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GOP 2.0--Republicans Go Internet
November 10, 2008 9:23 AM   Subscribe

GOP 2.0 There's no doubt that the internet operation of President-Elect Obama was a key part of his success. While it appears that he is attempting to turn that success into an engine for keeping citizens and supporters engaged with the revolutionary Change.gov,(Previously), the other side also is looking to harness the wave of internet electioneering.

The Republicans are not only looking to copy Obama's technology operation, but to field candidates in all 435 congressional districts, much like Obama's vaunted 50-state strategy. Sponsors of this initiative include Mike Krempasky and Ben Domenech, founders of RedState, and Patrick Ruffini, a leader in GOP internet messaging.
posted by Ironmouth (163 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Look, guys, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:28 AM on November 10, 2008 [32 favorites]


They can imitate all they want, but they'll never get anywhere until they publicly condemn Lee Atwater.

It could happen.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:32 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's next Republican President. Some guy will be that man. Better than we were before. Better. Stronger. Faster.

We may not yet know his name or his face, but that can all be engineered, manipulated, and photoshopped into perfection. We have the technology to scare the public shitless, and come crying to us for support and comfort that only we can provide.

Behold, GOPbot 2.0!
posted by filthy light thief at 9:33 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


"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.

Uh, didn't they just try that?
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:34 AM on November 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


Surely we saw this coming. Nobody thought the Republicans were going to get their asses kicked up and down the country and then prepare for the next election by doing the same things in the same way (although this 435-congressional-district thing smells like pretty shallow oneupsmanship -- "You're doing all 435 districts? We will run a strong candidate in every single county or city commission seat up for reelection!"). So I guess the question is whether they're going to be as good at it. Is the Republican base as unified and thirsty for change as the Democratic base turned out to have been for election? Do the Republicans have strong leaders available that can support the ideological common ground they have left and reduce the comparative importance of all the differences that are starting to creep up among conservatives of various stripes? I guess we'll see; I doubt it.
posted by penduluum at 9:37 AM on November 10, 2008


This could work. If they start with a training campaign to teach their non-college-educated, 65+ base how to UNCANCEL THEIR GOOGLES. Oh and they better pass healthcare to keep their base (literally) alive.

And they have to do this while keeping up their anti-education on the issues. Two big "conservatives" I work with strongly oppose big-business handouts and are concerned about oil vs alternative energy. They aren't anti-choice, so I'm not really clear why they vote Republican...
posted by DU at 9:38 AM on November 10, 2008


for during this election
posted by penduluum at 9:38 AM on November 10, 2008


"Obama's vaunted 50-state strategy"

Obama's great* and all, but let's not go attributing everything in creation to him.

* May or may not actually be great. We'll find out when he's actually President.
posted by Eideteker at 9:39 AM on November 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obama's great* and all, but let's not go attributing everything in creation to him.

I know that my man Howard was the architecht of the 50-state strategy (and a lot more), but Obama was the first to execute.

on another note, I hope the governor gets into the cabinet.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:41 AM on November 10, 2008


How will these robber-baron-serving plutocrats present themselves as unifying, common-man figures? They'll probably just wait four years and blame Bush's robber-baron-caused recession on Barack Obama.
posted by interrobang at 9:43 AM on November 10, 2008


DepAAARRRGHtment of Health and Human Services
posted by DU at 9:43 AM on November 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


not gonna happen. This crop of republicans is too top down, the 50 state strategy was all about building from the bottom up and empowering individuals. Shit I was kicked off redstate twice for pointing out holes in their arguments

the third time was for sass
posted by slapshot57 at 9:46 AM on November 10, 2008


Two thoughts come to mind when I see Rebuild The Party: "These colors don't run" - well they look like they're running now, and bleeding all over the place.

And is that blending I see? Between Red and Blue? Making pleasant shade of purple? Isn't purple kinda gay?

Then I started to actually read the page. 2008 made one thing clear: if allowed to go unchecked, the Democrats' structural advantages, including their use of the Internet, their more than 2-to-1 advantage with young voters, their discovery of a better grassroots model -- will be as big a threat to the future of the GOP as the toxic political environment we have faced the last few years. I think you mean "the toxic political environment we created the last few years."

If you're "waiting for Barack Obama to trip up," or even looking at this as "the 21st century war," you're doing it wrong. You're not supposed to make a better internet site, more facebook groups and the next Killer iPhone App, you're supposed to ENGAGE PEOPLE. It's all about people: what people want and need.

Focus on that, and you'll do well. Look at this as an Us vs Them, and you're doomed. One upping the other guy gets to be petty. Calling a journalist who is ramping up support for an incoming president with a mountain of shit to clear "Hanoi Jane" isn't steering clear of that "toxic environment." It's keeping those spigots open before The Other Guy has a chance to sit down in the Oval Office.

Yeah, journalistic ethics aren't what they should be, but complaining when journalists do their job and "hold the government accountable" is not the point. Journalists are not cheerleaders for the GOP or the Dems. They are supposed to bring truth to light.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:49 AM on November 10, 2008 [9 favorites]


After Carter turned an entire generation against liberalism and the Republicans spanked Mondale and Dukakis, what did the Democrats do? They got pragmatic and nominated a centrist who focused on solutions for real people's problems instead of party-line ideology. There's a lesson here for the GOP, if they choose to see it. Or they can nominate Sarah Palin in four years and watch President Obama eat her alive and spit out the bones.
posted by EarBucket at 9:50 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Everyone's copying everyone. Gore invented the shit.
posted by gman at 9:53 AM on November 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Not a surprise. Obama's campaign was run better than any since I've been alive. Every presidential campaign in the next century is going to be running plays from their playbook. A Republican could be dangerous, provided they can find a campaign to fit the bill. (read: Not Palin, she's too divisive to hold a 50-state strategy together.)

After reading some of the Monday morning quaterbacking of each of the campaigns, it seems that Obama's victory had as much to do with strategy as it had to do with the even keel of the candidate. Obama had a strong grip on the particulars. He kept everyone focused on their goals and ran a smooth ship. John McCain wouldn't have won even with Obama's GOTV strategy in place. His campaign style was just too loose, too mired in an anarchistic "Pirate Ship" mentality, to handle the agile and efficient Obama team.

On preview: you're supposed to ENGAGE PEOPLE

The Republicans not only need a new strategy, but a new kind of candidate.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:53 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


A Republican could be dangerous, provided they can find a campaign to fit the bill.

A Republican campaign could be dangerous, provided they can find a candidate to fit the bill.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:55 AM on November 10, 2008


Cool, now that the GOP is trying to get caught up online who wants to explain to them what "PWNED" means?
posted by The Straightener at 9:56 AM on November 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


He kept everyone focused on their goals and ran a smooth ship.

Yes. One of the most impressive things to me about the campaign was the emphasis on keeping your head down, staying in your lane, and doing the job you'd been handed to do. You kept your eyes on your own work and trusted that the people running the campaign knew what they were doing and all the pieces would fit together in the end. Boy, did they.
posted by EarBucket at 9:56 AM on November 10, 2008


Obama's victory had as much to do with strategy as it had to do with the even keel of the candidate.

I think that's true. I don't know enough about the GOP candidates....Do any GOP leaders have Obama's super-calm temperament?
posted by RussHy at 9:57 AM on November 10, 2008


" ... they can nominate Sarah Palin in four years and watch President Obama eat her alive ... "

That would be hot.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 9:58 AM on November 10, 2008


I mean, most GOP leaders seem kind of rabid to me.
posted by RussHy at 9:58 AM on November 10, 2008


"I know that my man Howard was the architect of the 50-state strategy (and a lot more), but Obama was the first to execute."

Did you even read the wikipedia article I linked to?

"Dean has traveled extensively throughout the country with the plan, including places like Utah, Mississippi, and Texas, states in which Republicans have dominated the political landscape. Many establishment Democrats were at least initially dubious about the strategy's worth--political consultant and former Bill Clinton advisor Paul Begala suggested that Dean's plan was 'just hiring a bunch of staff people to wander around Utah and Mississippi and pick their nose.'"

Is actively spurring something not the same thing as executing it? Or did you mean Obama was the first one to execute it at the presidential level? That's the only way I can think of what you said as making sense, at least on a surface level. But since the strategy is about building the party locally by starting with local representatives, it doesn't really make sense after all.
posted by Eideteker at 9:58 AM on November 10, 2008


On preview: you're supposed to ENGAGE PEOPLE
The Republicans not only need a new strategy, but a new kind of candidate.


The Ron Paul-ites seem to have done well early on in fundraising/inspiring people to spend much time creating internet content/connectivity.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:59 AM on November 10, 2008


They aren't anti-choice, so I'm not really clear why they vote Republican...


Because being Republican or Democratic generally has nothing to do with actual issues but rather with emotional triggers cranked up over a lifetime. In most cases. Just like being a Giants fan vs a Jets fan has nothing to do with anything other than who one's father rooted for. Mostly.
posted by spicynuts at 10:00 AM on November 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


We shall see what they come up with, if anything. From Bill Maher, "80% of Republicans want to see Sarah Palin take the reins of the Republican Party. And 100% of Democrats want the same thing."
posted by jamstigator at 10:01 AM on November 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


This may be simplistic, but the pattern seems to go something like this:

1. We elect X of the "I'll-Give-You-Something-For-Nothing Party"
2. We get tired of X, because we didn't get something for nothing.
3. We elect Y of the "I'll-Really-Give-You-Something-For-Nothing Party."
4. We get tired of Y, because we didn't get something for nothing.
5. We elect X 2.0 of the...

We've been goin' round and round like this for a century, and I don't believe any Web-thingy is gonna change it one bit. Republicans aren't dumb. They'll figure out a way to get back in power. After all, they have the Democrats to help them.
posted by MarshallPoe at 10:02 AM on November 10, 2008


Use of the internet is the least of the GOP's problems (even putting aside my obvious disagreements with them). They've nominated noting but Old Time Washington Insiders like MCain, Dole and Bush for decades. Their religious wing and their old school fiscal-conservative wing don't really care much for eachother and they're way too dependent on buzzwords and tlking points that seem really transparent to increasingly media-savvy voters.
posted by jonmc at 10:02 AM on November 10, 2008


The irony here is that Obama as President would act in ways that contradict the bottom-up culture that fueled his campaign. In the campaign, it was "Yes We Can." In the White House, it will be "Yes, Government Can." Obama's top-down government control of the health care and the economy will give conservatives an opening to once again recapture the mantle of distributed citizen activism.

Um... ok. No, but ok.

Obama tapped the Internet successfully because he made it about "you" and "us" not "me" and "I." You were invited in. You were a key part of his campaign/movement. Your help was truly appreciated. Republican candidates need to grow more comfortable talking in these terms and focus less on being inaccessible objects of hero worship (the "me/I" strategy).

These seem plainly contradictory to me.

