Republican Platform-Generating Website Meets Reality

In lieu of actually generating a platform themselves, Republicans earlier this week decided to fuse their two core competencies — hollow, patronizing appeals to the populace, and intellectual laziness — to create an online platform where, with little moderation, ordinary citizens can pose their ideas for reforming the government. The result was predictable — racism, satire, parody, and disaster (see Wonkette). But — don’t miss the hilarious results. Some examples of citizens’ “ideas”:

Annex Canada and Mexico. Building wall across Guatemala will be easier and melting ice cap means Russians will have harder time with invasion.

The last part is just great. Clearly someone’s read Zhirinovsky’s Baltic solution (link). And,

My neighbor wears a towel on his head and he smells funny. Arrest him.

Liz Lemon would approve (link).

The internet can be a powerful platform for generating ideas, but the method of implementation controls the output, and any system must be built to winnow the inevitable spam, satire, and attacks that the internet’s zeitgeist implies. Very few blogs seem to seek that result, and fewer still go to the trouble to build a system to consciously produce it, but here, at least, I try: the key must be content-neutral moderation with bars for affirmatively unproductive (racist, insulting, spam) comments. Since this site’s reader base is comparatively small, achieving that result is easy, but the effort grows exponentially with a larger readership.

Still, given the scope of the GOP’s ambition with this project, they should’ve put some resources into execution. That they didn’t suggests that Republicans like Cantor either didn’t realize the problem, and made no attempt to contact anyone with actual experience on the internet, or didn’t care. Both are damning.

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9 comments

  1. oneiroi · ·

    I don’t know how much of a story this is, but some people are also annoyed that this is being paid through tax payer dollars. http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/05/27/house_gop_site_costs_more_money_with_more_traffic

  2. Bah. In Soviet Russia, melting ice caps invade you!

    As for the GOP, maybe next they could turn their party platform into a public wiki.

    1. Conservapedia? Speaking of which Ames, when are you going to blog about Andy’ sterling performance before the NJ Supreme Court and on the broader US Senator recalls? I came here earlier this week looking for commentary.

  3. I imagine we would have something to say about that :).

    Also, yeah — taxpayer funded? That’s ABSURD. It’s the undeniable messaging gloss that makes this political, and therefore improper.

  4. This does raise the question: what effective way is there to submit policy and legislative proposals to your elected representatives? Email, phone, and hand-written letters don’t work, since all that happens is a staffer puts your name on the “send a form-letter response” list, and the form letter needn’t be closely related to what you sent (I remember Saxby Chambliss’s office sending me a “Yes, I support a Federal Marriage Amendment” letter in response to my 4 pages of “Please quit supporting a Federal Marriage Amendment”. Say what?).

    1. The short answer: “Have lots of money.”

      1. Yeah, but besides that, or just having the good luck to be well-connected (with city government, who you know is all that matters), what is there?

  5. Isn’t Politico required to have a banner somewhere identifying itself as part of GOPAC?

  6. James F · ·

    I’m pretty sure someone already submitted the Grandpa Simpson classic:

    Dear Mr. President,

    There are too many states nowadays. Please eliminate three.

    P.S.: I am not a crackpot.

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