This is an interesting explanation of what’s gone on with the stimulus debate:
The outcome is not surprising. Obama had roughly 90 people working at his headquarters on Internet outreach and new technology projects, observes Joe Trippi, a Democratic operative who broke new ground on modern campaigning during Howard Dean’s 2004 Democratic primary bid.
Even with closet-size spaces, the White House can accommodate only about 200 or so people for jobs ranging from national security to health care reform to Internet guru.
The Obama team “built this incredible campaign and now they have these ridiculously primitive tools. The communication tools they mastered don’t exist in the White House. It’s like they are in a cave,” said Trippi.
“Then there are the masters of the Stone Age, and they are doing a good job,” he added.
Certainly, the Republican attack tools here have been crude and old-fashioned — go on talk shows and lie, get the wingnut radio to rant about pork, etc. And, I think to some extent, the media has gone a long with it all because they’re comfortable with this, having come of age in a post-Nixonian political environment dominated by bogus culture wars and mind-numbingly stupid right-wing agitprop. I can imagine Richard Cohen writing column title “Luddites 1, hopey internet gurus 0” or something like that.
But the whole idea that firing up the old wingnut distortion machine still constitutes a useful political strategy is dubious at best. It seems to me that most media assumptions made about politics stem from what I call the Chris Matthews cranky uncle theory of politics, whereby elections are decided by people like Chris Matthews’ angry uncle, who likes Republicans for “cultural reasons” and because he hates “government waste”, but who also may vote Democrat because he thinks they might dole out more money to him when he becomes unemployed and maybe because he used to be in a union.
But McCain won the cranky white bastard demographic handily last time and still got shellacked. Obama won two-thirds of the under 30 vote and two-thirds of the Latino vote. If that keeps happening — and there’s no reason to think it won’t — Republicans will keep losing elections badly. There just aren’t enough cranky white bastards anymore.
Is there anything about the Republican strategy on the stimulus that will help them expand beyond the cranky white bastard demo? I’m not sure. And, no, Twittering their crazy neo-Hooverist rantings isn’t going to change anything.
Speaking of cranky white bastards, Broder is doing a Q&A at noon.