Tag Archives: Paul Hogarth

CD-08: Support the Unity Slate for Obama!!

(Another longtime Calitician announces. Hogarth is competing against Calitics publisher Brian Leubitz in Pelosi’s CD (they’re friends). A Blogger v Blogger election…clutch your pearls now while I flip a coin – promoted by Bob Brigham)

With 71 people running for 3 Obama delegate slots in San Francisco, I have teamed up with two other candidates to form the Unity Slate.  We are 3 Democratic individuals who represent the diversity of CD-08, the diversity of Barack Obama’s appeal, and are excited to bring San Francisco values to the Democratic National Convention.  We are Paul Hogarth, Clem Clarke and Myrna Melgar!

Clemetine Clarke was born in Mississippi, and has been a committed Democratic party activist for 29 years. She has been active in mentoring youth in the community and is especially passionate about getting young African Americans active in politics. Clem runs her own company, has a four year old son and lives in the Western Addition.

Many of you know me, Paul Hogarth, as the managing editor of Beyond Chron.  But I’m also a 30 year old tenant rights activist who grew up in Chicago — three doors down from Obama. I’ve been involved in SF politics for 10 years, and worked for LGBT causes, such as marriage equality and tenants rights. I currently work as an attorney at the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, and live in the Tenderloin.

Myrna Melgar is a Latina mother of two girls. She immigrated to the Mission District from El Salvador as a teenager, and has been a community and union organizer through most of her career, working on issues of affordable housing, workers’ rights and social and environmental justice. She currently works for the City administering programs for low income first time homebuyers. Myrna lives at the edge of the Castro/Mission.

Please come out on Sunday, April 13th at SEIU Local 1021 (350 Rhode Island) to support the Unity Slate.  Doors open at 2:00 p.m., and we hope you can be there to help us bring San Francisco values to the Convention!!

How to Ask a Tough Question

The question I asked Hillary Clinton at the Yearly Kos Convention has generated lots of attention.  I was moved by the number of people who approached me and said, “great question!” and now it’s starting to change the narrative of Hillary’s campaign in the mainstream media – as evidenced by this AP article.

But I’m not asking people to thank me. I just did what anyone else is capable of doing – holding politicians accountable by asking a very pointed question that drives the message home. My question was no accident. It was well-prepared, and I put a lot of thought into it. You can too if you take the following advice:

Before I begin, I want to emphasize that this is not about “catching” Hillary in more embarrassing situations. All politicians should be held accountable by asking tough questions, and Hillary supporters are free to follow my advice when you ask Barack Obama or John Edwards. If they can’t heat from us, they don’t deserve to be nominated. This advice is appropriate for all politicians if you ever get the chance to ask them a question.

(1) Do your homework: This may sound obvious, but having a well-prepared question written in advance allows you to think it through and be confident when you ask it. The opportunity to ask Hillary Clinton — or George Bush or Bill Clinton or Al Gore — doesn’t happen every day and you should never walk into the room without having memorized the question you are planning to ask. I had worked on my question for 2 days. Do your research. Think it through. Plan it carefully.

(2) Never ask an open-ended question: Politicians are trained to “stay on message.” That means they answer the question they want to give. It is infuriating to hear politicians get asked a question and then proceed on a long-winded stump speech with their standard sound-bites, but that’s because they have a particular message they want to get out. Questions that force them to answer “yes-or-no” require them to take a particular stand and make the news, when they would rather the news be a regurgitation of their three-point message.

(3) Avoid follow-up questions: Usually you need to ask follow-up questions to really get the politician on record – but chances are you will not have that opportunity. I certainly didn’t when I asked Hillary Clinton, but I was told that John Edwards allowed follow-up questions during his break-out session. If you can get away with it, do it – but always plan your question around the assumption that you won’t. Some Hillary supporters are mad at me that I asked a four-part question (which was “rude”), to which I say – grow up. If I could have broken up the question into four follow-ups, I would have.

(4) Ask an original question they don’t expect: Politicians and their consultants spend hours obsessing over the perfect sound-bite to answer tough questions they expect to receive. I could have asked Hillary about Iraq – and someone else should – but unless my question had been brilliant, she probably would have had a pre-arranged sound bite. Think through about an issue that has not been a part of the campaign, but don’t make it so esoteric that the media (or the audience) won’t understand what you’re talking about.

