an essential step in beginning to change the political realities in his district. Every two years in that district the voters turn out en masse for Democrat Chaka Fattah and every two years absolutely nothing changes in the district. The educational system remains in a shambles, the crime rate is at totally unacceptable levels, and the poverty level (nearly 30%) continues at an alarming rate. Mike Livingston's campaign is a public service. He reminds me of the radio program many years ago featuring Father Keller of The Christophers group. He said, "It is better to light one little candle than to curse the darkness." In this year's race, Mike will light many candles, and he will bring hope to a district riddled with hopelessness.

The following bio will appear, perhaps with some minor edits, on, the world's most-used encyclopedia. Any Republican congressional candidates who would like help appearing on Wikipedia should contact me:

Antoinette “Toni” Gilhooley is running as a Republican candidate for the U.S. Congress seat in Pennsylvania’s 17th District. Her opponent in 2008 is Democratic Representative Tim Holden. Her web site is:

Toni was born in Steelton, Pennsylvania. She was raised in what she calls “a working class family that valued hard work, courage, and perseverance.”

Married to William M. Gilhooley, a retired Pennsylvania State Police Lieutenant, Toni and her husband are the grandparents of twin girls. She and William reside in Lower Paxton Township.

During her 25-year career as an officer with the Pennsylvania State Police, Toni was honored by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence for her work with victims of abuse. She also served as a Peer Support Officer, assisting her fellow officers with various personal issues.

In retirement, she continues to work as a Peer Support Officer. In that role, she assists municipal police departments throughout central Pennsylvania and around the state.

She also has served a Victim Advocate and is a member of Dauphin County’s Domestic Violence Task Force.

Following Toni’s retirement from the State Police, Governor Mark Schweiker appointed her to serve as a Commissioner and Assistant Secretary on Pennsylvania’s Human Relations Commission.

Serving as a nationally certified Employee Assistance Professional, Toni has provided support and counseling to people in both the public and private sectors.

She has been involved in numerous business organizations, including: Central PA Association of Female Executives, the Business and Professional Women of Pennsylvania (where she served as State Legislation Chair), PA Association of Retired Employees, and the Dauphin County Council of Republican Women (where she served as President)

Toni is a member of PA State Troopers Retirees Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the National Rifle Association.

Regarding her run for the 17th district Congressional seat, she says: “I’ve spent my entire adult life in service to the people of the Commonwealth, and this effort is a continuation of my earlier efforts.” She adds, “I will campaign very hard, and with the support of my fellow Pennsylvanians and Americans, I expect to win.”

My thoughts: The 17th district, or any district in the U.S., would be lucky to have someone like Toni representing it in the U.S. Congress. (See Toni's press release below . . .)


In an article dated May 23, 2008, by Ben Wolfgang of the Pottsville Republican & Herald, Tim Holden admits that he did not read the Farm Bill and that he does not read any other bill that crosses his desk.

Article quote:“When asked if representatives had read the 800-page bill, Holden said ‘No. Not any bill.’” Read full article >>

Toni Gilhooley, Tim Holden’s November opponent for the 17th Congressional District seat, said, “Tim Holden is apparently part of the problem in Washington. He admits that he hasn’t read legislation that is being passed. If we’re not paying Tim Holden to know what’s in congressional legislation and to vote responsibly, what are taxpayers paying him to do? If members of Congress aren’t even reading bills, why are they passing them? District 17 taxpayers deserve better.”

Republicans Can Win in Pennsylvania

Note: Someone asked me why I was leaving out Craig Williams, a fine GOP candidate for Congress in the 7th District (against Joe Sestak). I've had Craig's link up, and I'll begin discussing his race soon. In the meantime, I invite you to visit Craig's site at: Like so many Republicans in PA, Craig is in a tough race. If McCain does very well in PA, Craig has a great chance to win. In 2004, the Republican candidate won the district by 62,000 votes.

Note: John McCain's choice for a running-mate could very influence many races, including those in Pennsylvania. I strongly urge him to name Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska. I explain why she is the best choice on: & Sarah, a life member of the NRA, is particulary attractive to PA voters.

