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Identifying Progress, No Matter How Small

On this blog, I have spent considerable digital ink discussing the things the GOP is doing wrong, and calling out the more egregious acts of folly in which the right’s infrastructure engages.

For my inaugural post at The Next Right, I thought I’d take a closer look at some of the incremental steps I see in the right direction. A recent e-mail exchange with a colleague pointed out one such item I had overlooked – John McCain’s “McCain Report”.

While I still must point out some of the things I find awkward about McCain’s blogs (not the least of which is that he has two of them that seem to compete with one another), I will note that Goldfarb’s content seems to be vastly superior to what is ostensibly their flagship blog – titled simply the “McCain Blog”.

The McCain Blog is largely the sort of press release and dull e-mail fodder we’ve come to expect from campaigns. It recaps the latest rally and pimps “new eco-friendly items” available in the McCain store. It gets updated every few days. The one upshot is they do allow discussion.

Goldfarb’s McCain Report, on the other hand, is actually good. It’s not full of PR fluff and cheerleading. It’s updated several times a day and it contains substantive material. It is what campaign blogs should be (save for the fact that McCain should occasionally author posts, which he so far has not).

Take one recent piece triggered by a Ben Smith item in the Politico:

As Ben Smith reported yesterday, the Obama campaign recently brought Jason Furman on as a senior economic advisor. Smith notes that Furman wrote a lengthy defense of Wal-Mart in 2005, titled “Wal-Mart: A Progressive Success Story.” In it Furman denies that Wal-Mart is suppressing wages, or exploiting their employees. The fact “that more than 1.3 million Americans work at Wal-Mart demonstrates that its compensation is at least as good as the alternatives,” he says. And he adds that ‚Äúthe available data is consistent with the premise that Wal-Mart pays wages that are comparable to the retail sector.‚Äù

His new boss takes a different view. In 2006, Obama told Fortune that “Wal-Mart is making enormous profits, and yet it has chosen to go with low wages and diminished benefits.” And in 2007, Obama told union members that he won’t even shop at Wal-Mart because of their exploitation of American workers. Has Obama moderated his views on Wal-Mart or will Furman and he just agree to disagree?

That is far from the typical piece on the campaign’s other blog:

Today, John McCain addressed the threat of global climate change and outlined his strategy to lead America to meet its obligations as a steward of this planet. The centerpiece of his plan is a market-based system designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions, mobilize innovative technologies, and strengthen the economy.

Be sure to watch the newest tv ad called, “A Better Way,” then click here for more information on the McCain Plan.

I’m actually very pleased to see the McCain camp doing something well. In fact, what impresses me most is the superior quality of the McCain Report when compared to the Obama blog.

Senator Obama released the following statement today in response to the news of the trade deficit increase:

Today we learned that the trade deficit jumped to its highest level in 13 months. This is not an accident. This is yet another sign of the failed economic policies of the Bush administration that John McCain seeks to extend – policies that reflect unprecedented fiscal irresponsibility and borrowing from abroad. Rather than get America’s fiscal house in order, Senator McCain is proposing $300 billion more in tax breaks and loopholes for big corporations and the wealthiest Americans, and he hasn’t explained how he’d pay for them. Just this week, John McCain reaffirmed his commitment to special interest-driven economic policies that will widen the trade deficit, but won’t help American automakers secure fair treatment in South Korea, and won’t ensure that China stops devaluing its currency and tilting the playing field against American workers. As President, Barack Obama will stand up for fiscal responsibility by restoring fairness to our economy, investing in a renewable energy future, and adopting a trade policy that serves the interests not just of multinational corporations but of America’s hardworking families.

You can learn more about Barack’s stance on trade here.

That is a stark contrast. The Obama team (vaunted as they are for their superior web skills) is running a dry boring blog, while McCain’s team have at least begun to get it. It’s nice to see.

(As a side note, I’d like to offer two suggestions to Team McCain. First, look into search engine friendly urls. Second, optimize the meta tags on your blog posts to actually include the specific content of the post. Especially with this new stuff critical of Obama, it’s going to be important that people can actually find it.

Written by Michael Turk