(5) Avoid sounding mean and shrill: Coming off as angry or hostile to the candidate is self-defeating. You will only please people who already don’t like the candidate, and it will alienate the others. Be polite and respectful. I started my question by thanking Hillary Clinton for her willingness to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” because I believe that we should give credit where credit is due (incidentally, it’s also why I clapped when Hillary said good things.) It also makes your question more effective because you don’t sound like a jerk.

(6) Find a good strategic place to sit: The most brilliant, well-thought out question in the world will be useless if you never get called on. When I walked into the Hillary session and saw the number of people, I doubted I would get the opportunity. Arrive early so you can get a good seat. If you can’t be in the first three rows directly in front of the podium, get a seat next to the aisle – which is what I did.

(7) Wear a bright shirt: While I certainly didn’t plan this part, I was wearing a bright red shirt when I went to her break-out session. Peter Daou (her Internet Director) called on me as “the man in the red shirt” when he had called on all the other questioners by their first name. I honestly believe that it’s the reason I was called on. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I’m serious. It works.

I’m not giving this advice because I seriously doubt the Clinton campaign will ever give me the chance to ask another question. I just believe that as bloggers, we have a right to have our voices heard and our questions answered. We may have some “access,” but we certainly don’t have the millions of dollars to go to an elite fundraiser where you can probe a candidate with follow-up questions. Even at most fundraisers, you don’t even get those chances. We’re also not media celebrities who can get an hour-long interview with the candidate.

Finally, if you get the chance to go to an event where the candidate will be taking questions, send me an e-mail at [email protected]. While I would much rather have John Edwards or Barack Obama win the nomination than Hillary Clinton, I have not chosen a candidate – although I’m leaning towards Edwards. I believe all candidates should earn our support.

Things I am Thinking About: Yearly Kos Edition

This needs to get out of my system before I can move on to other topics, like the still missing budget.  It’s going to be pretty linky, but hey I am a blogger not an op-ed columnist.

Topics covered below the jump: diversity, Paul Hogarth and Clinton, the media and local blogging.

  • Diversity.  kid oakland did an amazing job with limited resources to bring 17 bloggers, including our own Matt Ortega to the convention.  This column in the WaPo does a good job at getting at some issues that we are struggling with coming out of the convention.  See also Jen’s post on Open Left and Chris Bower’s insightful piece today.  Bottom line, we need more action to increase the diversity in the blogosphere, with specific steps for outreach than has happened in the past.

    Here is an excerpt from the WaPo article, featuring our very own Jenifer Ferandez Ancona

    Jenifer Fernandez Ancona, who is part Latina, attended a panel on Friday called “The Changing Dynamics of Diversity in Progressive Politics,” organized by Cheryl Contee, an African American woman. Ancona works for Vote Hope, a California-based activist group, and said one reason she came to Yearly Kos was to get an answer to this question: “Why is the blogosphere, which is supposed to be more democratic, reinforcing the same white male power structure that exists?”

    Everyone agrees it’s a problem, yet no one is sure how to address it. Historically, the progressive movement has included a myriad of special-interest and single-issue groups, and the challenge has always been to find common ground. The same is true on the Internet, but with an added twist. The Internet, after all, is not a “push” medium like television, where information flows out, but a “pull” medium, where people are drawn in.

  • Paul Hogarth’s question for Clinton.  Paul has a recommended diary at Daily Kos right now on the question he asked of Clinton during the breakout session.  He was the only one to get an aggressive question and it was a good one.  It has sparked a great deal of controversy over what Clinton was trying to do with her time at the convention.  Ari Melber has an excellent overview of the convention at the Nation.

    Yet Clinton strained to mold her meeting back into a controlled event. She was the only candidate to use her staff as a buffer, tapping her Internet director, Peter Daou, to pick questions and bringing three other senior aides onstage, though none of them spoke. She filibustered most of the time, taking more than eleven minutes to answer the first question alone–a simple query about fixing the unpopular No Child Left Behind Act. That softball came from an official with the National Education Association, who either didn’t know or didn’t care that this scarce time was carved out for bloggers and activists without insider access, not for interest-group sponsors.