Later today (Thursday), I'll post additional material on this blog, mainly about the education issue (see the column below). For Republican candidates like Hart, Gilhooley, Kats, and Manion to win, they need to get across the point that they know how to solve the nation's problems -- and their opponents (all incumbent Democrats) don't. If the incumbents had a clue on how to deal effectively with issues like education, crime, and health care, presumably they would have done so. They haven't, and thus they don't deserve re-election. (In the case of Michael Livingston, his chances of winning against Democrat Chaka Fattah are from all appearances slim, largely because of the racial make-up of his Philadelphia district. However, he's effectively begun a process that will lead to his getting many more votes -- in the tens of thousands -- than any other Republican ever has in the 2d. My estimate is that Michael might have more "secret supporters" than any candidate in the nation.) All these candidates I've highlighted truly deserve your support.

This weekend I'll discuss Livingston's recent press releases, which have implications for all Republican congressional candidates in PA. "If you build a small army of dedicated volunteers, you win. If you don't, well, there's always 2010 or 2012." By October of this year, I expect Hart, Gilhooley, Manion, and Kats all will have gone above 45% (the tipping point) in polls. If they do so, there's a good chance most (or all) of them will win.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Congressional Candidates: Solve Education Problems

On my national blogs (yeah, I have two, doesn't everybody?) I have a piece posted Wednesday night that discusses the anti-American, pro-Soviet band, the Decembrists, that helped draw the huge crowd for Obama in Oregon. It's quite fascinating. &

Note: On my Hillary Supporters for McCain site, I have some remarkable comments printed by women talking about specific cases of Clinton supporters moving strongly to McCain. I urge you to visit. I always contineu to urge Republican candidates, especially female ones, to go after the huge Hillary vote. Individuals who believe it's time for women to run for high federal offices should strong support people like Melissa Hart, Toni Gilhooley, and Marina Kats. These are all women of tremendous ability and potential.

From time to time, I'll be writing about keys to victory in November. Specifically, If Republican congressional candidates (and our candidate for President, John McCain) can convince voters they have a plan to solve America's key problems, then they should win.

If they don't win in 2008, they can do so in 2010 or 2012. I strongly believe they should start meditating on victory or defeat on the evening of November 4 (election day). Before that, they should be positive about their chances. The goal at this point should be to build a huge base of support, one that will be in place by October of this year -- and will only grow in future years.

Pennsylvanians, like all Americans, send people to Congress to solve problems -- period. We don't send them there to engage in the mud wrestling that prevails under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats. Congress under Pelosi and Harry Reid now has an approval rating of 22%. That may be higher than it deserves.

The performance of Pennsylvania schools, especially in the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, is absolutely dismal. If the students stayed at home, they wouldn't be doing much worse than they are now.

Is education in the U.S. and Pennsylvania just hopeless? Is there basically nothing that can be done to end the cycle of failure?

In fact, I hope our Republican congressional candidates will say that there is a solution, and it's relatively simple in conception -- even if it's sometimes difficult in execution.

Two basic steps are necessary on the path to dramatically improving education: (1) merit pay in order to reward superior teachers and administrators; (2) real school choice for parents. In other words, it's time to bring education into the mainstream of a society that practices private enteprise and values choice.

Recently, I wrote about Harlem's "Project Success." It emphasizes charter schools -- ones not subject to the restrictions found in most public schools. The Charter institutions have been mushrooming in Harlem -- and sharply improving the educational performance of students in that area.

At one Project Success school, a class of first-graders began with mathematics scores that showed only 11% of the students were achieving at grade-level. By the end of the year, the number at grade-level had shot up to 86%.

Gee, why aren't we doing the same thing in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Harrisburg -- and, in fact, in every school in the Commonwealth? That is a question the Democrats don't want to answer.

In fact, there is opposition to charter schools like the ones involved in Project Success. The teacher's unions and their Democratic allies in the New York State legislature have opposed some of the key elements of "Success," including longer schools days, non-unionized faculties, and heavy parental support.

I hope our fine Republican candidates say that they support steps that would cause all our school districts to mirror Project Success. It's all well and good to talk about "hope" and "change," but those words must be more than a presidential candidate's empty rhetoric.

