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RNC Launches New Online Platform Discussion Site

By Jose Antonio Vargas
The Grand Old Party is morphing into the Grand New Party, technologically speaking, and opening up the online flood gates.

Today, the Republican National Committee launches, a site that allows anyone with an Internet connection to send their thoughts on the party's platform via text or video in the months leading up to the convention in September.

In a 50-second video introduction, RNC Chairman Mike Duncan says: "This Web site is really about you -- your ideas, your issues, and most important of all, your aspirations." You don't have to be a Republican to participate, and a staff will screen out submissions deemed distasteful and vulgar. But officials said that the screening process doesn't mean there won't be "plenty of debate" on the issues. "There are going to be some things that will make us uncomfortable," Duncan readily admitted in an interview last night.

The site lists seven platform issues: "Accountablity In Education"; "Energy & Gas Prices"; "Health Care Reform"; "Jobs & Economic Growth"; "Judicial Nominations"; "National Security"; and "Protecting American Values."

But as Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), chairman of the Republican Platform Committee, pointed out: "These platform issues aren't the only issues out there. Still, we had to start somewhere. The strength of this new site is, people can suggest and add which issues we should focus on. We can move, we can change, we can adapt."

Added Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.), co-chairman of the platform committee: "Is what we're doing revolutionary from a technological standpoint? No. Are we the first one to use technology to open up the platform process to the entire population? Yeah."

The site has been in the works for two months, said Cyrus Krohn, the RNC's eCampaign Director, and its kick-off was timed for maximum effect. Three days ago, the Democratic National Committee announced that it will hold meetings in all 50 states to involve voters in developing the party's platform. Voters can go to Sen. Barack Obama's site to sign up to host one of the meetings, scheduled for July 19 to 27. But the Republican's platform site, in contrast, allows "anyone from anywhere" to engage with our platform," McCarthy said. Compared to what the Democrats are doing, McCarthy said, "ours is a leap forward."

That's not just spin. The Trail took a few moments to navigate the new site, which is cleanly designed and easy to scan. Users can participate in issue polls -- and add a widget to their Web pages that updates in real-time with the top issues being discussed. Users can also add Republican Platform Committee application to their Facebook profiles, and there is a "Send to Friends" button that allows users to invite others to submit their ideas. All the while, they can read other people's submissions and participate in discussion forums created on Google Groups.

"We hope that this process will guarantee the greatest amount of public input into any platform in American history!" reads the introduction on the site's homepage.

That is an awfully ambitious goal, especially for a party that hasn't been perceived online as being transparent and open.

"We have been more transparent and open than people have given us credit for," said Erick Erickson, one of the founders of the popular conservative blog

Whatever the perception, there's no closing the floodgates now. Everyone will be watching -- Republican and Democrat -- to see just how well the senior officials at the GOP listen to the online masses. On the Web, especially the political Web, what matters more than building a site is how you really use it.

This is one in a series of online columns on our growing "clickocracy," in which we are one nation under Google, with e-mail and video for all. Please send suggestions, comments and tips to vargasj-at-washpost-dot-com.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 11, 2008; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  The Clickocracy  
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Posted by: DroxRoala | July 13, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

If the Republicans live off terrorism...then the Democrats live off lies..Change?? Oh what a crock! The Dems as always wanted the government to control the people through all their government programs..Dems want the government to take care of them because they are so helpless and bad off. If you view it otherwise then you haven't been informed of the politics for the last 10,000 years.
You have put up and support some puppet demigod to take you under his little wing, feed, care for you, pat your bottom because you made a wrong decision! Real Americans dig in and fight for every inch of what we have! We always have! But you belly aching Dems want someone to take care of you..Grow the FVCK up!!

