Saturday, September 13, 2008

First National Campaign to Attempt to Make Use of the Internet

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That would have been...John McCain's!

(McCain can't e-mail, but Obama can't Google!)

Kevin over at Wizbang, offers the following:

The man behind the Howard Dean's Internet operations, Joe Trippi, details where he got his inspiration in his book, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything

I closely followed John McCain's insurgent Republican presidential bid in 2000, the first national campaign to attempt to make use of the Internet. I held my breath that year - excited that someone was trying it, but terrified that they'd pull it off before I got the chance. They didn't. McCain managed to pull a decent number of people, about 40,000, into his campaign via the Internet, but it was the Newton of online political campaigns. The technology simply wasn't quite mature enough yet; enough snow hadn't been plowed.

So, instead of the "out of touch" grouchy neighbor yelling at kids to get off his lawn, John McCain was a pioneer in harnessing the Internet for its possibilities in politics? Sweet!
So much for Obama's attempt to paint him as a techno-phobe!

Update: Suitably Flip points to a Forbes article in 2000,

Yes, Virginia (northern Virginia, to be specific), there is a Max Fose. I know this because I am sitting with the soon-to-be-legendary Webmaster of the John McCain presidential campaign and watching one of the damnedest political exercises the year 2000 campaign will likely produce. Fose is staring intently at a PC in his office at McCain's national headquarters in Alexandria. A spartan former printing plant, the place hums with the tension of a military command post on the eve of battle. Dozens of young men and women hunch forward in front of computers or talk urgently on their standard-issue Nokia cell phones.

Campaign donations scroll down the screen in relentless real-time display. Each of these Web-based credit card transactions is political ammunition, ready to be loaded, aimed, and fired on this day, one week before the Super Tuesday primaries. No muss, no fuss, no messy checks to be photocopied, sent to the bank, and cleared--just sweet, instantly exploitable Visa, AmEx, and MasterCard electronic cash.

"I check the contributions several times a day," says the especially young-looking 28-year-old who is, at the moment, both wired and tired. He has been working 18-hour days for six months. "It's running close to $30,000 an hour," he says, hard pressed to keep the wonder out of his voice.

Here's the money quote:

In certain ways, McCain was a natural Web candidate. Chairman of the Senate Telecommunications Subcommittee and regarded as the U.S. Senate's savviest technologist, McCain is an inveterate devotee of email. His nightly ritual is to read his email together with his wife, Cindy. The injuries he incurred as a Vietnam POW make it painful for McCain to type. Instead, he dictates responses that his wife types on a laptop. "She's a whiz on the keyboard, and I'm so laborious," McCain admits.

Flip goes on:

What percentage of 64-year-olds do you suppose were daily e-mail users back in 2000?

This is a quadruple whammy for Obama. The ad 1) is apparently wildly inaccurate, 2) makes Obama look like a jerk for needling McCain (if inadvertently) about his war injuries, 3) reminds people which of these two candidates is a hero, and 4) exposes the delicious tech-idiocy behind this initiative to demonstrate McCain's tech-idiocy.


Cross Posted at Say Anything

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