GOP.com Distances Itself from Redstate Racists
by Matt Stoller, Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 08:30:47 AM EST
The national GOP doesn't like Redstate, and that's not really a surprise since Ken Mehlman knows that fanatically racist communities don't sell to their suburban soccer Moms. As much as we bitch about Democratic insiders, the Republicans have a much tougher time on the internet, and will for the foreseeable future. In a post on why the RNC can't build a personal fundraising page, here's a comment Mike Turk, who worked at the RNC on this project:
As the immediate past eCampaign Director for the GOP, and the eCampaign Director for Bush-Cheney 04, I may be one of the only people who can answer this directly.
We started to build this in January of last year. The plans for the launch of GOP.com last spring included two things that have never made it to the light of day - a viral fundraising component, and a "MyGOP" functionality that would have let activists build a MySpace-like site on GOP.com. Practical reality set in, however, and killed both. The trouble with the MyGOP concept was the conflict it created with incredibly tight internal controls on message.
When we were forced to pull a Social Security Testimonials tool off the site because someone dared to use the word "private" instead of the more acceptable "personal" accounts, it became apparent that our internal tolerance for self-expression would not allow that sort of openness. Arguments that restrictions of that nature are ridiculous and hamper our ability to be effective online were met with stony silence. In the end, MyGOP went nowhere.
The fundraising tool was a different problem altogether. The fact is, allowing that sort of functionality causes a slew of legal problems that the FEC (and clearly the Democrats) have not considered. We looked at developing an ActRed site, but the legal restrictions prevent a national committee from doing so. It could be done by a third party, and I undertand several are working on the concept. Unfortunately, the RNC is bound by FEC laws, not to mention our party rules, and would run afoul of both.
As far as I know, a viral fundraising tool is still under development. However, given a tendency within the RNC to view the site as nothing more than a communications vehicle - a really, really, expensive brochure - I'm not sure when that may get done.
For anyone who is casting aspersions on Patrick Ruffini, I would caution against that. Patrick is pretty much the only friend we have in that building. That's the reason I suggested they hire Patrick when I left. Patrick gets this stuff.
Unfortunately, Patrick has an enormous task ahead of him. He has to convince a generation of political professionals to see the net as a community, rather than an audience. It's a tough job, and he needs our help, not our derision.
Yes, he has a really really really tough job, because the Redstate community is racist. Even as GOP.com celebrates black history month and Bush spoke at Coretta Scott King's funeral, here's what their netroots 'audience' had to say:
Why is it that we have to accept the Pantheon of the Left and see their funerals televised -- from Wellstone to Mrs. King?
Coretta Scott King's funeral is apparently 'our' funeral, instead of a memorial to national hero. Is it any wonder the GOP wants an expensive brochureware site? If you ask me, that's the right strategy, unless they want an RNC fundraising page dedicated to 'Strom Thurmond was right the whole time' fund by Trent Lott's internet savvy political heirs.