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Daily Digest: 7/11/07

BY Joshua Levy | Wednesday, July 11 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • Michael Falcone at the Caucus rounds up the blogosphere's reaction to news that two of John McCain's top aides were quitting his campaign. Patrick Ruffini and Matt Lewis of Townhall.com share the opinion that McCain failed to put a top aide in charge. "The worst case scenario for any political campaign is for there to be confusion about who is in charge," said Lewis. "Ironically, campaigns are not democracies, they are dictatorships. Let this serve as a lesson that leadership by committee doesn't work in the political battlefield." Falcone also links to comments from Powerline's Paul Mirengott and MyDD's Jonathan Singer, which add to the general sense that McCain's campaign is close to finished.
  • The New Republic's Michelle Cottle responds to Hillary Clinton's HillCam emails with a much-needed dose of reality: "Come on, guys. I know you want to warm up your gal's image. And I'll admit that she looks cute as a button in that sunshine-yellow top, sucking down soda at the Grinnell Dairy Queen. But don't ask me to believe that these adorable mini movies are any less contrived than an old-fashioned TV ad. Just because you have jittery camera work and zero production values doesn't make your offering 'spontaneous.'" Cottle's assault on "phony Web authenticity" extends beyond Clinton to all of the other candidates and to proclamations about how the Internet is changing campaigning. "Indeed, thus far, what has struck me most about the Brave New World of virtual campaigning is how much it resembles the Tiresome Old World of actual campaigning. Now, instead of relying on scripted debate answers, impersonal rallies, and slick television ads to get to know our candidates, we can turn to scripted blog posts, impersonal e-mails, and slick webcasts." This is not to say that the Internet isn't changing campaigning; but, as Cottle points out, despite the new tools at their disposal, the candidates are still much more comfortable giving the appearance of authenticity than actually being authentic. [Unfortunately, TNR online is subscription-only, so you'll have to register to read the whole thing.]

The Candidates on the Web

  • Bill Richardson is this week's participant in YouTube's Spotlight series, and he takes the opportunity to ask viewers about their ideas for an "energy revolution." But he not only wants to hear viewers' ideas about energy and conservation: he wants to see what they've been doing himself. In this, Richardson is taking a refreshingly more involved approach to Spotlight than many other candidates have so far. "I want to do more than just hear these new ideas," he says. "Whoever has the best or most original idea, I'll come visit." Richardson visiting a YouTube viewer's solar-panel-powered home or wind farm would make for some great video. Let's hope he sticks to his word.
  • Over at the Bivings Report, Todd Zeigler takes a look at Barack Obama's constantly redesigned web site and, though the campaign "has been aggressively rolling out new features on its website at an impressive clip," and think that they "are clearly doing a wonderful job online," he prefers the old site. "In the process of launching this stuff, they’ve turned their clean, nicely designed homepage into a canvas on which to cram as many banner ads as possible," Zeigler writes. I've noticed it too; despite the addition of rounded boxes (slamming home the Web 2.0-ness of it all), there's just too much going on, and when visiting the site it's hard to decide if I should check out the Iowa HQ, join Obama Mobile, read Charles Barkley's comments about Obama, or... you get the point. Check out Zeigler's post for before and after pics.

In Case You Missed It...

Believing that John McCain missed an opportunity to turn his campaign around with his latest email to supporters, Patrick Ruffini imagines what the email could have said.

Colin Delany takes a look at whether Google radio ads could become a factor in the election.

After checking out Chris Dodd's MyLifeBrand site, which seeks to aggregate all of Dodd's social networking presences, Fred Stutzman looks at what counts for value on a socnet.