When I told a friend I had been selected as a Peach Pundit commentator, she asked what first prize was. She’s not interested in politics and the idea of having to write about it on a regular basis seemed like a punishment. But I love campaign politics- from the yard signs to the hallowed halls- and have been involved in campaigns, one way or another, almost all my professional life.
My name is Mike Hassinger, and I’ve been a commenter here since the very early days of PeachPundit, under the clever pseudonym/Internet handle of “Mike Hassinger.” That was also my byline when I wrote for a now-defunct suburban edition of Creative Loafing, and as a reporter for the Marietta Daily Journal. A stint as a press secretary and a couple of marketing gigs in the corporate world later, I am a political consultant, a profession that, like a roofing license, covers everything. It means that I help candidates to the degree they will let me and pay me. A good consultant can set strategy, develop campaign messages, identify voters, conduct polls, do opposition research, handle direct mail, coordinate fundraising, direct canvassers, produce television commercials, court what’s left of the legacy media, prep clients, write speeches, place advertising and advance events. A great consultant has someone else do all that. I’ll leave it up to you to rank me on that scale.
Except for heading the School Council at my kids’ elementary school, I’ve never held elected office, and never run for one. I respect anyone willing to put his or her name on a ballot and subject themselves to months of public scrutiny, opinion and ridicule, and hope I’m never that brave. I’m an exceedingly rare breed of Republican –one who lives and votes in DeKalb County. (We used to meet in a phone booth, but then they got rid of phone booths. We’re looking for some catacombs.) Republicans in DeKalb have always been outnumbered and completely surrounded, with no hope for the future. Kind of Democrats in the rest of Georgia. So I’ll be offering conservative commentary from the one of the last bastions of Democrat strength in Georgia. At least, until those bastions find my catacomb.
In spite of the snarky headline, I’d like to thank Erick and the mysterious Clayton for founding this site and keeping it going, and for Charlie for asking me to be a part of the conversation here. I’ll try to do y’all proud and keep it interesting.