Thursday, August 07, 2008

Astroturfing for toasters

Since it seems that every innovation in American campaigning eventually comes to Canada, many will no doubt be interested in this story from the Washington Post on the organization of a web-campaign:
    Spread John McCain's official talking points around the Web -- and you could win valuable prizes!

    That, in essence, is the McCain campaign's pitch to supporters to join its new online effort, one that combines the features of "AstroTurf" campaigning with the sort of customer-loyalty programs offered by airlines, hotel chains, restaurants and the occasional daily newspaper.

    On McCain's Web site, visitors are invited to "Spread the Word" about the presumptive Republican nominee by sending campaign-supplied comments to blogs and Web sites under the visitor's screen name. The site offers sample comments ("John McCain has a comprehensive economic plan . . .") and a list of dozens of suggested destinations, conveniently broken down into "conservative," "liberal," "moderate" and "other" categories. Just cut and paste.
Now, there have been suggestions of cooperation and coordination between the Blogging Tories and the Conservative Party in the past (see also here), but this takes things to a whole new level.