Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 13, 2009

RNC, 2.D'OH.... Just how embarrassing has the launch been for the Republican National Committee's new website? This afternoon, RNC Chairman Michael Steele told Fox News it isn't even a website.

"It's not even really a web site," Steele said. "It's a new platform for us."

To those that have been mocking the site by saying just that, he said it's "a beta site."

"So we're working out a lot of the kinks and the bugs. So the Democrats can have some fun," he said.

Oh, they're not the only ones. Marc Ambinder put together a very compelling top-10 list with the reasons why the RNC's relaunch "is fizzlin'."

10. In a section devoted to "future leaders," there were none.

9. In the subsequent rush to get up a "future leaders" page, they choose "you."

8. The last GOP accomplishment cited on the accomplishment page was from 2004.

7. The what's up page -- hip! starts with this sentence: "the internet has been around for a while now"

6. Administrator passwords were accidentally posted.

5. When the RNC hosted a kick-off conference call, the website was down.

4. The website cites Jackie Robinson as a GOP hero. Robinson wasn't a GOPer, and he criticized the GOP on race.

3. The first question on the conference call was from an Hispanic Republican who asked why the GOP site didn't have a Spanish-language page and noted that the White House had one.

2. Bragging about web redesigns is so 2004.

1. It's not timed with the start of any major advocacy campaign -- or political campaign. And it portrays itself as something it's not: diverse and ready to embrace new ideas. That may be what the party leadership aspires to, but, at least when it comes to diversity, a few pictures of Hispanics and African Americans doesn't make up for ... well, the history of the party.

That #6 from the list was of particular interest. The New York Daily News reported today:

In their haste to get their new Web site up and running, the Republican Party has posted online a slew of things you wouldn't normally expect.

Such as instructions on how to operate the Web site.


By the afternoon, the site had crashed altogether. Blue State Digital's Joe Rospars said, "You know your web program is in trouble when your site can't even handle the traffic bump from people making fun of your web program."

Is this what Steele meant when he said the RNC would go "beyond cutting edge"?

Steve Benen 4:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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This is great!!! If only Steele was in charge of the ENTIRETY of the Republican Party's operations...

Posted by: al666940 on October 13, 2009 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

They're so beyond cutting edge that they're now two inches behind the blade.

Posted by: Domage on October 13, 2009 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

If there could be an embarrassment # 11, it would be Steel's introductory message itself. Aside form making him look silly in general, it originally ended with Steele posing awkwardly, as if being told by the director of his mini-speech to cut. Indeed, at first, you could hear a person telling Steele something before the video ended. Now, if you see it at all, it's about 5 seconds shorter because of that omissions. But my God, it was hilarious.

Posted by: slappy magoo on October 13, 2009 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

After this and the NRCC Hitler video they would be better off if they stopped trying and just redirected to 4chan.

Posted by: Rian Mueller on October 13, 2009 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Not "What's Up" - "What Up". As in, What Up, Dog?

We be stylin'.

Posted by: Noam Sane on October 13, 2009 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

I bet some good Republican web designer is charging them thousands for this, too. (Based on what I saw, the site should have been done for, say, $300 or so, including their primo hosting.)


I hope none of them do any home carpentry.

Posted by: zhak on October 13, 2009 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, there already is a term for "beyond the cutting edge." In IT, and in particular open-source, we call it the *bleeding* edge.

Posted by: cec on October 13, 2009 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Just for the record, Jackie Robinson DID endorse Nixon in '60 and even Goldwater in '64 -- on the premise that, if the two parties divided on being pro-Civil Rights, it would undo alot of his life's work. (And, as Bill James says, it's kind of hard to argue he was wrong) The idea that Robinson would still be a GOPer today is of course ludicrous, but that claim is the least stupid of the ten.

Posted by: demtom on October 13, 2009 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

What are the details of their new platform? New social networking, organization tools? Talking point distribution, form letters for harassing journalists, bloggers etc? McCain points?
Somebody needs to sign up and do a proper review. The moar you know.

Posted by: Jared on October 13, 2009 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

I laughed out loud when I read the GOP accomplishments. They're proudly taking credit for the transcontinental railroad (19th century high-speed rail) and the interstate highway system (20th century stimulus).

And, back in the 19th century, THEY were the party of freedom for black Americans!

Somehow they actually think the 1994 Contract ON America--most of which was never enacted--is on the same level as the transcontinental railroad. Unbelievable.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on October 13, 2009 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: "What's up?!"

Me: "Neither your website, nor your poll numbers."

Posted by: Ohioan on October 13, 2009 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

I'm waiting since 5 minutes for the accomplishments site to pop up.
Either this is a very long list - or they cannot remember.

Let me guess...

Posted by: Vokoban on October 13, 2009 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

As if any of you damned fools knew anything about site design or hosting.


Posted by: Disdaino on October 13, 2009 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

At this point, I think we can count down the days until we're informed that Michael Steele has decided to return to his home planet, just like they did to Poochie on the Itchy & Scratchy Show.

