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Daily Digest: The Next Right Gets Grassroots

BY Joshua Levy | Thursday, May 8 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Continuing the search for a conservative answer to online liberal movement-building, techPresident’s Patrick Ruffini has teamed up with fellow conservative strategists Jon Henke (formerly of the Fred Thompson campaign) and Soren Dayton (of Eye on ‘08 and, briefly, John McCain) to launch The Next Right. The goal is to build a platform on which a “new Republican Party and conservative movement” will be born. “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,” goes the copy. It sounds like the right’s answer to OpenLeft. Given Ruffini, Dayton, and Henke’s success and reputation among online activists, we’re betting this will take off.

  • Online gumshoe William Beutler finds that, a year and a half into the campaign, two notable conservative bloggers are supporting Barack Obama and two liberal bloggers are, bucking conventional progressive wisdom, supporting Hillary Clinton. Semi-conservative Andrew Sullivan has been one of the most vocal supporters of Obama since his big cover article about the candidate in the Atlantic late last year, and John Cole, who’s a member of the conservative Pajamas Media network, is raising money for Obama using ActBlue which, Beutler points out, “probably makes him the only blog [sic] simultaneously affiliated with both Pajamas Media and ActBlue.” Meanwhile, liberal blogger Taylor Marsh became a Clinton supporter, putting her at odds with much of the Obama-supporting netroots, and MyDD’s Jerome Armostrong and Todd Beeton are both supporting Clinton. What’s next, news that John McCain didn’t vote for George Bush in 2000? Oh, wait

  • It looks like those anti-Obama hoax emails are still holding sway — like political Jedi mind-tricks — over some voters’ minds. “I’ll be honest with you. Barack scares the hell out of me,” a Hillary supporter told the New York Daily News. “He swore on the Koran.” Wired’s Sarah Lai Stirland sees comments like this as evidence that this perception of Obama has jumped from voters’ inboxes to mainstream media outlets. But, playing with Google Trends charts (careful, Sarah, those things are dangerous!), she finds that Americans seem to more interested in Jeremiah Wright than Obama’s “Muslim” heritage or alleged anti-Americanism. Phew, glad to clear that up.

  • Jeremiah Wright redux? A new video from Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films continues the group’s attacks on John McCain with a video tying him to Pastor Rod Parsley Clips of the Parsley making incendiary — some might say hateful — comments about Islam juxtaposed with an event from February showing McCain praising Parsley up and down. Will this — along with the support of controversial minister John Hagee — become a problem for the McCain campaign?

  • If you have about 15 minutes to spare this afternoon, check out the latest entry into the poli-musical pantheon: Barackula, The Musical. It’s a strange story in which our young hero, freshly arrived at Harvard Law School, is seduced by some creepy comrades who guarantee future success if they can just… suck his blood. Will Michelle, waiting at home, fall victim? Watch and find out (and don’t worry about the fact that Michelle and Barack didn’t know each other in law school). Warning: there are hammy, Broadway-esque songs throughout, and they might cause some (like me) with an aversion to musicals to damage their computers in an attempt to turn down the volume.

  • Yes we shall. You may be supporting a Democrat or Republican this year, but me, I’m throwing my weight behind a totally different kind of candidate. Check out this video, produced by the gamesters at G4TV, explaining why we should all get in line behind Cobra Commander, or else.

  • After Tuesday’s primaries, Hillary Clinton had a secret meeting with a Democratic party leader who, due to his infinite kindness and patience, bestowed on her his valued wisdom and advice. Our correspondents were on the scene; the footage is here.

  • According to CNET’s Caroline McCarthy, techPresident’s Andrew Rasiej, who attended a benefit bash at Eyebeam in New York, has reached monarchical proportions. Reporting on the event, McCarthy writes that “The tech community was represented strictly by a few well-connected luminaries like Gawker Media founder Nick Denton and Personal Democracy Forum czar Andrew Rasiej.” Congrats on the promotion, Andrew!

In Case You Missed It…

A new meme is spreading around the Tubes, and it’s a good one, writes Luigi Montanez. Clay Shirky, part sociologist and part technologist, has coined the term “Cognitive Surplus.” The implications of this idea in the political arena are already becoming apparent, and the Obama campaign seems to be the most able to harness it.

As the dust settles on the Democratic primary fight, Micah Sifry thinks more people are going to be turning their attention to understanding the significance of the new kind of political machine the Obama campaign has been building. Whether Obama wins or loses in the fall, this network is going to be a game-changer, and he’s planning to spend more time digging in and writing about its internal dynamics, culture and leaders.

Barack Obama won the North Carolina primary, but he may have lost his #1 fan. And to Mike Gravel, that player hater!

Immediately after the Pennsylvania primary, Hillary Clinton raised $10 million (or something) and told us all about it. Terry McAuliffe, her campaign chairman, sent email messages trumpeting the good news about new money and new donors. The campaign had momentum, and it wanted us to know. Now, not so much.

Tim Russert be damned, Hillary Clinton is staying in the race.