Posted by: dragonfly777 | July 12, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Folks: I was an actual Election Judge Supervisor in the 2000 National Election who uncovered multiple cases of proven VOTER FRAUD. Guess who was caught every time? Stated Democrats > Judges, Judge Supervisor's Ballet Pick Up / Delivery Driver's, Election Deputies! (And) Yes! Every case was properly de-briefed and investigated! In 1988 I was a Republican Candidate in a Municipal Race against another stated Republican Candidate, whom I suspected was actually living the majority of the time outside the municipality & County. On election day, I & Election Deputies found evidence of wrong doing by Paid Municipal Employees who were part of the "Party Machine". The point of the true story? Both sides do "dirty's", like $6,000,000.00 in unmarked bills "that just appeared out of no-where, not recorded in any audits, during one campaign." Or the formerly high profile Pol who chartered a jet, flew back to his home state, visited key corporate people unannounced, instructing them to get on the jet with "cash" to make a delivery drop at the offices of the Pol's personal choice candidate. Or thousands of "mal-functioning Electronic Balet Boxes" all accross Key States on National Election Day. Or, all the thousands of Active Over-Seas Military Personnel's Absentee Ballots not arriving via US Mail, by the required cut off date for them being counted. Such is American Politics. It's always gon on, always will. Throw the System away? No Way. Rather, stay vigilant. (And) Stop voting for Cousins for President, whom are cousins to the Royal House in the United Kingdom, Term after Term: IE: George H.W. Bush, the cousin of Wm. Jefferson Blythe Clinton, Cousin of George Walker Bush, & Barak Hussein Obama: ALL COUSINS TO THE ROYAL HOUSE OF WINDSOR! Finally, after 28 straight years of Royal Cousins who grew up knowing each other, who are also cousins to certain Key Leaders in the Mid-East that control the Oil Flow there, because they are also cousins of the same Royals from a marriage in the 1800's: PLEASE, EVERYONE! VOTE FOR THE PROVEN "COMMONER" that's actually no cousin of the last three President's and the one before Reagan, along with one V.P. going all the way back to 1972! Here's the list for those slow reader's; Ford - Bush (01) - Blythe/Clinton - Bush (02) - AND CANDIDATE, Barak Hussein Obama by his Mother's family {the 50% caucasian side of the family}. You question what you are reading? Please don't, I come from THREE United Kingdom Titled "Blue Blood" Family Lines. I KNOW OF WHAT I WRITE. Change? Nope!! Just more Royal Relative Pendulum Swinging, so the "Common American Voter" thinks they're bringing "Change" while all along, it's the same extended family running things: United Kingdom Royal Relatives. (And) Hillary Rodham Clinton? Married to a Royal Cousin. Her Family is "Blue Blood United Kingdom Titled" since the late 1500's by the Royal Family in England/U.K. It's not the popular vote anyway. Its the Electoral College that chooses the US President! And there is NO Federal Law that requires Electoral College Delegate's to vote with the popular vote of their constiuancies! So! Have fun playing your parts in the Political Chess Game! The same family of Royals always wins the White House. Either directly by Cousin's, or indirectly by way of their Royal Family's Titled Families like the Roosevelts and most others. Like George Washington, the first. He was First Cousin and named after that Cousin, King George of the British Empire! So! Rant on... might as well spit in the wind. 2000 & 2004 showed it SO CLEARLY! Almost too clearly. But be sure and vote! Vote for a Commoner this time rather than a Royal Cousin! Vote for the man who's Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather served as Aide-De-Camp for General George Washington at Valley Forge! Navy Airman, John Mc Cain! He's no "Blue Blood". "This message brought by one with "blue blood" running in his veins. Born American!

Posted by: Mark | July 12, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

To: Dianne72 | July 11, 2008 2:14 PM
Thank you for pointing out again, that Republicans only know FEAR and HATE.

Republicans live off of terrorism now, and have adopted many of the terrorist practices. They will try to scare you, and some cowards will be swayed by their lies, but I am not a coward - I will vote for Obama.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 11, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

This looks like a site for a hospice, you know, a place where people go who expect to die within six months.

