Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Consulting money we can believe in

Here's an issue that comes up occasionally in the world of political consulting. If you've allied yourself with "liberal" political causes in the USA, what obligation, if any, is there on you to choose for whom you'll consult in other countries?

Leave aside the issue of whether you've got the necessary local political knowledge to be a good consultant outside the home country, an issue that comes up with all those Democratic consultants who head over to the UK to consult for Labour. The issue instead is knowing your client.

Which is why the apparently natural gravitation of American consulting firms towards Ireland's semi-permanent ruling party, Fianna Fail, is unfortunate. Bob Shrum was on that trail for a long-time when a rudimentary Internet search would have turned up lots of stuff about corruption and regressive economic policies. But maybe the Celtic Tiger and the apparent endorsement of the likes of Chris Dodd of Ireland's ruling class helped. Now however the Celtic Tiger is with O'Leary in the grave and Fianna Fail's role in putting it there is clear to everyone outside the true believers.

So what are Barack Obama's New Media people at Blue State Digital doing working with them on their new website and even participating in what sounds like a farce of an event where the audience thought there were at a new media seminar by Joe Rospars but which was actually a political event to launch the new FF website?

Now in the big picture, it's probably all moot. It's too late for a flashy website. But Ireland does have more worthy clients for such an effort. Maybe they can't afford Blue State's price (wonder how FF can?). The other potential clients might want to investigate who did Nicolas Sarkozy's website for his 2007 presidential run -- because in fact Sarko's web efforts were an important influence on other campaigns.

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