In 1999, Sean Hackbarth began a Conservative political blog, The American Mind (see link below). Or I should say, weblog, a term Sean prefers. Since then, he has engaged in a wide range of political and online campaigns and projects. In 2008, he worked for the Fred Thompson presidential campaign, directing their online activities. Later that year, he became the Online Communications Adviser to the Senate Republican Conference. Currently, in addition to his own weblog, Sean Hackbarth is a Senior Campaign Manager for CRAFT Media/Digital. AOL′s Politics Daily has him listed as one of the ′Top 25 Conservatives on Twitter′. He is obviously someone very experienced and knowledgeable on the current state of political campaigns and the use of social networks and ′The New Media′ for such. In this exclusive interview with RightPundits, let us learn how to defeat Barack Obama and the Democrats in 2012!
Andrew Zarowny: You contacted me concerning the Obama administration providing aid to Brazil’s oil industry. Why is this issue important for the American public?
Sean Hackbarth: It’s odd that while the Obama administration has put up blocks to domestic oil drilling they’re encouraging Brazil to expand drilling. The cost of that approach is unemployed people willing to work in the energy industry and not having lower energy prices that would result from increased domestic production.
Andrew Zarowny: As someone experienced in Conservative politics and the ‘New Media’, what advice would you give to those considering a run for office on the state or even federal level in 2012?
Sean Hackbarth: First, really figure out why you want to run for office. What issues and ideas are so important to you that you’re willing to sacrifice time with your family and friends in order to fight for them? Then determine if running for office is the best way to advance them.
On the technology side, set up a basic campaign website that has a weblog for publishing content along with the ability to collect email addresses and donations. At every opportunity, both online and offline, get email addresses of supporters. Building an email list early will help with fundraising, communications, and campaign organizing later.
Andrew Zarowny: What issues should the early candidate focus on right now preparing for a primary run? What issues do you believe will be crucial for 2012?
Sean Hackbarth: The big issues Republicans can win on are Obamacare, government spending, and the national debt. Democrats have tried selling the first two to the American public and failed. Americans don’t think health care costs are going down, and they don’t think the stimulus spending helped the economy. They either see themselves or their neighbors unemployed. What the growing national debt has done is make Americans more pessimistic about the future. Republicans need to show voters they understand what the problem is–too much spending–and offer realistic solutions to get the economy back on track so it can create jobs.
Andrew Zarowny: Being from Wisconsin, what is your opinion of the battle Gov. Walker and GOP legislators are waging over budget and union rules? What would be your advice to them?
Sean Hackbarth: Just about anyone outside of Wisconsin thinks this battle was about reducing the power of unions. That’s not the case. Wisconsin faces a fiscal crisis that has been years in the making. There is a $3.3 billion deficit Gov. Walker must deal with. He’ll do this by cutting state aid that will go to local governments and school districts. But Walker also wants to improve the business climate of the state to create jobs. If not stopped by law local governments would be tempted to make up the loss of state aid by raising property taxes. Walker intends to stop local governments from raising property taxes and forcing them to find savings in their budgets. Reducing the scope of collective bargaining for public employees is a tool local governments and school boards will need to deal because of reductions in state aid.
My advice for Gov. Walker and the GOP is to continue explaining what the fiscal situation is, why they’re taking this approach, and what the benefits of their policies will be. If the state budget improves, the economy grows, and jobs are created they will be rewarded by the voters.
Andrew Zarowny: How much has Conservative media changed between 2008 and 2010? What changes do you see for 2012?
Sean Hackbarth: On a larger scale we see the increased importance of Fox News. What’s interesting is the rise of personality-driven media. With television, radio, books, and the internet Glen Beck is becoming a media empire. We see that to a lesser extent with Andrew Breitbart and his collection of “Big” weblogs. If Sarah Palin decides not to run for President in 2012 I could see her become a multimedia star–an Oprah of the Right.
What conservative institutions need to do is develop and fund promising content producers. Most conservatives writing a weblog are doing it as a hobby because they can’t afford to quit their day jobs. The Right needs to nurture and fund these writers, podcasters, and video producers so they can go full-time. At the same time conservative institutions need to give them the freedom to create interesting content that attracts and audience even if it isn’t always “on message.”
Andrew Zarowny: I want to thank Sean Hackbarth for taking the time to be interviewed. The advice he gives for potential candidates on using the Internet, especially emails and social networking sites in their campaigns. I completely agree with Sean on the need for ′angels′ on the Right to help fund web and video bloggers to get the Conservative message out. On Thursday′s TV show, Glenn Beck mentioned how Media Matters alone has some 86 full-time bloggers, paid for by major contributors like George Soros. If we are to effectively challenge the Liberal-Progressive agenda and candidates in 2012, then we need to not only match them, but exceed them in the quantity and quality of content. This is a battle of ideals and the Internet is the new high-ground.