    Then Clinton only took five more questions. Iraq never came up. Instead, the issues were the Military Commissions Act, domestic spying, gays in the military, mass transit and, in the most revealing exchange, how a second Clinton Administration might break with the centrist legacy of the first. Paul Hogarth, a 29-year-old California blogger for BeyondChron, asked if Hillary would repeal NAFTA, welfare reform, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) or the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Clinton strongly defended DOMA–saying only that the provision hindering federal benefits should be axed. She conceded that NAFTA did not achieve all its aims but offered only “labor and environmental standards” and more “ongoing monitoring” of the effect on working people. She depicted welfare reform as a net gain and then ducked the Telecommunications Act altogether, telling attendees she was no expert and “you’ll have to ask Al Gore” about it, since he oversaw the issue for the White House. Trying to pin one of her husband’s controversial policies on Al Gore–the antiwar, green, tech-savvy hero of the blogosphere–at a netroots convention is probably the single most tone-deaf thing Clinton has done this year, but few attendees appeared to dwell on it.

    Hogarth was not impressed, saying her answers deserved a D grade. “People are really nostalgic about the Clinton years based upon who is President now,” he said, yet “Bill Clinton got re-elected by completely betraying Democrats on everything they stand for.”

  • Journalists and bloggers.  Best headline of the day has to go to my uncle “Why Do We Suck? and Other Questions Political Journalists Asked Themselves at YearlyKos”.  The Chronicle article on Hillary aside, the media coverage of the convention was rather good.  I know of a number of people that had conversations with very knowledgeable and interested journalists.  While we were a curiosity and they discovered we were not rabid sheep last year, they were much more engaged in figuring out how and why we were effective this year.
  • Local blogging.  There were a number of great sessions on the unique struggles of state blogging.  It was an excellent opportunity to do a broader sharing of best practices that kid oakland has started with Blogs United.  Calitics is on the cutting edge in a number of regards, but we have a lot to learn from other folks.  We are behind in terms of regional diversity, engagement with politicians and frankly traffic.  There is a lot of work to be done, but I learned a lot at Yearly Kos and feel confident we will grow exponentially between now and the next convention.

Days of Change Approaching for SF Elections?

If you peruse the virtual pages of BeyondChron, you’ll see a couple of articles that dovetail quite nicely together.  The first is a story by Randy Shaw with the idea that either former Board President Matt Gonzalez or Sup. Chris Daly will run against Mayor Newsom.  Otherwise, why did Daly bother with scheduling a “Progressive convention” for June 1?

The second is an articlce by Paul Hogarth, which lays out the very sound basis for an argument that SF will be a very, very fertile grounds for ballot propositions in June 2008.  Mark Leno’s decision not to challenge Gavin Newsom (a decision that Chris Daly seems to have strongly disagreed with) and instead challenge Carole Migden will ensure strong turnout in the more progressive eastern half of the City while there will be no major elections in the Western half (or as I like to call the Sunset…the place that elected Ed Jew.)

So, two races might become more interesting. The Mayoral race might well…become a race, and SD-03 might not grate on the nerves of Carole Migden’s progressive supporters quite so much given the chance for some real structural reform via the ballot box.

SFYD: Politics and the Internet Panel Tonight

Hey, all you people in the Bay Area? Have you ever wanted to hear me blather on about politics and the internet? Well, tonight you have the chance to hear not just me, but also Frank Russo of the California Progress Report and Paul Hogarth of Beyond Chron. We’ll be chit-chatting about how we use politics as a way to promote progressive ideals.

The SFYD meeting is tonight, 7PM, at the State Building, 455 Golden Gate Avenue. And of course, this event is in the events section.

Discussion of California Primary

KALW 91.7FM, a local public radio station in San Francisco, is going to be having a discussion of whether the February primary is a good thing for California.  Courage Campaign founder Rick Jacobs will be arguing in support of Sen. Calderon’s bill while Paul Hogarth of Beyond Chron be speaking in opposition.  You can listen live at 10 AM on the web at the KALW site. I know both of them to be quite bright and well-informed on the topic, so it should be an interesting conversation.