I'm all for GOP nihilism, but I do not think they are ready to start yet. This is at best inconsistent, and in reality incoherent. I really think the hate needs to subside before you can honestly evaluate how you got here and where is it you want to go. Governance isn't a sport.

Also, I really resent being referred to as the "Me" generation. We all know which generation that is: The Baby Boomers. Their inability to get past Vietnam and the culture wars is most of the reason the quality of discourse and policy is so very low in this country. Again, I am stepping into the future, and I welcome all who want to pursue a mature and rational discussion of the role of Government in that future.
posted by butterstick at 10:04 AM on November 10, 2008 [10 favorites]


Nobody thought the Republicans were going to get their asses kicked up and down the country and then prepare for the next election by doing the same things in the same way

Which is hilarious since they've categorically refused to reconsider their dedication to Ronald Reagan-style supply-side economics no matter how many times it's been disproved.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:09 AM on November 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


Look guys, it's easy to feel smug right now, but we better watch out. Between them, Krempasky, Domenech and Ruffini pretty much completely own the eyeballs of literally dozens of Republican activists online. This is clearly not something the Democrats should laugh off or take lightly.
posted by rusty at 10:09 AM on November 10, 2008 [8 favorites]


We've been goin' round and round like this for a century.

I invite you to visit 1908 and check out this claim. Although you may be too busy working 12 hours a day (and 8 days a week), vomiting over child labor conditions and being dead of old age at 50 to really be able to get a feel for it.
posted by DU at 10:11 AM on November 10, 2008 [8 favorites]


The RonPaulite hardline libertarians are about the only hope the Republicans have right now. If I were them I'd concentrate on 1. Dems ties with Lobbyists (lol!) 2. Decriminalizing drugs (lawl) and 3. Cutting spending (pretend I linked to the cost of Iraq War here in a sardonic manner).

The real issue here is that they've lost the ability to realistically court those young voters or people my age 30-44 who are generally pretty passive and anti-government because we see Bush/Palin types as more threatening to our individual liberties than, well, a muslim terrorist.

When they came for my internet gambling, that was truly the last straw. Hmm. Maybe that's the path to redstate victory, free $50 bonus for signing up at ShiningCityPoker.com!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:11 AM on November 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


This may be simplistic, but the pattern seems to go something like this:

1. We elect X of the "I'll-Give-You-Something-For-Nothing Party"
2. We get tired of X, because we didn't get something for nothing.
3. We elect Y of the "I'll-Really-Give-You-Something-For-Nothing Party."
4. We get tired of Y, because we didn't get something for nothing.
5. We elect X 2.0 of the...


MarshallPoe, if you are interested in detecting an historical pattern on this, you'll find this article from Salon very interesting.
posted by butterstick at 10:12 AM on November 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Although obviously the Republicans can learn a lot about how Obama ran his campaign, I think it's unreasonable to think that similar strategies can have similar effects. Obama needed a strong online presence because that's a great way to connect to a large portion of his base. Bush spent a lot of time connecting to rural church groups in 2004 for the same reason. Neither approach would have worked for the other candidate.

I think the more important problem is that the Republican platform has been based largely on idealogies that are dying out. For people that have spent most of their adult lives without the Cold War dominating politics, labeling a policy as socialist doesn't carry as much weight. And regardless of other demographic traits, most young people have liberal attitudes toward some major social issues such as gay marriage. Today's young Democrats may change to more Republican stances on taxes and other issues later in life, but it seems hard to believe that many of the current core values of the Republican party will stand up in the years to come. The key to staying relavent may be to adopt more forward-looking positions on major issues in an attempt to win over the next generation of voters.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:13 AM on November 10, 2008


Join Rudy 2012!

"Because 2008's run wasn't a big enough debacle!"
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:13 AM on November 10, 2008


Or they can nominate Sarah Palin in four years and watch President Obama eat her alive and spit out the bones.

The image invoked by this statement made my morning!

I think the biggest difference between the Obama and McCain campaigns was that Obama was trying to win the election and McCain was trying to beat Obama. You don't win a race by biting the other horse's tail. I feel that the Republican party showed us all what they really thought of us when they trotted out Ms. Palin as VP. Contempt for the electorate isn't going to translate very well over teh interwebs.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:14 AM on November 10, 2008


I'm sorry, did anyone else notice the list of names in charge of this project? Erick Erickson from Red State is the managing editor.

While many people, myself included, predicted the GOP would try to copycat the grassroots model Obama used so successfully, I never took into account that they'd let someone truly incompetent take the reins. I mean, Red State? Really? Was Malkin busy or something?

Oh, man, this is great.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:15 AM on November 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, rumor has it that the DNC's going to axe Dean's Fifty State Strategy:
A rumor at this point (or rather, someone unwilling to go on record) but what I'm hearing is that the DNC organizers who implement the 50 state strategy are about to be let go. Apparently they will be laid off at the end of the month, and the new DNC chair will decide whether he or she wants to continue the 50 state policy.
posted by orthogonality at 10:16 AM on November 10, 2008


Obama's great* and all, but let's not go attributing everything in creation to him.

Next you'll say that the universe wasn't blinked into existence when The Obama rose his eyebrows, smiled slightly, and saw that it was Good!


BURN THE HERETIC!
posted by The Whelk at 10:16 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Earbucket: Or they can nominate Sarah Palin in four years and watch President Obama eat her alive and spit out the bones.

But he'd do it in such a polite, clean way. Kind of like Hannibal Lecter, but not spooky.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:18 AM on November 10, 2008


Ortho, I'd relax about that. Seems pretty crazy, and very poorly footed.
posted by butterstick at 10:20 AM on November 10, 2008


check out chairman howard dean on voter databases:
I asked about Democratic use of Catalist, and how it compared with the RNC-owned VoterVault. Both of these are highly advanced datamining tools that campaigns use to target their voter universes for ground game. (When I say universes, I mean any groupings of voters selected for organizing purposes -- undecideds, sporadic voting Ds/Rs, newly registered voters, etc.) Dean told me that Republicans have used theirs longer (7 cycles) compared to this being only the 2d cycle for Democrats, but confidently stated that "ours is better."

Dean cited the Catalist's capacity for prediction with 85% accuracy using credit card data whether a voter falls into a particular targeted universe. The amount of streamlining this enables a campaign's ground operation to achieve is hard to overstate. He argued that having only 30 variables versus VoterVault's 250 variables allowed for easier use.

In addition, Dean cited the importance of the primaries, where as a condition of being granted access to the voter file, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were required to return the files with updated data. With a contested primary or caucus in virtually every state, and hundreds of thousands of volunteer organizing hours powering that list-refinement, the voter files Dems are operating with just this cycle are both more up to date than the Republican files as well as being worked much, much harder right now during the general election.
the 'permanent campaign' for both parties is only beginning...
posted by kliuless at 10:23 AM on November 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


butterstick, thanks for the excellent link. Deserves a FFP.
posted by MarshallPoe at 10:23 AM on November 10, 2008


re: Dean's Fifty State Strategy

i wonder if that has something to do with appalachia?
posted by kliuless at 10:27 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


They'll probably just wait four years and blame Bush's robber-baron-caused recession on Barack Obama.

You underestimate them.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:30 AM on November 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


There are a hundred reasons why Obama won, not simply because he masterfully used the intertubes. Eight years of failed Republican policies, a disasterous economic environment, and an unpopular war made it easy for him to position himself as a candidate of change. He is a gifted speaker and a charismatic man. He effectively repositioned the Democratic party as the champion of the middle class. He ran a relatively clean campaign, which gave him the ethical upper hand in pointing out how sleazy the Republican campaign. And McCain made a few enormous blunders -- Palin and "suspending the campaign" at the top of them -- that cost him a lot of Republican votes, especially as Palin attracted and encouraged behavior in fellow Republicans that a lot of voters found odious.

What Obama's ground-up approach to organizing effectively did was give him a tool to get all this information out there. But if he hadn't been as good a candidate as he was, and wasn't running as the candidate of change in a time when change is needed, and McCain hadn't blundered so badly, this bottom-up organizing machine might not have done him any good.

It's not enough to ape tactics. You have to provide what people actually want.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:30 AM on November 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


As many have noted, I think GOP 2.0 is missing the larger picture. All of Dean's amazing work, and all of Obama's skillful adaptation of technology would be for naught without a compelling message to keep the new arrivals and devotees excited and determined. And simply "not being the incumbent" isn't going to cut it anymore -

We've already seen a lot of post-mortem on the strategic and tactical mistakes of the McCain campaign, but in my view, McCain had little chance to win even if he ran a sharp, focused operation. He just happened to be on the receiving end of a decade-plus effort by the GOP to purge moderates and anyone else not sufficiently frothy on the culture war.

Ideoligical purity intoxicates and grabs headlines during the moment, but eventually you realize the volume of the screech doesn't correspond to the number of throats, and those "boycott company XXXX because they love teh gay!!!" email campaigns Dobsen et.al. breathlessly announce are the same 2-4 thousand people who'd cheerfully endorse Pol Pot if they found out he was against abortion, and you look up and realize you've been plowing down the wrong path through the brush for quite a few miles. All the internets in the world won't help them without candidates that aren't nuts.
posted by jalexei at 10:33 AM on November 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


What bothers me most is the tone of the page. Everything is in terms of "us v. them" with concepts based in terms of war. It sounds more like Republican's gearing up the attack machine that got launched after Clinton took office.

For the first time in at least a generation we've had the President elect come out and speak, not directly to his supporters, but to those of his opponent's supporters. We'll have to watch in the unfolding weeks if Obama's rehotric matches the actions in governing.

Although GOP 2.0 dismisses doing any analysis in the first paragraph, the writers have already concluded why they lost the election. Part of Obama's appeal was post party politics. That may not be the way he governs, but it was definitely part of his message. GOP 2.0 simply ignore's this uncomfortable discussion. Instead they simply want to rebuild the Republican machine around the internet.
posted by herda05 at 10:34 AM on November 10, 2008


> You underestimate them.

Jesus, that's one of the dumbest things I've read in a long, long time. I'm stupider for having read it. That's what I get for clicking on a Rush Limbaugh link.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:36 AM on November 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


I heard some RNC spokesperson talking on the radio about how they still have a strong message, one that Americans believe in, and how they just needed to get back to the core of that message for the next election. This is something they've done repeatedly, going back to Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America.

I'd like to believe them, but they seem determined to carry out their plans only to the election, and go completely batshit insane thereafter with old boy network politicking, cronyism and favoritism. Start delivering more on your policies in consistent ways and people might start believing you.
posted by boo_radley at 10:40 AM on November 10, 2008


Republicans would have to fundamentally change their message for this to work. Obama's campaign worked because it gave people something to build on and got them enthusiastic. The only reason to vote for a Republican candidate right now is if you're affected by their message of hatred, anger and fear. It's kind of hard to build something constructive on something so destructive. Furthermore that kind of mindset doesn't encourage a grass roots effort since it's reactionary so people need to be told what to think. Scared people don't come up with innovative solutions or think critically, they just do whatever a father figure tells them to.

