Archive for May 12th, 2010

“You Cut” — More Republican Crowdsourcing, this Time on the Federal Budget

For more, see this take on the fundamental insincerity of YouCut

Just got a call from a reporter looking for context on the latest pay-attention-to-me trick from House Republicans, announced today by Eric Cantor — they’re now going to allow citizens to vote every week via email or text to pick their favorite from a list of five potential budget cuts, on which the Republican House leadership will then attempt to force a floor vote via parliamentary maneuver. It’s a gimmick, of course. The proposed cuts will be cherry-picked to feature items designed to annoy the conservative base (taken out of context, almost ANY government program can be made to sound stupid), and none of them is likely to pass. Plus, the last time I checked, we don’t DO budgeting by direct democracy, particularly considering how well the budget-by-citizen-initiative process has worked in California.

But it’s a good excuse to email that activist list every week, and if it helps keep the base engaged through the summer (remember that Congress will go out of session early this year to begin campaigning) and recruits a few new potential donors, then it might do them some good. Gimmicks are no substitute for a comprehensive online outreach plan, though, and this initiative also has the secondary effect of opening Republicans up to criticism of their OWN record on the budget — something onto which Democrats were quick to hop. (For an earlier look at Republican crowdsourcing, see this piece on Tim Pawlenty.)

Update: 70,000 names in the first day? Not bad! Of course, we don’t know how many of them are NEW list members, but still. But also still a gimmick…

cpd

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Online-Only Politics in Texas? Find Out More on Thursday

Here’s an event that challenges one assumption that underlies a lot of what you’ve read on e.politics:

Paper-free Politics: How the Internet Replaced Traditional Outreach in the TX Governor’s Race

In the early primary campaign season of 2010, things seemed oddly quiet in Texas. In a heated primary battle, Texas Republicans did not get a single phone call, saw not one yard sign, and had no canvassers knocking on their doors — at least not from incumbent Governor Rick Perry.

But Perry wasn’t off the radar. He was online. Are paper political campaigns a thing of the past? Join the PdF Network on Thursday, May 13 as Ryan Gravatt, of Quicksilver Internet Solutions, shows us what campaigns can learn from Perry’s experiment in online-only campaigning.

Sounds interesting, and you can find out more here about listening in on the presentation. Frankly, I’m skeptical about the widespread applicability of online-only campaigning, since the prevailing successful model focuses on the integration of online and offline politicking. And in this case, Perry’s opponent (Kay Bailey Hutchison) had pretty much imploded by the time the race got running. The real test? If Perry sticks to his online-only strategy in the face of a strong opponent in the Fall — and this former Texas Democratic political staffer (for one) hopes that Bill White WILL be a strong opponent.

cpd

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