The Republican National Committee (RNC) proudly launched its new website at GOP.com today, saying that it “will promote increased grassroots participation and innovation, better communication, improved platform compatibility and smarter marketing and fundraising tools for the GOP.” When a visitor goes to the site, the first thing he or she sees is a miniature floating Michael Steele walking onto the page with a greeting (similar in style to the old Microsoft Word Office Assistant):
The RNC press release announcing the site highlighted its widgets, tie-ins to other social media networks, and open platform. But here are the real highlights of the site (which is being widely mocked):
– Michael Steele’s Blog Called ‘What Up?': In his first post, titled “Let me ask you,” Steele talks about how he finds the Internet an “amazing platform” for “life.”
– No Future Leaders: The new RNC site dedicates a section to “Future Leaders” of the GOP, but after it launched, the page was still empty. It has now been updated asking people to submit the names of possible future leaders.
– Misnaming Jackie Robinson A GOP ‘Hero': The RNC tries to portray the party as diverse on its GOP ‘Heroes’ page (even though there is currently only one non-Hispanic minority serving as a Republican in the House and the Senate and only two percent of blacks identify as Republican), with people of color making up almost half the list. However, one of the people listed as a “great Republican” is baseball legend Jackie Robinson, who actually identified himself as an independent. In fact, Robinson spoke out about the “hatred” he saw at the 1964 GOP convention, where Barry Goldwater won the nomination. He called it “one of the most unforgettable and frightening experiences of my life.”
– Lists The ‘Iraw’ War As A Republican Accomplishment: The GOP takes ownership of Operation Iraqi Freedom at its ‘Accomplishments’ page, writing, “Five months later, in March 2003 President Bush ordered 250,000 U.S. troops into Iraw.” (View a screenshot here.)
According to GOP new media strategist Mindy Finn, the RNC vetted all the pictures of diverse faces at the top of the site to make sure they’re all Republicans.
The new site is even being ridiculed by conservatives, with Jillian Bandes writing at Townhall.com, “Is Michael Steele’s New RNC Blog Really Called ‘What Up?’ Yes. Yes it is. ::head hits keyboard::.”
The Atlantic’s Chris Good writes of the GOP site, “Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to run too well on the new Internet Explorer.”
,Note that the RNC doesn’t have any Republican accomplishments listed after 2004. RNC administrators also accidentally publicly posted their passwords and files on the site.
,Marc Ambinder lists the top 10 reasons the RNC website is a failure, including, “When the RNC hosted a kick-off conference call, the website was down,” and “The first question on the conference call was from an Hispanic Republican who asked why the GOP site didn’t have a Spanish-language page and noted that the White House had one.”