Monday, March 23, 2009

About Rosanna Pulido's Troubled Campaign

Fasten your seat belts, this is gonna be a bumpy ride. The Illinois Republican Party (IL GOP), long known as an ineffectual, castrated organization, has not been supporting the conservative Republican candidate in the special election to fill the vacant congressional seat of the 5th District (formerly held by Rahm Emanuel). Some, including myself, have accused the IL GOP of betraying its own and of not caring about an open congressional seat. I maintain those concerns, but there are new concerns that have caused me - as of late this morning - to completely withdraw my support for the Pulido campaign. First, a brief history. On March 3, the primary elections (Republican, Democrat, Green) were held. Stroger-Democrat Mike Quigley won the Democrat primary; Pulido won the Republican primary; Mathew Reichel won the Green primary. As noted above, the IL GOP gave virtually zero support to Pulido's campaign. Today comes news that Rosanna Pulido has long been writing disturbing posts on Free Republic, a popular sight among conservatives for posting news links, updates, comments and chat. I myself am a "freeper," a person who posts now and then to Free Republic (FR). Let me defend FR briefly by saying that, like any large website that gets hundreds or thousands of comments, some items are posted that could be considered offensive. They are not representative of the vast majority of "freepers," any more than offensive remarks on a site such as, for example, are representative of either that newspaper or of their average reader. Pulido was posting under the pseudonym "chicagolady." She apparently felt comfortable posting anonymously. Her cover was blown, however, by a blog called "Rosanna Pulido is a Freeper." Many of the posts highlighted there are borderline racist. Although I agree on the basics of many of Pulido's positions, such as enforement of our existing immigration laws, I and most other conservatives have made great and sincere effort to make it clear that we oppose illegal immigration for a number of health, legal, criminal and national security reasons, with race not being a factor for us. We don't give a damn whether those illegals are from Mexico, Sweden, Nicaragua or England. Pulido's comments, however, give those of us who don't factor race or a particular nationality into the immigration argument an undeserved bad reputation. Although the author/s of "Rosanna Pulido is a Freeper" and I probably disagree on most things political, I applaud them for their moxy, and for exposing a side of Rosanna Pulido that I had not been aware of before today. What the blogger/s did is true citizen journalism. Other things, however, have come to the fore since late last week. Since the March 3 primary win, Pulido's campaign has come under the unfortunate "management" of one Tom Hoefling, an Alan Keyes sycophant and National Chairman of Keyes' America's Independent Party (AIP). All of the above is enough to make me withdraw support for the Pulido campaign, but there are other reasons as well. A laundry list of problems includes: 1) Bad campaign management; 2) Misuse and underuse the Internet and new media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.); 3) The same for good use of e-mail lists; 4) Reliance on pre-Internet campaign techniques; 5) No oversite of campaign management and too much reliance on that management; 6) Pushing aside and ignoring volunteers who are more knowledgable about the above; 7) Poor communications, too little coordination and guidance of volunteers; 8) Amateurish graphics on the campaign websites; 9) No support from the Illinois Republican Party (IL GOP); 10) More, too many to list here. Going down the list we go. 1) Bad campaign management; 2) Misuse and underuse the Internet and new media 3) The same for good use of e-mail lists; 4) Reliance on pre-Internet campaign techniques: Tom Hoefling was brought to "manage" the Pulido campaign shortly after the March 3 primary. With little fanfare, Hoeflingimmediately set about alienating talented volunteers. He allegedly ordered at least one volunteer to stop sending out emails that promoted the Pulido campaign. Before Hoefling, the Pulido campaign had one website, which is still today not kept up to date. (For example, the March 24 "candidates forum" at Sidetrack is not on the "Events" calendar.) The "content feed" on that website is a dead link and the "comments feed" shows zero comments (better to delete it than show that nobody has commented). Suddenly, a few days ago, a new website appeared, with no announcement. Although there is a clearly visible "donate" button on the original site, the new one seems primarily dedicated to that purpose. This is confusing and unnecessary. I advised them weeks ago to add PayPal to their donations options, and was given the bizarre "explanation" that PayPay is not practical for political donations. (Tell that to PayPal.) Oddly, to sign up for e-mail updates, the link takes you to yet a third website, where the "Main Campaign Site" and "Campaign News" links take you back to... you guessed it... the original website. Twitter presence has been consistently bad. At, there have only been 35 updates as of 4:39 p.m., March 23. Although the Twitter page existed weeks ago, the first entry was not made until March 17. That's inexusable in this day and age, and shows a 1990 attitude toward the Internet. Meanwhile, there is talk that campaign management is hot on the idea of a campaign "newspaper," a dead-tree production that would be an expensive, one-shot and ineffective method of "getting the word out" that might have been clever in 1960 but just doesn't cut it in the age of new media. It is all the more puzzling that the Pulido campaign has such a primitive