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Jon Henke
Posted by: Jon Henke on Monday, January 01, 2007

January 1st, 2007 seems like a good day to announce a significant change in my life: I have accepted a position as the New Media Director for the Republican Communications Office in the Senate. Starting on January 3rd, I'll be working for the Republican Leader (Senator McConnell) coordinating New Media engagement for the Senate Republicans.

I'm very excited about this position for a variety of reasons; because of the opportunity it gives me, because of the importance of an effective opposition, and because of the positive signal it sends that Republicans are taking New Media engagement seriously.

That's important, because the Republicans are getting into the game a bit late. Echoing a point I've made before about blogs and campaigns, Craig Shirley points out the importance of the new media...
"The Internet, e-mail, blogs, and websites are to organizational politics what the telephone was starting in the 1940s or what direct mail was starting in the 1960s," said Craig Shirley, an author and political consultant who worked on Reagan's presidential campaigns.
He's right about the emergence of a new political battlefield, but the New Media is much more than simply a means of voter communication. Hopefully, engagement from politicians and interest groups will serve to improve the blogosphere, by giving us better access to more information, more quickly and with more context. I've been fascinated by the emergence of the New Media, happy to have been a participant in it, and thrilled to be able to develop it further.

My family will be moving to the Washington, DC area just as soon as we get our house sold here in Midlothian, Virginia and find a place to live in or near DC. (tips are welcomed!)

In the meantime, I hope that readers, bloggers and friends — Right and Left — will be in contact with me. I'll cut back on my day-to-day blogging, but I'll remain available and in touch insofar as possible. Indeed, that will be a central part of my new role. My email address will change in a month or so, I'm sure, but I'll make the new address available at QandO.

Naturally, Dale and McQ will continue to blog here, unconstrained. I'd hope this goes without saying, but in case it needs to be said anyway: they do not speak for me, I do not speak for them, and my role will not — cannot — impose any obligations upon them. I have not asked them to alter their blogging, and will not do so in the future. Nor would they do so, if asked.

As I have written before, "I'm never more interested in, and excited about, the Republican Party than when they are the opposition Party." This is that time.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Congratulations Jon!
Written By: Kilo
Congratulations, Jon. Happy New Year!
Written By: Vivian J. Paige
congrats, now you are a cog in the wheel of the giant evil rethuglican machine!
Lucky Devil.
Written By: kyle N
Written By: Xrlq
Congratulations! We’ll miss your contributions to Q and O.
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
"Republicans are taking New Media engagement seriously."

Perhaps you can remind them that Marshall McLuhan was not entirely correct when he said "The medium is the message"; they need an actual message, and they need to live by it.

"find a place to live in or near DC. (tips are welcomed!)"

Bring lots of money. If you do not need to be in DC every day, or if you do not mind a long commute, consider living in W. Va. Property is cheaper, and there are commuter trains(courtesy of Bobby Byrd) or car/van pools. The scenery is also better. Much less urban and crowded(so far). Take a look at state & local income and property taxes before you make a decision. Avoid Maryland(my personal opinion).

Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Cool, congrats. You obviously made a good impression with the right people during the campaign.
Written By: Mithras
Congrats, that’s a nice gig! Good luck to you!

Oh, and it’s also just as awesome that you get to go to DC and leave Midlothian. That’d be enough for me. :)
Written By: phriendlyjaime
That’s important, because the Republicans are getting into the game a bit late.
Perhaps. But, there is an advantage to this, too; one can easily see all the errors that the first ones in the water made, and, thereby, what to avoid.
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Congratulations Jon! What a way to start the New Year!
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Congratulations! Sorry you have to move to NoVa. I’m from there.
Written By: James Atticus Bowden
Congratulation Jon. I’m sure you’ll do a great job for them. I only wish you were going to be working on my side of the fence.

Nonetheless, best of luck and happy new year to you and yours.
Written By: Libby Spencer
Congratulation Jon. I’m sure you’ll do a great job for them. I only wish you were going to be working on my side of the fence.

