Suffrage net city

By MIKE MILIARD  |  November 28, 2007
LOOK FOR An informative blog, subdivided and cross-referenced into Arguments & Analyses, Action, Quick Posts, and Diaries
LAUGH AT “Our favorite Thanksgiving recipes” — only available after you fork over a campaign donation

“Democrat John Edwards was the first [candidate] to set up shop in virtual world Second Life.” If that piece of information, reported this spring on, isn’t enough to get Edwards your vote, it’s surely enough to cement his cyberspace bona fides. His site hits all the right buttons: it’s nicely designed, with eye-popping color, snazzy graphics, and well-ordered navigation. And it’s got comprehensive tools (video blogs, podcasts, real-time chats, social networking) to make it easy to learn about Edwards and spread the word about him. The candidate’s embrace of technology is unabashed — and he’s a proselytizer. His site’s Technical Corner page offers a glossary and instructions explaining how less-Net-savvy citizens can use a wide array of gadgets and software apps, such as audio blogs, RSS, Skype, pings, and trackbacks, to learn and, in turn, get the message out. As for the geeks, Edwards openly solicits ideas from supporters about ways to “better utilize technology to reach more people.” Compare this stance with the current president’s, whose Internet experience is limited to checking Yahoo! for Texas Rangers scores.

LOOK FOR “Una Nueva Alianza con América Latina”
LAUGH AT An action center that will help you “find friends.” Man, this guy really cares about his constituents!

On the left hand side of Bill Richardson’s homepage are four navigation bars. There’s a red one. Click it to contribute to his campaign. Below that is a yellowy/orange bar. Click it if you want to read about his plan for jobs and the American economy. Under that is a green bar. That leads to a petition to de-authorize the war and bring the troops home. And beneath that is a blue bar, leading to information about Richardson’s “new energy revolution” proposals. It seems, at first, a haphazard grouping of disparate policy prescriptions. But then, surrounded by a busy sea of shifting widgets and video clips, links to blog posts and campaign swag, the nav bars’ colors come into focus. Suddenly, it hits you: it looks pretty much like the color-coded terrorism threat-advisory scale. Which can mean only one thing. Knowing he’s the longest of long shots for president, Richardson is subliminally angling for secretary of homeland security. You heard it here first.

LOOK FOR Substantive policy proposals about Iraq and Pakistan
LAUGH AT Joe’s vaguely Max Headroom–esque official photo (difference: Max wears a tie)

Once you get past a welcome “splash page” that looks almost exactly like Richardson’s — didn’t Joe learn anything from the 1988 Neil Kinnock controversy? — Biden’s site offers some interesting insights. The first thing one notices is that it’s more text-based than most sites, with much of the homepage given over to various news stories, op-eds, and press releases. There’s a big graphic celebrating Biden’s being the first Democrat to receive a newspaper endorsement.” (That publication,
in case you’re wondering, is the powerhouse Storm Lake Times — the “hometown newspaper” of Buena Vista County, Iowa.) Most interesting to us was a hype titled: “Biden vs. Giuliani: focusing on the Main Event.” Does ol’ Joe know something about the upcoming general
election that we don’t?

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