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Tilting at Windmills

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October 13, 2009

UNDERSTANDING WHAT 'BEYOND CUTTING EDGE' MEANS.... Back in February, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said he intended improve his party's image by taking advantage of technological opportunities. Explaining his vision, Steele said, "It will be avant garde, technically. It will come to table with things that will surprise everyone -- off the hook."

Asked if he imagined a cutting-edge approach, Steele replied, "I don't do 'cutting-edge.' That's what Democrats are doing. We're going beyond cutting-edge."

Today, we see the fruits of the RNC's labor.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) launched a new website today, featuring a flurry of blogs, social networking tools and information on party history.

First time visitors to the site will be greeted by a digital Michael Steele, who walks on the screen to introduce the new site.

"We're building a digital space that grassroots Republicans can finally call home," the miniature Steele says.

The walk-onto-the-screen trick isn't exactly new -- Virginia's Mark Warner was doing the same thing six years ago.

So, did the RNC get its money's worth with its newly-redesigned site? A few things jump out.

* The site includes a new two-page section on Republican "heroes." It features quite a few historic African Americans -- note to the RNC: you're trying way too hard -- including legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson, who wasn't actually a Republican.

* Steele has a blog on the site. It's called "What Up." The first sentence reads, "The Internet has been around a while, now." Seriously, that's exactly what it says.

* The site features a timeline of Republican Party "accomplishments," dating back to 1860. The last entry is from 2004, and refers to directing federal funds to private religious schools in D.C., in a voucher program that's failed in a variety of ways. The previous "accomplishment" was the launch of the Iraq war in 2003 (the piece also spells "Iraq" incorrectly). According to the RNC's own new website, the Republican Party hasn't had any accomplishments in the last five years.

* The RNC created a page for "future leaders" of the party. It's literally blank.

* Steele's first blog post asks readers, "Why are you are Republican? Think about that for a minute."

That's good advice, actually.

Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (48)

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Comments

If they could think, Republicans would abandon their party in droves. It's more of a reflex, I think.

Posted by: Gaia on October 13, 2009 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

So Teddy Roosevelt isn't a hero in the eyes of the modern GOP? That's sad, really.

Posted by: 2Manchu on October 13, 2009 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

I thought you misquoted him, but it actually did say "Why ARE you ARE Republican?"

Posted by: bcamarda on October 13, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

"The Internet is not something that you just dump something on."

Moreover, how true.

Posted by: Uli Kunkel on October 13, 2009 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently, Michael Steele and the RNC hold a deep-seated hatred of white people.

Posted by: howie on October 13, 2009 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

The RNC just hasnt figured it out yet. Steele is a closet democrat.

Posted by: yESmAN on October 13, 2009 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

WATCH THE ENTIRE MICHAEL STEELE INTRO! It's funnier than watching 2 drunk guys try to punch each other in the bag. Steele's entire demeanor during the intro is that of a not-particularly-good-but-well-meaning high school guidance counselor telling a bunch of kids who are on the verge of dropping out that they can be whateeeever they want to be...and he's trying hard to mean it. It's almost like Michael Steele doing a Kenan Thompson imitation of a Michael Steele impressions. But then at the end...oooooooh, at the end, when Steele says that the website is all about something new "...and that something new...is YOU!" And then he hangs there just a leeeetle too long. And while I can't make it out, whoever was directing him is clearly telling him something before the image of Steele vanishes. You know the way your grandmother always had trouble setting up an outgoing message on her answering machine? Now imagine if you were VIDEOTAPING your grandmother (played by Michael Steele) while she was trying to set up her outgoing message. It's Dundler-Mifflin-esque!

Posted by: slappy magoo on October 13, 2009 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

The comments field on What's Up is pretty funny. Two people are republicans because they didn't like the democrats 30-40 years ago, and one guy can only come up with faith as an explanation. That guy then gets upset because his real name shows. This is going to be good.

Posted by: Lars on October 13, 2009 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

"The site features a timeline of Republican Party "accomplishments," dating back to 1860."

