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This is Our Generation

the1960s.jpgWhen Newsweek came in the mail this week, I was suprised to see the cover story.  It looked like a birthday party and said “1968: The Year That Made Us Who We Are.”  I looked at it a few days, wondering what was so special about 1968.  It was 39 years ago, and since it’s almost 2008, it was the presidential election four decades ago.  I didn’t make a connection– until I opened it and finally read the article.  And I must say it was a great article.

The promise of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is that he is going to lead a “new generation.”  Last week, when being interviewed by FOX News, he said the main difference between him and Hillary Clinton is “Senator Clinton and others have been fighting some of the same fights since the ’60s.  It makes it very difficult for them to bring this country together to get things done.”  He claims he is not of the ’60s.

I say, how could he not be? With several parallels between today and the ’60s, the only way to win this election is not to deny being a product of the ’60s, but to embrace that fact.

Three Things the ’60s Taught Us:

In the years of American Bandstand and the Beatles, there was a lot going on in Washington. 

The Civil Rights Movement.  It taught us that we are all created equal regardless of race.  So then, why are there still race issues?  Just last week, a student editor hung a noose in a university newsroom, and he was fired on the spot.  It was an issue of race.

Women’s Rights.  We can’t talk about the ’60s without mentioning women’s rights.  Then why are women still not treated the same as men?  Why are there single mothers who are barely getting by?

Vietnam.  Didn’t the war in Vietnam teach our nation anything?  Vietnam was supposed to teach us to be a “humble superpower” and yet we are making the same mistakes in Iraq.

The 1960s taught us a lot, but this is Our Generation.  The 2008 election will mean as much to America as the 1968 election did.

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Truthiness and Justice for All

colbert.jpgNot long ago, comedian Stephen Colbert announced he was running for president.  He said he was running on the Democratic and Republican ticket in South Carolina so he could lose twice.  After Colbert announced he was running, he started campaigning and soon had many supporters.  Now, I’m not sure if they were real supporters or people were just supporting him because they think he’s funny on his show.

Everything was going fine for Colbert- until last week when the democratic party of South Carolina rejected his application.   And now a campaign has been launched for people to call and protest this decision.  One thousand calls is considered a successful campaign.  Colbert’s supporters are asking for 10,000.  Good Luck!

Now, I don’t think Colbert should run for president.  I don’t think he’d be a good president.  I don’t think he thinks he’d be a good president. But I still think anyone who wants to apply to be on the ballot who meets the requirements should be allowed to run.   Shouldn’t it be up to the American public (or South Carolina’s) if said person would make a good president?

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Redstate.com: The banning of Ron Paul

ronpaul.jpgWho is this Ron Paul guy anyway?

Ron Paul is a Congressman from Texas (originally from Pittsburgh, Penn.) seeking the Republican nomination for the 2008 election.

Until recently, when someone said “Ron Paul, ” people did not think of a potential presidential candidate.  Most people in Ohio didn’t even know who the man was.  That’s all changed now.

Most of Paul’s campaign is based on social media.  He is using the Web to engage his voters.  He is a member of YouTube and has an active fan base there.

Last Tuesday, he was on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  He may not be high in the polls, but he’s third when it come to fundraising and his supporters seem to be the younger generation of republicans. 

“Would you accept a vice-presidency?”  Leno asked Paul.

“I don’t think I’d be offered one,”  Paul simply answered. redstate_com.jpg

What’s the deal with RedState.com?

RedState.com is a Web site that promotes the GOP and conservative ideals.  Not a bad thing.  The site states it’s purpose in it’s posting rules section. “The purpose of this site is (to) promote conservative and Republican ideals.”

So what’s the problem?

Well, last week, RedState.com banned all support of Ron Paul.  Anyone who had been a supporter of the candidate was banned.  If they had been an active user for more than 6 months, they were allowed to continue to be a member of the site– as long as they stopped supporting Ron Paul.

Redstate.com announced this to the site’s users as a blog posting. And then closed comments. Wow.

Now, I think this is a bit drastic.  So what if Ron Paul has no chance at actually getting the nomination?  I thought the purpose of Redstate.com was supposed to be to suport all things republican.  Ron Paul is running republican.  He should get the same support as any other GOP candidate.

I don’t think the ban is going to hurt Ron Paul or his credibility at all.  I think if it hurts anyone it will be Redstate.com.  That’s bad PR, Redstate!

With the republican party already being in a fragile state, I don’t think a so-called “supportive” site should be banning candidates in its own party.  But that’s just me.

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George Bush has started blogging.

