Image 01 Image 03

A little late: RNC to hire chief technology officer

A little late: RNC to hire chief technology officer

The RNC has announced plans to focus on digital strategy and hire a chief technology officer by May 1, preferably one that “is maybe able to come in and change the way that we think,” according to RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski.

If Kukowski hadn’t added that last statement in, I might have had some hope. But forgive me for being a little skeptical that the RNC actually wants to change anything about the way it operates, but sure go ahead and hire someone to mimic (yet again) what the left has done before us.

I’m in the camp of thinking that it’s less of a data problem than a candidate/principles problem when it comes to the Grand Ole Party’s problems.

Nevertheless, given the failure of ORCA (how I wish I could go back in time to the presentation I sat through from Senator Mark Kirk promising the world with ORCA), it’s clear that basic use of technology couldn’t hurt the RNC.

The focus on digital strategy is, the New York Times reports, part of a larger reevaluation of the Republican party:

The digital overhaul is probably just the beginning of the Republicans’ adjustments. On Monday, the party will release a sweeping audit of the 2012 campaign that will include assessments of messaging, fund-raising, campaign mechanics and the primary process – all with an eye toward preparing the R.N.C. for the 2016 campaign.

Repeating, focus on the principles and the conservatives who are beginning to seethe with resentment toward you, RNC, and you will fix a lot of the “messaging,” technological or otherwise tertiary speed bumps that you’ve identified.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


“You can’t fix stupid” has never rung truer.

Democrat Rep Jim Moran (VA-8) is asked by a Woman why he isn’t Pro-Choice on Women owning Guns. Listen to the crowd applaud:

Well, we’ll see who they hire; it would be interesting to see the job description. As we’ve all seen in the press, the left took full advantage of ‘analytic marketing’ techniques which allowed them to push a myriad of ‘micro messages’ to the right people who would be receptive to them. So in that sense the right technology can most definitely help with the ‘messaging.’

Kinduv ironic that the ‘evil corporations’ in particular big financial institutions have been using these techniques for decades.

What I’d like to see next time around is a grass roots system that allows anybody with a smart phone to take pictures and video of people going in/out of polling places, then have it uploaded to a central server where facial recognition could spot people voting multiple times. That, coupled with some serious data mining on voter registration rolls bumped up against public data sources could probably root out a lot of the stolen votes.

…preferably one that “is maybe able to come in and change the way that we think,”

That seems pretty hopeful to me, Anne. I don’t get how that would be a bad thing in the circumstances.

The RNC has announced plans to focus on digital strategy and hire a chief technology officer by May 1, preferably one that “is maybe able to come in and change the way that we think,” according to RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski.

I’ve worked in large ad agencies that made failed attempts at transitioning from traditional to digital media. And the RNC is following that predictable pattern.

1. Letting VPs with zero experience and affinity for digital make hiring decisions. People like that always hire a candidate that has the useless track record of an overpriced consultant and dismissing the one with genuine talent and PROVEN successes.

2. Thinking that effective digital campaigns are a result of centralized planning and execution. Ironic the Party that espouses individualism and limited gov’t is taking the same approach.

3. Thinking your competitor won because they had more money, talent and equipment. And the solution is to follow suit.

I’ve served in hiring panels for CTOs and digital strategists for the largest digital ad agencies in New York.

I can tell you unequivocally I’ve yet to meet a commercial candidate that can match…Bill Jacobson’s proven affinity, experience and portfolio in new media.

Someone send the RNC my comment.

I received a letter from the RNC yesterday and the first sentence read something like: “We have not yet received your renewed membership – have you given up on us?” I scribbled, “Yes I have” and returned the letter. I did not read beyond that first sentence.

No computer technology will overcome the pathetic, weak, and corrupt clowns who have a stranglehold on the GOP– unless it can open a trap door to oblivion underneath the offices of the likes of Boehner, McCain, Graham et al. We have got to get rid of these people.

Maybe with the ascension of the likes of Ron Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, the process is underway.

From the NYT link:

The digital overhaul is probably just the beginning of the Republicans’ adjustments. On Monday, the party will release a sweeping audit of the 2012 campaign that will include assessments of messaging, fund-raising, campaign mechanics and the primary process – all with an eye toward preparing the R.N.C. for the 2016 campaign.

I’d like to see that audit—iirc Newt has spoken well of the concept—before making inferences.

