After dark

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they do care about infrastructure...

I recall when we first went to China in 99 to get our son and my husband, who spends most of his travel time in Africa, was stunned at the good roads. Since then, several ring roads have been added to Beijing. It seems very unrestrained, though - wiping out history and farmland at a blink of an eye.

James, wasn't your wife just there? Would love to hear her impressions.

Spreading Obamaism

I meant to post this after I read it last week, but it slipped my mind:

SPREADING OBAMAISM.

A month ago, Andrew Romano of Newsweek wrote a fascinating examination of the design features of the Barack Obama campaign. "Obama’s marketing is much more cohesive and comprehensive than anything we’ve seen before," Romano wrote, "involving fonts, logos and web design in a way that transcends the mere appropriation of commercial tactics to achieve the sort of seamless brand identity that the most up-to-date companies strive for." A big part is the use of a sans-serif font called Gotham, which manages to be authoritative, strong, open, and comfortable all at the same time.

And now it seems that Obama's design is spreading to candidates looking for a little of that mojo. Look at Obama's web site, then compare that to this web site, for North Carolina Senate candidate Kay Hagan. Similar font, identical color scheme (although Hagan might just argue she’s using variations on Carolina blue). Even the way the headings go from dark blue to light blue is the same. So here’s a question: if you're an Obama fan, and you go to Hagan's web site, do you begin to feel that there’s just something Obama-ish about her? I have a feeling that if Obama is the nominee, she's not the last Democrat we'll see doing this.

--Paul Waldman

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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Thanks...

nctodc... I wanted to thank you for posting this here, I never would have seen The American Prospect post otherwise. As part of the design team that created the Hagan site, I'm proud that our design has been compared to and judged against the Obama site. So... thanks. If you or anyone else is interested, my thoughts on the comparison can be found over at the Bullseye site.

It's a beautiful site

Is there a possibility that there will ever be affordable options for underfunded or unfunded candidates down the ballot? ....and I mean affordable options for sites as nice as the one you designed.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Affordable Design

That's a very interesting question, one we've batted around here in the office. I think there's the possibility for affordable options for underfunded or unfunded candidates, but it doesn't exist right now.

The market for website design and management and online consulting is still very young. What we think of today as a campaign's online presence really came into form during the 2004 Democratic primaries and is very much a product of the way the Dean campaign did things. While Al Gore had a website in 2000 (and was, in many ways, a head of its time), it didn't get the promotion and attention that we now give website. The growth of the netroots since 2000 and notably since 2004, has given more weight and attention to websites. Still, as I said, the market is still very much in flux.

There are a number of ways to build a website from asking the high school kid next door to build you something in Drupal to having an in-house staff of dozens of people (which is what both Obama and Clinton do) design a website and build you a custom content management system. This market chaos has as much to do with the lack of a single approach to online media (unlike the TV side of things, which already has its model) as it has to do with the fact that plenty of candidates still don't get the power of the web.

It'll take some time before such a model (or models) fully matures on the internet side. Do I think prices will come down when the web model matures? Possibly. It will make competition stronger between companies with more companies like my own popping-up.

Moreover, my belief is that as we move forward, as the tools become easier to use and as a generation who grew up with the web become more involved in politics, that prices will come down. That said, building a site like the kind Obama has or the site we designed for Kay Hagan takes a great deal of time, skill and know-how. That, in end, will always cost money. There are options out there for candidates that don't have a lot of money, but the cheaper options tend to be those from templates which end up lacking character or originality.

However, there is a way to semi-circumvent the "cost money" problem for down-ballet and underfunded campaigns. It would be possible for a national organization (DNC, DGA, DCCC, DSCC) to hire a firm like my own to provide our services to their respective candidates for little or no money. A number of organizations already do this on the technology side and there is reason to believe that it could be expanded to encompass the design side as well.

That, in the end, is probably the only realistic solution for the widest variety of underfunded candidates. It's an interesting idea, and one that the national organizations should think about, but it's not something I see happening the near future.

Thanks for the great information

Folks here tossed around the idea of finding people who would put together templates that we could offer candidates for free. I don't know that we could improve on products that are out there. I know just how hard it is to take a theme/template and improve on it and I'm certainly not capable of building from scratch at this point.

I don't think it's a bad idea for the DNC/DSCC/DCCC to hire a firm to put together a number of site designs. It could very well be a more cost effective way to reach more voters in the long haul.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Collective Effort

What I've found with a lot of the templet work that already exists is that it's done poorly, and often a template designed for one campaign doesn't always meet the needs of the next campaign. While on many levels campaigns are the same across the board, there are enough differences that make templates a bit too rigid. Each campaign wants something different even if they say, "I want Obama's site."

But I think you've got an interesting idea: a collective web development effort operated like an Open Source organization. Conceivably you could design, build, develop and populate a website for free on an on-demand basis with a digital collective of people all working from home. There are plenty of decentralized companies and organizations that take full advantage of tools like those from 37signals which allow a group to do work collectively over the internet.

The challenge with such an operation would be running the website and other aspects of the online campaign. As we all know, campaigns are high-intensity, 24/7 organizations that require instant gratification. Getting a decentralized, Open Source-style organization to run and respond at campaign speeds might be too much to ask. However, for just the design and development part of the equation, I think it's a doable solution for the underfunded candidate.

