why we fight.

political campaigns start with one man or one woman. but that person makes a connection, and that person makes a connection, and on election day we go to the polls and we all count the connections. it is a great way to decide who is going to run things primarily because the alternative usually results in bloodshed.

i have an unusual perspective in the process. i am currently a beginning and an end point. i am the starting point in my campaign, and i am an end point in another race.

the key to being effective in politics is to understand your value to the connectors in between you and the starting point. sometimes those connectors need money. sometimes the connectors need you to sit at a table and hand out name tags. sometimes they need you to make phone calls. but if you have half a lick a sense, an instinct for timing, and are fearless, you can meaningfully participate in a political campaign. to me, that is the miracle of the American political process.

which brings me to the message i have for both my campaign as well as the campaign of a certain senator:
this is not about winning. other people in the system can trade on that truth. but we are in the ring because our heart tells us that this is the best man in the race. we don’t get in the ring to back a winner. we stand in the ring because we are with the guy who our heart tells us SHOULD win.

Rudy made an interesting comment in the last debate. “I respect Senator McCain. I just think I am the better candidate.”
And you know what. He might be right. But the smart money knows the best candidate in the race is Thompson. He is awesome. The guy is really on Reagan’s and Clinton’s level.
But the question is not who is the better politician. The question you must ask your heart is, “who is the better man?” you must then choose to fight for what your heart knows is right.

i have listened to my heart and i will answer the question:

why do we fight?
because we are right.

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pep talks, mccain, vision, cynicism

today was national call in day for senator mccain’s presidential campaign. a certain ace fundraiser set up a call center downtown and a number of us attempted to raise money for the senator. i called probably one-hundred people and raised an ASTRONOMICAL amount of money…ok, maybe not astronomical…maybe i did so poorly that i decided to increase my primary contribution…so i guess in the end, the system really does work.

one of the people i called was a campaign consultant who i see from time to time at other events. somehow we got into a conversation about working in politics professionally versus doing it because you actually believe in someone or something. having worked in politics for both love and money, i can say that doing it out of love is way more fun. when my paycheck depended on it, i viewed the system much more cynically for some reason.

best pep talk of the day: “Get your @** back to work!”

best response to the question “what do you do for a living?”: “retired.” translation: “i am really, really rich.”

most interesting insider fact: the senator got on the conference call at the end of the day and reported that his wife sustained a shopping-related knee injury. yeah, i don’t get it either.

go mccain!

townhall interview

Here is an interview I did last month for Town Hall.

Hope everyone is having a great day!

republican women, shrimp eating contests, regret.

http://www.andymann2008.com

last week was loads of fun. i attended a number of republican women’s meetings throughout brazoria and galveston county, participated in a shrimp eating contest in texas city (judge yarbrough soundly defeated me AND shelly’s campaign manager), met a number of elected officials, and made a few new friends.

people often focus on the negative side of politics, but it is really loads of fun. occasionally people are rude or downright mean, and sometimes you endure a dirty trick or two, but the people you meet and the things you learn far outweigh any negative aspects of the business. also, many people choose to live lives that are so incredibly safe that they don’t learn what to truly fear until it is too late.

have a great week everyone. go melroy! go discovery!

http://www.andymann2008.com

why?

http://www.andymann2008.com

Why does one run for Congress? Why would I leave the safety of a cushy information technology job with a NASA contractor and turn to the rough and tumble world of political campaigning?

This is a big question…and like all big questions, the answers can often be found within ourselves as well as within the person who is being asked the question.

So take a moment to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “what would it take for me to risk it all?” What would it take to gamble your job, your healthcare benefits, your house and the opportunity to do something you love and pursue a challenge of this magnitude?

Would you risk everything for your kids? Would you stand up to someone whose policies threaten your children? As I am sure you are aware, Ron Paul supports the idea of legalizing drugs. While I would have embraced an idea like that as a high school student, I am now an adult and a parent, and I appreciate law enforcement helping me keep drugs away from my kids.

Would you risk it all for your elderly and disabled loved-ones? Ron Paul is opposed to the very idea of Social Security and Medicare. He thinks programs like that are bad for freedom. But I think programs like Social Security and SSI actually promote freedom.

When my Mom retired, my brothers and I asked her to come live with us. But she wanted to stay in Port Arthur with her friends. That Social Security check meant the difference between her being able to stay independent in her final years or moving away from the neighborhood she lived in all of her life.

Would you risk it all to extend the boundaries for mankind through the vision of manned space flight? JSC isn’t a pork barrel project. We are doing something by which time itself is marked. We are going to Mars! When we watch them strap in Tracy, Eileen or Beamer, we know they are willing to put it all on the line for the dream. And almost all of us in Clear Lake and the Cape would trade seats with them in a heartbeat.

Or would you put it on the line and speak truth to power simply because something is just plain wrong. Dr. Paul’s voting record is a collection of really whacky votes. He doesn’t represent me. As a matter of fact, he constantly votes against the thing I love: Space, my friends in Iraq, my kids, the elderly, list is too long!