Kick out the loonies, get a constructive message together instead of being so fucking adversarial all the time, get something for people to move towards and a grassroots Internet effort might help next time. I don't think that'll happen though because there's nobody left in the party that will use that message. In 4 years we'll have another loony campaigning on abortion and bigotry, trying to talk to the remaining base they have. Fox News and the select media outlets will push through the RNC talking points of the week and they'll lose again unless the economy goes to complete shit and Obama takes the blame.

The Republican party as it exists is pretty much dead at this point and unless the moderates finally manage to let go of the bigots and nutjobs they'll remain that way. All the astroturfing efforts in the world aren't going to help that
posted by mikesch at 10:41 AM on November 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


> You underestimate them.
Argh, my head.
posted by boo_radley at 10:43 AM on November 10, 2008


Not that I want to offer the GOP any help, but seriously, I spent the election season looking at their menagerie on stage in the primaries and through to the end thinking “There are three hundred million people in this country and this is the best they can do?” McCain won out in the end because he was the only one that wasn’t a straight-ahead nutjob. Obama, on the other hand, would have been a credible and respected candidate in any election year, if he were white.

I think what people want, I mean the non-nutjob people, want in a President is basic competence. When McCain finally flunked that test selecting a Vice, the die was cast.

So, my advice to them is to stop trying to appeal to the fringe nutjobs in their party and try to appeal to the American people as a whole.

I hope they ignore my advice.
posted by lordrunningclam at 10:45 AM on November 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


I heard some RNC spokesperson talking on the radio about how they still have a strong message, one that Americans believe in, and how they just needed to get back to the core of that message for the next election. This is something they've done repeatedly, going back to Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America.

Yeah, the consensus among most of the Republicans I know seems to be that McCain was too moderate, and the party ran too far to the center, and what the country really wants is hard-core conservative candidates. To which I say "Good luck with that!"
posted by EarBucket at 10:45 AM on November 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yeah, anyone who liked the 4th American Republic link; thank homunculus over at PoliticalFilter.
posted by butterstick at 10:45 AM on November 10, 2008


EarBucket : Or they can nominate Sarah Palin in four years and watch President Obama eat her alive and spit out the bones.

I know that the adult thing to do at this point is to let this woman quietly drop off the radar and deal with the rest of her life, but since she seems hell bent on hanging onto whatever vestiges of media attention that she can still get, I submit that this would make one hell of a pay-per-view special.

Everybody would win: the left would see an end to this horrible woman, and the right would finally have an example of the evil liberal media empire destroying one of their candidates.

I say that we try to convince all parties involved to go forward with this idea.
posted by quin at 10:48 AM on November 10, 2008


Also, I really resent being referred to as the "Me" generation. We all know which generation that is: The Baby Boomers. Their inability to get past Vietnam and the culture wars is most of the reason the quality of discourse and policy is so very low in this country. Again, I am stepping into the future, and I welcome all who want to pursue a mature and rational discussion of the role of Government in that future.

I can't stress this enough. I really can't. To add one other bit, I'll suggest that, by virute of looking to our "elders" for leadership in most cases, we've always been great at solving the problems of the previous generation.

For example, the Right is handling the "War on Terror" and Russian foreign policy exactly like we did the Cold War-- throw endless amounts of money at the problem through the military and hope we're the ones left standing in the end. For its part, the Left is looking at domestic social policy issues through the lens of 1960's identity politics, proselytizing endlessly about "____ privilege."

I sincerely hope that when that generation finally dies off, their legacy of uncompromising, shrill, aggressive "culture wars" dies with them. But I think I'm far less optimistic than butterstick, given how fervently each side of the Baby Boomers' culture war is trying to entrench itself in academia in order to indoctrinate the next generation.
posted by Law Talkin' Guy at 10:50 AM on November 10, 2008


You misunderestimate them.
posted by gman at 10:54 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


While it was exciting to volunteer and watch the Houdini system in action out in the field, I couldn't help thinking to myself: from here on out, elections are going to be more annoying than ever before in the history of the US.
posted by availablelight at 10:55 AM on November 10, 2008


So, to summarize their plan for rebuilding the party:
1. Use the Internet more.
2. Get more people involved.
3. Raise more money.

That's it; that's the whole plan. The only thing I see on that GOP2.0 site which doesn't consist of permutations of the above three points is "run more candidates who are younger."

If this is really the best they can do, I'm feeling pretty confident about 2012. And beyond.
posted by ook at 10:55 AM on November 10, 2008


Avenger's 5 Steps to Perpetual Republican Victory:

1. Alienate blacks and Latinos
2. Alienate young people
3. Alienate non-Christians
4. ???
5. Win!
posted by Avenger at 11:09 AM on November 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


I know that the adult thing to do at this point is to let this woman quietly drop off the radar and deal with the rest of her life, but since she seems hell bent on hanging onto whatever vestiges of media attention that she can still get, I submit that this would make one hell of a pay-per-view special.

Taking her public image apart now would be counterproductive. Let her retain enough respectability to run as the GOP's 2012 candidate. That's the moment at which to demonstrate how much of an ignoramus she is.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:11 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Which is hilarious since they've categorically refused to reconsider their dedication to Ronald Reagan-style supply-side economics no matter how many times it's been disproved.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:09 PM on November 10 [2 favorites +] [!]


Refused to reconsider it? They know it doesn't work the way they say it works! But it works great to move wealth upward, and they're going to keep using it.
posted by interrobang at 11:12 AM on November 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


The driving force behind their arguments here seems to be that "The GOP is LOSING, when we should be WINNING." Not so much anything to do with the good of the nation, or even a single policy issue. Country first, anyone? I think someone should 'shop that McCain campaign signage into "GOP First."
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 11:15 AM on November 10, 2008


How will these robber-baron-serving plutocrats present themselves as unifying, common-man figures?

This is what gets me. Obama is literally going to give middle class people around $1,000 dollars in tax cuts. McCain could only pull out Joe the Plumber who thinks that maybe, someday he will start a super successful business and then will be victim to the larger tax cut. Its really incredible. The people who think the GOP is for the common man must all think they soon they'll be millionaires, but in the meantime they should vote like millionaires.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:15 AM on November 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


Most of what I've seen during this interminable election process seems to indicate many Republican supporters hate people — literally hate people.

Until that changes, I doubt the GOP has the least chance of survival. Especially if the Democratic-controlled government can demonstrate that attitudes of inclusion and love can make a world of difference.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:19 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


If this is really the best they can do, I'm feeling pretty confident about 2012. And beyond.
I'd feel more confident about 2012 if I thought both parties would be running strong, broadly appealing candidates and smart campaigns. There's no downside to that.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:20 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


The people who think the GOP is for the common man must all think they soon they'll be millionaires, but in the meantime they should vote like millionaires.

My father explicitly admitted to me during this election that this was exactly why he had voted for Republicans all his life, and that only at 65 had he realized that it wasn't going to happen for him. There truly is a widespread philosophy that by hanging out with and acting like and supporting millionaires, perhaps you too will one day be a millionaire. It's irrational, sure, but it's not like people came to this idea through rigorous examination of closely-held beliefs; it's only one step up from sympathetic magic. Don't doubt that exactly the people you describe exist, and exist in largish numbers, and vote.
posted by penduluum at 11:21 AM on November 10, 2008 [15 favorites]


Damn you, Kirth! And if anyone hasn't clicked the RushDouchebag.com link yet, all you need to read is the title:

Obama Recession in Full Swing. November 6, 2008.

Seriously. It only took Rush 2 days to start spouting, and for Obama to ruin it all. Or not be the savior that Rush had been praying to for a mere 2 days. Did someone say something about a "toxic environment?"
posted by filthy light thief at 11:22 AM on November 10, 2008


damn dirty ape, as an ER doctor*, I can attest to the power of the GOP message. Do you know how many thousannaire tradesmen I had to stitch up after they tried lighting White Owl cigars with a nickel?



*Mister_A is not a real doctor. Not even a PhD.
None.

posted by Mister_A at 11:23 AM on November 10, 2008


Yeah, that Rush LOLbaugh (amirite?) article is pretty ridiculous. Even the most cursory of examinations of the financial meltdown indicates that this is Clinton's fault.
posted by DU at 11:24 AM on November 10, 2008


> McCain could only pull out Joe the Plumber who thinks that maybe, someday he will start a super successful business and then will be victim to the larger tax cut.

It gets better: Joe was on welfare.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:26 AM on November 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


The Republicans remind me of our Liberal Party here in Canada. FUCKED.
posted by gman at 11:29 AM on November 10, 2008


"The irony here is that Obama as President would act in ways that contradict the bottom-up culture that fueled his campaign. In the campaign, it was "Yes We Can." In the White House, it will be "Yes, Government Can." Obama's top-down government control of the health care and the economy will give conservatives an opening to once again recapture the mantle of distributed citizen activism."

The fundamental problem with the Republican philosophy is that they ignore one of the founding ideals of America—that the government is of, by and for the American people. "Yes We Can" includes the government. The government is us, and while I frequently support reforms to the government (which may even be things promoted by Republicans), I see government as part of the team for which we all play. The strategy of dismantling it always seems like trying to run a baseball team without any outfielders, just to save the fans a couple dollars on tickets. It's an OK strategy if you're the Royals, but if you ever want to achieve greatness, you need to fully fund and support the team.
posted by klangklangston at 11:29 AM on November 10, 2008 [9 favorites]


Republicans don't get it because they fail to realize that Obama and his supporters actually BELIEVE their own rhetoric. To them, rhetoric is something to be used as a cynical tool to target, suppressed and confuse the electorate, and completely fail to understand than an effective force to unite and change.

If Obama is successful, it's going to take the Republicans a lot more than a good web strategy to resurrect their morally and intellectually bankrupt party. Of course, if Obama fails and our institutions continue to deteriorate at an accelerated pace, we could see a return to darkness in two years.

Off topic, I'm a little disappointed that Obama is meeting with a known terrorist and war criminal without preconditions.
posted by psmealey at 11:30 AM on November 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


I heard Clinton a week or so ago talking about how Republicans talk about how government is inherently corrupt and can't work. They run candidates for whom that is their mantra. Clinton then asked if it was any surprise that these candidates are also corrupt and incompetent. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:32 AM on November 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


Off topic, I'm a little disappointed that Obama is meeting with a known terrorist and war criminal without preconditions.

There was a precondition. The precondition is that he'd be moving out and taking all his shit with him in January.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:32 AM on November 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


My favorite Joe the Plumber bit is when Benny pats him on his widdle bald head.
And seriously, Joe the Lying Sack-of-Shit Hypocrite faux-Everyman Crooked Tradesman, can you fucking wear something besides a fucking T-Shirt? And also stop prevaricating.
posted by Mister_A at 11:33 AM on November 10, 2008


One of the most impressive things to me about the campaign was the emphasis on keeping your head down, staying in your lane, and doing the job you'd been handed to do. You kept your eyes on your own work and trusted that the people running the campaign knew what they were doing and all the pieces would fit together in the end.