I just hope they let Steele hold a surfboard as a prop a few times before it happens. That'd be great.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on October 13, 2009 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, now. This is amazing:

"This law to free the 3,100 slaves in the nation's capital was written by Senator Henry Wilson (R-MA) and signed by Republican President Abraham Lincoln. Every Democrat in Congress voted against it."

I'm sure they want to remember us landmark legizlation doesn't need bipartizan support.

Posted by: Vokoban on October 13, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

He really is the new Sammy Davis Jr.

Posted by: SaintZak on October 13, 2009 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Er. I'm not sure it's a good idea for them to list off all these accomplishments. It's pathetic to see how far the party has fallen the last several decades.

And any rational being can make a good case that neither Lincoln, nor T. Roosevelt, nor Eisenhower would be Republicans if they were alive right now.

They've gone from, you know, Eisenhower to McCain and from Buckley to Goldberg.

Freefall, iow.

Posted by: zhak on October 13, 2009 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Half the accomplishments listed are pre-1900.
WTF ? For these jackasses to claim Lincoln as one of their own is pathetic.

In my lifetime, born in '70, here are the republican accomplishments:

Nixon Goes to China

Reagan Tax Cuts

Tear Down This Wall

Contract with America

Welfare Reform

Operation Enduring Freedom

Republican Tax Cuts

Operation Iraqi Freedom

Vouchers for DC Schoolchildren

Yes, two rounds of tax cuts, two wars, mention of a president who was forced to resign, mention of a disgraced House Speaker who was forced to resign, and vouchers in one city that arguably failed.

The only real notables in my lifetime are ending the cold war and reforming welfare.

For a Party that treats Reagan like a god, there isn't much in the accomplishment area during his reign. Any jackass can cut taxes and I have always thought the Soviets had more to do with their collapse then Reagan.

This site is a great marketing tool when arguing 'What has the republican Party done for you lately ?"

Posted by: ScottW on October 13, 2009 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Best line on Steele was from Jon Stewart last night:

If Obama wasn't president, you wouldn't have this job.

Posted by: Mxyzptlk on October 13, 2009 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

To Infinity and Beyond!
Some restrictions may apply.

Posted by: Speed on October 13, 2009 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Whoa, I normally am a little sour to Ambinder, but DAMN! Do I like that list or what! 10 and 9 together certainly brought a chuckle to my lips.

Posted by: Paul W. on October 13, 2009 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Disdaino - your comment about if any of us damn fools knew anything about web design or web hosting was truly hilarious. A website that doesn't even work is a bad product and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that clearly. Secondly, I work with a couple of web designers, several very experienced and one rank beginner. Even the beginner could have done a better job. Lastly, NO ONE who knows what they are doing releases a so-called "beta" version of a website to the general public without testing it on a private internet platform. Software, etc. is beta-tested on a private platform before it's released to the public.

Posted by: winddancer on October 13, 2009 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

And speaking of bad websites, when is Washington Monthly ever going to fix this shithole? Ok, I get it. They love the ugly colors and all the ads, but could they at least get the comments section up to Y2K standards?

Mainly, I just want my blog's URL to be associated with my name on my comments. Is that too much to ask? Everyone else has been doing that for years, and I believe this place used to a long time ago. And I used to get a fair amount of traffic that way at Carpetbagger's old place. But these days, I actually have to link to my blog just to let people know it exists. Lame.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on October 13, 2009 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

I see the Republican's hire the same people to do there in-house web design as they hire to build soldier's baracks in Iraq (the ones with the electrical systems that can kill people).

Posted by: thorin-1 on October 13, 2009 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

When you disdain science for intelligent design, you get neither. Clearly, the web designer is a product of one of those anti-elitist, Bible-thumping educational institutions, or home schooled, or both. Two of the criteria of the scientific method are an open mind and curiosity. Republicans are demonstrating that they have neither. Authoritarianism does not lend itself to self-analysis and self-criticism. If one is rigidly right, then where is there room for self-awareness?

I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
st john

Posted by: st john on October 13, 2009 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Wow ... that site is the perfect encapsulation of the past 40 years of the GOP.

Shiny package designed to fool people from whats' really happening? Check.

Claims that they're really on the cutting edge of [insert issue here]? Check.

Celebrating war and things that were, in reality, utter failures? Check.

Listing a disgraced leader(s) who had to resign in a list of accomplishments, acting as if his/their disgrace(s) and resignation(s) never happened? Check.

Wind up having the whole thing come crumbling down due to utter, spectacular incompetence? Check.

It's disturbing/depressing that these idiots can't even run a website, yet millions of other idiots are convinced they should run our nation. It really is ...

Posted by: Mark D on October 13, 2009 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, one other thought:

Having worked as an IT consultant, I do, in fact, know a thing or two about both web design and back-end administration of a site (despite what Disdaino may believe in that tiny head of his).

I'll damn near guarantee that the admin info these clowns posted is the same for at least one other GOP site, if it's ran by the same folks. (People are like that in general, but anyone this clueless will almost assuredly use the same info everywhere he or she goes.)

And I will guarantee some hacker is already checking on this.

