The Great Right Hope
The conservative movement needs a wipeout in '08, and Idaho has their man.
Whichever campaign wins the Ralph Primary, the mere fact that Romney and Giuliani need Ralph Reed should be enough to disqualify them from higher office. The sad part is, Ralph would fit well in either camp. Giuliani does business with sleazeballs and seems willing to do anything to make a buck. Ditto for Ralph. Social conservatives worry that Romney is a shameless political opportunist who'll say one thing and do another. With Ralph, that's the one thing conservatives can count on.
Many of us look at Ralph Reed and see an ambitious, unprincipled buckraker. Romney and Giuliani look at Ralph Reed and see the very premise of their candidacies—the hope that an ambitious, unprincipled buckraker can con the religious right.
Rudy and Mitt won't reverse the curse; they're doomed to repeat it. In the Ralph Primary, Ralph is the sole survivor. Like casinos, the only way to win is not to play. ... 12:12 A.M. (link)
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007
What It Takes: It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon. Only one Republican has announced a presidential campaign, and as far as we know, only one Democrat is planning to do so—while another Democrat just took himself out of the race. The field is so crowded, there's no room to get in. If you were hoping to run for president in 2008, you've probably looked at the glut of candidates and frontrunners, seen the writing on the wall, and decided to spend more time with your family.
Would-be wannabes, take heart! Now you can run for President and spend more time with your loved ones. Thanks to a new Web site called U4Prez.com, which makes its official launch on Thursday, your 2008 campaign is just a few clicks away.
In 2004, the Internet rewrote the rules of presidential campaigns by revolutionizing the way candidates could engage the electorate, communicate with voters, and raise money from ordinary people. In 2006, YouTube changed the rules again by holding candidates accountable for their own stupidity.
Yet for all the hoopla, the web developments of the last two cycles only underscored the biggest shortcoming of the existing system—the candidates. U4Prez.com is designed to take the Internet revolution to the next level, by cutting out the middlemen and letting you run for yourself.
Let's face it: Like Windows XP, the operating system of our representative democracy is hopelessly out of date. Under the current model, you invest your hopes, your time, and your treasure in someone you've never met. If they lose, you're disappointed; if they win, they almost always let you down.
The whole idea is so 18th century! A political system built on despair and disillusion may have seemed like a great leap forward back when life was nasty, brutish, and short. Yet today, under the yoke of that antiquated system, we can't even spell the pursuit of happiness, let alone make the most of it.
Now, at last, we can throw off our democratic oppressors. In a 21st-century democracy, every man's home can be his campaign headquarters, and anyone with a mouse can be commander-in-chief.
Bruce Reed, who was President Clinton's domestic policy adviser, is CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council and co-author with Rahm Emanuel of The Plan: Big Ideas for Change in America.E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his disclosure here.
Photograph of man with a pizza box on Slate's home page by Digital Vision/Getty Images. Photographs of: George Bush on Slate's home page by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images; power station on Slate's home page by Digital Vision; the Eiffel Tower on Slate's home page by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images; Karl Rove on Slate's home page by David McNew/Getty Images; Nancy Pelosi on Slate's home page by Chuck Kennedy/MCT. Photograph of Bill Sali on the Slate home page courtesy http://sali.house.gov/.