For all those people who despise blogs, the Christian Fong experience proves once again that when the blogs start to chatter (especially mine), something is up. I know that I will always have my detractors, but I’m not in the business of making friends with the articles that I write. I think that should be very clear by now. I have always been about providing some much needed transparency in the political process here in Iowa.
I have read a few other blogs that seem to indicate that I’m on a jihad against certain candidates. That is simply not true. I call it like I see it. I ask simple questions, and actually spend a few seconds researching the stuff I write about. Look, I understand that campaigns don’t like Monday morning quarterback stories or when I expose something they are trying to keep secret. That is just the name of the game.
I find it humorous that some candidates and their advisors think that doing a Google search, and checking out someone’s donor history is somehow out of bounds. You would think that the people pushing particular candidates would have already done that level of research, but that is obviously not the case.
Be warned, what follows is yet another MMQB story by Iowa’s most beloved political blogger.
To say that I was shocked by Fong’s announcement yesterday would be an understatement. It’s not that I didn’t expect him to throw his hat into the ring, I figured that was going to happen when Todd Dorman wrote his Mark Sanfordish love story about the Cedar Rapids’ wunderkind. But would an unknown wunderkind announce his candidacy at 4:30 in the afternoon on the Tuesday before the 4th of July via Twitter? I know Twitter and Facebook is all the rage, but Fong’s announcement seemed rushed.
At 32, there is no doubt that Fong will have the ability to reach more young voters than Rod Roberts or Bob Vander Plaats will, but what he brings to the primary in youth, he lacks in credibility. How a candidate rolls out his campaign matters. For example, when Rants used Twitter and Facebook to announce he filed his paperwork, it confirmed what many people already expected. Rants was also scheduled to be on Iowa Press later in the day, meaning that he would be able to get in front of a camera and drive the news cycle.
Fong on the other hand, would have been well served by announcing his campaign with a more traditional announcement. Instead of a shout out via Twitter, he could have stood in a dilapidated area of Cedar Rapids surrounded by people like Ed Failor, Jr. and other local leaders which would have built some instant credibility for his campaign. Fong needed an event that showcased his youth, intelligence, and support from established Republican figures. Instead, he opted to send a message that limited him to only 140 characters.
I will admit that Fong has been on message in his interviews with various newspaper reporters.
Fong told the Des Moines Register, “There’s a great divide that’s emerged between what the experienced politicians think they can do and what every other Iowa family is having to do in their daily life to get through a tough recession.”
Fong clearly has the ability to drive a message, but candidates for Governor never get to only drive their own agenda. After the initial round of announcement columns, Fong will have to answer the same tired questions that Mike Glover poses to every candidate. He will also have to answer why he gave money to Act Blue, and two pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-union legislators.
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