Daily Digest: Republican Dough Raisers Resist Going Grassroots
BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, June 11 2008
The Web on the Candidates
With the Democratic donation clearinghouse ActBlue hitting the $50 million mark this week by tapping into what Matt Stoller calls the "long tail" of the candidate pool, David All of the Republican equivalent Slatecard wonders why he's still having such a hard timing convincing those on the right to go grassroots with their fundraising.
A video clip of John McCain describing himself as computer "illiterate" has former John Edwards campaign staffer Tracy Russo is making the case that an American president can't lead in our increasingly connected world if s/he doesn't get the power of the Internet. Given the energy that Barack Obama has poured into building and tapping networks, this particular digital divide seem like it may well get attention as we head towards the fall.
Just because we're talking doesn't mean that anyone's listening. A whopping 44% of Americans have tried contacting Congress in the past year, according to a new report from the Congressional Management Foundation, but more than half of them don't think their members don't care what they have to say. On a personal note, in the past two weeks I've had two direct emails of mine to good friends on Capitol Hill marked LIKELY SPAM and filed away. Getting in under the dome ain't easy... (A bullet point can't do this report justice. If you do online advocacy work or work in a congressional office, give it a read [pdf].)
The Candidates on the Web
As part of his continuing coverage of the "Clickocracy" ("one nation under Google, with e-mail and video for all") for the Washington Post, Jose Vargas reports that Barack Obama is blowing John McCain out of the digital water when it comes to social metrics like Facebook/Eons/MiGente.com friends and YouTube views. A necessary caveat: how online awesomeness translates to votes is still very much an open question.
The idea that the Obama campaign would rush to set up an Internet War Room to respond to online rumors and smears surprises exactly, umm, no one, but the reportage on the topic contains as few facts as is possible and still be considered a story. Stay tuned.
Off The Bus co-founder Jay Rosen dives into the debate over whether Mayhill Fowler should have yelled out "I'm a journalist!" when she asked Bill Clinton at a South Dakota campaign event to respond to
an unfriendly Vanity Fair piece.
(Respond he did, with salty language the Hillary Clinton campaign found itself scrambling to apologize for.) There's no way to summarize Jay sometimes, so just go have a look.
The just announced iPhone with enhanced GPS could change boots-on-the-ground political campaigning by putting digital walk sheets, precinct maps, and voter lists in the pocket of every door knocker. Exciting stuff, says TechRepublican's Ethan Demme.
Why do I think we're soon going to be treated to videos like Barack Obama gets a haircut!? Here's the senator sitting down in Indiana with five small-dollar donors at an intimate lunch complete with kleig lights.
In Case You Missed It...
On Bloggingheads.tv, Matt Yglesias and Jane Hamsher discuss Micah Sifry's recent TechPres column on how Obama built an supporter email database of four to eight million addresses, with Hamsher tying that list-building operation to his fundraising success.
Speaking of list building, in an interview with Kate Kaye Google's Peter Greenberger says Hillary Clinton missed a golden opportunity to build her supporter base through search.
Micah Sifry notes that Hotmail corrects Barack Obama's last name to "Osama." We're working on it, says Microsoft.
Over on Personal Democracy Forum, Dave Witzel highlights Debategraph, a new tool that could be used for public kibitzing over the VP selection process.