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The RNC Tech Summit – Some Thoughts

There is a closed street outside our door that is not on any GPS system. Everyday 10 cars drive right up to the brick wall, because the GPS said to.

That statement was sent to me via Twitter in response to a point I made about the GOP Tech Summit. I had said that the best GPS in the world won’t get you anywhere if you don’t know where you want to go.

Much of the chatter I heard from the Summit centered around the tools, the technology, the apps, Twitter, etc. But none of it addressed the much larger point – we need to know where we want to go before we can ever turn on the GPS.

The summit is a good idea, and I commend the RNC for having the idea.

However, I think the party really needs a better sense of where it wants to go. It is not enough to simply want to get back in power. It’s not enought to say you want to win elections. It is certainly not enough to say we want to deploy new toys and gadgets without any idea of what we want to do.

In the 1990s, we had a vision. We had an agenda. We had a set of core concepts around which we could rally.

Today, we have none of that.

Are we for fiscal responsibility and small government? That’s kind of hard for people to believe based on immediate past experience. Obama, rightly, beat us about the head and neck with that one in his presser. We simply have no credibility on those issues.

Are we for ethics and accountability in elected officials? Well, we kind of pooched that one too.

The way to demonstrate our commitment to these ideals is using the technology to put our money where our mouths are.

We need to identify dirty politicians – not just dirty Democrats. If our guys are implicated, we need to primary them.

We need to put all legislation online for public discussion – not three days before it’s law, but the moment it is suggested. Imagine all the legislation of Thomas together with all the power of a Wiki? What if we allowed the people direct participation in the legislation our elected Republicans submit? How could the Democrats refuse to hear bills if they carried the signature of tens or hundreds of thousands of co-sponsors?

These are just a couple of ways we can use tools to support our agenda. Unless we’re having that sort of discussion, all of the “we should use Twitter more” nonsense will do us no good at all.

Written by Michael Turk