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John McCain and the Internet: A dumb idea

Back in the primaries, McCain enlisted the services of spammers. I got some badly targeted emails that were clearly oriented towards military veterans... and the email address for the person I think he thought he had wasn't a veteran, nor am I. I filled out the form on his website and said that I was planning on voting for anybody but him. Clearly nobody read those forms, because I got a few emails to the address I gave there, too. Calling somebody part of the "McCain Community" is about as offensive as overusing the phrase "My friends". I am neither.

Meanwhile, my friend Scott pointed me in the Obama direction, and so I signed up for Obama's website.

I should note that, at no point in time, have I gotten any Obama-related mailings to any email address other than the one I gave to nobody but the Obama campaign. They are good like that.

The thing about Obama's online team is that he managed to hire some super-slick individuals. Looking through the site, I realized just how much they were changing the game. None of the robocalls I hate to get were needed if you could let a whole bunch of supporters do five calls at a time from their cellphone. The stream of cute form-mails and the ability to build online communities keeps Obama on people's minds.

As the wheels came off the McCain campaign, I noticed something even more amusing. He realized that Obama had raised tons of money and support online, so his campaign decided that he had to get one of those cool websites, too. And then I started getting more emails exhorting me to be a part of this ripoff of the Obama site.

In a society where authenticity is so fashionable that large companies rip pictures off of people's flickrstreams to be a few seconds ahead in the authenticity arms-race, I cannot help but think that all of the money spent by the McCain campaign to chimp Obama's website was a huge waste of a very tiny warchest.

Meanwhile, yes, Barack Obama has a massive secret nuclear option. Note that he's still got the addresses he collected. Had he lost, he would have still become a major Democratic power broker, simply because he's got access to a lot of people. Now that he's won, I don't think it's very far off to assume that he's going to find interesting ways to use this to the maximum advantage to push whatever reforms he's got in mind through.

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