I hope they mention proudly that it was a Republican President who kicked Confederate ass in the Civil War. I hope they remind their loyal souther base that it was a Republican pulverized the south back in the day.

Posted by: SaintZak on October 13, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

The DNC could benefit by sending a mailer, mentioning some of the points you highlight, suggesting that people visit the site. I can hardly wait for Sen. Grahm to say, "Michael Steele is a RINO. I respect his views, but he doesn't speak for me or the Republican Party."

Posted by: Bob Johnson on October 13, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, he did it. That website was so far past cutting edge that it fell off the table, got walked on a few times, then apologized and begged for a second chance. And I've decided to give them that second chance by becoming a Republican. Now, I'm really upset about Obama's middle name and demand to see his REAL birth certificate. Awesome. I can't wait to be told who to hate next.

And seriously, I agree with Slappy Magoo in saying that Steele totally comes off like an ineffective guidance counselor trying to sound cool. If string theory is correct, I'm sure there are an infinite number of Michael Steeles who are just as bad at getting kids to stay in school as our Steele is at rebuilding the GOP. And frankly, I'm not sure which reality has it worse.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on October 13, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Ever wonder who's coaching Michael Steele?

http://bit.ly/11cgfE

(satire)

Posted by: maxfolger on October 13, 2009 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

i sure hope there's a "youth page"-- so us 60 year-olds can "get down with" what the kids R sayin' these days...

Posted by: neill on October 13, 2009 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, Steve, you need to brush up on your 'Internets' skills, because the site you have directed us to is obviously The Onion. . .

Posted by: DAY on October 13, 2009 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, SNARK!

Posted by: Cal Gal on October 13, 2009 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Another interesting point about their "accomplishments": nothing between 1957 and 1972. Not even something they could legitimately have mentioned: the first African-American US senator since the end of Reconstruction was a Republican, Edward Brooke. Of course, he was from Massachusetts, so maybe that disqualifies him?

In general, of course, the pre-1972 accomplishments, genuine and important as most of them are, are also things that the current GOP would vigorously oppose as unAmerican.

Posted by: Lis on October 13, 2009 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

It's down...

"Database Error: Unable to connect to your database. Your database appears to be turned off or the database connection settings in your config file are not correct. Please contact your hosting provider if the problem persists."

Posted by: orogeny on October 13, 2009 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

michael steele: the gift that keeps on giving!

Posted by: mudwall jackson on October 13, 2009 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't do 'cutting-edge.' That's what Democrats are doing. We're going beyond cutting-edge."

In tech circles, we usually refer to this as the "bleeding edge", cause you usually wind up getting cut by untested technology. I have had a long habit of letting other people beta-test technology for me and adopting it after its shown to work without injuring the user. This comes after considerable bleeding of time and treasure in my youth in the search for better technology. You've got to give the GOP this though, they've got plenty of spirit, even if it is for marching off the cliff.

Posted by: Curt on October 13, 2009 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

The RNC just hasnt figured it out yet. Steele is a closet democrat.

Steele is actually Sacha Baron Cohen working on his next movie.

Posted by: DH Walker on October 13, 2009 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently, they fixed the intro, but I guess the traffic of liberals going to get a good laugh is crashing their server. By the way, the "O" in "GOP" keeps changing to be a different person's face. I'm guessing they're using a photo service for these images, rather than actually going out and photographing actual Republicns. Either that, or...let's say half of the faces I've seen thus far are relatives of Michael Steele. I've seen more faces of African Americans than actually exist in the Republican party.

Posted by: slappy magoo on October 13, 2009 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

"The RNC created a page for 'future leaders' of the party. It's literally blank."

Is that a euphemism for Sarah Palin ?

Posted by: Joe Friday on October 13, 2009 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

If they're going to use a digital walk, why not re-enact that memorable stroll Bobby Jindal took toward the viewer before his infamous rebuttal of President Obama's first Congressional address?

Posted by: Algernon on October 13, 2009 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Is that a euphemism for Sarah Palin ?

No, a metaphor. :)

Posted by: DH Walker on October 13, 2009 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

'Why are you are a Republican?'

