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Daily Digest: Lobbyist Lollypops, Blogger Blow-Ups

BY Joshua Levy | Thursday, May 22 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Tired of hearing about the lobbyists working for the John McCain campaign? So are the folks at Campaign Money Watch, so much so that they’ve recorded a song asking McCain to fire all of the lobbyists working for his campaign. You can listen to the tune and sign a petition urging “John McCain to fire staff or fundraisers whose lobbying for brutal dictators, unsavory foreign interests, or other repressive regimes offend American values” at the Fire the Lobbyists! site. Meanwhile, some lobbyists — who stood by McCain has his campaign bottomed out last summer — are wondering if this is McCain’s way of saying “thanks.” (Campaign Money Watch is the 527 arm of Public Campaign Action Fund. Full disclosure: From 1997-2005, techPresident’s Micah Sifry was a senior analyst with a sister organization, Public Campaign.)

  • The DNCC state blog credentialing mess is continuing to kick up dust. We’ve twice written about protests of DNCC’s selection of state blogs to be represented at the Democratic convention. Pam Spaulding, one of the cooler heads among netroots bloggers, broke down the issues at stake, focusing on the DNCC’s failure to include more minority bloggers. Racial tensions — even among members of the “AfroSpear” — are rising, and Pam’s doing a great job of adding clarity to the situation.

  • The Next Right, the right’s answer to MyDD and OpenLeft, helmed by conservative strategists Soren Dayton, Jon Henke, and Patrick Ruffini, will be launching next Tuesday, May 27th. Keep your eye on it - this just might become the smartest conservative right-roots operation online.

  • The robo-call haters at have created a wonderful library of robo-calls from the candidates. If you aren’t “lucky” enough to have been called by a robo-citizen, now’s your chance to see what the fuss is all about.

  • Why are we pushing a Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton “dream ticket” when we can get John McCain in there to form the ultimate nightmare ticket?

  • This is probably the funnest, most meaningless thing I’ve seen in months.

  • And this is probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever posted, though 50,000 people on YouTube have watched it. If TV is a vast wasteland, then YouTube is a… wait, have you seen this? (Thx, Andrew Golis)

  • The folks behind One Web Day are celebrating Internet Week NY next month with a forum on Online Political Participation at NYU Law School on June 4 at 6pm. The star-studded panel will feature techPresident’s Andrew Rasiej and Zephyr Teachout,’s Jay Rosen, and PdF’s Allison Fine. It’s gonna be fantastic — be there.

The Candidates on the Web

  • A couple of days ago Barack Obama characterized John McCain’s comment about him meeting with the leaders of “rogue nations” as “”me immediately having Raul Castro over for tea.” The RNC thought it a poignant image, and quickly put up a “Barack Obama/Raul Castro Tea Set” for sale on eBay. If you buy it, “You and your friends could imitate Obama and Castro, sitting down and having tea while discussing world affairs.” Sounds fun! The current bid is at $33; if this kind of thing sounds like… wait for it… your cup of tea, get bidding!

  • Using HubSpot’s analytic tools, the Bivings Report’s Todd Zeigler compared Barack Obama and John McCain’s SEO chops and came up with a few surprises. McCain’s site came out on top, with a “website grade” of 98.7 to Obama’s 95. Another interesting finding: “According to the tool the Obama website is written on an Advanced/Doctoral reading level while McCain’s is written on an Secondary/High School level.”

  • Yesterday we mentioned that John McCain’s site had shed its Darth Vader look for something a bit friendlier. Ethan Demme, writing at TechRepublican, performed a thorough inspection and found a bunch of new, shiny features, including new blog badges and Facebook icons. But the infamous McCainSpace still appears to be empty and inactive.

  • Another politician has pledged to publicly punch his clock. Anchorage Mayor and Alaskan Senatorial candidate Mark Begich has promised to “post his daily Senate office schedule on his website so every Alaskan knows he is working for Alaska families, not special interests,” according to his campaign. The pledge is an echo of the Sunlight Foundation’s Punch Clock Campaign, and Zephyr Teachout, the former National Director of Sunlight Foundation and a techPrez blogger, is mighty pleased. “I am thrilled that Begich—and I hope many others this campaign season—brings some faith to the collective intelligence, over time, of the people he hopes to represent,” she writes at the Nation. (TechPresident’s Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry are advisers to the Sunlight Foundation.)

In Case You Missed It…

The John McCain campaign has been pilloried time and time again when it comes to their email strategy. The emails are overly long, unclear, and designed as if they were a piece of direct mail. But, as a public service to all campaigns and organizations looking to execute solid online organzing, Luigi Montanez points out exactly what makes an email successful.

Nancy Scola was at the 18th annual Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference, being held at Yale this week, and writes about a session on “Presidential Technology Policy: Priorities for the Next Executive” that featured representatives from the Obama and McCain campaigns. The Obama camp sent the co-director of MIT’s decentralized information group. The McCain camp sent the former chief patent lawyer for Time Warner. The two seemed almost hand-picked as embodiments of the two very different ways a President Obama and a President McCain would handle tech policy.