The other thing that jumped out this weekend as I’ve been reading the reviews of presidential campaign websites is just how crazy early in the electoral process it is for so many political junkies to be producing so much analysis of the 2008 campaign. This is far from an original idea — it’s been obvious to a lot of folks — but it still startles me that we’re paying so much attention to campaign minutiae almost a year out from the FIRST primary and close to two years from the general election.
Meanwhile, a world away from the couple of dozen sites over which bloggers and the media have been obsessing, real work is getting done every day in the online political world. THOUSANDS of advocacy campaigns are creating effective websites, experimenting with cutting-edge tools and building up coalitions of (sometimes) millions of people passionate about an issue. And, while many reporters and bloggers have produced excellent analyses of McCain’s site layout or Obama’s Facebook outreach, isn’t it just as interesting that as of a week ago, seven out of twelve Kansas City mayoral candidates had video clips on their websites?
I understand why it’s natural for political junkies to obsess about ’08: we have a lame-duck president, a potentially deadlocked Congress, a divisive war in progress, some compelling characters in the race, and the chance for real political change depending on how things turn out. But it’s a loooooooong time before anyone casts a presidential ballot, and in the meantime, we shouldn’t miss the myriad OTHER places where the ‘net is changing the way politics works.