GOP Losing Battle Of The Internet

GENERIC Internet politics voting web computer CBS/AP

The Skinny is Joel Roberts' take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.



Democrats have taken a big early edge over Republicans in one of the key arenas where the 2008 presidential contest will be played out: the Internet.

That's according to a front-page story in Monday's Washington Post, in which even key Republican political operatives like Michael Turk, President Bush's top Internet strategist in the 2004 campaign, concede "We're losing the Web right now."

As evidence of the Democrats' online advantage, the Post points out that the top three Democratic candidates – Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards –raised $14 million over the Internet in the first three first months of 2007, more than twice as much as the Republican trio of Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

The Post also says no Republican has come close to rivaling the popularity of Obama on the social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and YouTube. Even Edwards, who runs third among the Democrats in most polling, had some 690,000 unique visitors to his Web site in March, when his wife announced that she had a recurrence of cancer. That number was more than the combined totals of Giuliani, McCain and Romney over the same period.

Why is the GOP struggling online? Some political insiders suggest it's partly because Republican candidates have simply failed to excite voters the way Democrats have. Others say Democrats have a deeper pool of talent when it comes to online strategists and technical know-how.

For some GOP online activists, it's a sign the party still isn't paying enough attention to the Web as a political tool. "Sometimes I wonder if it will take losing the White House for the Republicans to take the Internet more seriously," said Turk.


A Generation Gap Between Rich And Poor

It's been widely noted that the divide between haves and have-nots in America is growing. What's received less attention, says USA Today, is the increasing generation gap separating rich from poor.

While older people have always had more money than younger ones, the disparity is widening, with older folks racing ahead and younger ones mostly running in place or falling behind.

According to federal government data, nearly all additional wealth created in the United States since 1989 has gone to people ages 55 and older, making that generation the wealthiest in American history. The median net worth for people 55-59, for example, rose 97 percent between 1989 and 2004, the most recent year for which data was available, to almost $250,000, while median income rose 52 percent.

Over the same period, Americans 35 and 50 actually lost wealth, after adjusting for inflation. For those 35-39, median household net worth fell 28 percent to about $49,000, while median income fell 10 percent.

The implications are far-reaching for the U.S. economy, the newspaper says, and "can turn conventional wisdom on its head" with Social Security and Medicare increasingly "functioning as a transfer of money from less affluent young people to much wealthier older people."


The Return Of The Iraq Study Group?

The continuing woes in Iraq may be leading the White House and Congress to take a fresh look at the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, says the Washington Post.

In negotiations on the stalled war funding bill, the Bush administration has signaled a new openness to some of the bipartisan panel's key proposals it initially dismissed, like requiring the Iraqis to meet certain political benchmarks or risk losing U.S. aid. The administration has also shown a renewed faith in the merits of regional diplomacy, holding rare talks recently with Syria and planning talks with Iran.

With pressure also building on Congress to find a solution, the Iraq Study Group has gained renewed attention on Capitol Hill. The Post says both parties plan to introduce legislation that would make all 79 of the panel's recommendations the official policy of the U.S. government

"They are coming our way," said the panel's co-chairman, former Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton. He added that officials in Washington "don't know what to do. … They don't have a framework. They are looking. They are searching."


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