The Republican's problem with the internet

So Republicans negative strategists have successfully created a stir over links in 2004. It's not the first time. During the 2002 mid-terms, around August-Septemeber, Liberal Oasis endorsed some moderate Democrats, like Anne Sumers in NJ, Shelley Berkley in NV, and John Arthur Smith in New Mexico during their US House races. LO put up a few links to their pages, asking the readers to contribute to their campaign. The Republicans then used the links (one way, mind you) to attack the Democratic candidates.

Here, take a look, Rep Garrett still has the stupid PR up on the campaign website. It's tough to make this stuff up: Along with her liberal colleagues Bob Torricelli, Ralph Nader, and Jerry Brown, Anne Sumers finds a happy home in cyberspace.

The drama played out with Sumers disavowing any connection whatsoever with Liberal Oasis:

Last week, the campaign manager for Anne Sumers, New Jersey Democratic congressional candidate, called LiberalOasis to have her link removed, apparently because any association with the word “liberal” was not to be tolerated.
Seeing success, the Garrett campaign played up the non-issue throughout the rest of the campaign, and Republicans went on to use the tactic in the other House elections mentioned above. You can read the Sumers details on LO, here and here.

So, we've just went through a whole new round of the Republican smear for links scam. This time, spurred on by rightwing sites like Instapundit and Little Green Footballs attacking Dem-leaning sites for their candidate's blogads, the NRSC got involved and attacked OK Dem US Senate candidate Brad Carson for linking to various sites. But look where the NRSC runs ads:

Right on, FR's equivalent for Dems would be for the DSCC to be advertising on Democratic Underground or BartCop. Sure, it's hypocrisy on the part of the NRSC. The GOP would be better off using the blogosphere and websites for actual results, instead of denigrating it with smears. Even to a partisan Republican blogger, the NRSC's attack on Carson must seem ignorant.

But Brad Carson, unlike Sumer's tent-folding to the rightwinger attack (whom Kerry's blog followed in pattern), responded with the right attitude. Mock and condecension. Stephanie Herseth's play-nice response on the "secret website" claim was an effective reframing of the issue as well, but the hard hit-back is going to be more effective in stopping this nonsense. If the Republicans are going to try to use a fundamental part of the internet for their partisan gain -- linkage -- then Democratic candidates should just ignore the partisan snipping, or publically mock their ignorance in return.

Update: LO emailed me this link 2002 link to how Shelley Berkley handled the situation (maybe it's just coincidence that she's the one out of the three that stood up to the Republican "link scandal", and won). The Las Vegas Review-Journal article on the issue is instructive.

Tags: Blogosphere (all tags)

Comments

2 Comments

It's fixed
Free Republic
by Jerome Armstrong 2004-04-13 01:23PM | 0 recs
repubbbs too stupid to understand
they are way to dense to understand the depth and power of the internet.  too old school, too "ceo" to comprehend grass roots as a reality.

to them, it's gossip.  yelling, and getting everyone else to yell.  they are not interested in dialogue, which is what the internet ultimately is.

they misuse it at their peril.

by skippy 2004-04-14 04:26PM | 0 recs

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