Doesn't anyone proof-read anymore?

Posted by: schwag of tulsa on October 13, 2009 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

... something they could legitimately have mentioned: the first African-American US senator since the end of Reconstruction was a Republican, Edward Brooke. Of course, he was from Massachusetts, so maybe that disqualifies him?

Actually, they've got his picture on the website, in their "Heroes" page. The fact that they included him, though, is baffling, because the issues he worked hardest on had to do with racial equality. He was a vocal opponent of the Nixon administration, and fought hard to prevent them from shuttering important Great Society programs, like the Job Corps & the Office of Economic Opportunity. He was part of a bipartisan group of senators that voted down two of Nixon's Supreme Court nominees -- Clement Haynsworth & Harrold Carswell -- eventually clearing the way for Harry Blackmun, the author of Roe v. Wade. And Brooke was, for the record, staunchly pro-choice. Talk about your RINOs. But, hey, he's got a black face, so it makes the website look hip & in touch with contemporary America. In truth, Brooke most definitely was. Sadly, today's Republican Party would have no place for him.

Posted by: junebug on October 13, 2009 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

No doubt the reason the GOP will give for its disaster of an unveil and the fact that I'm only getting error messages from the site now, is that the crush of web-savvy conservatives clamoring for a glimpse of the new site overwhelmed its mighty, mighty servers.

Meanwhile, I'll betcha when it does finally come up again "Iraq" is spelled correctly.

Posted by: chrenson on October 13, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Steele has a blog on the site. It's called 'What Up'. The first sentence reads, 'The Internet has been around a while, now'. Seriously, that's exactly what it says."

Are you sure this isn't a parody site ?

Posted by: Joe Friday on October 13, 2009 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Why are you are Republican? Think about that for a minute."

That would make a great bumper sticker.

I bet we could even get the GOP to print it up and send it out all over the country.

Posted by: cld on October 13, 2009 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Thirty seven accomplishments in 144 years. Well, ok, they've been... well maybe not busy, but here.

And of course, eighteen of these accomplishments were before 1900 (almost half), a period in which they were actually liberals!

Posted by: Jim G on October 13, 2009 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously, is Michael Steele a plant? A progressive Manchurian plant?

And I don't even know if I'm being sarcastic, or if I'm genuinely not sure...

Posted by: c-b on October 13, 2009 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

That was sad. Keep getting database errors off of various pages. Didn't these guys used to know how to execute politically? They made Mondale and Dukakis look like utter amateurs, and as recently as 2004 beat Kerry into a pulp. If this is the best they can do there won't be a party left in a few years.

Posted by: jimBOB on October 13, 2009 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

This is really too funny. Not only is the hipster's website down, but RNC.com is down and the RNC's telephone system seems to be on the fritz. It's voice mailbox is full and when you press "0" as directed to speak to an operator you get a message saying "invalid key."

HAHAHAHA

The Republican Party couldn't find its way out of a paper bag if you cut a hole in it.

Posted by: karen marie on October 13, 2009 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Yo yo yo! What up, g dogs. MC Steel in da hizouse, word. Let's rap. Now, I'm real happy for ya, and I'm a let you finish, but first, lemme ax you a q, ya dig? Any you cats ever ran a party fulla ol' crackers? Sho nuff, aight.

Please send money.

Posted by: Michael Steal on October 13, 2009 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Beyond cutting edge" is the Spinal Tap equivalent of turning the amp to eleven. Spinal Tap knew it was absurd. The GOP...not so much.

Posted by: John on October 13, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

when it comes back up, the "What Up" page will have Steele singing a revised version of Cameo's "Word Up." And then RNC will work with VH-1 on a new episode of "I Love the 80s, Reagan Worship Edition."

Posted by: zeitgeist on October 13, 2009 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't these guys used to know how to execute politically? They made Mondale and Dukakis look like utter amateurs, and as recently as 2004 beat Kerry into a pulp.

Yes, but that was before the anti-intellectual Social Conservatives took over and purged the party of all the experts and gays. Liberty University can be expected to pump out only so many computer science degrees.

