Thursday, May 15, 2008



Note: This has been quite a week: On my national blog, I've endorsed the idea of John McCain offering the vice-presidential spot on his ticket to . . . Sen. Hillary Clinton. Also, on my national blog, I have new column today that helps break the story about Teddy Kennedy's conspiring with the Soviet KGB in a mutal attempt to derail Ronald Reagan's re-election effort. On the blog you're now viewing (PennsylvaniaforJohnMcCain), I've discussed why the national Republican establishment has become a hindrance to new congressional candidates. On another blog ( today's piece is from a (conservative) female psychiatrist trying to divine why the national media absolutely hates Hillary Clinton (and, by extension, other female candidates for high offices). In the history of the Keystone State, there have been a grand total of TWO women elected to Congress. This year, there are three outstanding female, Republican candidates -- Toni Gilhooley, Melissa Hart, and Marina Kats -- running for Congress. In the coming weeks and months, I'll also be writing about candidates Tom Manion and Michael Livingston. Please support them all! And please let your friends and fellow onliners know that this (daily!) column exists. Thanks!

Add-on: I appreciate the positive message sent out today by Republican congressional campaigns honcho Tom Cole, a fine Oklahoma congressman. However, if the NRCC wants to play a very positive role in this year's campaigns, it absolutely must bring in people like Sharon Caliendo, my associate in OK. The key question for Republican candidates is: how can I win a campaign when my Democrat opponent has more money? Someone like Sharon knows the answer to that question. In all humility, frankly, I think I also know how. Candidates need to look at that amazing Christy Whitman campaign (against Sen. Bill Bradley) in 1990 and learn the lessons it teaches (note, go to In Pennsylvania, candidates can look way back to the Santorum victory in the early 90s against Democrat Congressman Doug Walgren, basically a door-to-door effort. Candidates must come across as impressive -- and approachable -- human beings. They must convey genuine affection for voters -- all voters. If our Republican candidates can raise $500,000 (or even less) they can run a bang-up campaign. Trust me!

The following is correspondence I, Sharon Caliendo (an OK & TX consultant), Kathy Morrison (an expert in online political) had with various candidates, consultants, and one fundraiser (David All of Slatecard). Note to readers: please go to and contribute to as many candidates as you can afford.

I hope all Republican congressional candidates in Pennsylvania will move today, if you haven't already, to ally yourself with David All and Slatecard, an online site designed to raise money for Republican candidates. It won't raise you huge sums of money at this early point in its history, but Slatecard is one of the many things we need to promote now.I write regularly on my blog(s) about (relatively) low-cost, high-impact campaigns. Slatecard can help you to get "just enough" money to get your messages across.I will do everything I can to energize the online community to contribute to the various Pennsylvania campaigns.

I have been recommending a number of political consultants, such as Sharon Caliendo, an expert at grass-roots organizing and Kathy Morrison, a wed designer and blogger resources expert, who aren't currently charging for their assistance. There are also several others who can help. If you need Sharon's or Kathy's e-mail address, e-mail me at:

There's a lot of gloom and doom about the loss of the Mississippi seat in the special election. A huge amount of money (NRCC spent $1 million) spent there that might as well have been thrown down a rathole. Sad. (NRCC is the National Republican Congressional Committee.)

My Pennsylvania site (the one you’re on) is focused on campaigns for Melissa Hart (4th CD), Tom Manion (8th CD), Melissa Kats (8th CD), Mike Livingston (2d CD), and Toni Gilhooley (17th CD)

Stephen (from Sharon)--

That was a huge throw-away of money [in Mississippi] in addition to previous special elections. We had a bad candidate and for some reason the people in DC think money is the answer but it is not. Better to spend a lot less and not worry about a special election.

People may not like what I have to say but I don't think that bringing VP Cheney who I happen to respect a lot is a smart move. The last thing a Republican candidate needs that is running for a seat in Congress IMHO is to tie themselves to the WH, NRCC, NRSC, or the RNC.

Drove from OK to Gainesville, FL, this weekend and had requests for McCain bumperstrips every time I stopped which shocked me. These were not activists but people concerned about the direction of the Country. When I asked some of them about Republican leadership, they said almost to a person that new leadership is needed and that McCain will provide that. Two words they hated were compassionate conservatism.

One black truck driver said he wants a President and Congress with a backbone that will stand up and tell it like it is. He is voting for McCain because he believes he will do what is right and not pander. I think McCain is going to help our candidates more then any of the DC groups.

People I have talked with around the Country keep talking about how they hate the pandering to the far right that has been going on since 2004. After our State Convention, I will definitely second that.

I am President of the oldest Republican Women's Club in OK and we are sponsoring an old fashion ice cream social/grillfest right after the primary filing so candidates can speak on why they should get the nomination and money from our Club in the general. We hand out $5,000 - 6,000 in an election year which doesn't sound like much but with it comes a lot of volunteers. I tell candidates to speak to the women's clubs and get them on board because you will get a lot of help in your campaign.

Recently we had robocalls [computer-generated phone calls] into OK that backfired. People hate robocalls and it is better to get live people to call asking for their vote. Keep the narrative short and to the point and you will score points. A lot of people I talk with as I travel hate TV ads that are one right after the other and too many look alike.

If anyone wants an idea for a great TV ad, see if you can find Sen. Don Nickles' ads from his last campaign for Senate from OK -- it was about bringing Oklahoma Values to DC. In the background was pastureland with a split rail fence in front. Best ad I have ever seen. Totally down to earth as he was out in the Country. Having grown up in rural Ohio, I don't see much difference between that and OK. It resonated with voters during the exit polling. Cong Mary Fallin's was the same way -- down to earth so you felt like she was talking with you.

My two cents on what I observed going across the South.

Sharon [from Steve]

I know candidates and those associated with them receive lots of e-mails and advice, and I promise to shut up (almost impossible for me) after this, but the national Republicans are a negative rather than a positive in this critical election. When Tom Reynolds, congressman from a district going from the Buffalo suburbs (I lived there) to the Rochester suburbs (lived there too), requires $5 million-plus to win a narrow re-election, there is something fundamentally wrong.

People no longer send money to the NRCC because they know that it will be spent to resuscitate political versions of the walking dead. It will not be sent to some of the wonderful candidates on this list. In fact, the NRCC sucks up money that would otherwise go to such candidates. Right now, the NRCC seems to regard about 150 congressional seats (more than one-third of the total) as not worth contesting. That's pathetic. No wonder contributors are ignoring the Committee. It makes much more sense to donate directly to candidates.

I am optimistic about our Pennsylvania candidates because they are terrific human beings. They don't have enough money, but they have a tremendous desire to do what's necessary to win.

After this election, there will be many changes in the Washington, DC leadership. The NRCC, if it continues to exist, should offer technical and advisory support to all Republican candidates, not just to a bunch of the "Old Bulls" who dedicated to their own survival and not to rebuilding the Republican Party.

I have tremendous respect for Sharon Caliendo., and I agree with everything she said. There are many like her throughout the country, something that would come as news to a lot of people in the DC "leadership." There is a grassroots effort underway now that recognizes the real leadership in the Republican Party consists of the people on this list.

The way to win is to go out, grab "defeat" by the throat, and strangle it. Winning is largely an act of will.

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