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Daily Digest: 8/20/07

BY Joshua Levy | Monday, August 20 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • In yesterday’s New York Times, Frank Rich identifies the George Allen “macaca moment” as the catalyst for the YouTube era in politics, and the beginning of the end of top-down organizing. “The rise of YouTube certifies the passing of [Karl] Rove’s era, a cultural changing of the guard in the digital age,” Rich wrote. He credits techPresident’s Patrick Ruffini with helping usher the Republicans into this brave new world, and — gasp! — even calls him “smart.” The conservative Ruffini was not amused at receiving praise from the liberal Rich. “To be called ‘smart’ by Frank Rich in the pages of the New York Times is not something any right-minded person should aspire to,” Ruffini writes. He also has a problem with Rich’s also takes issue withe Rove’s repetition of a common narrative. “Republicans are all top-down. Democrats are bottom-up. What this ignores is that Rove and Mehlman ran a great new media-centric campaign in 2004, fully leveraging all the tools available to them at the time.” Patrick, it’s nice to to get a shout-out in the Times. As Mitt Romney might say, “lighten up!”
  • The “Gays for Giuliani” campaign, which was first discussed and deconstructed in the blogosphere, has officially bubbled up to the mainstream media. Rick Davis created the campaign to point out Giuliani’s abandonment of pro-gay stances as he’s transitioned from NYC mayor to Republican presidential candidate.” But now Davis, who is gay, is being accused of creating an anti-gay campaign. Toward the end of Jose Antonio Vargas’ profile of Davis, Vargas writes that in South Carolina, “some bloggers have complained that [Davis] is ‘gay-baiting’ and ‘using Republicans’ fear of gays to undermine Giuliani’s candidacy.’” We're thinking those bloggers should take another look at Scott Olin Schmidt's analysis of the campaign.
  • The National Journal's Technology Daily has put together a package of stories and profiles covering the candidates' stances on technology issues and their use of technology. Included are descriptions of legislation passed and voted for, statements made, and support offered from all of the candidates. In one piece, titled, "Why Aren't Candidates Talking More About Tech Issues?," writer Sandra Gonzalez talked to Edmund Dante Hamilton, founder of the group "Obama for Technology," which is developing a "broad-based technology platform" for Barack Obama. He laments the campaign staff's lack of interest in tech issues: "The group was approached by the campaign after submitting the proposal but was asked to volunteer tech skills for the candidate, not for opinions about tech issues." This theme -- the conflation of IT and technology policy and usage -- hounds many of the candidates, and is in evidence throughout these articles. And one piece starts out with a seriously egregious assertion: "The leading Democratic presidential candidates are building substantial technology policy platforms to match their strong support from leading players in the tech sector." Say wha? All candidates -- Dems and GOP -- have been substantively lacking on the tech policy front. Outside of occasional pronouncements about net neutrality, no candidate has offered a comprehensive tech policy platform that can be dissected and embraced. Look out for a deeper analysis on these stories from us.

The Candidates on the Web

  • Chris Dodd’s Talk Clock is back! The talk clock — now embeddable! — charts the amount of time given to each of the Democratic candidates during the debates. The most recent version shows us what we might expect — that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards spoke the most during the ABC News debate this weekend (though Bill Richardson is right behind Edwards).

In Case You Missed It…

What do William Gibson, George Orwell, Karl Rove, Chris Shays, Wikipedia and the rise of YouTube have to do with each other? Micah Sifry makes the connection.