Cardwell told the AJC on Monday that he will scale a 320-foot pole at Corey Tower in downtown Atlanta on New Year’s Day and remain there “until my message is heard.”
The former television journalist for WSB-TV said that he will stay up there on a platform for as long as it takes for people to “realize and discuss how much trouble we are in in our country.”
Those problems, he said, include a concentration of power among special interests who control too much of Washington.
So, Cardwell is going to sit, eat, sleep and chat from the top of a 2-and-a-half foot by 6-foot platform 320 feet up.
About a half dozen things come to mind on this, but none of them come anywhere close to appropriately describing this act of... I don't even have a descriptor. Awesomeness? Potentially dangerous lunacy? Shameless media stuntery? Populist bravery?
And now I've realized that I actually have a press release on this:
At 10:00 am EST, on January 1, 2008, United States Senate candidate Dale Cardwell will be raised on an outdoor platform to the top of the Corey Tower in downtown Atlanta, one of the highest landmarks in the Southeastern US.
There, on a 2 _ by 6 foot section of the metal base---320 feet above the city---Cardwell will live 24 hours a day until “the public realizes we’re all in trouble”.
I've got an email into the campaign. So far my only question is: Wait, what?
UPDATE: I just spoke to Cardwell. The beginning was him going over his talking points about PAC money and his 23 years as an investigative reporter at Channel 2. Basically he says the federal government has been stolen by big-money corporations that run the political process. And since every candidate pretty much takes PAC money (which he has promised not to do) you can't trust them.
Also, you can watch video and chat with him on the tower through www.dale08.com.
"Somebody has to rise above the din and the mis-information and say... we have to run the political action committees out of Washington." That's where the interview picks up:
Me: How is sitting 320 feet in the air gonna help that, though?
Cardwell: There's two reasons you have to take PAC money You have to create name recognition. Then you have to create an aura of trust based on running television commercials. ... I have to make myself and my message known to people who do not know who I am. ... There's two ways of doing it: You can sell your soul to the special interests and take their PAC money or you can find another way to get people's attention. I found another way to get people's attention.
Me: Are you worried that people are going to say that this is an act of lunacy? (He was big-time ready for this one.)
Cardwell: Actually the act of lunacy is a 16 percent approval rating for Congress. Lunacy is not being able to secure our border. Lunacy is not being able to balance our budget. Lunacy is not being able to fix healthcare. ... It's not lunacy it's determination. ... I'm going to create a level of trust between myself and the public and they're going to know that I'm telling them the Democrats have sold us out. The Republicans have sold us out. And you've got a Harry Truman independent Democrat at the top of this tower telling people that we've got to take action to take our government back.
Me: Who's idea was this?
Cardwell: It was my idea.
Me: How do you determine when the message has gotten across?
Cardwell: I think I'll know based on the interactive conversations I have with regular, every day Georgians. ... I want to gain people's attention, wake them up to the fact that we are burdening our grandchildren with our debt. ... Their current politicians won't tell them the truth about these issues because they depend on the special interest PAC money. ... I'm never going to take the money.
There you have it. I should have asked him how he's going to go to the bathroom up there. And "lunacy" was a bit strong on my part. Maybe.
I hope, for Mr. Cardwell's sake, that the voting public has more than the attention span it takes to say "Huh, will you look at that," and then go back to eating Cheetos and watching reality television.
But, then, that's the problem he's fighting, isn't it? A culture where only media saturation bought with dump trucks of money can be successful. Fight fire with... a different and less expensive kind of fire, I guess.
At any rate, it remains an excuse to whip out this little gem of awesomeness, appropriately titled "Flagpole Sitta" by Harvey Danger:
Lip Dub - Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger from amandalynferri and Vimeo.