Friday, September 10, 2010

Free Advice for Politicians

Today, we are offering free advice to our favorite people: the politicians.

1. Here’s a big secret: some politicians are obsessed with themselves and their campaigns. Yes, we hate to break it to you, but it’s true. Some of them are REALLY obsessed with their coverage. They and/or their supporters will call and say that we are not being objective. Well, guess what – this is a BLOG. We are permitted to have opinions here! If you want objectivity, you can go to… well, we don’t know where you can go. But good luck looking for it.

Anyway, Politician A is running against Politician B. We put up three consecutive pieces from Politician B while A does not send us anything and does not do anything worth covering. So A gets mad because we are obviously favoring B and stops sending us things as “punishment.” Well, B gets two more posts while A sits there fuming that we are running nothing about A. Free advice for Politician A: you are screwing yourself. Get over it and get as busy as B is. Otherwise, B is going to outhustle you and may beat you.

2. Politicians put out too many press releases. Yes, it’s another shocker. Most of them are so inane that not even people sitting naked in solitary confinement will look at them. “Politician C speaks with constituents.” “Politician C calls for new jobs.” “Politician C plants road sign.” Or the worst of them all, “Politician C meets Politician D, E and wanna-be Politicians f and g.” We are not going to run these things. No one reads them!

Here’s something else that no one reads: end of session letters. We know you work hard on them. We know that all of Annapolis would burn to the ground unless you were there doing whatever it is that you do there. But NOBODY reads them. NOBODY cares. More people looked at the video of this guy than read any of these letters. But if you really want us to post them, fine. Just don’t put a hundred million links into them because we don’t want to stay up all night inserting them in the software.

3. We like videos, but please put a little effort into them. We have seen too many with a politician seated at a table with books in the background. Yes, we know you read, at least those of you who look at your campaign mailers before they go out. Free advice: if you cannot be in front of the camera without looking down at the script in front of you, you should probably not be on video at all.

4. For Heaven’s sake, NEVER refer to yourself in the third person. You’re just not that important! Most of you will be completely forgotten when you’re gone. That’s why so many current politicians work so hard to prevent themselves from becoming ex-politicians.

5. Politicians are quick to send us their positive mail, but are slow to send us their negative mail. We get most of the negs from angry voters who scan them and email them to us along with a few choice words. Some politicians have no problem sending a neg to 10,000 voters but don’t want it to show up on MPW because they want it to be “secret.” Logic like this explains a lot about how Annapolis and Rockville are run.

When we ask the politicians why they sent Positive Pieces A, B and C but “forgot” to send us Negative Piece D, their responses are lamer than a quadriplegic horse. “Oops, the mail firm didn’t send me a proof.” “Oops, I only have a sketch, not the actual mailer.” “Who me? I would never send negative mail. My mail is purely informational.” Baghdad Bob would be proud.

Look, just send us your negative mail directly, OK? Chances are we’ll get it anyway, but if you fess up and take ownership of it, we’ll respect you more in the morning.

6. We love phone calls from politicians. OK, most of them. OK, a few of them, at least the ones with good dirt!

Now we get lots of angry phone calls when we screw up. That is actually a good thing. If we have really screwed up, tell us what it is and we’ll fix it. But if we are right, you’re just going to have to live with it.

Here’s a phone call we don’t like. Politician D’s campaign is a disaster. We write that it’s a disaster. Supporters of Politician D call to complain. “Why are you saying our campaign is a disaster?” “Because you have no money, no website, you have done no doorknocking and everyone who deals with you says it’s a disaster.” Free advice: don’t call us. Call Politician D and tell him or her to fix the campaign.

Want more? Politician E is a long-time anonymous source. E reads a quote from another anonymous source on the blog that he dislikes so he calls to complain. “Why do you have to use anonymous sources?” E says off the record. E then concludes the call with an anonymous tip on a hated rival. “Don’t attribute this to me!” hisses E. Free advice for Politician E: if you don’t like anonymous sources, you don’t have to be one. Your enemies are more than happy to fill that role.

Here are two other phone calls we don’t like. We will paraphrase because we have received several variants of them.

a) We write something nice about Politician F. Politician G, who hates Politician F, calls to complain. “Why are you writing nice things about F?” G will say. “You know F is a [expletive deleted] who talks about me behind my back!” We understand that people don’t like it when we are mean, but why complain on the rare occasions when we are nice?

b) We write something nice about Politician G, but it’s not nice enough. So G calls and says, “Why didn’t you mention that bill I worked on? How about my last two endorsements? Why didn’t you link to my website? You linked to Politician F’s website, that dirty rat.”

The next politician who makes one of the above calls will be outed on this blog.