You can almost feel the Geritol ooozing off the page. You never see a black or a latino face at the Mccain rallies anyomore? What happened, did somebody steal all the life-sized cut-outs?

Posted by: Mike Harley | July 11, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

At the top banner of their web page, that silhouette of people with their arms raised, doesn't it remind you of medieval images of lost souls writhing in Hell?

Posted by: drossless | July 11, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

PAO wrote: "MSM exec's, like most corporate exec's, aren't stupid."

Ah, that explains our splendid economic successes of late . . .

Posted by: drossless | July 11, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Dianne, I wonder when you will get that brain transplant you so desperately need to replace the dormant organ that bounces around your oversized cranium. How many more times you are going to cut and paste your racist drivel about Michelle Obama? Isn't there a better use of your time - like volunteering to be studied for that virilent strain of herpes?

Posted by: '08 | July 11, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Re: McCain Campaign

I think that Senator McCain's Campagin website is being hacked. Please check.

Posted by: Premier | July 11, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Possibly because the media, another "evil" big business, understands that a President Obama would pose serious danger to the country as a whole.

MSM exec's, like most corporate exec's, aren't stupid.

Posted by: PAO
Still following those internet lies, PAO? Anytime you want to leave this country due to your fears, please less idiot drooling into his cup while watching Faux News would be a relief.

Posted by: '08 | July 11, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

There is definitely a protect McCain movement in the media.

Posted by: Goldie | July 11, 2008 1:47 PM

Possibly because the media, another "evil" big business, understands that a President Obama would pose serious danger to the country as a whole.

MSM exec's, like most corporate exec's, aren't stupid.

Posted by: PAO | July 11, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Re: McCain Campaign

Senator Obama is hitting hard on the Graham issue since he does not have any cards to play: He is hiding again because his "fear-mongering" card did not work (re: airplane malfunction).

The good sign is his speech was faltering, meaning that he is feeling desperate as Hillary did. He is trying to tear down Senator McCain. His mention of "Dr. Phil" is a good example.

This is a great "omen." Please keep your Campaign as noble and real.

Posted by: Premier | July 11, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

For the RNC's sake I hope they didn't hire the same IT people who caused 5 million White House e-mails to disappear into cyberspace.
Zero accountability, the Republican mantra.

Posted by: Bill | July 11, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

So where are the WP headlines about McCain lying about his divorce? According to the LA Times, McCain was sneaking around with Cindy 9 mnths before he filed for divorce while his wife did not know. In his autobio he claims they were separated. McCain even applied for his marriage license to Cindy before he was legally divorced. No straight talk there. But where is the media? Why isn't this the biggest headline. There is definitely a protect McCain movement in the media.

Posted by: Goldie | July 11, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Great. Just what the web needs. More Republican blogging:

For anyone who can't stomach actually going to their website, here's a short summary of Republican blogging so you don't need to waste your time:



Posted by: James McDouglas | July 11, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Do we really need another hate site on the internet!?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 11, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Beware the Republican National Committee!! Here's what Mark Crispin Miller had to say about their activities in 2004:

Take the case of Sproul & Associates, an Arizona firm hired by the Republican National Committee to run stealth voter registration drives throughout the nation prior to the 2004 election. Starting in the summer, Sproul's troops haunted public areas, posing as non-partisan opinion pollsters or petitioners for liberal causes. Through such deception, the firm worked to inflate the number of registered Republicans, by any means necessary. Closely following a script, the operatives asked leading questions-a form of "push polling"-in order to identify Republican respondents, and then asked them to fill out registration forms. The teams were orderd not to register Democrats or Independents.

Nevertheless, many Democrats filled out the forms--and those forms were destroyed. One Sproul worker in Las Vegas said: "We caught [my supervisor] taking Democrats out of my pile, [and] hand[ing] them to her assistant, and he ripped them up right in front of us."