And while this doesn't apply to 2004, I don't remember Kerry getting beat into pulp. I remember him barely losing against a sitting president who aggressively abused government agencies and terror alerts during a time of war, as well as a pliant media who thought it was treason to mention the president's flaws. And all the same, Kerry got way more votes than Gore did in 2000 and almost as many as McCain did in 2008.

As much as it's fun to beat up the losers, Kerry did quite well for a boring candidate who lacked a popular platform. Reagan had landslide victories that truly crushed his opponents (even Carter only won six states). We should always remember that Bush didn't do well in EITHER election.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on October 13, 2009 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

In the brief moment the home page was up before it went down again, it gave the impression of the climax of a slasher film - the brightest possible red *everywhere. Basic rule of design: Balance the elements. Too much of a good thing is *not a good thing. To Technical Fail Design Fail must be added.

Posted by: FC on October 13, 2009 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

I really need a good laugh, but all I get it:

Connection Interrupted

The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading.

The network link was interrupted while negotiating a connection. Please try again.

I guess "interrupted while negotiating" will have to suffice in my search of GOP humor.

Posted by: ScottW on October 13, 2009 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

All I'm getting are error messages.

EPIC FAIL.

Posted by: Death Panel Truck on October 13, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Liberty University can be expected to pump out only so many computer science degrees.

And no one with any Linux expertise, either, since its daemons make it Satanic (not to mention European, and therefore Socialist).

Posted by: DH Walker on October 13, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

this is the last line from the 2003 accomplishment, in which Iraq is now spelled correctly but someone still flunks GRAMMAR:
"Operation Iraqi Freedom ousted the dictator from power and liberated more then 23 million people."

some teacher ought to give a class excerpts to correct - oh, would that be partisan?

Posted by: withay on October 13, 2009 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

And while this doesn't apply to 2004, I don't remember Kerry getting beat into pulp.

Kerry barely responded to the swiftboaters and let them create the "flip flop" business out of whole cloth. True, Bush barely eked out either victory, but look what his campaign had to work with. The GOP used to know how to execute - they gave a brainless chimp two terms.

Posted by: jimBOB on October 13, 2009 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Lincoln reading the accomplishments:
I remember that...oh good...excellent...it's about time...great idea...(hits 1980)...wait what?...really?...wtf.

Posted by: apm on October 13, 2009 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

I guess they took down the pop-up Michael Steele :(

Posted by: Little Miss Attila on October 13, 2009 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

From the GOP site under 1981 accomplishments:

President Reagan knew that nations prosper when the government allows people to keep more of their own money. His wise approach to fiscal policy caused an economic boom, ending the stagnation and “malaise” of the Carter era.

Oh my....... Wow, just wow. I guess we should just forget that those tax cuts disproportionately cut wealthy taxed income by 20 percent while working class taxed income fell only 3 percent. Also, that it caused the annual federal deficit to triple from $80 Billion (2% of GDP) in 1980 to over $200 Billion (6% of GDP) by 1983. Or that Reagan had to roll back the epic disaster of the Economic Recovery Act of 1981 by increasing taxes in 1983, 1984, and 1986. And that he did so, not by taxing the wealthiest, but by transferring the tax burden even more onto the working class. I suppose we should also over look that the fact that the economy rebounded mostly on its own during that time and was helped by the fall of fuel prices, which by the way, Reagan, in a desperate attempt to control the spiraling debt, also taxed heavily. And most of all, I suppose we should just forget Reagan's era of deregulation that led to the Savings and Loan debacle, which not unlike Bush 2.0, ended in a economic crisis near the end of his 8 year stewardship.

Posted by: oh my on October 13, 2009 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

The Savings and Loan debacle which served the Bush Family well and for which we paid through our noses.

Posted by: Sammy on October 13, 2009 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK
Curt@1:14: In tech circles, we usually refer to this as the "bleeding edge", cause you usually wind up getting cut by untested technology.

Hmmm... letting others take the risks while sticking with the tried and true, eh? I say we start a movement based on these principles. We'll call it "conservatism".

Posted by: JTK on October 14, 2009 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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