An Advance Transcript from Tomorrow's Press Conference

I'm Barack Obama, and I want to caution all my supporters to not imagine that the game is over now. We gotta play 'em one day at a time. Now, as the President-Elect, I'm just happy to be here, and I hope I can help the ballclub nation. I just want to give it my best shot, and the good Lord willing, things will work out.
posted by sixswitch at 11:35 AM on November 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


So what anti- minority stance are they dropping? Of course, there must always be exactly two viable parties. So we expect that the Republicans will recover. How fast depends upon both the Democrats and the Republicans.

I feel the Libertarians & Ron Pauls now have some slim chance of replacing the Republicans if they (a) push the Republicans more into the arms of the religious psychopaths, including making them run Palin & worse, and (b) capture the Republican business interest base. Such a move would grant the Democrats like 12+ years of power, but the end result would be a younger & stronger fiscal conservative party. However, a serious red party can't run only presidential candidates, they must field credible candidates in solidly red states. I imagine said candidates should preferably win based upon their distinctive ideas, like legalizing pot.

p.s. I to imagine that McCain would have faired far far better selecting Lieberman as VP. Indeed, McCain & Lieberman would have been the 2000 ticket for recovering the centrist position that Clinton claimed & Gingrich sacrificed.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:37 AM on November 10, 2008


I heard Clinton a week or so ago talking about how Republicans talk about how government is inherently corrupt and can't work. They run candidates for whom that is their mantra. Clinton then asked if it was any surprise that these candidates are also corrupt and incompetent. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy.

P.J. O'Rourke said this more succinctly: "The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:37 AM on November 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


a look at rebooting 'conservatism' [via] by thoughtful conservatives (if not the GOP)
posted by kliuless at 11:42 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Damn you, Kirth!

I just wanted everyone to know that some of those clowns didn't even wait for the chads to settle before they started waving their blame-totems at Obama. I fully expect a rerun of the Clinton-era witch-hunts and foolishness.

I think our best response is unrelenting ridicule.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:47 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's going to be hard to adopt a 'grassroots model' after the derision they heaped upon the term 'community organiser'.
posted by malevolent at 11:48 AM on November 10, 2008 [8 favorites]


I just wanted everyone to know that some of those clowns didn't even wait for the chads to settle before they started waving their blame-totems at Obama. I fully expect a rerun of the Clinton-era witch-hunts and foolishness.

There is one major difference here. It's hard to launch a witch-hunt when you only control two-fifths of either house of Congress. That may very well change in two years, particularly if the economy hasn't been turned around yet, but for now their leverage in Washington is basically nil.
posted by EarBucket at 11:51 AM on November 10, 2008


I fully expect a rerun of the Clinton-era witch-hunts and foolishness.

They are more than welcome to spend their minority status by meeting in damp subbasements reading from vitriolic agendas nobody enacts.
posted by DU at 11:51 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's going to be hard to adopt a 'grassroots model' after the derision they heaped upon the term 'community organiser'.

Given attention spans in this country, I doubt that would be much of an impediment. I mean, McCain's concession speech was trumpeted as "classy, gracious and elegant", and that's our memory of him, meanwhile the ugliness of "palling around with terrorists" and being a "socialist" is long forgotten. Life in America: Up is Down, provided the memory of Up has enough time to fade, or be replaced by a more compelling narrative.

I feel the Libertarians & Ron Pauls now have some slim chance of replacing the Republicans if they (a) push the Republicans more into the arms of the religious psychopaths, including making them run Palin & worse, and (b) capture the Republican business interest base.

Never happen. At best, Ron Paul is a right wing Ralph Nader type populist who is attractive to a small core of believers, but is pretty much considered a crackpot by the media and mainstream pols.

At the end of the day, Republicans go where Wall Street and the Defense Industry tell them to go, that's it. The Sarah Palins of the world are interesting window-dressing, but since they don't represent real money, ultimately they have no power to change anything in the party. Here's how it works, the GOP gets the blessing of their boardroom masters, and then crafts some absurd nonsense about loving Jaysus and being for the common man, while getting air cover from the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwell, and then a standard bearer emerges.

Maybe the continued demise of Wall Street will put this to an end, but I have my doubts. The GOP is the Party of the enormously wealthy, even during the time of FDR. Whatever grassroots work they do is cynical manipulation at the service of some insidious ideal. They cannot, almost be definition, organize from the bottom up.
posted by psmealey at 11:53 AM on November 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


GOP 2.0 simply ignore's this uncomfortable discussion. Instead they simply want to rebuild the Republican machine around the internet.
RedState.com's history in this regard isn't promising. They started by taking the open-source software DailyKos was using, and launching "A right-wing DKos". When Kos started hiring developers to enhance the software, RedState complained that all the liberal programmers wouldn't donate time to help Republicans.

Then RedState rebuilt itself on the software Howard Dean's campaign used in 2004 to set up turnkey campaign web sites. They purged all the Ron Paul fans, one of whom went on to build Ron Paul's campaign site using the same software -- and RedState complained they they couldn't find volunteer developers again.

Late last year they rebuilt the site a third time using a completely different open source software platform -- perhaps this time it will turn out better for them. Needless to say, the RedState.com arc does not lead me to believe that they have a great deal of expertise building and evolving tools and strategies. They seem to grab onto tools others have created, then jump when things get confusing.

Comparisons to their political philosophies are left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by verb at 11:58 AM on November 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


GOP1.0: talk radio is alive and well: the GOP base continuing to refer to Obama as 'The AntiChrist' seems the more likely outcome of all their soul searching. Minnesota Independent article.
posted by acro at 12:04 PM on November 10, 2008


Another problem with the media repeating the GOP insiders' attacks on Sarah Palin is that it feeds a Right-winger's sense of victimization. Right-wing moonbats blame the media for attacking Palin, while their own political organization is behind the attacks.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:05 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meh. They'll be back. It took a breathtaking meltdown of the financial system under their watch, two failed occupations, a party leader more unpopular than any in the history of presidential approval ratings, and a profoundly horrible pick of running mate in order to help the democrats get a mere two points past a majority. In a saner country, if the government hadn't already been recalled in early elections there would've been a landslide.

Don't worry, the US will get back to shooting themselves in the collective foot in short order.
posted by mullingitover at 12:05 PM on November 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Taking her public image apart now would be counterproductive. Let her retain enough respectability to run as the GOP's 2012 candidate. That's the moment at which to demonstrate how much of an ignoramus she is.

Blazecock Pileon, you mean I should shelve my new book, Palinosities: Pallin' Around with a Wink and a Wave for 2012? This will become an epic tome, instead of those cutesy Bushism books that came out every 6 months.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:06 PM on November 10, 2008


..the GOP base continuing to refer to Obama as 'The AntiChrist'..

Don't worry, once the base gets Talking Points 2.0 they'll fall into line. It's what they do best.
posted by DU at 12:06 PM on November 10, 2008


I fully expect a rerun of the Clinton-era witch-hunts and foolishness.

Certainly, Rx Limbaugh & Co are already aggressively on the case. This is the bigger question to me: will the hateful derision of empty barrels like Limbaugh and Hannity have any resonance with the lumpen masses during an Obama administration, or are people truly changing their thinking about government? I think that if the talk radio blowhards can finally be marginalized, we have a fighting chance. Short of that, I'm not as hopeful.

As much as I really wanted to see 60 Dems in the Senate, I think think that what the Democratic Party needs more is a loyal, responsible, adult opposition. Might be too much to ask for, but I think this gives us our best chance. We have a wellspring of ideas and innovation from the left, and some cautious checks and balances from the right (at least that's how it used to work).

If the hate mongering fatuous right gains traction as they did in 1994, we will again see the childish foodfights we'd been seeing for two decades, and you probably will see some unaccountably ambitious idiot like Sarah Palin grab the reins power in the midst of chaos and misery that results.
posted by psmealey at 12:07 PM on November 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


It gets better: Joe was on welfare.

here's the best comment:

Which will happen first? Will this totally discredited hack's 15 minutes of fame wind down first, or will the GOP be forced to send their Black Ops agents to take him out and stop the embarrassment?
posted by gman at 12:09 PM on November 10, 2008


It's not like there's a shortage of Republicans online. News bulletin boards all over the place are populated with the talk-radio crowd doing their best to poison discussion on any topic--over-posting talking points and refusing to clarify or prove them, throwing out noise to quell any substantive discussion taking place, and throwing out random racist and bigoted junk to steer the conversation. Every now and then one will pop up on Metafilter and try to follow what I'm guessing is some kind of Limbaugh ten-point plan, until they realize it's not going to play. The reason they thrive on talk radio is that their stuff doesn't stand up when it is put into print and scrutinized; they rely on a controlled one-way flow of information.

Not to say that I wouldn't appreciate some solid, thoughtful opposition viewpoints around here; the paucity of them makes (some of) us complacent and lazy. But at this point I think the messages they're pushing are designed for knee-jerk reaction and not thoughtful analysis.
posted by troybob at 12:29 PM on November 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


will the GOP be forced to send their Black Ops agents to take him out and stop the embarrassment?

Rush Limbaugh lost his hearing to an OxyContin addiction. Bill "The Book of Virtues" Bennett lost millions at video poker. Ted Stevens is on track to become the first convicted felon elected to the U.S. Senate.

You really think a little thing like welfare is going to bother the GOP rank-and-file?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:43 PM on November 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


Speaking of Rush, today he was blaming Obama for the recession. What a charmer! If I were that guy I would rebrand myself into being a fiercely sharp yet chill watchdog on the Obama administration rather than keeping up that same tired old anti-Clinton style rage. There is a market for skeptics, but this hyperbolic apples-to-oranges bullshit is so passe.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:07 PM on November 10, 2008


Rush recently negotiated a $300 million contract for his show.

Hate pays remarkably well in the USA.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:20 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


$300 million? Holy shit.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:21 PM on November 10, 2008


Barack Obama is also an economic terrorist.
posted by gman at 2:22 PM on November 10, 2008


Wolfdog: yeah, fair point, that'd be nice too.
posted by ook at 2:54 PM on November 10, 2008


The "can't fail" Republican strategy to Internetize the base should be a new browser search toolbar. Perhaps pony up a for a few AOL keywords?
posted by benzenedream at 3:09 PM on November 10, 2008


GOP 2.0 won't work because it is diametrically opposed to the Republican ideology and culture. They are a very hierarchical culture -- McCain's appeal towards honor and respect is not a joke or a gimmick, these people take this shit seriously. That's why you see Colin Powell do the whole UN Anthrax thing like a good soldier, even though he didn't really believe it. Those values are antithetical towards any sort of grassroots movement. The GOP by definition cannot run a grassroots movement because they don't believe in it.

