Could not authenticate you.

Howard Dean’s Brave Not-So-New World

Chairman Dean, you really shouldn’t let the hacks in your communications shop write your e-mail copy. It just makes you look foolish.

So today we officially launch a suite of tools in an unprecedented and permanent drive to empower Americans to take back our political process.

…When it comes to the mechanics of running elections, Democrats have in the past been accused of showing up to a gunfight with only a knife.

No more.

In this new era of using the Internet to empower people to take meaningful action, we’re way ahead of the Republicans. We’re bringing the Democratic Party online and asking you to take control by putting more power into your hands than they ever could.

Which sounds great, but just isn’t true. Let’s look at the tools…

Social Networking: Well, let’s see. The GOP has been doing social networking since 2000. They called it Team Leader. It was enhanced by the more powerful, though admittedly less marketed MyGOP.
Groups: The GOP calls them Teams, but it’s the same thing.
Search: This was done by the Bush camp. We pioneered opening your home, event, walk, etc to others. You could invite complete strangers to participate, and they could find you to ask for an invite (which a surprising number of people accepted, and the Democrats used to send protestors to the homes of average people. I only hope we return the favor.)
Blogging: On this one they may be able to claim frontrunner status because the GOP doesn’t allow you to create a true blog. But I have always argued that giving people the option to sit on your site and “be seen” all day doesn’t contact a whole lot of undecided voters.
Events: House Parties via Meetup may be the Dean camp’s claim to fame, but making it a political tool and empowering people to make it a canvass event, or a phone bank was mastered by the Bush camp. The RNC ran with it and has been doing it for nearly two years. No new ground there, Howard.
Fundraising: The Democrats do viral fundraising better online, I’ll give them that.
Letters to Editors: The GOP was way out in front here, as well. They amassed a database of every publication with more than nine readers in the US. It’s matched to your zip code and lets you talk locally to local readers. Way to reverse engineer it, Dems.
Petitions: I’ll give them credit. The Democrats do meaningless petitions better than anyone on the planet. A win is a win.
Messaging: They describe this as “Send and receive messages while keeping your email address private”. That actually sounds like a bad thing to me. I’m not sure what the selling point is here, but I hear the drumbeat of legions of DNC spammers getting ready to march. Something tells me this will be the first to go.

Beyond the fact that the GOP has these tools, though, is the fact that they are available to all of the state parties to use on their sites, as well. So not only are we using them on a national level, but for every local race as well.

So there you have it. Howard Dean has announced the great suite of political tools that nobody else has… Nobody but the GOP, that is. Good Job, Howard.

Written by Michael Turk