Bringing the politics to you

Minnesota Governor/2012 Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty is holding a  town hall meeting tomorrow.  Last night, California Senate candidate Chuck DeVore held a fundraiser with Andrew Breitbart.

You can go to either of these events without being in Minnesota or California – both will be online.  (Though, if you want to attend the DeVore event, you’re going to have to also find a way to channel 1.21 gigawatts into the flux capacitor, which may cost more than the $50 minimum donation.)

In Pawlenty’s case, the two-term governor is attempting to build a national base in advance of his 2012 run for the White House.  For people nosing around and still feeling out the contenders, it’s a low barrier of entry.   With the first primaries still more than 20 months away, Pawlenty wisely doesn’t want to burn out his activists; at the same time he wants to start building a list of engaged supporters.  Some of his likely primary opponents (like Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and maybe Sarah Palin) already have exposure and campaign infrastructure from 2008.  The town hall could help Pawlenty catch up and – maybe even more important – allows him to build the perception of his candidacy being more firmly rooted in ideas than personality.

DeVore is trying to broaden his base, too – and continue extending his brand as one of the leaders among Republicans in the use of online tactics.  Thus far in the primary, DeVore has been the Martin Short of the Three Amigos running for the Republican nomination.  (If you’re wondering, Steve Martin was the best Amigo, followed closely by Chevy Chase.  Barbara Boxer is already El Guapo.)  The virtual pizza party may not put him on the Republican ticket to face Boxer in 2010, but it’s a good idea – one that could help other Republicans in 2010 or even DeVore himself in a future race.  After all, winning campaigns aren’t the only ones with good ideas.

Carly’s Boxer Blimp

The Carly Fiorina campaign has released a follow-up to their much-lampooned “Demon Sheep” web video.  In this one, Barbara Boxer turns into a giant blimp because she’s full of hot air.  (Getcha popcorn ready, because it’s almost eight minutes long.)

Despite the ribbing from Fiorina’s primary opponents, ad maker Fred Davis claimed victory for the viral hit, pointing to its high number of YouTube views.  Davis might have a point.  The funny part of the Demon Sheep video – the campily costumed and Keds-clad sheep – came at the end, after the video had railed on fellow Republican candidate Tom Campbell’s fiscal street cred.  The Boxer Blimp wouldn’t attract nearly as much attention if it hadn’t been for its fluffy forefather.

Still, the video is as unfocused as it is comical and over the top.  The message shifts from the Senator being arrogant to incompetent to out of touch, and discusses taxes, environmental policy, financial restraint, national security, and Boxer’s personality with clumsy or non-existent segues.  The imagery is often uneven; at one point, the announcer accuses Boxer of being progressively “less and less effective” during her Senate tenure just as her image is smashing through the Capitol dome.

It does, however, tell a good story about Carly Fiorina – but unlike the Demon Sheep, the story comes after the CGI blimp attack.

But regardless of what anyone thinks of the style of the ads or how many viewers they attract, the one measure of effectiveness is at the polls.  That’s an area where Fiorina still lags behind.

(By the way, if you look closely, I’m pretty sure the shots of San Francisco include Alamo Square – more notably known as “Full House Hill” for its inclusion in the opening credits of the legendary and classic sitcom.)