David Kralick works for Newt Gingrich in Silicon Valley and attracts strange artificial lighting wherever he goes. (photo by Chistina Koci Hernandez for The Washington Post)
The Post has a piece today about Newt Gingrich's emissary to Silicon Valley. It's written by a Bay Area native with an engaging, evocative style and doesn't spare many clichés about life and work between San Jose and South of Market. (Neither apparently does the Post's photo editors. See above).
Here, he's from another planet. Here in Silicon Valley, David Kralik is, let's face it, some strange import. That's why he's attracting such buzz one recent afternoon inside Buck's, the legendary eatery, while lunching on a pulled-pork sandwich.
Jamis MacNiven, Buck's owner, plops himself down and blurts out: "So you're the guy that works for Newt the Snoot!"
Yep, that's Kralik. A lifelong Republican in the land of liberal Democrats. Who relocated from uptight, Brooks Brothers Washington. And works for Newt Gingrich.
But, there are good amounts of interesting anecdotes in the piece -- especially centered around how to apply tech to solve big government problems....
...Says Peter Leyden, the former editor of Wired magazine who heads the New Politics Institute, a think tank focusing on technology's impact on Washington: "There's an emerging sense that both worlds need each other. Think of it this way: The scale of the problems that the world faces -- globalization, global warming, global terrorism -- can't be solved without these two hubs cooperating with each other."
Kralik knows all of this full well. On a recent six-hour flight from Washington to the Valley, he drafted a three-column chart. "The world that works." "The world that fails." "Making government from a world that fails to a world that works."
Kralik puts the U.S. Census Bureau in the world-that-fails column. After spending more than $150 million on handheld computers to count everyone in the country, the Census Bureau announced a few weeks ago that it will scrap that program and hire 600,000 temporary workers and go back to the same way that it's counted people since 1790: with paper and pen.
"You've got to be kidding me, right?" says an incredulous Kralik. "Why can't we get together the brightest minds at Google, at Apple, at whatever companies here in the Valley, and figure out a more high-tech way of counting our citizens?"