Democrats are all about decentralization, whereas Republicans are all about making the trains run on time. Ayn Rand's examples of train magnates running large organizations and wielding power is not a joke to them. You cannot have your peons do things on their own -- there must be a chain of command and structure.

Democrats found their organization, and that is the lack of one with masses doing their own thing. Republicans already found theirs, a clear chain of command with a ton of people willing to follow orders from above. It's religious organizations, and Bush/Karl Rove wielded that power well and ran a damn good train company. Unfortunately, due to changes in technology and culture, a train company is not the right way to run things, empowerment and bottom-up is the way to go now. Call it postmodernism or Web 2.0, it doesn't matter, it's clear this is the future. Wikipedia beats Britannica. The solution for Britannica is not to create a wiki and distribute books with the results, the solution is to keep what they're doing damn well and hope you stick around another four years.
posted by amuseDetachment at 3:22 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


"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.

Anti-washington. Sure. Has it occoured to any of these idiots that 1) They ran Washington for years, the problems are their problems and 2) That maybe people actually want a government that actually works and can be used to solve collective problems, such as an imploding economy?

Also, they seem so focused on the Economy, but while Obama's campaign used the Internet, it wasn't about the internet, it was about face to face contact. It used the Internet to help people be more effective in reaching out to their families and friends.

MarshallPoe, if you are interested in detecting an historical pattern on this, you'll find this article from Salon very interesting.

Ugh, that article [the 4th republic] seemed like a bunch of nonsense numerology to me.

The problem with the GOP is that they failed. It seems to me that they got so wedded to K-street and the corporations that they were no longer able to come up with any govern effectively or manage the economy. FEMA became a pork factory for the clients of lobbyists. So was the Iraq war. And when things started going wrong, they were so used to lying and sweeping everything under the rug that know longer even knew what was going on. They probably believed their own lies.

They're going to have to wait for the democrats to start fucking things up, and that probably won't happen for a while. But it will happen eventually.
posted by delmoi at 3:44 PM on November 10, 2008


(Hit post instead of preview...)

Any appeals that Barack Obama ran a good organization and campaign must understand that I'm not saying that no structure is necessary at all and you can let it go willy nilly, instead, it's the grassroots that really let Barack Obama to be where he is now. He has the right people to take advantage of a grassroots organization, but you'd be crazy if you didn't think it was the grassroots that found him, rather than the other way around. The grassroots picked him because he was competent and amicable towards grassroots orgs. They were just lucky vessels by which to rally behind. Dean was the same way (Kuicinich, not so much. I could never see facebook engineers quitting to join that campaign).

Us in the Howard Dean 2004 campaign wanted something like Houdini and direct calling to swing states, with real empowerment. We were calling and emailing for that to the Dean campaign and in this campaign as DNC chair, he ran with it. Watch what happens in the next eight years, I'm not surprised that the GOP is freaking out.

For the Democratic candidates, the right way to do things is to take the playbook from marketing firms. To them, brands and marketing is no longer about convincing you to buy goods or even about image ("that's so last decade"). It may sound a little sleazy, but the overarching theme in marketing is that brands are now tribes. The Cult of Apple/Google/Organics are where it's at, and so is the Cult of Barack Obama (with the latter actually being more owned by people). Read through the metafilter PBR post from yesterday, about how their marketing dollars are going purely towards cultural events and icons, not ads (PBR fans now define the brand and culture instead of the other way around). The Obama campaign gets it with their change.gov site, they're curators of a tribal discussion. Future successful Democratic candidates will use that approach.

Republicans would never let you set the agenda and tribal values, they are all about exclusivity (think 'lobbyist access' and 'moral absolutes') -- for that reason, GOP 2.0 will never work.
posted by amuseDetachment at 3:48 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Democrats are all about decentralization, whereas Republicans are all about making the trains run on time.

What's so funny about this, is that if you went back a few decades, you'd find precisely the opposite view:

* That "states rights, get off my land, don't touch my guns, let me pray in my schools" Republicans are all about decentralization.
* The Democratics are all about government-directed, top-down, best-and-the-brightest management science that will show you the best way to live your life.

Republicans are (were?) after all, the free market cheerleaders, even as the bus plunges into the canyon in a fiery kaboom.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:59 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, it is definitely high time that fear-and-hate politics are updated to use XMLHttpRequest. Good luck with that, Republicans.
posted by Flunkie at 4:00 PM on November 10, 2008


Cool Papa Bell: Yeah it's very interesting, isn't it? That's why I think Obama is a bigger shift for the Democratic party than many consider and that what we just saw represents a huge shift in the party's values.

One caveat is that I notice that free market cheerleaders tend to be pro-big-business (to the point that "free market" means Fortune 500), while Democrats are more pro-small-business. For that reason, government plays a role to help small-businesses (see: government health insurance, access to education). I think the dichotomy is now not about centralization vs. decentralization of resources, it's now about authority and ownership of power itself.
posted by amuseDetachment at 4:08 PM on November 10, 2008


Obama's having some issues of his own.
posted by gman at 4:14 PM on November 10, 2008


Obama's having some issues of his own.

Not the best sign to the people who elected him. I hope Nader was wrong.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:29 PM on November 10, 2008


Obama's having some issues of his own.

Is there some reason to believe that the site isn't being retooled as Obama's people report? I'm not getting the grand conspiracy in the editing of pages on a site that is a voluntary project on the part of the upcoming administration. Maybe it points to the wisdom of using wiki-style change logs to clarify everything, if this is the kind of stuff that's going to lead to freak-out, but otherwise it just seems this site is miffed that its link got broken.
posted by troybob at 4:38 PM on November 10, 2008


Not the best sign to the people who elected him.
posted by gman at 4:40 PM on November 10, 2008


Let's face it, people...those pages were taken down because the election's over, and he doesn't have to make any more promises for another three years or so.
posted by you just lost the game at 4:47 PM on November 10, 2008


Blasphemy!
posted by gman at 4:51 PM on November 10, 2008


They're in the process of rewriting the agenda. It was all just copy pasted from his other site previously.

We'll see what it looks like when it's updated, but I wouldn't expect drastic changes.
posted by empath at 5:42 PM on November 10, 2008


On GOP 2.0. Here's what they need to do if they want to win:

Elect Newt Gingritch head of the RNC, and have well funded huckabee and ron paul campaigns drive grassroots participation in the party in 2012. They'll lose, of course, but a new generation of republicans may be excited about participating and put them in good position to take a shot at 2016.

Obama could not have happened with out the Dean campaign in 2004. The GOP needs something similar.
posted by empath at 5:45 PM on November 10, 2008


Not the best sign to the people who elected him. I hope Nader was wrong.

Nader's always wrong.

Seriously, Obama hasn't even taken office yet and you guys are worried that the removal of boilerplate imported from his campaign website means that he won't work to get what he promised done? If you read that boilerplate it didn't even make sense becase it was written in a conditional tone.

Plus, let's get serious. Obama ran as a support Israel at all costs, no-single payer health care, regulated-capitalism, send more troops to Afghanistan,opposed to gay-marriage, attack Pakistan unilaterally if they won't get bin Laden centrist.

Everything about Obama tells me he's honest. That means he is going to implement, to the best of his ability, everything he says he will. People who marvel at his honesty but who don't think he really means what he says are in for a big shock. Contrary to what McCainites and social democrats think, he is going to be exactly who he says he is going to be. They'll be no hammer-and-sicke flying over the White House. He will raise taxes on the rich, cut taxes for 95% of the population, attack Pakistan, create a health-care system run by insurance companies, bail out GM and press Iran to not build the bomb.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:53 PM on November 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


“Those values are antithetical towards any sort of grassroots movement.”

Values?

Anyway, I agree. I don’t think it will work.
There’s something inherent in internet discourse that discourages the hierarchical nature of the GOP. Indeed, the rhetoric presumes upon this “I know better” didactic approach that relies - to some degree on myopic perspective and ignorance of other information sources.
Using the internet more - getting more of their supporters on the net - defeats the monopoly of information they seem to - if not depend on - at least enjoy.
Getting more people involved means either they allow some latitude in perspective - that is - become more “liberal,” at least in how they treat information - and so, less orthodox (alone, self-defeating) or - as has been said - become more ‘hardcore’ and fanatic. Amp up the hate, mute opposing voices, etc.

Which means they’re looking to start some shit and want to have more people on their side.
But that just ain’t going to work anymore.

That said I don’t think the Dems are all about grassroots. Obama is, sure. But I doubt the organization would be the same if, say, Clinton were in office.
But again - I voted for (among a few other thing) exactly this grassroots approach that Obama brought to the table. There’s no question bringing decision making authority to the most local practical level empowers communities and gets people more involved. I mean - look at this last election.

Oh, I’d like to see a successful 3rd party do it (and indeed, the Greens have in Illinois). Then a 4th. Maybe more.
But I’m not going to not vote for Obama just because I’m not completely on board with everything he stands for. Especially because of the grassroots approach.


“I see government as part of the team for which we all play. The strategy of dismantling it always seems like trying to run a baseball team without any outfielders, just to save the fans a couple dollars on tickets” - klangklangston

Well, yeah, but the GOP doesn’t even live up to that. I mean - small government philosophy is one thing, the general idea is to not have the government be an apparatus by which folks get pushed around by other folks using the government to do it - massive expansion of spending while massively cutting taxes for a very small elite and prosecuting several wars and using the government to spy, erode civil rights and pretty much push people around - wouldn’t, y’know, be anywhere near the ball park of ‘small government.’ Not the same league. Not even the same game.

I think they just lifted something that sounded good from a relatively benign bit of conservative philosophy and pretended it meant something more than it did. I believe it’s called “lying.”

“Obama Recession in Full Swing. November 6, 2008....Seriously. It only took Rush 2 days to start spouting, and for Obama to ruin it all.”

Well, yes. Because he’s a liar too. Y’know, for money.
People seem happy to conflate that with entertainment for some reason. Never understood that. I always feel insulted when I’m lied to.
Someone can have an honest opinion opposite mine and I’ll politely dispute the point. But blatently lying to me (like Rush) is like someone laughing at me telling me how stupid they think I am.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:05 PM on November 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


psmealey, I never said the libertarians had any real chance, but they've more chance now than they've had in quite some time. You should act now if you're a libertarian supporter.

I don't know what base the libertarians could mount their campaign under, but fiscal conservatives legalizing pot might win some House seats in 2 years. I mean, even 5 seats would drastically increase their credibility.

I mean, they are a joke now when they can't win anything. If they had won any seats, then they might start finding multi-millionaire Ayn Rand fans who refuse to associate with ether Democrats or Republicans, but who'd sign up for reducing taxes & legalizing pot.

