Sunday, February 20, 2005

Krempasky Schools The Left On GOPUSA (part 2)

(Note to new readers and welcome - You might want to skip ahead first and read Part 1 of this interview compiled from a series of e-mails I exchanged with Mike Krempasky, the blogger behind the right-leaning Red, the now defunct anti-Dean, and, of course,

(Note to Mike Krempasky - You left this at the end of this e-mail: "P.S. I reserve the right to correct any typos if you decide to publish this." Sorry, hope you don't mind but I just decided to post the letters with slight edits instead, Mike. Shitty excuse, but I'm really pressed for time. There really weren't many typos in your e-mails, anyway...way less than there were in mine anyway...and hell i might have asked most of the questions but you did most of the schoolin' peace)

Mon, 14 Feb 2005 00:01:52-0500

Dear Ron,

No need for apologizing for being long-winded, let me see if I can get through these...

"it's too bad that you don't use the power you've achieved to speak out more strongly"

--Probably true - although I'll admit when it comes to full-bore writing, I'm woefully insecure when writing about certain things. Homosexuality, politics, and a Christian response informed by both would certainly be one of them.

"basically my friend got Bruce to send a note to his file to promote it" okay...what exactly does the "file" pertain to...some kind of list that went out to donors or to conservatives in general?...all i knew before i wrote you is that bruce sent a letter to rush limbaugh website (link to letter) promoting it (and was your friend and cohort in i guessing that's part of the this the millions for america file then...with the list of all the conservative media entities etc.?

--Ok, for a quick primer on direct marketing (especially in politics). From the perspective of a marketer, the single most valuable asset is a list. The larger, the more recent (in terms of response), the more detailed (what someone likes, or doesn't), all these increase the value (read: effectiveness) of the list.

In the snail mail world, it's an easy proposition, and one with a 50 year history. Say you're starting an organization devoted to protecting the Ohio River - where do you start? You rent a list of people - say, donors from the Sierra Club, people who bought the Audobon calendar, etc. You'll lose money the first time you rent it - because you're introducing yourself to people who've never heard of you. But in the long run, those people who DO respond (let's say 2 percent) will give to you again and again and again, paying not only for the initial investment but to fund your organization.

Now - if you're talking about a movement in general you can build a really serious list - and if you're in the business of direct mail, then you can have real change. Let's say I have client X who likes gun control (or lack therof) issues, client Y cares about regulations, and client Z cares about tax policy. Over time, you develop data about that list and can target your messages or appeals. As you know, not only is the "unsubscribe" from a snail mail list unweildy - it's almost a nonfactor as people don't even think they can.

Now - fast forward to email. Same method applies - and it's one I'm familiar with. Say you start 5 websites, all organized around different issues or candidates, but loosely in the same movement. At each site, you offer people the chance to sign up for updates, subscriptions, etc. Over time, you end up with a really large "conservative" or "liberal" list with many subsets that you can use to either commercialize or just drive activism.

In the case of the Dean site...

Basically, my buddy who worked for Bruce asked if he could send an email to the big email file introducing the site and the petition, etc., and he graciously let us.

I don't think what direct marketers do is wrong at all - and I think you'll agree if you take a second to think about it from the perspective of a consumer.

1) I get an email about something I care about - and it gives me a chance to take some brief action to make a difference - writing a note to my Congressman, etc. Now, I didn't know about that awful bill in Congress before today - do I want more of this kind of information? Ok, I'll opt-in to this list.

2) Next week, I hear about a great young candidate running for office in my state, but not someplace where I can go stuff envelopes - so I click and give $25. This is really useful, I'm getting information I can use. Or, that I can ignore.

3) Now - let me say, you HAVE to do this above board - namely make it clear that someone is signing up for more information, and make it clear (and follow through!) how they can remove themselves.

Basically, this is the way marketing has worked in the commercial world as well as the political one for decades - and both our sides have made great use of it to push for our ideals.

I highly disagree with you about bloggers and politics - I think it's a great thing to have people actively involved and publicly adding to the fray of politics, but that's probably a longer discussion.

As far as GOPUSA - I'll defend them on principle, mostly because I believe in the value of ideological reporting. Everyone has their own views - and I'd rather they come right out and share it instead of insulting our intelligence by pretending they have none.