Nonetheless, best of luck and happy new year to you and yours.
Written By: Libby Spencer
Congrats. They need a level head like you.
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Congratulations, may you have as much success for the Senate GOP as the Allen campaign :)
Written By: Oliver Willis
Best of luck! They need you. Now remember to read my book (Middle America) and pass it around the office ;-)
Written By: Anthony F. Lewis
Better late than never. You tell them the direction to go, Jon. mmmmkay?
Written By: newc
Congratulations! With any luck they’ll occasionally listen to your opinions as well. I hope it all goes well.
Written By: Skorj
URL: http://
Congratulations, Jon! What a great way to start the new year.

As for finding a place to live, according to an article last week in the Washington Post, the house where Gerald and Betty Ford lived with their family from 1955 to 1974 is for sale. It’s in Alexandria and looks like a bargain at about $900,000.
Written By: Rick Sincere
Congratulations Jon, the Republican party is better for it’s association with you, but I can’t say the reverse is true. I do hope that it helps put food on your family.

Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Congrats and good luck!
Written By: Steven Taylor
How many kittens do you have to kill a year to keep the job?

p.s. I suggest finding a gated community to live in since you will need to be among your own kind.

Just kidding. Congrats.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Wow Jon, that’s absolutely fantastic!

I wish more Libertarian Party folks would take notice. If you play on the Republican team you can have great influnce, as you undoubtably will have.

Eric, CEO,
Written By: Eric Dondero
I hope it turns out to be everything you hope for Jon!

It was great to meet Jon Henke (in the flesh) this past week. I expect nothing but greatness out of you. =)
Written By: G-Dawg

First the Allen campaign, now the Senate Republicans. You must be a sucker for lost causes. Anyway, congrats!
Written By: Kevin Boyd

If you’re looking for property in the DC area, try Arlington county in Virginia. If you’re looking for more reasonable property values, try Fairfax or Loudoun counties, further out but also in Virginia. Loudoun also happens to be one of the fastest growing counties in the US.

Hope that helps,

Phil (a former VA resident)
Written By: RunJohnny5
URL: http://
Great news, Jon! And fully deserved.

Now you can suggest how Bush can label the Dems as an "incompetent opposition" — for not having any reasonable proposals.

With the "competent" Reps having some: making Bush tax cuts permanent,
fully implementing transparency/ internet web documentation for all US Fed. budget items, perhaps require all US money to other UN & aid organizations to have THEIR budgets on-line?, have part of the new Iraqi direction to require all Iraq budgetary decisions to be on-line (in Arabic; translated to Engish as part of US aid/ support).

Yes, Libs who favor vigorous Iraq-war pre-emptive defense should be trying to influence the Reps — and those who are against the Iraq war should be trying to get the Dems to be more reasonable about economic freedom, perhaps education vouchers.
Written By: Tom Grey
Congratulations, Jon. This is good stuff.
Written By: Patterico
Congratulations on the new job! Sorry you have to move to the WashDC area, though... But every silver lining has a cloud to it.

As mentioned above, Virginia is much more Republican -friendly than Maryland. There are three major commuting corridors: I-66 from the West, Dulles Toll Road from the Northwest and I-95 from the South. Of the three, I-66 is the easiest on the blood pressure.

I highly recommend looking into the Virginia Railway Express (VRE), the light rail solution in VA. It drops you off at Union Station downtown and it goes out far enough that houses are... well, not cheap, but cheaper.

Brace yourself for traffic, ’cuz we got lots of it.
Written By: Darkmage
URL: http://
Congratulations Jon!
The Republicans were smart to sign you up.
Maybe you can talk the Republicans into sprucing up their web pages (House Republicans, too!) and keep the information updated.
My Best to you.
Written By: Jim Hoft
Congrats! The Republicans can only be better off for having you, and they desperately need to use the New Media tools much more effectively.

As for their philosophies and messages, they have plenty and they’re good - it’s just that the party has perfected its betrayal of close to all of them. You’re right about them being much more effective in opposition than in leadership. Now if you could just get them some political courage. They won’t get another dime from me until they find it.

I hope you are able to enjoy D.C. We visited in November to see Rush at the Warner Theatre, and couldn’t get out of there fast enough. ;-)
Written By: Peg C.
URL: http://
If you’re looking to live anywhere near the beltway, look at townhouse communities where the th’s have an attached garage. Houses are just too darn expensive unless you have a HUGE downpayment (ie, $500K or more). I second living not too far from a VRE station, and most definitely stay away from MD; not only is it not Republican-friendly, the taxes are downright stupid and the gun laws are worse.
Written By: Lornkanaga
Awesome Jon! I’m glad you have found some employment that you can be passionate about.