I agree with Aucturian – in summary: significant change can only come from the top, not bottom up. If the leadership doesn’t know what it needs, how can it possibly hire someone who has it?

And, let’s say they get lucky and hire that person who does? How long are they going to listen to a subordinate who sounds (to them) crazy?

The RNC would be better off outsourcing their media campaign to the Tea Party (who has done pretty darn good, with zero resources). But – as an example – then the RNC would actually have to listen to the Tea Party. And that’s not happened yet.

Failure is ALWAYS an option! LOL…

Anne wrote: “I’m in the camp of thinking that it’s less of a data problem than a candidate/principles problem.”

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

Technology is a tool for reaching voters. The GOP needs to think expansively on how to creatively use it. Unfortunately they will probably put some trusted insider in charge of acquiring the report and then ignore whatever dilutes their power in the party.

Reaching the voter is necessary but not sufficient. Convincing the voter is the test. That is where canidates and positions come into play. Unfortunately that is another story.

Back in the 2004 I worked as the CTO / Architect / Programmer of one of the most successful media campaigns, Protest Warrior. I built their messaging and planning software platform in 2 weeks out of pure love day and night so that they could have a way to coordinate locally and quickly (about ~ 20k lines of code). It was way ahead of its time. We probably should have packaged it and sold it.

My proudest was me and my 3 man volunteer team accused by lackeys of being the front of a some koch style hidden backers because they didn’t have anything else matching the style and capabilities of our site. Just me, me code editor and 2 programmers I taught from scratch. (well one had a background in circuit design)

I don’t think it takes a lot of money, what it takes is a lot of passion and vision to build tools geared to let the small groups organize and spread the message.

We discovered the software the RNC technology department has had written: RINO 2.0

We’ll only be about six years behind in the tech arena next go-round. Does anyone in DC know anything else besides “me-too”

How about a real low-tech solution? Work to have closed primaries. In Wisconsin and Missouri open primaries allowed non-Republicans to vote in the primaries. In Wisconsin the Republicans had a three-way race between two Establishment types and one conservative. Tommy Thompson, an elder statesman of the party, lost to the only openly lesbian from the House of Representatives, Tammy Baldwin. We saw what happened in Missouri. Unfortunately, “moderate” Republicans like open primaries because then their pals from the left help them win primaries against real conservatives.

I still have steam coming out of my ears from the ORCA experience. I still think someone needs to be shot over that fiasco.

The way think of what needs to be done is a national voter database, analogous to the credit files that the major credit bureaus have on every adult in the country. Those credit files form a basis for intense modeling to help predict consumer behaviors. For the GOP and only at the national level, they need to build a full coverage data platform that will be up 24×7/365 and will bring in information on the voter’s participation in special, runoff and early primary elections.

With that data assembled, you can merge demographics and other data into the mix and build powerful models to help rank order GOTV efforts.

Organizing for America has that database, the GOP needs theirs. And once created it needs to be available to every down-ballot GOP candidates, all the way down to dog catcher.

The RNC needs to understand itself as a strategic information utility for the party and for all GOP candidates wherever and whenever.

Well I must say, I don’t agree with Anne’s thesis at all. Hiring a CTO is THE first step to take. That will require the longest lead time. Next, they have to hire first rate media strategists/culture warriors to identify leading edge social trends that the party can assimilate and utilize going forward.

The RNC needs to restructure and be run like a corporation with a CEO who has the maturity, discipline and strength to manage the party’s message and get the politicians to respect the direction they are headed in. We need buy-in at the highest levels. Reince is a minor leaguer – competent enough but not forceful in a strategic way.

Messaging needs to change in the direction of the vague phrases the Obama campaign loves – phrases that sound benign and helpful but could mean almost anything. As an example we need to “modernize” the federal budget or that we need “nimble government” or that we want to create an “opportunity society.” There are many others we can utilize but they have to be phrases that resonate with the the younger voter. Then get our politicians to dump the old phraseology.

We need to filter our overall message into 20 or 30 smaller subjects that we can tackle and affect people immediately. Play small ball. Get people to know the party the way we want them to know the party. Not the stereotypes the media uses. If we have to bring our message to MTV then that’s where we go. If we have to go on talk shows or have to have online chat sessions with party leaders – then that’s where we go. Just bring the party closer to the people in a more interactive way. People need to know our politicians as real, caring, loving people who just also happen to be smart.

