WHY ARE REPUBLICANS SO AFRAID OF DEMOCRACY, OPENNESS AND PEOPLE-POWERED TECHNOLOGY?
the pygmies have arrived
So far only two minor candidates, John McCain and Ron Paul, have agreed to participate in CNN's Sept. 17th Republican YouTube debate-- and McCain says he's as likely as not to change his mind. Giuliani, who referred to a plurality of Americans yesterday as losers, has let it leak that he intends to find some convenient scheduling conflict, although it's not likely to involve either the head of the Giuliani Southern strategy, David Diapers Vitter (R-LA) or the disgraced former chairman of his South Carolina campaign, Thomas Ravenel, a Republican multimillionaire playboy who snorted up enough coke to cover the tax reductions of every South Carolina family making less than $50,000 per year.
No one bothered to tell Flip Flop Mitt, who, no doubt, will just do whatever everyone else does anyway, what YouTube is. He mentioned yesterday that it is "a website that allows kids to network with one another and makes friends and contact each other," a perfect description of MySpace, where GOP sex predators like Mark Foley hunt for children to prey on-- but hardly a description of YouTube.
The relatively freewheeling Democratic CNN/YouTube debate was so popular among voters-- and the mainstream media-- that over 400 video questioned have already been loaded up on the YouTube site. But the very openness and aliveness scares the hell out of the stiff and thoroughly scripted "bunch of," as Newt Gingrich, who knows them all well, put it, "pathetic pygmies."
The Republican Party of Florida, and that state's wildly popular moderate Republican governor, Charlie Crist-- who is far better liked than any of the pygmies-- is a co-sponsor of the debate. The candidates are all asking for a more easily controlled debate in Florida, one on Fox or some other dependable GOP propaganda outlet, where no one goes off script and no one can be made to look like an idiot except Ron Paul. Right now the pygmies are all grumbling that they'd rather be raising money than debating. And, no doubt that's true. Republicans have always felt more comfortable scraping and bowing in front of the rich than opening themselves up to the harsh light of reality in front of living, breathing... people.
Whatever there is of a Republican netroots-- and, being a stultified top-down bunch, there really isn't much at all-- thinks nixing the debate is a big mistake. Patrick Ruffini, for example, says appearing to be afraid of answering questions from regular people makes the pygmies look bad.
It’s stuff like this that will set the GOP back an election cycle or more on the Internet. No matter the snazzy Web features and YouTube videos they may put up, if they’re fundamentally uncomfortable with the idea of interacting with real people online, what’s the point?
Having spent the better part of a decade working at the intersection of politics and the Web, I can’t help but feel of a deep, deep sense of dismay that we’re missing something so basic. This is EXACTLY why I am afraid that we will be outraised by $100 million or more in 2008.
Now if you want to see the pygmies making asses of themselves in a YouTube debate, sign the petition put together by a whole herd of online wingnuts.
Maybe the pygmies would feel more comfortable if Ted Stevens were the moderator. Republicans, of course feel uncomfortable about young people (ages 18-29), who are far more likley to have open minds that haven't been brainwashed. Remember, the average age of an O'Reilly viewer is over 70, the perfect audience for a Republican, not in terms of what the GOP has to offer to the elderly but in terms of the ability to play on preconceptions and predictability. A new poll released today shows that young people have no more regard for the Republican candidates than the canddiates have towards them. The Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll found young people, the YouTube generation, "profoundly alienated from the Republican Party and its perceived values." In fact they are downright hostile to the GOP, the candidates and their ideas of almost every single issue.
UPDATE: GIULIANI AND FLIP FLOP MITT FORCE CNN TO "POSTPONE" THE YOUTUBE DEBATE
Whether it's fear of technology or fear of openness or fear of... uncontrolled masses of people-- remember Bush's ticket-holders only campaign stops?-- Giuliani and Romney have forced CNN to call off or "postpone, indefinitely" the YouTube debate scheduled for September in Florida. Ron Paul says he was informed by CNN that the 2 front-runners are claiming unspecified "other commitments" (forever). CNN bravely says they will work with the Giuliani and Mormon campaigns to find a new date that works for everyone.