Saturday, April 5, 2008

"I would rather see our world communications efforts being run by people like James Carville and Karl Rove"

For a while now I have believed that the best model for citizen self-mobilization and strategic communications is political activism rather than advertising/marketing. (I'm really tired of hearing about how we need to "re-brand" America.) At the conference on public diplomacy at the Heritage Foundation columnist Tony Blankley spoke about this:

I would rather see our world communications efforts being run by people like James Carville and Karl Rove and whoever is the brains behind Obama's current campaign, than the current method by which we try to communicate...I'm struck by the fact that our law today, our political culture today, political correctness generally, don't even permit us to describe a possible system that might succeed in protecting us by communicating effectively not only around the world which is part of what public diplomacy is about, but back home. We had methods like this during World War 2 as you know Roosevelt and his people ran very effective film-making units that in fact did persuade and rally americans to the cause...but we've got to be honest enough with ourselves to recognize the kind of danger that we're facing and figure out how we marshal the kind of resources that we have rather than to feel so constrained by current mentalities that all we can do in the best of intentions is shift one little category of our bureaucracy from point A to point B on the chart that's not going to solve the problem if we can't even talk about the problem...

I was wondering where is it that we are designing our world communications strategy? Where is the war room for America in the war we've had inflicted upon us by radical Islam? I don't think there is an effective war room the way there is an effective war room in a well-run presidential campaign and there needs to be and it needs to be able to have the resources to be able to act. I agree completely that you need both a strategic capacity and a decentralized action and that's what a good presidential campaign's about. You've got a strategic plan but you've got plenty of assets out there moving to the sound of the debate you don't have to get approval back at HQ if you are running a good presidential campaign, if you are running a bad presidential campaign you do need to get approval. So the combination of a strategic concept and strategic resources driving a communications effort with radical decentralization of the operation at the tactical level is the kind of communications we need to be doing around the world and in the United States.

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