I’m rambling and I have left out so much but it’s early in the morning and I haven’t had my coffee. You guys can rip me apart if you want but my thought process was all about taking control of what we want people to think about when they think about Republicans. Don’t let the media control that messaging. And we can do it because young people don’t use the major media anymore.

We are the party of modernization. We are the party of the 21st century. So we should act like that.

One more thing…props to Prof Jacobson for College Insurrection because the college campus is THE place for the party to be.

Beginning to seethe? That boat sailed a long time ago.

They sound like everyone else in government . . . just send more money. Put me down with the skeptics. I’ll keep what money I still have and save it for a ten ounce, eight dollar bag of coffee or a four dollar gallon of gas.

The RNC messaging has been McCain-ish and Rovian at best. And we have compromised ourselves into a corner.

Unless we show oursleves to be different and as uncompromising as Prez One-Note we will not succeed in garnering votes away from the Dems.

Remember that the current RNC honcho is Reince Priebus, who oversaw the elections of Scott Walker, Cong. Duffy, and Ron Johnson. IOW, Reince has a decent track record.

As to Pubbie “principles,”–for the most part, they are two: 1) get elected any way possible; and 2) remain elected any way possible. No different with Democrats, of course.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | March 13, 2013 at 11:20 am

Principles are absolutely important. But so is the technology/messaging strategy. We need to up our game on all fronts.

Look, we need to accept that Obama forever changed how presidential campaigns work.

Prior to Obama, no president in history would have had the gall to give an interview to a guy who goes by the name “Pimp With the Limp”, during a presidential campaign on the somber occasion of the anniversary of Sept. 11. Of course, conservatives seethed about it and Stewart, Leno, Letterman, and Colbert covered it. Big deal. They reach the same population segments and cover Obama in glory every day. The genius here is that after the Pimp with the Limp interview, EVERY “urban radio” station covered it. That is reaching a whole new segment of low information citizens and potential voters who now saw Obama as one of them. We mocked it, but it was a brilliant campaign stunt. That’s just one example, too. Obama gave dozens of interviews with “non-serious” outlets. Some with a sports focus, many with an “urban and R&B” focus, several Spanish language, etc. The goal was not to talk policy. The goal was to connect with low information citizens and make them think Obama is “cool” and “cares about them”. Obama did not waste his time giving interviews with serious news shows and newspapers because he knew that audience is already informed, very likely to vote, and very unlikely to change their mind about who to vote for.

Our side has an example, too, but it worked in exactly the opposite, negative way. Ten years ago Todd Akin’s infamous interview would have reached a relatively small segment of the population in eastern Missouri. The St. Louis Compost-Dispatch would have ran a story about it the next day, but it would have been a one day event and almost nobody outside of Missouri would have known about it. Instead, in an era where Think Progress and Media Matters are paid to monitor every single word uttered by a Republican to look for gaffes and then blow the dog whistle to get the leftsphere to pile on, it got a tremendous amount of attention. But the icing on the cake came when Karl Rove and John Cornyn saw an opportunity to nullify the primary election and denounce Akin and push him out. They got every major Republican in Missouri and even our presidential candidate to denounce him and demand he pull out. It became an inter-galactic news story in less than a day and was talked about incessantly for weeks. Akin’s opponent, McCaskill, and Democrats in tight races around the country could have paid a king’s ransom and not been given so much negative Republican media coverage. Not because Akin was accused of corruption or breeched the public trust in any way. His “crime” was suggesting in an obscure interview seen in its initial broadcast by a couple of thousand people in eastern Missouri that he believed pregnancy is less likely to occur after rape. Bill Clinton was accused of rape by Kathleen Willey and it did not get anywhere near the media reaction Akin’s comment received.

It’s been a new world for a while now. Democrats know how to play in it. Republicans better learn. Fast.

Henry Hawkins | March 13, 2013 at 11:48 am

RNC tinkering with the messenger (going 21st century digital) won’t overcome their rejected message.

The GOP base stayed home by the millions this past November, a fact found everywhere in political news. What I’ve yet to see is the GOP asking them why.

Keep it simple is good advice. Log-in and verification are keys to success in a MMO operation remotely reporting results for follow-up. Otherwise there is no follow up; just finger-pointing and crying into beer.