Sure the Republicans would then move towards absorbing the Libertarians, but that's still a major moral victory if you either legalize pot or reduce pork.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:06 PM on November 10, 2008


Here's another reason the Republicans can't do it:
In the battleground state of Ohio, "instead of volunteers assembling at 200 parking lots at union halls, we have 1,400 neighborhood teams in the state that we have spent six months recruiting and training and managing, said Jon Carson, the overseer of Obama's national network of volunteers. "We've taken the best of those volunteers, and they're giving us 40, 50, 60 hours a week. They're empowered, and we made them accountable. I can tell from here in Chicago; did you make the phone calls, the door knocks?"
That's real work. How many Republican college smarties are willing to put in that kind of hard labour? Walking for freakin' miles, knocking on every damn door? Unless they're being well paid, I can't imagine many of them care so much about other people as to do that.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:40 PM on November 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


And indeed, as I continue to read, evidence that the Republican Party is dead in the water:
The discomfort among McCain's advisers was plain to see. Tensions had been building: in early October, as reporters trooped through the lobby of one hotel, they witnessed Salter and Nicolle Wallace arguing heatedly. Days later, Salter was unhappy with a statement by Wallace that seemed to defend the angry crowds stirred up by Governor Palin. Salter and Wallace clearly had a strained relationship. As reporters, who had been kept away from McCain, boarded the plane that day through the front door, they paraded past the candidate who was sitting on the couch that had been installed—but never used—for "Straight Talk" chats with the press. The candidate who had once traded japes with his press-corps pals did not even look up; he just looked glumly at the floor. He was flanked by Salter and Wallace, who stared grimly ahead.
The old Republican Party is a dog-eat-dog world. It is doomed to fail, devoured from within.

I expect that if the USA survives the crises it faces, (a) Obama will have a second time, because he'll have been instrumental of preventing the Titanic from sinking; (b) the Democrats will split into Liberal and Conservative Parties (probably named the "Democrats" and "neo-Republicans/new-Release" parties); (c) the existing Republican Party apparatus will utterly destroy itself, rendering them a distant, faint third party.

Probably quite a bit like Canada in a mirror. Hopefully our countries aren't going to meet in the middle politically; Canada is far from perfect, and perfection lies a little to the left of us (and to the right of some of the most socialist European countries.)
posted by five fresh fish at 6:53 PM on November 10, 2008


And another sign that the Republican Party, as we know, is dead man walking:
Nixon had promised to avoid personal attacks (and thus earned the nickname "Tricky Dick"); he was adept at mixing high rhetoric with low blows. These tactics became a strategy in his appeal to the Silent Majority fearful of black crime and rioting students in 1968.
That shit worked back in the day, Pops, sure.

Welcome to the new century, Republican arseholes. We're done with this shit. Survival mandates cooperation.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:25 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, said passage is on this page, talking about the history of negative campaigning, and how the McCain team "understood the power of isolating some small, seemingly trivial weakness of the opponent—and bludgeoning it."

The party of cooperation and community is going to split in two near equal-size parties; the party of hate and squabble is going to disintegrate to a lunatic fringe.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:35 PM on November 10, 2008


"Those values are antithetical towards any sort of grassroots movement. The GOP by definition cannot run a grassroots movement because they don't believe in it."

I like how the conservative impetus toward order has been inflated to prevent them from ever having an effective ground game.

Dubya Bush was just the last surge of a successful grassroots campaign from the GOP that lasted well over 20 years. They worked with local power centers, like churches and chambers of commerce, invested heavily in think tanks and in shifting the tone in academia. Hell, their last significant surge, that of the Contract On America congress, was predicated upon a wide grassroots movement. And what they can't build legitimately, they can fake—astroturfing is primarily a conservative concern.

"I think they just lifted something that sounded good from a relatively benign bit of conservative philosophy and pretended it meant something more than it did. I believe it’s called “lying.”"

Well, yeah, there's that. There's also the perception, which is fairly understandable, that the government only comes up with regulations in order to stop regular folks from being able to do what they want. One of the nice things about a broad movement, and also about Obama's use of technology to appeal more directly to folks, is that hopefully people will understand the reasons behind regulation. It's obnoxious to just be told that you have to go through this and that environmental testing before you can even think about expanding your dry cleaners, but putting it in terms of "This and that chemical cause these problems, which costs the community X amount to deal with each year, so you're pitching in by helping shape these rules and abiding by them" encourages agency and less complaints. It also helps to see your taxes actually going for something, which, unfortunately, usually the only place that gets seen by regular folks is the military. The military has all sorts of retarded projects that could be abandoned or retooled, but since that's the only government spending that a lot of folks see—and it's tied directly to a feeling of safety—it's a really knee-jerk thing to object to cutting.
posted by klangklangston at 7:35 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I mean, on the first point above, just to drop the H-Bomb, it's not like the Nazis had any trouble organizing a grassroots movement, and they were about the most authoritarian fucks you can imagine.
posted by klangklangston at 7:38 PM on November 10, 2008


There are, at this time, 8 199 164 more voting Democrats than voting Republicans. That's a 15% difference in opinion about what direction the country should be heading. That's a shitload of influence in society. With cooperation, change will happen. That applies just as much to the neo-Republican Party, by whatever form it takes, as it does to the Democrats: open, honest campaigning toward a common greater goal is the more powerful means of change. Fear-mongering is bullshit. Smarter thinking, long-term thinking: that is the only means by which we succeed.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:49 PM on November 10, 2008


Stoned while reading this, so forgive me for another great pull-quote:
McCain nodded. "Yeah," he said. Schmidt quickly got to work on an ad. On July 30, the "celebrity" ad went up and was quickly flashed around the country on news shows and YouTube. "He's the biggest celebrity in the world," a breathy announcer declares, while images of Obama's Berlin speech are juxtaposed with shots of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.
Thing of it is, Obama is a celebrity on the world stage. As far as we can tell from outside your country, it looks like he's really willing to learn about things, think about things, make decisions based on fact and sound thinking.

You simply would not believe what a relief it is to know there's a very good chance that the USA will participate in solving some of the problems the world faces, many of them because of the way the Western world lives its lifestyle (ie. too wealthy) without regard for the consequences (ie. abysmal, killing poverty and rapid environmental instability); and many of them because of things the USA has done and lead in doing around the world.

F'rinstance, regardless the asshat Harper that Canada unfortunately has in power at the moment (he'll come down when push comes to shove), there's a will in Canada to make a positive difference in the world. For instance, while we're fairly sick of war, we're pretty gung-ho for peacekeeping. Obama strikes me as a peacekeeper.

Likewise energy problems. We do advanced research up here in the North as regards alternative energy. I'm sure there's research down in the USA. There are certainly endless applications for cheap, clean energy. We're into that. Obama strikes me as the kind to be into that, too.

Anyhoo, yah. Celebrity. Can't help but be that. Not because he's gonna save us, but because it means the USA just might start working with us. If the majority of America jumps on board with him, there's a chance we can pull this life-on-a-planet thing off.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:05 PM on November 10, 2008


If there was any racist or truly low-road attack on Obama, it was likely to come from the 527s, which are prohibited by law from communicating with presidential campaigns—and are thus free to sling mud with impunity.

Are there equivalent political vehicles in Canada? I'm not aware of not being allowed to more or less say what I want in political terms. On the other hand, there are no political opinions that I offer that are... well, shocking.

I obviously can't spout off blatantly racist, sexist, etceteraist bullshit; I expect it would result in civil suits that have an honest chance of winning. Can't say things that are simply bald-faced untrue and would incite violence in the nutters. Or so I assume.

Maybe it's just not Canadian character to go into the batshitinsane mudslinging much. It's unbecoming.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:15 PM on November 10, 2008


The Changing of the Guard. (Or the dress rehearsal, at least.)
posted by Rhaomi at 9:23 PM on November 10, 2008


FROM DAVID PLOUFFE to everybody at facebook.com


Hello all,

as you know, our country is heavily in debt to the tune of trillions of dollars as a result of the failed policies of george bush.

that's why i'm asking you to make a $5 - $30 donation which will go someway to easing our national debt.

If you reply by before midnight, you could be one of 20 people picked to have front row seats at my presidential inauguration.


sincerely

Barack.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:26 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


From Rhaomi's link: This picture really bothers me. I thought that was Bush's shadow, but it's not, or Obama's would be right next to it. Who's shadow is that?
posted by boo_radley at 10:18 PM on November 10, 2008


That's obama waving, you can see the edge of his hand below Bush's chin.
posted by amuseDetachment at 10:22 PM on November 10, 2008


i believe it is a ghost.
posted by boo_radley at 10:25 PM on November 10, 2008


FROM DAVID PLOUFFE to everybody at facebook.com

You have got to be shitting us. Either your taxes are lucidrously low, or your debt is make-or-break in a rather dire fashion.

I expect to be impressed with how stolen wealth is reclaimed this next tax return.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:27 PM on November 10, 2008


Either your taxes are lucidrously low

Bingo. Of course, that's still too high for noted economist Joe the Plumber, so we'd better lower them again.

What? You didn't know that ludicrously low taxes are part of the plan?
posted by dhartung at 11:15 PM on November 10, 2008


Who's shadow is that?

They were doing an ice-breaker. Dubya made an elephant (the papers were careful not to explain how), and Obama made a donkey. With a mustache.
posted by dhartung at 11:18 PM on November 10, 2008


Why are there insane people like this in positions of power?

Surely everyone can agree that the gun death problem in the USA is a problem. The plain numbers show that there are a lot of very unnecessary deaths. Sounds like a good reason to make it a requirement to be a responsible gun owner. And that can only be done through education.

Now it sounds to me like Obama's (and, for that matter, Bush's) idea for a volunteer national militia. Young Adult Cadets. Katimavik for gun people. Well-regulated, so that we can be sure they are learning responsible gun use and doing useful things in the community. That's why we fund them. After their three years of volunteer work/free job training/free gun training are up, they get a permanent firearms certificate. And a very good chance at getting a productive job.

I mean, shit, doesn't that sound like exactly the sort of thing the damn Constitution was talking about? A civil militia, trained and armed and ready to serve the community?

I can't believe Republicans would think a well-regulated civilian militia/job training/education freebie is a bad idea. They're all about the military. What better way to do it? And Democrats should be nutso about it, because it's all about the education and social good and shit. Win-Win for the parties, win-win for the individual, win-win for society.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:29 AM on November 11, 2008


McCain nodded. "Yeah," he said. Schmidt quickly got to work on an ad. On July 30, the "celebrity" ad went up and was quickly flashed around the country on news shows and YouTube. "He's the biggest celebrity in the world," a breathy announcer declares, while images of Obama's Berlin speech are juxtaposed with shots of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

If you believe the Newsweek piece at all, the "Barack is a Celebrity" thing had the Obama campaign seriously worried. It was gaining traction with the same people that had made a talking point of John Kerry's windsurfing (apparently irrelevant, and not equally metaphoric that GWB couldn't stay upright on a bicycle, or even Segway). I don't doubt for a second that Obama would have won even without the financial meltdown, but it definitely changed the subject.
posted by psmealey at 5:26 AM on November 11, 2008


Stoned while reading this...
...

