Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘charlie wilson

Impressions From SXSW Interactive 2012: Q&A With Mark McKinnon, Political Innovator…and The Most Interesting Man in the World!

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When I realized I had a way to reach out to and speak with Austin’s-own “political innovator” Mark McKinnon, a former Bush media strategist and longtime political maverick, at SXSW Interactive 2012 I seized the opportunity.

Mark has been a familiar part of the American political landscape for several decades, having worked for causes, companies, and candidates ranging from 2008 Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain, late former Texas Governor Ann Richards, Congressman Charlie Wilson, Lance Armstrong, Bono, and many others.

Most recently, McKinnon has served as Global Vice-Chairman of Hill & Knowlton Strategies, an international communications consultancy, and the President of Maverick Media. He is also co-founder of No Labels and serves on the Board of Advisors of Americans Elect, an organization whose stated goal is “to nominate a presidential ticket that answers directly to voters—not the political system.”

We spoke with Mark about a number of topics, not the least of which included his experiences working with Congressman Charlie Wilson, the role of social media in politics, and the opportunity Americans Elect has to alter the U.S. presidential election landscape.

Charlie Wilson’s Last War

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I was sitting here in Austin working away this afternoon, catching up on some email and trolling the news, when the headline hit my desk about former Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson’s death in Lufkin, Texas earlier today.

I was immediately saddened.

Charlie Wilson was a larger-than-life character, but he was also a great American and a great Texan who, through sheer doggedness and determination, helped bolster the mujahideen and overthrow the Soviet Union in the U.S./Soviet proxy war in Afghanistan in the mid-to-late 1980s.

You can read Wilson’s obituary in The New York Times here.

But what you really ought to do is read his book, Charlie Wilson’s War, which Wilson co-authored with writer George Crile.

I had an opportunity to see Wilson speak about his experience arming the mujahideen and helping them overthrow the Soviets at the Texas Book Festival here in Austin earlier in the decade when the book came out, and was simply stunned by the account I read.

Though the movie, made several years later, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, was quite entertaining, the details of Wilson’s adventures and efforts just can’t be done justice, even with that great cast.

You have to read the book to believe Wilson’s experiences as he worked to drive and manipulate the levers of Congress to help arm and provide the support necessary to help overthrow the Soviets, which paved the way to the later dissolution of the U.S.S.R.

My best thoughts and prayers go out to Wilson’s family.  He was 76.

Written by turbotodd

February 11, 2010 at 1:02 am

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