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Daily Digest: Is Slatecard the Republican ActBlue?

BY Joshua Levy | Tuesday, May 27 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • The Next Right, the conservatives’ new online hope, has launched. The site — a project of former Fred Thompson staffer Jon Henke, strategist and former John McCain staffer Soren Dayton, and techPres’ Patrick Ruffini — reminds us a lot of OpenLeft, though it lacks a similarly unifying philosophy. It’s a bit more on the call-to-action side of things: “As a community-driven grassroots action website for the right, we’ll feature in-depth political analysis, on-the-ground reports, and strategic discussion and debate.” With these three at the helm, we know this will be quality, smart stuff.

  • Meanwhile, blogger William Beutler has crowned techPres contributor David All’s Slatecard the “Republican ActBlue.” He cites the burst of mainstream political coverage the operation has received, All’s promotion of the project, and the fact that candidates have actually used it to raise more than $300,000 as evidence that Slatecard has moved beyond similar efforts like RightRoots and Big Red Tent. We sense a grudging respect for All’s project from Beutler; he refers to All’s “self-promotion” and titles his post “Let’s Just Admit Slatecard is the Republican ActBlue.” Either way, it’s a great accomplishment for All. The Next Right and Slatecard are baby steps, for sure, but they’re new points of online light for the GOP.

  • Hillary Clinton had a very bad day last Friday, when her unfortunate comment about RFK’s assassination blazed its way across the web. Whether or not it was taken out of context, the comment provided a new narrative for a press corps hungry for something to chomp on. For MSM reactions and mea culpas, check out the timeline from the New York Time’s Katherine Seelye, who’s been traveling with the Clinton camp, and Politico co-founder John Harris’s piece blaming a “news media more concerned with being interesting and provocative than with being relevant or serious.” That news media, ahem, includes the Politico, whose editors “are relentlessly focused on audience traffic” but “unapologetic in our premium on high velocity,” writes Harris. But he does think the quote was ripped out of context. Too bad! That’s life in the new media fast lane!

  • Columnist Roger Cohen schooled New York Times readers about something geeks have known for a while: “More than any other factor, it has been Barack Obama’s grasp of the central place of Internet-driven social networking that has propelled his campaign for the Democratic nomination into a seemingly unassailable lead over Hillary Clinton.” Better put: “It’s the networks, stupid.”

  • You know those TouchTones jukeboxes that have sprung up in bars over the last few years? Apparently they conduct surveys, too, and according to a recent one Barack Obama is the candidate most jukebox users would like to have a beer with, reports MediaPost’s Gavin O’Malley. The TouchTone survey also teamed up with Rock the Vote to give participants the chance to register to vote; 10,000 did. Who knew Obama would lay claim to the jukebox vote?

  • A conservative blogger is continuing to hound Minnesota Senatorial candidate Al Franken, writes the New York Times’ Monica Davey. Michael B. Brodkorb, who writes the Minnesota Democrats Exposed blog and is a constant thorn in Franken’s side, revealed that Franken owed New York State $25,000 in workers compensation insurance (which he has since paid). This and other stories has been picked up by the traditional media, forcing Franken to respond. This story reminds us a lot of Jan Frel’s seminal piece for us on a stealth campaign by a bunch of rightwing bloggers in South Dakota on behalf of Jon Thune in his race against Tom Daschle. Brodkorb seems more aboveboard than those folks were about their political connections, however.

The Candidates on the Web

  • Last week TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington conducted a Twitter-assisted interview with Newt Gingrich, in which the former Speaker talked about his American Solutions organization, which just opened an office in Palo Alto. The group is working on constructing a new set of ideas for governance — a second Contract with America — and Gingrich told Arrington that “If you get to the point [that the second contract] is clear enough and powerful enough, and if that point there is a big enough demand whether it is in 2012 or 2016, I will get to the point where I would run.” That should shake things up.

  • When in Puerto Rico… clips of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama dancing in Puerto Rico are making the rounds. After Hillary remarks on how good the local beer is, she closes her eyes and shimmies for a couple of seconds. It makes us feel uncomfortable. Similarly, as Barack Obama walks through the streets, he mimics an off-camera dancer with some improvised moves that don’t seem to belong to any particular style. Slightly less embarrassing. Neither, however, compares to this slice of weirdness of John McCain. We’ve officially reached the dog days of the campaign.

In Case You Missed It…

Micah Sifry discovers a photo that is crying out for a good caption. Any suggestions? (It’s from Joe Trippi’s annual Memorial Day clambake.)

Bob Barr livestreamed his appearance at the Libertarian convention, and while there were few exciting moments to show, it’s pretty cool that his campaign is into this stuff.

We’ve all seen microsites used in politics, from last year to the recently launched, writes Luigi Montanez. But how about sites that are literally just one word? A few years ago the site Is Lost a Repeat? launched. Now, we have Is Barack Obama Muslim?, aimed at knocking down the rumors spread via email chain letters.

Nancy Scola reports that a new article in Yale’s Journal of Law & Technology offers up a somewhat counterintuitive new online plan for the next presidential administration to make government more useful, more accountable, and more transparent — in short, give up.