Why are there insane people like this in positions of power?


Dude, your link is like ... going to the wrong page or something, man.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:18 AM on November 11, 2008


Palin on running in 2012:

“This is what I always do. I’m like, O.K., God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I’m like, don’t let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is. Even if it’s cracked up a little bit, maybe I’ll plow right on through that and maybe prematurely plow through it, but don’t let me miss an open door. And if there is an open door in ‘12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I’ll plow through that door.”

It would appear she's given some thought to plowing through that open door.
posted by EarBucket at 6:30 AM on November 11, 2008


“but putting it in terms of "This and that chemical cause these problems, which costs the community X amount to deal with each year, so you're pitching in by helping shape these rules and abiding by them" encourages agency and less complaints.”

I agree completely. I’d say about 95% of the problems there are because of poor communication and lack of inclusion.

“it's not like the Nazis had any trouble organizing a grassroots movement, and they were about the most authoritarian fucks you can imagine.”

True - but that was based on deception, coercion and social isolation.
Point about the internet being the expansion of communication and ease of dissemination and anonymity being - it’s fundimentally contrary to an authoritarian approach, which requires orthodoxy and a kind of public fear based isolation. Where you’re alone in a crowd who seem to be ok with all this.
A lot of people were on board with the Nazis - frankly - because they were pretty great for most people. I’m sure you know after this hellish period Germany had, the Nazi’s delivered jobs and so forth.
Now if it were brought to your attention that there was this genocide going on, and you knew enough people opposed it by speaking with them anonmously and you could put forth your own views the same way - you’d probably act against it.
And indeed - there was grassroots resistance to the Nazis.
As there was resistance here to the gulag at Gitmo.
Hell, I’m pissed off about it and I’ll be pretty chapped if Obama doesn’t do something about it on day one.
But the fact of his election was a big rebuke to all those policies.
We did change power. Had the Nazis been able to consolidate they would have lasted, probably until the invention of personal means of mass communication. Like Poland. Like the Soviets. Etc.

I’m not arguing ideological superiority by any means. I’m saying organization and communication today has radically changed the methodology of grassroots organizing.
It’s just easier to see through b.s.

Some folks might want the Limbaugh types. But push comes to shove - it’s a luxury. And one people can’t ultimately afford. They need accurate, useful information to base a decision on.
All things being equal in ability, intellect, etc. - if my guy gives it to me straight. And yours doesn’t. I’m going to prosper and you aren’t.
But even more importantly - that feedback, today, works both ways.
So your representatives get a more accurate picture, they’re going to be better leaders (eventually).

“The military has all sorts of retarded projects that could be abandoned or retooled, but since that's the only government spending that a lot of folks see...”

Yeah, and ironically that’s the one area that should be completely socialized. I see no reason why anyone should profit from war.

“’Who's shadow is that?’
‘i believe it is a ghost.’”

It’s a snake! A snake! Ooh! It’s a snake! It’sObama ‘bama ‘bama ‘bama ‘bama ‘bama ‘bama - Mushroom Mushroom! - Obama ‘bama ‘bama ‘bama...

“doesn't that sound like exactly the sort of thing the damn Constitution was talking about? A civil militia, trained and armed and ready to serve the community?”

No. I dislike the comparison with the military. (Although I cede a lot of dolts do jerk off over it. Strangely, many who have never served) Regimentation isn’t an ideal in and of itself. Just a useful tool.

But yeah, it is a great idea. Can’t argue with more education on firearm safety.
Although again - yeah, some folks probably will.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:18 AM on November 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


One of the most depressing things I read this election season was a first-person report (I think in Salon, but I don't have a link) from, as best I remember, a canvasser who was trying to get people to vote for one of the Democratic primary candidates. The guy would ask them about the issues that were most important to them, and then try to tie them to the platform issues the candidate supported. And the terribly depressing part was the very large group who didn't believe voting made a difference, or that their vote translated into real policy differences and changes in their life and the life of their community.

I hope what comes out of Government 2.0 and Politics 2.0 is convincing some of those folks and some of the many, many non-voters out there that their vote translates into changes and decisions in their community and the nation instead of being the equivalent of Survivor or a football game.
posted by immlass at 7:30 AM on November 11, 2008


TheOnlyCoolTim: Sorry, try this. Congressman Broun is teh batshitinsane.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:46 AM on November 11, 2008


"True - but that was based on deception, coercion and social isolation. "

Not so much, actually. I really recommend Hannah Arendt's "The Origins of Totalitarianism." There's really a lot more to why both fascism and Stalinism were so effective. The answer is more that people weren't so much deceived as brought into a new conception of the state, a conception that (thank God) largely was unable to supplant the previous big move forward in political theory—democratic liberalism.

"Now if it were brought to your attention that there was this genocide going on, and you knew enough people opposed it by speaking with them anonmously and you could put forth your own views the same way - you’d probably act against it."

I would, but other folks would take that anonymity as an excuse to be more extreme in their views and agitate for more control to be ceded to authorities. You can see this now on Free Republic or LGF. That same anonymity that might encourage dissent is the same anonymity that might encourage consent and scapegoating. The internet shapes content by being democratizing, but both fascism and Stalinism were post-democratic movements (movements which gained their power and ostensibly acted in the stead of the people, while radically redefining what "the people" meant). It is entirely possible to be both populist and authoritarian—hell, that's what most of the modern Republican party is based on. It relies upon a majoritarian outlook and the goal of enforcing norms. There's nothing in the internet that precludes its use like that.

"Yeah, and ironically that’s the one area that should be completely socialized. I see no reason why anyone should profit from war."

Course you do, Smedley. It's a racket.
posted by klangklangston at 9:22 AM on November 11, 2008


An interesting visualization: Since Carter, the Democratic vote has been growing steadily, while the Republican vote is erratic. Also: Obama has the most votes on record, so the Republicans have their work cut out for them.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:59 AM on November 11, 2008


Show me where the open door is. Even if it’s cracked up a little bit, maybe I’ll plow right on through that and maybe prematurely plow through it, but don’t let me miss an open door.

I, for one, am going to keep my damned door locked!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:54 AM on November 11, 2008


“The answer is more that people weren't so much deceived as brought into a new conception of the state,”

Tomato - tomato. Something doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.
Structurally - Hitler was looking to dominate public opinion and keep the party from becoming a servant of the masses.

To that end he tried to keep anything from dividing the public attention from focus on a single adversary - so yeah, everyone had advisors, but there were no majority decisions. Just one guy.

And that just don’t work. I could be the smartest man on earth, I’m not going to achieve the depth of thought or sophistication that multiple perspectives and immediate on-scene decision making is able to achieve.
S’why you need good sergents and other non-coms.

Hitler said good leadership “consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention.”
I’ve found that not giving orders but only some guidance where needed and letting people make their own decisions on scene is the best method.
Once you tell someone they have to consult you before they, say, take a crap, they’ll ask you if you want it round and brown, firm or soft and you’ll wind up with something that won’t fit down the pipe because you’re not the one on the pot.

Crude analogy there, but it’s the practical upshot.

I suppose I’m thinking more about complexity theory and organizational strategy* - I think if the GOP does adapt strategy, they’ll have to adjust their authoritarian approach - as it relates to using the web on as a grassroots mechanism.
Because there’s feedback.

(*I have some, non-business, experience with this, best practices, continuous improvement, the Baldridge criteria, all that.)


“It is entirely possible to be both populist and authoritarian”

I agree it’s possible to *appear* populist (Limbaugh’s a populist - but tell me he’s a real man of the people). But once you achieve a sophisticated feedback mechanism, people are going to know if you’re not listening and ignoring them.
I’ll agree there’s nothing inherent in the internet that keeps people from agitating - but they’re not invested if they’re not empowered.

Democratic liberalism succeeds because it’s structurally superior to authoritarian systems. The methods of communication and feedback are superior, it’s more stable because there’s more self-interest inherent in the system.

So I think the difference is between talk and action.

It’s like the guys who go on about the war in Iraq, but don’t sign up to serve - versus guys who have to go back again and again and don’t want to anymore.
On one side, hey, I really really really support the war. On the other - I could die if I get sent back there.
So I’m more invested that some guy with just a position could ever be.

Oh, I’m not arguing people can’t be decieved. But authority must be derived by consent. To do that it must be legitimate and therefore based on transparency and truth.

It’s a lot easier than it was to check up on whether someone’s being honest or not.

So to me, the GOP saying they’re going to use the internet to foster a grassroots movement is similar to someone saying they’re going to use open telepathy to play poker.
‘You’re bluffing.’
‘Uh...no, I’m not...’
‘...well, I can ‘see’ your cards.’

All this is predicated on the GOPs current ideological set and their core messages and who’s interests they’re serving. Pretty much means they’d have to ignore the feedback of their grassroots constituency.
And I think people would notice eventually and become disaffected.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:20 PM on November 11, 2008


There is one major difference here. It's hard to launch a witch-hunt when you only control two-fifths of either house of Congress. That may very well change in two years, particularly if the economy hasn't been turned around yet, but for now their leverage in Washington is basically nil.

Yeah, but that was exactly the case when Bill Clinton was elected, too - 57 democrats in the senate, 60% of the house. Boy did it change two years later, after he tried to allow gays in the military and do that crazy socialist health care nonsense and so on... he had to go centrist in order to be re-elected and do anything at all.

Just look at what happened to Carter (who also began with senate majority). My parents thought he was a great president. If you read what he actually did - reduce energy consumption by 50%? put solar panels on the white house? peace accords? human rights? so what was so bad about this guy? But he is remembered by americans as a terrible president, and he was completely slaughtered by Reagan, someone who came across to me, a 7 year old at the time, as an idiot and a liar.

WHich is why I still have some fear that another pretty-faced idiot liar could plow on through her open door after people get tired of Obama, have digested the "first black president" thing, and think now they want the first woman president and are ready to pendulum on back to the conservative side of the table... I mean, it seems impossible, she's just too dumb, right? But Reagan was even going senile by the time he left office! With enough money, enough people surrounding her, enough prep - we had RWR for two terms, we had GWB for two terms - I don't know that it's impossible.

What matters is what the voters collectively want from the president, not what I personally think, and it seems like image and maybe something like drama is at least as important as thoughtful analysis of issues. Plenty of people will vote for the person they'd rather see more of on TV, the person who makes them feel better about America, or the person they'd be less annoyed by or would miss more if they were gone. I'm not saying they would claim this as the reason, but I think this underlies the initial pick, the "something about this one I like" part, and then they find reasonable reasons to layer on top.

