While researching my list of federal candidates on social media sites, I came across a longshot campaign for Congress against Rep. Bob Brady in Philly. Brady heads the Philadelphia Democratic machine. At the big Democratic shindig/nominating party, he was right up on stage with Nancy Pelosi – the only non-statewide office holder or candidate I saw up there with her. The head of Pittsburgh’s Democratic Party wasn’t around, just Philly. I don’t think the dead girl/live boy rule even applies to this former union organizer.
But this 27-year-old girl not only has a great website, she has a message that could disconnect some of the younger voters from the entrenched Philly politicians. (That won’t win races, but it’s just interesting.) Here’s what I like:
- Focusing on where the incumbent leadership has failed: “Today, the First District has the distinction of being the second hungriest district in the nation. It has some of the worst schools, the highest crimes rates, the most strangling taxes and the greatest pension problems. For too many years, this district has been abused by those who have ravaged this birthplace of the American dream under the guise of brotherly love.”
- Specific example of broken promises/wasted resources that tangibly makes district life worse: “In an attempt to revitalize the city by bringing a green real estate project to the district (without grants or government aid), I came head to head with the inner politics that go on here every day behind the scenes. The Industrial Empowerment Zone, a nation-wide government program started by President Clinton, was meant to bring industry back to Philadelphia but we know industry is not coming back. Philadelphia has been given millions of dollars in federal funds to essentially blight neighborhoods causing homeowners and landlords to drastically lose property value. These properties are being purchased by well connected insiders at bargain-basement prices at the expense of the residents of the First District. Our project was rejected by the zoning board the day after Michael Nutter promised to make Philadelphia the greenest city in the nation in his inaugural address. Today, the land still sits vacant.”
- Confidence in style. Take a look at her website. She at least knows how to make you to stop and take a look.
- According to her site, she wants to use this opportunity to create a PR plan for free markets that others can use around the country. I like the attitude of experimentation here. It’s beyond an uphill battle, but sometimes those are the best opportunities to try radical ideas to see if anything sticks. It may not win this race, but maybe something useful will come out of it.
- I think her campaign video has a few issues, the first of which is a little too hard hitting for most voters who aren’t that comfortable taking a leap to something new in rough times. But, I do think it’s a great example for others to follow in support of candidates to specific constituencies (i.e. rallying the base). I love the ending – a real call to action to not let them get away with this anymore. It’s not enough to bitch, action has to be taken.
- Contrast her message with Bob Brady’s campaign site which is nothing but why you should give him money and how you should give him money. He’s not interested in telling you about himself or really giving a damn about what you want to hear.
I have no illusions about how this campaign will turn out in November. But sometimes losing can teach us lessons about how to approach other battles. What I like about her web presence isn’t so much a “sexy/MTV” vibe, but how real issues are addressed and not just talking points. Even when she does rely on talking points, she remembers to put in the request for you the viewer to help take back the country and make it a better place.
I can respect those who actually take a stand to try something new. It is the spirit of America, and I hope that Pia does find a few elements that stick, even in solid blue Philadelphia.