In the ’90s, way back in the 20th century, guys like Ralph Reed brought the Republican Party into the cutting edge of the age of technology. It seems so long ago, before the technology bubble burst, before the housing and credit markets burst and the private sector was larger than the public sector. It seems so long ago, but it was only a few years.
Back in the “old days,” Republicans were at the top of the technology game. They sent emails and directed you to this new thing, a website. Then came the age of Obama. In the 2008 elections, the explosion of social media, texting and software to turn any computer into a calling center for fundraising and email and websites gave Democrats the edge. Republicans looked old and tired, and they paid for it at the polls.
Since then, you’ve seen Republicans use Twitter, Facebook and other tools. Sarah Palin has been the most effective in actually creating news from her Facebook account. Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other social networking have become news sources and we are still working that out. I’m not sure how I feel about social media being news, but it is in the 24 one hour news cycles and that are television news today.
Eric Cantor and others in Republican leadership have gotten the message. Elected Republicans and activists around the nation are using Twitter, Facebook and other interactive tools. Heck, the entire Tea Party movement began with a few “Tweets” among friends. The Republican leadership has rolled out two initiatives that will allow them to be interactive, to gather names and email contacts and more importantly to make their case on issues with the backing of the people.
The first initiative is called YouCut (http://republicanwhip.house.gov/YouCut/), “The response to this project has been unprecedented – within two weeks, over 500,000 people have cast their votes. It’s clear that the American people – fed up with the culture of spending in Washington – have embraced YouCut as a vehicle to make their voices heard,” Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). The point of YouCut is to identify projects that can be cut from the budget. This is important because for the first time since 1974, the Congress is not going to pass a budget this year. The
Democratic leadership doesn’t have the guts to deal with budget issues; rather, they want to do billions here and billions there in emergency spending. They have abdicated their responsibility and they should be replaced. Hang in there, November is right around the corner.
This week, another initiative has been rolled out by Republicans. America Speaking Out (http://www.americaspeakingout.com/). It is another interactive way for you to submit your own ideas YouTube-style and then debate them with other Americans and members of Congress. Right now its Republican members of Congress, but one hopes, some Democrats will join it. The underlying message is transparency. This was supposed to be a transparent government. The Executive Branch is in a say one thing do the other mode. The Congress is in a behind closed-door deal-making mode. I have a concern that is Republican regain power, they may not have learned the lesson of their defeat in 2006 and 2008, however, the hunker-down, we know what’s good for you, behind closed doors mentality of the Democrats in Congress is much more dangerous. On Thursday, the Republicans are unveiling what they are calling the real cost of health care reform. Something Nancy Pelosi said.
“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” shows the majority’s mentality.
We need transparency and change, but we are not getting it from this administration or Congressional leadership. Eric Cantor, Mike Pence and the Republican Minority are heading in the right direction with these tools. It’s our job to get rid of the dead wood in Congress, Democrats and Republicans and then hold them accountable. We haven’t been doing that but we’ve changed, and maybe we should thank the agent of change for that.
So Google “YouCut” and get involved and log on to AmericaSpeakingOut.com and share and debate your ideas. We are a center-right country and we need to take it back.
Martha Zoller is a political analyst and conservative talk show host for WXKT FM 103.7 in Gainesville, Georgia and syndicated on The Georgia News Network. She is one of the Talkers Magazine “Heavy Hundred” Talk Shows in America. She can be seen regularly on cable news. She is the author of “Indivisible: Uniting Values for a Divided America.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.