OK, so maybe George W. himself isn’t blogging, but Bush officials have entered the blogosphere. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and Michael Chertoff at the Department of Homeland Security are the first two of the Bush Administration to maintain blogs.

leavitt_big.jpgLeavitt’s blog began in August and has a variety of topics. In recent posts, he challenges New York Times editorials critical of the Bush Administration and defends Bush’s veto of the children’s health care program bill. His entries bring up valid points, but tend to be a little long and I don’t know many people who have the time to see what he has to say.

chertoff.jpgAccording to CNN.com, Chertoff began blogging in September to “open a dialouge with the American people about our nation’s security.” Sounds like he understands what the purpose of a blog is.

I say kudos to these two.  If their blogs present an honest, inside look at these departments, then they are just what is needed to gain support of the American population.  But I’m not certain they are.

And, on a side note, Chuck Norris has chosen who he backs for president.  And Steven Colbert has announced he is running for president, but more on that later.

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You’re One-Stop Shop of the 2008 Election

politicalbase1.jpgIf you’re like me, you probably don’t even know where to begin when it comes to supporting  a presidential candidate.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one place you could go to get all the information you need?  Where you could compare fundraising efforts or see where each of them stand on important issus?

Well, I’ve found politicalbase.com.  This Web site is a hub that links the user to pages full of information about each candidate, how they are doing in the polls and how much money they have raised.

The two most important features on the site are the “Compare the Candidates on Issues” and “Participate in the Conversation.”  Users are given the chance to see exactly where all of the candidates stand on every issue and then participate in a conversation about those candidates.

electionarticlemontage.jpgThe issues discussed on the messages boards are about all topics from Darfur Intervention to Gun Control to Capital Punishment.  In the fundraising section, there are interactive maps that allow the user to see exactly how much money a candidate has raised by geographic area.

So if you want to see how your candidate rates, or you don’t have a candidate yet and just want to get all the facts, check out politicalbase.com.  Who knows, you might learn something…

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Conversational Campaigning

johnedwards2.jpgThere are more than 200 videos posted on YouTube by user JohnEdwards.  If you take a look at his profile, it says he is a democrat from North Carolina who enjoys basketball, running, reading and writing.  He also enjoys listening to Bruce Springsteen and has been a YouTube user since March 23, 2006.  And, oh yeah, he’s running for president.

Current candidates for president are beginning to understand how to reach the young voters.  Social media. They all have MySpace pages with hundreds of “friends” and links to official campaign sites and YouTube videos.  The friends post comments and send messages directly to campaign headquarters. This time around, campaigning has become a two-way conversation.  

hillary.jpgAlthough she may have missed the boat on gather.com, it looks like Hillary Clinton has jumped on the bandwagon with using Web 2.0. “One month ago I began a conversation with all of you, and so far we haven’t stopped talking…” Begins a podcast from Hillary Clinton, or a “HillCAST,” if you will. 

It’s conversations like these, where voters can voice opinions and get a response, that are going to help win this election- or at least the New Hampshire primary….

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Who looks at this stuff anyway?

I spent last weekend in Cincinnati visiting my sister and brother-in-law. And of course I started talking to them about social media and Web 2.0 and how it is impacting the 2008 election. My brother-in-law told me it wasn’t because no one looks at it. “How is social media going to affect me if I don’t look at it?”

Well, let me tell you. Whether you realize it or not, some form of social media has touched your life. Do you have a social network account on Facebook or MySpace? Do you ever look at blogs, message boards or go into chat-rooms? Have you visited the USA TODAY Web site (even if it’s just to do the crossword puzzles)? Have you ever been to Wikipedia? Do you watch videos on YouTube?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you are one of the millions of people who have come in contact with social media.

But, what exactly is social media?

Social media is “online technologies and practices that people use to share content, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives and media.” But that’s just according to Wikipedia, a form of social media.

images.jpegFacebook alone has more than 39 million active users. And there are pages and pages and pages of groups devoted to politics. And that number is growing due to the 2008 presidential election being right around the corner. And as far as MySpace goes, I’ve heard numbers as high as 100 million users, but that’s quick to be debated.

Each of these social networking sites offer many different features associated with campaigning. Facebook has applications where users select the candidates they support, there are groups dedicated to the campaigns and many of the candidates even have Facebook or MySpace pages.

The humane society used social media to reach new audiences and increase fundraising, the same tactics work for a political campaign.

The facts are in. People look at this stuff. So kudos to all the presidential candidates out there who have MySpace pages and interact with their online “friends”… and the ones who don’t may want to rethink their strategies….

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