I hope we are entering a new era, where young people see through more bullshit and information travels too quickly for lies to be sustainable... But, I guess I'm just saying, Obama will have to be careful how he handles things if he's going to last 8 years, and half the country will probably hate him no matter what (perhaps the question is just determining the contours of that half...)
posted by mdn at 2:51 PM on November 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Tomato - tomato. Something doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.
Structurally - Hitler was looking to dominate public opinion and keep the party from becoming a servant of the masses.
"

Again, I'd really recommend Arendt to you. I think you'd get a lot more out of it than my brief paraphrasings of her points.

But, modesty aside, you're missing the point of both totalitarian communism and fascism—the point wasn't to dominate public opinion and keep the party from being a servant of the masses, the point was to shape public opinion and the party (and Hitler) into all the same thing. It was the totalization of the state, removing any space between people as people and turning everyone into the living embodiment of a philosophy (communist or fascist). This has more to do with the explicit theory of fascism than it does with the underpinnings of communism, but it's there in both. The goal was to have everyone living their lives at every second as the state. It was tremendously empowering and disempowering at the same time, just as it simultaneously worked to remedy and to foster isolation in the people. The problem of German fascism wasn't so much that dictatorship doesn't work (and your criticism is addressing the problems of dictatorship—that one man can never understand the needs of the masses like the masses can), but rather that it's a movement that requires eternal dynamic conquest to sustain itself. If Hitler hadn't been huffing his own farts and had held on after just taking France and Poland, there'd likely still be a Nazi-derived state in Central Europe.

"But authority must be derived by consent. To do that it must be legitimate and therefore based on transparency and truth. "

You're mixing your descriptive and normative statements. I'd agree with the first part, especially broadly—even in the most squalid of dictatorships, there is a consent there. Is it a free consent, or one that only existentialists would recognize? The latter, mostly. While you do always have the choice to die rather than obey, most people will simply obey—there's a level of consent there, but an ugly one.

But you act like democratic liberalism is the only system of government practiced, and it's not. I think it's the best because it best fulfills my goals for government and what I want, but that's largely tautology. Think about it this way—there are plenty of times when a majority wants fewer rights, less protection of rights, not more. The Chinese populace considers, on the whole, their media "protections" to be a good thing. That's what I mean by both populist and authoritarian. We both agree that Limbaugh is at best a rabble-rousing demagogue, but you also have to remember that a lot of people explicitly supported foolish shit like the Patriot Act and wiretapping. It's only been fairly recently that those things were broadly unpopular here in the US. People can argue, democratically, for an abridgment of their freedoms.

And despite the risk I run using terms too often conflated, even though Republicans exist under a liberal democracy, they can (and do) argue for illiberal democratic reforms just as much as they argue for liberal reforms that disproportionately benefit the elite.
posted by klangklangston at 3:09 PM on November 11, 2008


The Card Cheat : Join Rudy 2012!

"Because 2008's run wasn't a big enough debacle!"


Hee! The 2012 site is the 2008 web page - there has been no update. So, it looks like Giuliani's 2008 site is still accepting donations.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:57 PM on November 11, 2008


Show me where the open door is. Even if it’s cracked up a little bit, maybe I’ll plow right on through that and maybe prematurely plow through it, but don’t let me miss an open door.

Wile E. Coyote.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:10 PM on November 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama has the most votes on record

Obama has the most votes on record because the American population is the highest on record. (It's like saying a movie had the highest box office ever without accounting for inflation.) What percentage of the population voted for Obama?
posted by kirkaracha at 4:56 PM on November 11, 2008


“you're missing the point of both totalitarian communism and fascism”

Well, I’m pretty much ceding it. And again, I’m not disputing your points. Just trying to form an illustration really.
In terms of democratic liberalism - I’d be happy to argue whether it’s more efficient as an organizational model for service delivery and defense. But that gets into even further ancillary meanings and we’re already getting pretty far afield.
I’m just saying - structurally - if the GOP engages in a grassroots effort, they’re going to have to change the nature of their organization and strategy.
Ideologically - sure, folks might vote for more authority or less or whatever. I suspect it would lead to some change in ideology.

But in a grassroots type organization - especially given the medium - I think they’re not going to make it with this top down marching orders thing.

That said - maybe that’s exactly what they mean and they’re just using the term ‘grassroots’ and they’re going to use the net to encourage orthodoxy and not integrate feedback into the model.

But that isn’t a grassroots organizational model.
I mean, I hear “terrorist cell” bandied about. And I’m thinking of organizational cell structures and stuff. But in the media it’s come to mean a loose confederation of bad guys.
Well, that’s not really a cell then.

They’re talking about a Democratic structural advantage (wtf they mean by ‘toxic political environment’ I don’t know) and then they get into online organizing as the most efficient way to transform party structure.

Well that just sounds like bullshit to me.

And “creative grassroots actions that make Republicans want to stand together with members of their party” is pretty much arguing for local autonomy - except, not.

The key point is they’re talking about given responsibility and commensurate power to a decentralized online grassroots type organization.
That’s a radical reversal in how they do things and by definition, they’re giving up organizational control.

Except I don’t think they will give up that control.

I think they have too many big donors, big egos and business interest lobbyists who don’t want to give up control to a bunch of local folks whether they’re orthodox thinkers or not.

Look, I agree with you people can broadly argue for less freedom.
But they’re arguing for an internal systemic change where they decentralize control of the party.
I don’t see it happening. Not without them becoming something other than the GOP they are now.

Hell, I’m amazed it worked for Obama through the Dems. And in fact it almost didn’t.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:36 PM on November 11, 2008


Behold, GOPbot 2.0!

RoboGOP is bleeding.
posted by JHarris at 2:55 AM on November 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


As much as I want to believe that the repubs are done, I think "Ask me in eight years" is about right.
posted by pointilist at 8:24 AM on November 12, 2008


"And “creative grassroots actions that make Republicans want to stand together with members of their party” is pretty much arguing for local autonomy - except, not."

Yeah, where I disagree with you is that while I think that they're going to improve the feedback mechanisms to allow more of a voice for the polity (what I mean by grassroots), I don't think that will necessarily also mean local autonomy (and especially not autocephaly, which is what the "cell" model would mean). I think the Republicans can be a lot more savvy regarding the internet as a communications medium, and I don't necessarily think that grassroots autonomy is all that huge an advantage for the Democrats, because it makes it harder to keep a coalition together. If we had a parliamentary system, sure, but under a winner-take-all, I think it's a mixed bag.
posted by klangklangston at 9:07 AM on November 12, 2008


kirkaracha: Obama has the most votes on record because the American population is the highest on record. (It's like saying a movie had the highest box office ever without accounting for inflation.) What percentage of the population voted for Obama?

Way to be a party pooper.

About 32% of eligible voters voted for Obama, which breaks no records. (Linked from comments of first graph post. Used projected a guess of 60% voter turnout.)
posted by Pronoiac at 9:37 AM on November 12, 2008


Man, thinking about it more, I feel like we have to remember how Carter started just so we do not get apathetic and think the Repubs are done or this will be easy:
- Not only were the repubs unpopular at that time, but they had been through Vietnam and Watergate! Iraq and Guantanamo don't begin to compare.
- They had a major economic crisis that was based on energy - the oil crisis that Carter wanted to solve by turning to alternative fuels and eventually deregulating oil so that we would pay more at the pump to encourage less use, etc. There were hydrogen cars being talked about even then...
- The wave of young culture that "got it" was even bigger - before Nixon, youth were mostly polite teeny boppers but the late sixties and seventies were when everything broke loose, when the revolution began, when the major protests started, the civil rights actions, the gay rights movement, stonewall, etc...

So when Reagan was elected in 1980 (and by a LANDSLIDE), it was really a slap in the face to lefties. Just one term of democrats after the republicans had fucked up so completely and dems were really trying new things?! I think of the 80s as a time of fear and anger, because most of NYC was seething and in disbelief at the ridiculous plastic world that had somehow taken over the possibilities we had come so close to (which is why we have punk rock and the smiths, of course, since the same was going on in thatcherland).

Maybe the problem was that too many of the protesters of the 70s were out there yelling but also "turning on, tuning in and dropping out" instead of just voting or organizing or being otherwise pragmatic. Maybe today's young people are less excitable and vocal but ultimately more useful. But it's also possible that we overestimate how much the population of metafilter or your college campus or your facebook crowd or (etc) affects the overall vote.

Obama got about 66 million votes. McCain got about 58 million. Nader apparently got 687,953 votes - most of us probably don't know enough people to round that down to 680,000. Hell, to round it up to 688,000... What I mean is, just because you and everyone you know thinks Palin's an idiot and could never be president, let's not assume the country will agree with us. My parents assumed that about Reagan and didn't do enough to stop him. So remember McCain got over 58,000,000 people to side with him against Obama with Palin on the ticket (so they couldn't have been that anti-Palin...). Another 80 million or so eligible voters didn't bother at all...

Hopefully, I'm just getting stuck in the past, but it's probably still better to have an unnecessarily wide outlook than to be hit by what you don't see coming.
posted by mdn at 6:35 PM on November 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


It seemed to me that Carter was assassinated in the press. The theme of his incompetence was played over and over. The right wing attack machine did not exist as such, but the mainstream press made do. By the time Reagan took office I remember thinking there was not so much diffference between them. A couple of years later I realized how wrong I had been.

My hope is that the powers that be have had to get so heavy handed that it will be easier for all to discern. This is where Obama's direct connections to the population will be important.
posted by pointilist at 7:31 PM on November 12, 2008


Not only were the repubs unpopular at that time, but they had been through Vietnam and Watergate! Iraq and Guantanamo don't begin to compare.

You're right - they don't compare. No Democratic presidents have had anything to do with the Iraq invasion and occupation. Watergate was a bungled burglary attempt that did not evaporate habeas corpus or involve kidnapping and torture.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:27 AM on November 13, 2008


well, i'm thinking in terms of how long it takes until people start saying things like, eh, maybe he wasn't so bad. I feel like with Nixon it was basically about when he died, or maybe just before, that some folks - like democrats trying to point out how awful republicans of the time were - would say he wasn't so bad. But he was really heavily demonized for years. Whereas I almost get the sense people are starting to say "maybe we've been a bit harsh on him" already when it comes to GWB.

Comparing Iraq and Vietnam, again, you may feel that Iraq is worse by abstract international law reasoning, but when it comes to bodybags, the draft, the awareness of the pain, Vietnam was just much, much worse. So in terms of its impact on the fabric of the country, I don't think we can count Iraq as more devastating...

That said, however, Obama is not Carter in personality, and we don't yet know if he will be in terms of his agenda. And anyway perhaps there really isn't anyone formidable in the republican arsenal at this point, as Palin's recent whirlwind of press activity just seemed attention grabby & empty. And most important, maybe the second time around is different - it took 30 years of getting people ready, kinda thing... What seemed really fringy then is pretty mainstream now.

I'm a little conflicted.
posted by mdn at 8:29 AM on November 14, 2008


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