Thursday, November 13, 2008

Web Remodel

As the role of the Internet is assessed in the most recent presidential campaign, one party is looking for ways to continue to maintain its lead while the other is looking for new online strategies for reorganization.

Visitors to the Rebuild the Party website for the GOP are invited to submit their own suggestions for regrouping and redefining the party's audience and message. A Digg/Reddit-style ratings system is designed to boost particularly popular suggestions from party activists and loyalists to the top of the heap. Currently, the top ticket items in their "customer feedback" include Ron Paul, libertarian interests, small government philosophies, and secular conservatism. The arguments that many conservative commentators have been making that Republicans were too reluctant to energize the base and should embrace a Christian Right candidate for 2012 don't make it into the site's top ten.

The site's organizers also have a numbered list of their own that is presented as a reorganization manifesto that puts online activism at the head of its agenda. Their first numbered action item reads "Recruit 5 million new Republican online activists," and the text below explains their rationale.

The Internet: Our #1 Priority in the Next Four Years

Winning the technology war with the Democrats must be the RNC's number one priority in the next four years.

The challenge is daunting, but if we adopt a strongly anti-Washington message and charge hard against Obama and the Democrats, we will energize our grassroots base. Among other benefits, this will create real demand for new ways to organize and route around existing power structures that favor the Democrats. And, you will soon discover, online organizing is by far the most efficient way to transform our party structures to be able to compete against what is likely to be a $1 billion Obama re-election campaign in 2012.

At the same time the blogosphere is buzzing with conflicting stories about who will be running the transition team to manage Obama's considerable online presence and sustain active membership in his Internet communities during a period that could be characterized as a political lull during the lame duck period.

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