As for the DNC/DGA/DSCC/DCCC idea: I personally think it's a great idea, but selling those organizations on it might also be too much to ask at this stage of the game.

An Observation

While I was in Durham over the weekend, I saw political signs all over the place. Aside from the local races, I saw more Neal and Dellinger signs than any other.

What surprised me, however, is that I did not see a single Obama or Clinton sign. And this was not just in Durham.

Further, I went through some pretty big areas, including Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and a side-trip to Charlotte, yet not one Clinton or Obama sign.

Sure, they may have been placing their signs close to actual polling places, but even at interchanges where signs are cluttered, nada.

This leads me to believe one or all of these must be true:

A - North Carolina isn't really a battleground and both campaigns have ceded it to Obama.

B - Neither campaign has a large grassroots contigency throughout the state.

C - TV ads, which I saw plenty of for both, is where the presidential battle will be decided.

Assuming point one and two are a push, the latter has to favor Obama (money).

Perhaps this is much ado about nothing, but hey, it's late and I'm still jacked up from the trip.

My next post will cover bumper-sticker numbers...

well

I have seen signs, but they are all placed (illegaly btw) in right of ways.

A is not true. B is half true. Both campaigns have a large grassroots network available, neither campaign has been here long enough to turn grassroots into action. You cant put up signs if you dont have them. C is mostly true.

This will be won through tv, mail and old fashioned voter contact. Signs dont fit in any of those 3 categories.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

you're missing the most obvious reason

And I speak from experience here...Obama bumper stickers and yard signs are in such high demand that they're almost impossible to come by. The manufacturers can really not keep up with demand.
I've ordered 500 bumperstickers for my "Cabarrus for Obama" group and finally received them 2 weeks ago, 6 weeks after I ordered them.
We had to raise a big chunk of money to be able to buy 500 yard signs and now we finally raised the money it's too late to order them since it takes so long to get them. We will get some through the campaign HQ, but it will be less than we wanted, because of extremely high demand.
One thing to remember is that yard signs and stickers don't vote.
I was a volunteer for the Obama campaign for about a month in SC and in my travels through the state i came across hundreds of Hillary signs and maybe 10 Obama signs.
I'm sure you remember the primary results in SC.

Laws and demand...

I saw two Clinton signs in Fayetteville, but I was struck that there weren't any Obama ones. But we've just run out of yard signs at the Clinton HQ, too.

I also think it is a matter of local ordinances. I only really just learned last year that you really can't put signs anywhere, except people's yards who give permission. At least not in my town. I have seen signs littering HWY 421 in Harnett. I don't know if that's just people planting them or what.

So

In "both campaigns have a large grassroots network available, neither campaign has been here long enough to turn grassroots into action," you are saying that they will both pull out all the stops closer to the primary?

I guess that makes sense, as there are two full weeks after PA. It was just something I noticed. Eight hours on the road can lead to such odd observations!

Thanks, Crowbar!

Thank you for setting up the live-blog with Jeremy. I'm sure he will have the facts about North Carolina's unfair application of the death penalty throughout different regions at his fingertips. This should be a really good one!



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

John McCain struggles to grasp 21st century foreign policy

John McCain may say he's a foreign policy expert, but the fact is when it comes to Iraq he has repeatedly gotten key facts on the ground wrong and confused Sunni and Shiite extremists in Iraq.

  • Yesterday, for the fifth time in five months, John McCain confused Sunni and Shiite extremists in Iraq, referring to al Qaeda in Iraq as a Shiite group during the Senate hearing with General Petraeus.
  • After the gaffe, McCain's campaign quickly went into cover-up mode, claiming the senator had "stumbled on his words and corrected them immediately."
  • McCain has made this mistake on multiple occasions, including during a trip to the Middle East that was meant to burnish the Republican candidate's foreign policy credentials.
  • The truth is, McCain isn't misspeaking when he makes these mistakes. He is either showing he doesn't understand the facts on the ground in Iraq, or he is purposely conflating the threats posed by Sunni and Shiite extremists for political gain.
  • At the same time, John McCain has consistently attacked the intelligence and motives of people who disagree with his assessments of the situation in Iraq when he himself can't even get the basic facts on the ground correct.
  • McCain has also yet to say if he agrees with Ambassador Crocker's assessment that al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a bigger threat to the United States than al Qaeda in Iraq.
  • And considering General Petraeus said yesterday history would decide if the war in Iraq has made us safer, McCain should explain if he thinks the war has made us more of less safe in light of the strain the war has placed on our military and the fact that it has undercut our ability to pursue al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
  • The truth is, John McCain has proven time and time again he offers nothing more than a third Bush term on Iraq-and that's the last thing the American people want.

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McCain - The Third Bush Term

DailyKos Help

Can yall help spread the word on Daniel Johnson on Daily Kos? DJ on DK if you will?

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/4/9/142151/7514/475/492780

Yall know we can get rid of McHenry. Word on the street is that some of the folks here helped get rid of Charles Taylor.

Daniel Johnson for Congress

Just cut and paste the text below to spread the love:

<a href="http://www.danieljohnson08.org/">Daniel Johnson for Congress</a>

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McCain - The Third Bush Term