More frequently, however, Sproul's troops bamboozled thousands of Democrats and Independents into registering as Republicans, either by secretly altering the registration forms, or by misleading people into thus re-registering themselves. Such service was expensive. According to their filings with the Federal Election Commission, the Republican National Committee paid Sproul well over $8 million--the RNC's eighth-largest expenditure of the 2004 campaign.

And what did the party get for it? Aside from ripping up the registration forms of many Democrats, the company created thousands of unwitting faux-Republicans, in Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Minnesota, Michigan and Oregon. Thanks to those inflated numbers, there appeared to be more registered Republicans than there were in reality--a misimpression that would seemingly explain the party's upset wins in those states where the exit polls predicted otherwise.

In Ohio, for example, countless Democratic votes were stolen through the tactics documented in the full committee's excellent report on the election there: voter "caging," thwarted registration drives, broad refusal of provisional ballots, organized disinformation and intimidation, shortages of functioning machines in Democratic districts only, and numerous "machine irregularities" undoing only Democratic votes. Those tactics were used also in those other states where the exit polls predicted a Republican defeat--and where Sproul had also helped inflate the number of grassroots Republicans.

Thus Sproul not only broke the law, but may also have assisted in a larger plan to block the vote. (There are oddities, moreover, in the RNC's filings with the FEC, with nine expenditures, totaling well over $1 million, incurred somehow in 2005, suggesting an attempt to minimize the sum spent on Sproul's services.)

Watch RNC Money
Watch RNC Actions
Watch RNC Influences

Seek street-level information on their street-level operations

Invest in Prevention and Preemption

Make them feel the scrutiny

Don't let them get away with it ... AGAIN!!

Posted by: hesingswithfrogs | July 11, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Who cares, if the RNC wants to do favors they would disappear.

Posted by: Lessie | July 11, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

To "JL" -

We don't want to "merge".

Posted by: fred | July 11, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Good - then the GOP trolls can get their talking points quicker to cut and paste.

Posted by: 2008 | July 11, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

The GOP cannot win this fall's election by saying what accomplishments they made from the time of their congressional dominance from 1995-2006. They cannot list any good accomplishments since the Village-Idiot has been President either. My point is the party in power cannot rationally say what it would do; it can only relay on its record.

Posted by: tanaS | July 11, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I think the Democratic Party's local grassroots events hosted by volunteers around the country are a better way to build local connections between people and take the "online" activism and discussion "offline". (Also, the local events, if advertised outside the web with flyers, etc., reach out a little more to people who may not be Web-savvy, too.)

That being said, it's cool that BOTH parties are reaching out in some way this year to get more grassroots input for their platforms. Once this process opens up, I don't think either can close it again four years from now, or ever. Our founding fathers would be proud.

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | July 11, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

what a copycat!!! This was a democratic/obama idea. This is the moment when you realize that the GOP is not more than a bunch of dinosaurs!!!!

Posted by: carl29 | July 11, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I love that Mr. McGoo thinks that an all of a sudden attempt to get 'voter' feedback on the Republican platform is so ingenius. Didn't Obama send out to his supporters an email inviting them to participate in creating the Democratic Party platform a week ago? "The GOP, a party for the last century."

How ANYONE who has an IQ over 60 can vote for Mr. McGoo is beyond me. But then they did vote for George W. Bush twice. Maybe we should request those who voted for Bush a second time refrain from voting in lieu of not being prosecuted for crimes against America.

Posted by: Debra | July 11, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

And there is a weekly 2008 Vice President Poll at . Who does America want to back the candidates?

Posted by: Votenic | July 11, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Yes you are going to the right direction. Excellent!

Posted by: Premier | July 11, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

It says "grassroots-driven" on the website, and then check out the tree WHITE MEN IN SUITS. No blacks, women or hispanics. How clever is that in the present context?


Posted by: JL | July 11, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

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