Friday, June 03, 2005

Hoeffel Blogger Conference Call

Hmmm, looks like most of the people who were in on the conference call regarding Joe Hoeffel's upcoming blog / website are posting comments. I don't want to be left out of the parade so I'll add my comments as well.

Let me start by saying how I was invited. Recently I posted a blog entry on Mr. Hoeffel's proposed new venture. In it I referenced some comments he made at a public meeting several months (a year or more?) ago. Because I was relying on my memory of what he said, and my memory can be faulty, I emailed my posting to Mr. Hoeffel to 1) let him know it would be posted and 2) ask if I remembered his comments correctly. I told him if his memory differed I would find a newspaper quote or some other verifiable source to make my point. To me this seems a basic courtesy. If I had been working with published sources, as I did when writing about Rick Santorum or Seth Williams I would not have felt obligated, but when going by distant memory it seemed like the right thing to do. Mr. Hoeffel confirmed my view of his talk, thanked me for the advance notice, and said he would be passing my name along to the woman who was helping him set up his site. She then invited me to the conference call.

I'm not sure where they got the list of bloggers. A note went out saying several people had been invited but if we had other suggestions to pass them along. Since a list of those invited was not included I had no way of knowing if the people I would suggest were already on the list or not. So I didn't add anything.

The call itself was about 30 minutes long. There were 5 bloggers on the call. Ray and Dan from Young Philly Politics and I were about the only ones to speak up. From what I heard it sounds like the site will have a poll on what issues people are interested in and Mr. Hoeffel will write on the most popular issue and then people can respond. I wonder if that means that no one else can start a conversation. It might be nice if Mr. Hoeffel invites guest bloggers, perhaps rising politicians, especially from the farflung areas that might not get a lot of statewide press, to talk about things that are important to them and their constituents. Perhaps a guest blog from someone visiting the area (Barak Obama??!!!!) on their impressions of the state or issues. Ask Greg Vitalli (state rep -- Delaware County) to write about setting up his campaign finance site. Maybe Seth Williams can write something or some of the people who might run for mayor. Ellen Bard (former Rep state rep -- Montco) had an essay in the Inky about energy a while back, maybe she would write something for him on what she is doing. Mr Hoeffel said it wouldn't always be just people who agreed with him, so let's reach across the aisle every now and then.

I edit a newsletter for a professional society and every issue we have a "my life in the trenches" column. It might be nice to have one of those every month or so, from a lower level official somewhere -- someone who oversees the polls, or a committeeperson or a township commissioner or something. A friend in Abington tells me that John Carlin, although a Republican, is really involved with his area and an all around good guy.

Albert at dragonballyee is correct that Mr. Hoeffel did talk about wanting to post voting records, yet seemed taken aback when I told him what the options were on that. I had really hoped that since he mentioned it he would know more about it than I do. It's a little alarming that he didn't.

My general impression was that the enthusiasm is there, the will is there, the intentions are there, but he doesn't really have a good idea of what he is getting into. It reminds me of an old commercial set in a company. The boss, who seems to be well liked by the employees, is going to an important meeting but he has toilet paper stuck to his shoe. The employees work out an elaborate plan, with walkie talkies and in depth strategies, to remove it before his meeting.

So, my friends, our best hope for a statewide progressive standard bearer is getting ready to start this bold new venture and I am not sure he has a clue what he up against in terms of time and energy required. You know what that means. He has toilet paper on his shoe and we can either let him look foolish in public or we can help him out. I say we give him a lot of support for at least 3 months. Let's make him look as good as we possible can for that trial period while he learns the ropes and rumbles around the blogosphere figuring where the coffee machine and the bathrooms are. After that time, if he is still clueless, we can cut him loose. If he is going strong we can ease off a little and let him fly solo. It will be summertime and lot of college students will be away so he is really going to need those of us who are around permanently to keep things going until fall.

I am making a pledge to keep the toilet paper off Joe's shoe for at least 3 months. Will anyone join me?


Anonymous said...

Count me in!!

Maria said...

Three months can be an eternity in politics but I'm not set to attack it at the outset -- I'll even help. Just as long as he doesn't turn it into one big ad for Bob Casey, Jr. More comments HERE

2 political junkies

ACM said...

was quite impressed with his brief appearance at the NN conference -- not about Casey, but about reclaiming the values that Dems have always stood for, and getting back to working on the ground. I think his speech-making has been getting better; will be quite excited for his next run for office.