Our schools don't exist to provide employment for a minority of mediocre teachers. They should exist to encourage great teaching -- and outstanding performance by students. If our Republican candidates take a no-nonsense stand on this issues, they will get the votes they need to win. .

We need to get across the point that tackling problems like education is not the equivalent of solving the riddle of the universe. Yes, our society does have problems, and no, the Democrats don't have any solutions. Republicans do. It's just that simple.

Please visit the web sites of the following candidates:
Melissa Hart:
Michael Livingston:
Toni Gilhooley:
Marina Kats:

To enable them to bring about positive change, they need your support, including your donations . . .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sarah Palin: Come to Pennsylvania!

Bulletin for Republican congressional candidates and supporters: In KY exit polls are showing that two-thirds of Clinton voters are saying they will not vote for Obama in the General Election. Forty-one percent are saying they will vote for McCain.That's why I'm asking candidates and supporters to say, "A vote for my opponent is a vote for Barack Obama." That is not the conventional wisdom, but the conventional wisdom is wrong in this case. Tie yourself to John McCain. (Please be kind enough to go Congressional Quarterly -- link below -- and vote for Gov. Sarah Palin (scroll down).

NOTE TO GOP CANDIDATES, STAFFERS, AND SUPPORTERS: Please scroll down to the bottom of this column to see an important message. See information about Tom Manion (8th district) activities at bottom of column.

What are Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her family doing front-and-center on this blog that generally discusses Pennsylvania candidates and Senator John McCain. I know that Sarah and her staff regularly visit my site(s). I am appealing to her to come to Pennsylvania and campaign vigorously for the congressional candidates here, especially the women: Toni Gihooley, Melissa Hart, and Marina Kats. I would ask Sarah to make a special appeal to those Pennsylvania voters who would like to see a female President. Many people believe Sarah herself will be the first woman elected to America's highest office. But it's essential for the Keystone State to send our female congressional candidates to the House of Representatives. Sarah, we want you, and we need you!

Will this woman, Alaska Gov. Sarah Heath be America's first female President? And will this man, Todd Palin, holding their new baby, Trig, be America's "First Dude?" There is a good chance John McCain will name her as his vice-presidential running mate. Please vote for her in the Congressional Quarterly "V-P Madness" poll (see below)

Palin Fans:

Gov. Palin is now just one victory away from WINNING CQ Politics' "VP Madness"! She beat out Rob Portman in the Final Four by a vote of 56%-43%, advancing to a final confrontation with Mike Huckabee. I'm very confident in the chances of a Palin victory, but the presidential primaries proved that underestimating Mike Huckabee is a huge mistake. So, let's make sure that we give our favorite governor as much help as we possibly can.

PLEASE let as many people as you can know about this poll. Post it on your blog, email your friends, write a note on your Facebook profile, anything to help push Gov. Palin over the top. Win or lose, VP Madness has been a major victory for our movement, but a win here could permanently catapult Sarah Palin into the top tier of the top tier of the veepstakes (at least as far as the media is concerned).


Adam Brickley
Founder, "Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President"

Note from Steve: Adam Brickley, a 21-year-old college student (who's graduating this week in Colorado Springs) is the finest young political operative in the country. Please cast your ballot for Sarah, a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-military, pro-integrity woman who just might be "Mt. Rushmore material."

As for Adam, I'm hoping to get him involved in the critical congressional races in Pennsylvania. Other national activists and operatives -- including Oklahoma's Sharon Caliendo and a young computer expert in India (!!) have vowed to help the Pennsylvania candidates.

Note to candidates, staffers, and supporters: For candidates to win in November, they must make a powerful case that they're going to Washington for one critical reason: to solve national problems (health care, crime, education, terrorism, and the like).

Our national problems are NOT insoluble. Take education: In one all-Black school in Harlem, the number of new first-graders in one school (in a program called "Success") only 11% of students started the year at or above their grade level in mathematics. At the end of the year, the percentage at or above grade level was 86%. How the school did it will be explained this week in a short article, and there's nothing mysterious about the success. We need that kind of progress and accountability in all schools, and the congressional candidates have to make that exact point. We shouldn't send students to school to fail, but rather to flourish.

Also, can we solve the crime problem in our cities and suburbs? You bet we can. What about health care? Yes!