So look in the mirror and ask yourself “why?”…and when you think of the answer, think of me and say:

Yeah, me too.

http://www.andymann2008.com

gabriel project

lots of people ask me why i switched to the republican party.  it is weird, but it comes down to a single issue:  abortion.  it is not impossible to be a conservative democrat in texas, but it is doggone near impossible to run as a pro-life democrat.  that didn’t become apparent until i started asking my liberal friends to vote for me, and one by one they told me that they loved me, but there was no way they were going to vote for someone who doesn’t support choice.

today i talked on the phone to a volunteer for gabriel project.  i love their angle.  www.gabrielproject.com.  between them and literacy advance www.literacyadvance.org i think i have two organizations i would like to see benefit from my campaign.

full-time

it is weird leaving work to campaign full-time. i love my job. as a matter of fact through all of the challenges of the last few years (death of loved-ones, divorce, quality time spent in emergency rooms and neonatal intensive care units) the one constant has been my job and coworkers.

i love my company. they pay me way too much to do something i do at home as a hobby.
i love my customers. it happens all of the time. you walk into a room because someone is complaining about the wireless network, and you see the blue prints for the new lunar lander, or you see a bunch of international partners and boeing guys talking about station.
i love my coworkers. for those of you who have lost parents or loved-ones, you might notice how something you miss about that parent or loved-one is suddenly noticeable in a coworker. i can’t help but feel that parent-like respect and love for some of my older coworkers and managers. as for my friends…i will miss them the most.

but it is time to get to work.

: )

0pen source politics

The web team is beta testing our first “open source” political product.  The term has been bantered around a bit…there is a wikipedia entry on it I believe, but until now, I don’t think anyone has really defined a real model for providing an “open source” for the political process.

When people talk about the Internet and innovation, it usually starts with loads of hype.  For example, the Dems taking questions from YouTube.  Then everyone realizes that this doesn’t really add value, and the public gets disillusioned with the technology.

The funny thing is, as soon as everyone writes off a hyped application of the Internet, the lightbulb comes on for some smart cookie.  And that is when innovation occurs.

Our beta product is simple.  It automates my petition to get on the ballot.  It also allows a voter in Galveston County to get registered to vote if they aren’t already.

The source code for this will be available for first time candidates.  Check it out on the website http://www.andymann2008.com

ron paul’s base: more anecdotal evidence that he will not be re-elected

wow!  more evidence dr. no’s base in congressional district 14 is eroding.

it is strange, but every republican activitist i talk to…EVERYONE says EXACTLY the same thing:  “I love the message, but the voting record doesn’t reflect our values.”  Then, within two or three sentences, “RINO” and “time for a change” are spoken.

it is spooky, because you don’t usually see this sort of consistency of message without the assistance of expert political craftsmanship.  none of my opponents or i have the money to lend resonance to this message which can only mean one thing:  he might be selling cookbooks full time come march.

www.andymann2008.com

   

the new political horse race: a modest proposal

Is it just me, or is money the only way to judge the health of a political campaign these days?  Of all the ways to measure an endeavor, is this really the best we can do?

Just for a moment, imagine arriving at a car wreck, jumping out to offer assistance, and suddenly being stopped by a member of the press and asked, “how much money do you have on hand?  Really?  Did your momma give it to you?”  If you are like me, you might think “Who the heck cares!  Something needs to be done here!”

And let’s take a look at what you are actually measuring.  Have you ever given money to a political campaign?  For the vast majority, the answer is no.  I would love to send John McCain a check for $4,600.00, but I have to hit Wal-Mart for back to school school shopping, and oh yeah, my mortgage is due.  So who does give?  I imagine there are three groups:  People with a financial stake in the outcome of the election (unions, trial lawyers, big business, insurance companies, etc), rich people who truly care about certain issues, and an occasional middle class person who is just mad enough to send in a check.  While I applaud their participation, thank the good Lord it isn’t just these groups who show up on election day.  

So, if we toss the money measurement (or as we say in the information technology world, “metric”) , what do we replace it with?  Here is an new idea:  How about measuring the number of people who actually commit their vote to a candidate?  This might reduce the early influence of special interests.  Not to mention the fact that it might force politicians to stop begging rich people for money long enough to get out there and shake some hands and kiss some babies.

But is this practical, or even possible?  I believe it is.  Let’s reflect upon a situation that we can all understand.  And, incidentally, a situation that is actually measured in dollars:  your checking account.

Lots of people do banking online.  If Bank of America can keep track of you and all of their other customers’ balances,  why can’t a candidate keep track of how many times he or she asks, “Can I have your vote on election day?”  And received a “yes” to that most sacred question?

I imagine skeptics reading this right now, shaking their heads.  “It will never work.  There are too many unknowns,” they are saying to themselves or anyone within earshot.  And that is ok.  There is at least one of those people in every meeting where I suggest a new application or new technology.  My favorite response like that came one day back in 1994 when I boldly proposed to a mid-sized organization that they connect their network to this network called “the Internet.”  The response? 

“Why would anyone want to do that?”