Republicans had a better machine using the last generation of new media such as direct mail and email, but I think they have been behind the curve on using the Internet for fundraising and campaigning. Until the Republicans get someone like Joe Trippi, someone who really understands the Internet, I don't think they will change.
We have nothing on the right that compares to MoveOn. The rnc has never called me. They don't call any of the tech and politics crowd. They're just going it alone, which is fine if you want to continue to be a failure. We've never needed the Internet before. When talk radio emerged in '94, it was a very taboo thing, and it wasn't until Newt Gingrich brought talk radio hosts into the Capitol that people started to engage talk radio. Now there's an entire strategy focused on it. The White House has a talk radio person, the rnc does, and it's seen as an effective medium. But the Internet—we haven't needed to run around the mainstream media like we do now.
Real innovation is going to come from the dark-horse campaigns and the progressive campaigns. The establishment front-runner is not likely to do that.
americans for tax reform president
Getting people all exercised in writing naughty emails, naughty words, and sending them to congressmen may make you feel better, but does it change the world?
All the things that have been seen as liabilities to the Democrats—you can never get them to all agree, there's diverse voices, everybody has something to say—in the new politics, this is completely the way it all works. There's no question the progressive movement and the Democratic Party are much more strategically positioned to exploit the new environment. I think we're in the beginning of another era of progressive politics.
A brief glossary of open-source politics lingo:
broadcast politics: using elite white male journalists and pundits to get your message out; see participatory politics
constituent relationship management: treating potential voters the way companies treat their customers
crowdsourcing: relying on total strangers to do your most important work for free
going viral: spreading the word at the speed of bird flu
long tail of politics: read the book, but still not really sure
meatspace: real life, where politics used to get done (vegan Dennis Kucinich would prefer "beetspace")
micropandering: throwing tiny bones to every segment of the population
mociology: the sociology of mobile-phone use
netroots: Internet + grassroots
participatory politics: using elite white male bloggers and techies to get your message out
purple strategy: creating consensus between red and blue; every political blogger's worst nightmare
socnets: social networks
spokesblogger: a campaign's official online message person, until her personal beliefs are uncovered
virtual war room: the sound of 10,000 mouses clicking
There's no doubt that right now the vigor in online political communication and especially online political mobilization is on the left. But does that mean that it's gonna stay that way? No, it doesn't.
For years, the elites in Washington have used the Federal Election Commission as a tool to minimize citizen participation. The Internet is allowing people to bypass that control. It also lets you have almost instant advertising. The first political ad that I did cost over $100,000. Today, somebody with a little bit of technical skill could make a similar ad for almost free.
When talk radio started, for Republicans it really was the interactive medium. But what it didn't allow was the ability to coordinate or mobilize off the air. The Internet allows people to talk about problems and then collaborate on how to solve them. Talk radio gives you the ability to talk about problems, but not to solve them.
Outfoxed director Robert Greenwald has demonstrated the power of the netroots to fund and promote political documentaries on the left. Now David Bossie—the Whitewater in-vestigator fired for doctoring evidence to make the Clintons look bad—and ex-Clintonite Dick Morris are hoping to do the same for the right. The pair is using the conservative website Citizens United to raise funds for an anti-Hillary film to be released in theaters just before the primaries, with excerpts pushed out online. "We look at Hillary as the odds-on nominee," Bossie says. "She's the most dangerous and the most effective" of the Democratic contenders.
"To be perfectly honest, the way the numbers are looking, and the war, it's going to be very difficult for a Republican to win, whoever the Democratic nominee is," he adds. "That being said, I'll do everything I can to make sure that doesn't happen."
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