I'm sitting here live just off the House floor where GOP members are continuing their protests against the Democrat majority for refusing an up or down vote on producing more American energy, especially offshore. This seems more relevant, now that McCain and Obama have finished their tiff over inflating tires. Today, around a dozen members here today, including the Minority Whip, Roy Blunt. They sent around an open letter last week that called upon Pelosi and her followers to return:
"We think it is unconscionable that Congress has gone on vacation before we have addressed the high gas prices that are crippling our economy and hurting millions of families. We are asking that you reconvene the House from your five-week vacation and schedule a vote on legislation to increase American energy production. Let us be clear, we are not asking for a guaranteed outcome, just the chance to vote."
Great language, but it's not getting any local media coverage. Of course, CNN and MSNBC would rather cover live events from small towns for Obama. And Fox News is just going to be Fox News.
If we're ever going to start successfully building a GOP farm team, we have to start feeding stuff to local papers, radio talk shows, and TV stations. The fact is that the party leadership focuses too much about getting the right amount of coverage in the New York Times or on CNN's Situation Room. But the fact is that local media outlets are always clamoring for stories and are willing to eat anything they're fed. Plus, we can be more creative with local media, where we have to be careful with what we put out to national outlets.
Example ... In the 2004 Senate race in Alaska between Tony Knowles (D) and Lisa Murkowski (R), one of the best moves of the campaign came when Tony Knowles started claiming in the spring of that year that he could convince other Dems in the Senate to drill in ANWR. Murkowski replied back by publishing an open letter to Tony Knowles, inviting him to take up a desk in her Senate office and start working Democrat senators that summer before the election. It made Knowles look like a fool. Sure it didn't get press coverage in the Washington Post or MSNBC. But it was front-page, leading story stuff for the Anchroage Daily News and KTUU-NBC.
Our earned media failure isn't a failure on the national level; it's a failure on the local and state level. Too many members of Congress that are on our side have an adversarial relationship with local media. Let's make our gains in new media while also making sure that any national conservative movement, that identifies local issues and leaders, has relationships with local old media outlets as well.
Michael McCaul of the Texas 10th district is speaking now ... I'm about to step onto the floor to watch.