approach to use - or misuse, if you will - of the Internet when you consider that campaign manager Tom Hoefling seems to have picked up on Twitter. His Twitter page,, first went up on January 21, 2009 with this: Hey Savvy. Don't mind me as I wander around in here trying to figure out how this thing works. :-) from web Since then, Hoefling has posted only 48 times (as of 4:56 p.m., March 23). His frequency of posting is low, however, and seems just as concerned with his hero Alan Keyes as he is with Rosanna Pulido. The word "Pulido" appearing in only four posts (or "tweets"). The word "Keyes," as in Alan Keyes, appears in 14 posts. Although he has links to a number of Pulido-related stories, he does not seem to understand that anybody searching Twitter or the Internet for "Rosanna Pulido" will not find those tweets/posts, because search engines cannot see what is not there. Trouble at Facebook, too, where the befuddled campaign again seems lost and disoriented. Search Facebook for "pulido" and you find four (4) separate accounts or pages. Again, confusion is the order of things. On one page, we find a ridiculous photo of Pulido dressed as Lady Liberty. On another, we find only two postings and badly done graphics. On another we see the Rosanna Pulido Facebook group, with only 17 posts and only one upcoming event posted (for March 28). The fourth page is "Rosanna Pulido Townhall Meetings." Only four posts there, and only one upcoming event listed. As with Twitter and the Web, it makes no sense to have multiple pages on Facebook. It's confusing to people seeking her out and it makes for unnecessary work to keep the pages up to date. Again, no web/Internet savvy. No organization. Confusion. Tom Hoefling is the National Chairman of America’s Independent Party (AIP). As such, he is automatically at odds with the Republican Party. Why Pulido chose an Alan Keyes sycophant from outside the Republican circle is a mystery. You may remember Keyes in his disastrous run for US Senator against Barack Obama in 2004. Then his weird campaign last year for president. Yes, I know, I've tried to forget him, too. Not Tom Hoefling, though, who apparently feels that Keyes ran a brilliant campaign and seems equally determined to repeat those results for Pulido. Today, Hoefling is the happy National Chair of the AIP, the political party created by Keyes himself. 5) No oversite of campaign management, too much reliance on that management; 6) Pushing aside, ignoring knowledgable volunteers ; 7) Poor communications, too little coordination and guidance of volunteers; 8) Amateurish graphics on the campaign websites: Rosanna Pulido seems content to take orders from her campaign management. This is unfortunate, since it should be the other way around. They should give her sage advice, although they seem to have none to give. She should take advice given, digest it, then issue orders. That's what a leader does. She is not leading, she is being led, and led by political fringe dwellers stuck in the 1950's at that. Any savvy politician, general or charity head knows the golden rule for treating volunteers: You make them feel wanted, you treat them generously, you make them feel they are contributing. Hoefling and company have crushed creative, viable, modern ideas in favor of antiquated ones, and alienated volunteers in the process. A number of Pulido volunteers have been left scratching their heads, wondering why the primitives are running the show, why emailing has been suppressed, why Twitter is not being utilized, why there are multiple websites, why an Alan Keyes adherent is running a "Republican" candidate, and so on. The coordination of the volunteers is haphazard. Email blasts are virtually nonexistent. Communication with volunteers should be through a vibrant chat sites on Facebook, Twitter and their main campaign website. As noted above, volunteers seeking information might miss it because it is spread out among multiple pages. 9) No support from the Illinois Republican Party (IL GOP); Without support from the GOP, any slim chance Pulido might have had of winning the general election on April 7 is greatly diminished, even after winning the primary on March 3. Worse, however, is the fact that so many in the IL GOP are working against her. Pulido, it must be said, is a courageous woman with strong convictions, whether you agree with her stand on the issues or not. Courage and conviction seems to be something that the Illinois Republican Party shys away from. After all, one naturally tends to fear the unknown. 10) More, too many to list here. Enough for today. More later. I've found Rosanna Pulido to be a pleasant woman in my two encounters with her, first at the February Chicago Tea Party and then on the March 3rd election night. However, she tends to be unresponsive to suggestions, indecisive, completely ignorant of the new media that she should have become familiar with years ago, and apparently under the thumb of Alan Keyes' American's Independent Party. Tie all that together with the disturbing revelations about her bizarre posts on Free Republic and the publicity it is getting, and it doesn't matter that Mike Quigley is just another pay-to-play, Stroger-endorsing Democrat Machine suckup. If Pulido had a competent campaign team, she might have a razor thin chance of countering the mountain of bad publicity they will be getting over the next two weeks. That's not so, however. PS - Please pardon any spelling errors; I was in a hurry to get this up in time for your early evening reading enjoyment. RELATED: Terse Letter to Rosanna Pulido from 32nd Ward Alderman Rosanna Pulido, Underdog Under the Bus UPDATED: Stopping Quigley in IL 5th Cong District??? GOP Rolls Over, Plays Dead in 5th Cong Dist Chicago News Bench RSS Feed Cool Stuff...