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Update: As of noon today, Wilson’s Democratic opponent has seen $200,000 flow into his coffers via online donation site ActBlue, in part due to advocacy on Lefty blogs. Ouch! | Update 2: a couple of hours later, PoliticalWire was reporting that the opponent’s total had passed $300k, at a time when Wilson himself is deeply in debt. Ouch, again.
That was quick — remember the congressmember who yelled out “you lie” when President Obama contended in his speech last night that his plan wouldn’t give government-supported health care to illegal aliens? Rep. Joe Wilson’s fellow travelers have already started a Facebook Fan Page on his behalf (“Barack IS a liar! Rock On Rep. Joe Wilson!”), no doubt trying to capture some of the same energy that some have expended on the comments section of Dana Milbank’s Post article on Wilson’s shouted comments and others during the speech.
Of course, just about anyone who courts political controversy these days gets Facebook Fans — I also got an invitation yesterday to join a Facebook Group supporting Van Jones, the Obama green jobs guy who resigned last week after some of his past statements stirred up the Right.
Do these things do any good? With no follow-up, they’ll likely give people an outlet for their emotions, but not much else beyond a way to show some modicum of public support. As the core of a recruiting effort? It never hurts to put a face on an issue, but you’ll still need to convert casual supporters into actual activists. And that’ll take more than a click on a Facebook sign-up button.