Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Next Right

Patrick Ruffini, who has been blogging at his own site and at PrezVid, announces a new joint venture called The New Right. It's meant to spark a netroots movement for the right to counterbalance the established movement on the left. Ruffini explains:

Part of the problem is structural. When the conservative blogosphere first emerged, we were in the midst of a political upswing, with back-to-back-to-back victories in 2000, 2002, and 2004. Political activism wasn’t going to be a comparative advantage for the right online. Most were content just being pundits or media critics. This trend was reinforced by the blogosphere’s success in scalping Dan Rather, part of a series of new media-driven events that arguably changed the trajectory of the 2004 election.

Ever since then, a radically different set of circumstances has dominated our politics. It’s one that requires a substantially different response — one that requires us to stop being pundits and start being change agents.

Put simply, the party, and in many cases, the movement, has lost its moorings. Earmarks exploded ten-fold, and it wasn’t under a Democratic Congress. In this winter’s primary, we saw the once mighty fiscal-social-national conservative coalition turned in on itself, with economic conservatives pitted against social conservatives. And too many of the “experts” in the Presidential campaigns this cycle failed to modernize the way the party does business, clinging to the old top-down rostrums of direct mail and fundraising-by-cocktail-party in an increasingly networked and crowdsourced world.

It’s no wonder that Joe Conservative outside the Beltway feels that none of his self appointed “leaders” are listening to him. He looks to Washington and sees a leadership class that is too often arrogant, timid, divided, and technologically behind the curve. It’s no wonder why this year more than most his wallet has been sealed shut when it comes to supporting Republican candidates — even the good ones. 

Ruffini really gets these tech changes in political organization, strategy, and analysis, and it should be interesting seeing how he applies his knowledge in the new venture, no matter what your politics.

Patrick Ruffini :: Introducing The Next Right
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Repack Rider said...

Ruffini should accomplish something before announcing he's going to change the world.

The Victory Caucus was going to Change Everything. Announcing that you are going to change the world and then not doing it makes you look like the eCommunications director for the GOP in 2006. How did that work out for you, Mr. Ruffini?

John McCain travels in his wife's jet with a pack of lobbyists. Do you REALLY think he wants to hear from the Great Unwashed?

On the other hand, Barack Obama has raised record amounts of money online, and 41% of his donors gave less than $25. He WILL be listening to them.

Most famous last words are: "Hey fellas! Watch this!"

Clay Spinuzzi said...

Repack Rider -

Focus. The excerpted passage is an implicit criticism of how the McCain campaign has conducted outreach and fundraising. And elsewhere in the linked passage Ruffini praises Obama's campaign for its organization, outreach, fundraising, and willingness to listen to constituents. In other words, if we take away the gratuitous ad hominem attack in your comment, it looks like you agree with Ruffini.

Ruffini is a strategist, which means that he tries to analyze and diagnose structural issues, then resolve them in the medium to long term. The current election is not his objective, it's just a case study in the short term. It's that approach and perspective that interests me, not his party affiliation or track record. I can see why this would be confusing to someone who is (a) fixated on the immediate election and (b) unable to separate structural issues from partisan ones. But for someone like me, it's going to be very interesting to see how Ruffini attempts to grow an information ecosystem, succeed or fail. And the almost inevitable GOP bloodbath this fall should make the GOP much more receptive to his attempts.