State Senator Ken Cuccinelli is advocating the creation of the Internet Republicans of Virginia (IRV). NLS thinks the idea has merit, Jim Hoeft is atwitter and provides some off the cuff suggestions as to who should lead the effort, and SWAC has a limited post but supplies the text of the reasoning text behind the idea, straight from the “Cuccinelli Compass”.
I think at first blush this is a great but sad and complex idea. Great because of what it can lead to, sad because it has taken so long for anyone in the GOP leadership to recognize the need, and complex because of implementation matters. Nonetheless, it needs a lot more substance before it can become reality…a fact that doubtless leaves the Democrats breathing a sigh of relief.
One thing that is overlooked in the above posts is that while the IRV would presumably have a large blogger element, it is geared toward those with an interest or skill with IT matters. It should be noted that SenKen notes in his third item (see at SWAC above) that:
“…IRV members are going to know more about how to use all aspects of the Internet, email, databases, computers, etc., to help a campaign than 98% of the rest of our activists”
As I have noted before, the Lincoln Four Step Plan for winning elections has not changed, only the tools by which you make it happen. Any effort to put current technology at the assistance of GOP candidates is a good thing, and the IRV would be a step in that direction.
What strikes me most forcefully is the potential difficulty of getting bloggers to work together, and toward a single purpose. I picture the Central Park meeting at the beginning of “The Warriors”, with the charismatic Cyrus urging the independent gangs with independent territories to combine and together control the city. While I doubt SenKen will meet the same fate as Cyrus, I do have a fleeting image of Janet Oleshek cruising through the 37th and clinking two bottles together, chanting “Cooch, come out to play-ay!”.
Bloggers are an independent group used to working their little corner of the web without coordinate planning. I don’t know the best way to make that happen, but the IRV seems to be as good a way as any.
Nonetheless, there are some fundamental matters that go beyond what Cooch labels as “technicalities” that I would love to see addressed.
One such matter is that of committee votes. Cooch urges amending the party plan to create IRV voting rights similar to other auxilaries, then in the next breath suggests voting rights are not needed, then at the end of his message says:
Given the “unbounded” nature of the Internet, it seems to me that this new organization should not be broken down as a new subgroup within the unit committees. In fact, that may be a great way to kill the effectiveness of the concept immediately. Let the IRV members that join up work out the kinks and the goals for their arm of the party. Let’s just put the infrastructure in place, recruit some leaders to push the idea forward, and get out of their way.
The matter of the internet and its capabilites has been ignored for too long by the RPV, and if you are going to convince bloggers and technologists that the RPV is serious, then you will need to come heavy to demonstrate your commitment. Create the infrastructure and expectations, give them the committee votes with some guidelines, and let the big dog eat and see what happens.
Membership is also an interesting question. Who can join? Do you have to have a blog in place? Does it have to have been started prior to a date? Had at least x number of posts? For instance, the blog responder known only as “t” is clearly a tremendously devoted pro-life advocate, but I have never seen it noted if he/she has a blog. Is it necessary to even have a blog to participate? Should that be a factor in determining who holds leadership roles?…because I have to think the flesh and blood voters on the State Central Committee and the Congressional committees will want flesh and blood folks present to cast votes.
Purpose is high on the list of concerns. Bloggers have a point of view they want to share and advocate. Will they need to suppress all that if they are in this group? In corporeal committees there is always the potential for differences based in idelogology or personality, but in the blogosphere those things do not exist because we do things on our own…however, become a party auxilary and things change.
Anonimity is another issue. Bloggers identities seem to come in three flavors: Identified, Anonymous, and Qualified Anonimity (QA) . The first is where the blogger uses (or presumably uses) their real name. The second is typical of blog posters who post using specious, inconsistent names or no names at all. The final group is comprised of folks like myself, who choose not to use their real names but post consistently under a pseudonym. Can you have an IRV leader who blogs anonymously or as QA?
Of course, if Chad Dotson had not hung up his keyboard this leadership question would be an easy matter to handle-and perhaps something like this would lure him back into the blogosphere.
Bottom line: A great idea that is too long in coming…but one that faces many challenges due to the nature of the potential membership and the need for a purpose for the organization. I hope it happens, and am willing to work to see it happen. However, this is a radical idea. The party leadership in general, and likely with The Cooch taking a strong point position, will have to step up and show they want to make this happen before a large number of bloggers jump in.