So this may lead to some more very interesting (and entertaining) GOP-related site news.

**grabs popcorn**

Posted by: Mark D on October 13, 2009 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

In response to their "In light of President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Award..." what awards should Michael Steele be nominated for? Biggest dumb-ass, most pompous, person most likely to try to be black...

Posted by: ComradeAnon on October 13, 2009 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK
And any rational being can make a good case that neither Lincoln, nor T. Roosevelt, nor Eisenhower would be Republicans if they were alive right now.

Roosevelt wouldn't even have been a Republican if he was alive for the 1912 general election.

Which, as it turns out, he was alive for, ran in, and came in second in both the popular and electoral vote, ahead of the Republican incumbent who placed third.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 13, 2009 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

But... Did the "Donate" button work? That's all that matters.

Posted by: exlibra on October 13, 2009 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Homey The Clown, Chairmen, Republican National Committee

Posted by: John Henry on October 13, 2009 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

More accomplishments:

1896 (although apparently there is a typo as it currently says 1869 and is chronologically listed as an 1869 event) - The one dissenter in Plessy was a Republican. Of course, aside from the fact that dissenting isn't much of an accomplishment since that means your position lost, of the seven justices in the majority, four were appointed by Republicans. And when Brown vs. Board of Education was decided unanimously, eight of the nine justices were appointed by either Roosevelt or Truman.

1875 - Republicans Passed the 1875 Civil Rights Act: "Though struck down by the Supreme Court eight years later, the 1875 Civil Rights Act would be reborn as the 1964 Civil Rights Act." Again, not much of an accomplishment if the (entirely Republican appointed) Supreme Court struck it down, and needless to say, the successful Civil Rights Act of 1964 is generally not regarded as a Republican accomplishment.

Posted by: ibid on October 13, 2009 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

First the Repubs created a quagmire (Iraq and the slipping of Afghanistan, the "Mess-o-potamia") and now the webmire of their pitiful site. Again, we know that these people have no business running government (or even business, which they love to run - often into the ground, at least for those who used to work for them on US soil.)

Posted by: N e i l B ☺ on October 13, 2009 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

More recently, the accomplishments of the Bush years appear to be two unpopular wars and an enormous deficit. Along with a temporary school voucher program in one city, that's it. And apparently Bush had no accomplishments in his second term. The last GOP president before that had no accomplishments (I guess his war wasn't an accomplishment because he allowed it to end), and the guy before him had two (and I like how in 1981 they were the "Reagan tax cuts", while the 2001 tax cuts are not associated with any president in particular). So the GOP had the same number of accomplishments under the greatest president ever as they did during the Clinton years, although one of those was more of an electoral gimmick more a success of governance. Although they did win the election, so I suppose it is an accomplishment of sorts.

Basically, this is my favorite webpage ever.

Posted by: ibid on October 13, 2009 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

The website is back up and seems to be fully functioning. A couple of things I noticed...

1. Oscar Straus is toted out as the "first Jewish person" selected for a president's cabinet in 1906.
What an awkward word usage. I guess "first Jew" would have sounded better but be more open to criticism.

2. Susan B Anthony would be turning over in her grave. First she's noted here as a "hero" and then a SarahPac fundraising group is an off-shoot of the "Susan B Anthony List", which is an anti-choice group.

3. All the "good work" the Republicans tout themselves as having preformed in the past with regard to Civil War and Reconstruction and giving those nig, oops, darki, oops, blacks the vote and other rights were done by Republicans who would have been disassociated by today's party or who would disassociate themselves from today's party.

As others have pointed out before in this thread, yesterday's Republican Party is certainly not today's!

Posted by: phoebes-in-santa fe on October 13, 2009 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

Jackie Robinson was a Rockefeller Republican, as quite a few blacks were at the time. He may have backed Nixon in 1960 (a different animal than the Nixon of "southern strategy" infamy), but he supported Rockefeller in '64 and didn't like seeing the Goldwater wing take over the GOP at the '64 convention at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.

Posted by: Vincent on October 13, 2009 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Steele lost his argument long ago.
He hopes to lambast President Obama just to get on the record as a 'no'--but is dust in the wind.
So unimpressive. A pretender. I sense a wimp obstructionist with no substance.
You can kind of see the weakness in his eyes. He knows he is prostituting himself to the party of no

Posted by: let's go to Chris in California on October 13, 2009 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

who the hell was percy pinchback? Was he a real republican ???

Posted by: bigwisc on October 13, 2009 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Steele was over heard saying backstage, "But this goes to eleven."

Posted by: victory on October 13, 2009 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Looking at this site is quite hilarious. When I checked last night, the Steele "walk out" was removed.

My current thought is what this site is doing for the "base" of the Republican party? The Palin/Joe The Plumber crowd is really going to enjoy having a conversation on this site with all the potential lower life forms lurking that the GOP are trying to recruit? With so much dark skin flashing on the site, I can see this backfire on Steele and the GOP. I think this gets things closer to the GOP splitting into two parties than bringing others under their mini-umbrella.

Posted by: GreyGuy on October 14, 2009 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

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