Dowd, Matthew J. 1962-

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Dowd, Matthew J. 1962-

PERSONAL: Born 1962, in Detroit, MI; children: three sons. Education: Cardinal Newman College, graduated.

ADDRESSES: E-mail— [email protected] com.

CAREER: Public Strategies, Inc. (consulting firm), founding partner and president; ViaNovo (consulting firm), founding partner; cofounder of HotSoup.com; University of Texas, Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs, Austin, instructor. Has worked on the staff of Senator Lloyd Bentsen; Republican National Committee, consultant; strategist for the reelection campaigns of President George W. Bush, 2004, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, 2006.

AWARDS, HONORS: Named Pollster of the Year, American Association of Political Consultants.

WRITINGS

(With Douglas B. Sosnik and Ron Fournier) Apple-bee’s America: How Successful Political, Business, and Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS: Matthew J. Dowd is a political consultant and, along with Douglas B. Sosnik and Ron Fournier, the author of Applebee’s America: How Successful Political, Business, and Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community. The writers explore similarities in the lives of successful Americans. They assert that America does not consist of “red” and “blue” states, but rather of values-based “tribes” and a large group of voters who can be swayed with the proper marketing techniques. The authors call this “life targeting.” Dowd, as a former strategist for President George W. Bush, provides insights on how his campaign relied heavily on polling. Dowd and his collaborators contend that Bush defeated John Kerry because of highly focused advertising and because opinion was swayed in local communities by his followers who believed him when he told them where he stood on the issues. This strategy, they say, provides a “Gut Values Connection” that is sustainable even when voters do not fully agree. Similarly, the popularity of the Applebee’s restaurant chain mentioned in the title is derived from the fact that it has created a neighborhood atmosphere.

Fournier is a political writer, and Sosnik a former advisor to President Bill Clinton, who also successfully reached out emotionally to the voters. The authors also write of the success of religious leaders, such as Rick Warren, who have created communities in mega-churches because of shared values and a need people have to belong. They demonstrate that decisions often tend to be made based on emotion rather than issues and feel that Republicans are better than Democrats at knowing who the voters are and what they want. The authors conclude, too, that the younger generation shows a great deal of promise and tends to be more optimistic, civic minded, and politically active, especially because of the power of online networking.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES

PERIODICALS

American Prospect, October, 2006, E.J. Dionne, Jr., review of Applebee’s America: How Successful Political, Business, and Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community, p. 52.

Booklist, September 15, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of Applebee’s America, p. 13.

Library Journal, September 1, 2006, Carol J. Elsen, review of Applebee’s America, p. 158.

Publishers Weekly, July 24, 2006, review of Applebee’s America, p. 52.

San Francisco Chronicle, September 18, 2006, Austin Considine, review of Applebee’s America.

Washington Post, September 12, 2006, Amy Goldstein, review of Applebee’s America, p. A21.

ONLINE

Applebee’s America Web site, http://www.applebeesamerica.com (January 11, 2007).

Think and Ask, http://www.thinkandask.com/ (September 3, 2006), review of Applebee’s America.*