While a lot of hand wringing has begun on the left, and much fretting over the impact on Hillary and Obama’s campaign has commenced, the real impact of ParkRidge47’s handiwork on the 2008 campaign will likely never be seen. The real impact will be felt in the Republican party, and for our guys, it’s not good.
At this moment, there are a bunch of Communications guys in GOP campaigns and consultancies who are using this as justification to avoid doing anything interesting on the web. They’re pointing to the 1984 ad as evidence that doing anything that isn’t “strictly on message” is inherently bad. They’re going to use this to reinforce their position that the Internet is simply too wild, too hard to control, and has no place in their well oiled machine.
For that reason, people in the Republican Party who understand the power of the Internet, and see the positive contribution this video represents, have just had their lives made harder. Those in the GOP machinery who are fighting for more openness, more transparency, more participation, and the empowerment of the individual have just received a swift kick.
When YouTube produced the Macaca moment, it made GOP operatives skittish. Despite the fact that this happened outside the GOP and involved Dem operatives savaging Dem candidates, it will be seen as further confirmation that the Internet is where bad things happen. The Net has not yet yielded a win for the GOP, only losses. Most of the anecdotal evidence to its effectiveness is stuff like this – and it is seen as a distraction.
So ParkRidge47, despite what you may hear on the news for the next few days, is not a rogue operative who as done damage to Hillary or Barack. He ultimately will be seen as a hero to Democrats, because he will have kept the GOP from realizing the potential of the Internet for a little while longer.