In the case of GOPUSA and Talon News - I'm not at all angered or threatened by the idea of people trying to start what is essentially the news version of a garage band - starting with no money or credibility and putting forth an effort to compete. They can sink or swim based on what people want.

As far as rewriting materials or information - while that might *seem* a little suspect, consider this - some people WANT their news slanted, and if some folks out in Nowhere, USA really want to know exactly what the WH said and don't really care what Helen Thomas said - is that any worse than the same person really only interested in the Democratic Radio address every week?

"Strictly speaking...I'm not 100 % convinced that the dean website you set up isn't a part of the eberle plan...because i can't see why else he would push it..."

--as I mentioned, it was a favor that he did - knowing we'd do good things with it (ie, smacking dear Howard for a few months)

"and you did have a place for people to register on the site....did you recieve any monies for being on that file...or did you send any lists of --people to mfa or the gop or anywhere else?"

--Yes, people could register, sign a petition, even contribute to the costs of the site. If Dean hadn't melted down it might have actually worked. In the end, it flopped along with Howard. No, we didn't give that list to anyone. Not to say that had it been successful we wouldn't have made it available to causes or groups we wanted to help, but when people signed up that was made clear. And in the end, it was a moot point.

"also...why was your dean website set up as a .biz instead of a .com or even a .org? I don't know too much about that...but doesn't .biz indicate business? what business was the website supposed to be? far as i could tell so far the site only lasted two months...did it run longer...and when did you wipe it away from the internet and why? that site would probably come in handy right now wouldn't it...chuckle...i like dean but i'm skeptical about all politicans so we'll see)"

--We chose because it was the only domain extension left that could parody the offical Dean site. The original goal was to build a file of dedicated anti-Dean folks (inside and out of the Democratic party) to use in case he won the nomination. Unfortunately for me, he took a crap in Iowa.

The site only lasted for two months because Dean flamed out in Iowa. I think I registered the site in December of 03 - as far as it being wiped, the domain expired about two months ago. Would it have been nice to keep? Maybe - but not that domain, it was too tied to the Dean campaign - but I've had a few invitations to start a new Howard Dean site more suited to his Chairmanship.

" wrote bruce "sold" the millions for america website to bobby...that's different from what I've learned....where did you learn this...and for how much..."

--I had heard the term "sold" - I don't remember where, but it's also been described as a merger - but that's just a distinction of terms common in the business world. I'm not privvy to any details regarding the details of that sale, nor would I share them with you if I had it. Nothing personal, but if I knew that it would most likely be in confidence that I would have learned of it.

"and as far as bobby and bruce....are they cousins...what kind of distant relatives...and is don eberle (or eberly) who works for the admin related to either one of them or both? and how do you know their relationship...if you barely know them..."

--As far as I know, and what I've been told - they aren't even cousins. When the original sale/merger was announced, I asked the very same question at the time and was told so. I barely know Bruce, I trade emails with Bobby from time to time. We're loosely colleagues - in that we both work generally in online conservative politics/information tech. I've vaguely heard of a Don Eberle/Eberly but I can't place it nor comment on it.

"also...have you ever had any dealing with renew america?"

--Nope. When I was in college I worked to bring Alan Keyes to my campus to speak about politics and the pro-life issue, but that's about the last time I did anything remotely connected to Keyes.

"and - off topic - how about Ricky Vandal...I haven't checked your sites to see if you've linked to him...but I'm sure he's asked...because he's been everywhere else and pretty much everywhere else linked to either his i love jenna bush or john kerry new soldier blogs....or are you just that much ethical than the other guys that you looked into him and saw that he was a fruitcake."

--I can't say I'm really that familiar with him. I think I saw some lefties linking to him and going hysterical - I just thought his site stunk, wasn't very funny nor informative. (I'm a tremendous fan of mocking sarcasm, as long as it's smartly done) So no, I don't think I've ever linked to anything he's ever written - but in this world of pseudonyms...who knows? ;)


(YEP...there's a part 3 still to come...I'm working on a few other it will be a few days before I post more of it...I just thought it was important to get out more information about the Bruce Eberle and Bobby Eberle "are they related" side story...peace)

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