Enjoy DC! Happy New Year!
Written By: Shinobi
Yeah, they offered this to me first, but I was so excited I let slip a few expletives and that was that.

Plus, did you know you aren’t allowed to drink Absinthe in the Senate chambers?

Written By: Jeff G
I hope you are able to enjoy D.C. We visited in November to see Rush at the Warner Theatre, and couldn’t get out of there fast enough. ;-)
Non-sequitor, but if I went to see the great canadian band and it turned out to be the corpulent talking sphincter, I wouldn’t be able to get out of there fast enough either.

Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://

Congratulations on your new post.

I’d respectfully disagree w/ RunJohnny5. Arlington and Fairfax are already pretty darn expensive (at least for detached houses). There aren’t that many bargains in either of these counties. The market’s slowed in the last six months (I blame Bush!), though, and the first to go down in price were townhouses, so you might find something affordable in those locales, in the way of townhouses.

It really depends, of course, on what your price range is. Alexandria (south of DC), is probably one of the most expensive options, Arlington-Fairfax less so, Loudoun less than that.

Think commuting routes:

Westward is I-66 (which needs two passengers to get on, if you ’re going into DC in the morning) and US Rte-50, which leads to Chantilly, Manassas, Centreville.

Southward is I-95 (which has two sets of lanes: HOV-3 and snail-paced), and US Rte-1, which leads to Woodbridge, Quantico.

Prices go up rapidly, the closer you live to DC. The same house inside the Beltway can cost $50K more than just outside the Beltway.

Rotsa ruck in house-hunting, and best wishes in the new job!
Written By: Lurking Observer
URL: http://
You are mentioned and quoted in today’s(Tues.) Washington Times, page A6, I think.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I am not sure why the Republicans keep hiring staff associated with losing campaigns. Sen. Corker has hired his legislative director from Dewine’s office and his chief-of-staff from Session’s office.

Dewine lost and so did Allen, and if Sessions doesn’t wisen up and quit fronting for the President, the Dems won’t have to put up too much of a fight to take him out in 2008.

Obviously, the Republicans, those still in Washington, didn’t quite get the message in November...the people want change and new people, not old staff who helped get their bosses into the 2006 fix in the first place.
Written By: Davy
URL: http://
Good luck Jon. You are one of the few posters that I read who are up to such a monumental task.

Don’t forget about all us "little people" once you get there!!

Written By: Mark Eichenlaub
Congratulations...lets hope you wack some sense into the Republicans. Their sudden grasp of new media is encouraging however.
Written By: Andrew Ian Dodge
Check out historical Fredericksburg for a place to live.
Written By: Neal Hawkins
URL: http://
"I am not sure why the Republicans keep hiring staff associated with losing campaigns."

Because there are so many of them to choose from, and the winners already have jobs.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Because there are so many of them to choose from, and the winners already have jobs. "

Well, not all the winners. The Republicans are setting themselves up if they think that more reliance on blogs and other technology is the answer to their problems, like you said.

It’s not just their message, it’s their actions. The GOP is whistling past the graveyard, and it better reorient itself, because ’06 was halftime, and the Democrats will play to win the whole thing in’08.
Written By: Davy
URL: http://
Congradulations, Jon, at least in the sense one person congradulates another who moves upward in power and influence.

I have to admit though, I hope you pick a serious fight with someone and get tossed within a year, for the sake of what I like about your commentary. What people don’t realize about politics is that the individual counts for so little, and the system so much, when it comes to dictating behavior. You’re in some way going to be held accountable for, or at least given grief about, every single absurd statement made by right-wing bomb throwers. It’s going to be a contortionist minefield to aggravate neither the maniacs with keyboards, nor any of their influential targets, to struggle to render no judgement about who’s wrong when someone obviously has to be...

Well, I wouldn’t have turned the job down either. So, good luck, and may some ability to tell up from down and s*it from sandwiches remain with you.

I want things to work out for you as much as any of the more generic congradulators on here, but, in my own self-centered way, I’m rooting for your integrity over your success.

Someday I’ll have to inquire: how the heck did you pull this off?
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Congratulations! Congratulations! Congratulations!
From all of us. We are proud of you.
Chris and Family
Written By: Christina Bankston Reid
URL: http://

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