Campaigning on the Web
By Jack Moczinski
MAY 10, 1999:
With the 2000 presidential campaigns underway, just about every
presidential aspirant has come up with a campaign Web site that
attempts to be worthy of the new millennium. Here's a sample of
what these contenders have to offer on their Web sites and what
they have to offer as candidates.
George W. Bush: www.georgewbush.com
This isn't his presidential campaign site, it's the Web site of
the "George W. Bush Exploratory Committee, Inc." Despite
the fact that Bush has raised over $7 million, he's still not
sure if he'll run (yeah, right). The site contains speeches by
and video clips of Bush and emphasizes "education,"
"values," "responsibility" and "prosperity."
All that's missing is "mom" and "apple pie."
Although the site rattles off his gubernatorial accomplishments,
it is noticeably devoid of any discussion of issues that may arise
on the campaign. Where's abortion and foreign policy? Is this
site a preview of what to expect from Glamorous George?
Dan Quayle: www.quayle.org
Dan Quayle is no dummy, or so he'd like you to think. The Quayle
site is full of issues, opinions and strong stances on the issues,
like "Quayle challenges 'arrogance' of Gore's environmental
policy." Taking on Gore so strongly probably means that Quayle
is trying to assert himself as the "I'm fed up with Clinton/Gore"
guy. This site is one of the few that really explores the campaign
stances of the candidate. For instance, Quayle's tax reform proposal
is filled with figures, percentages and details that were noticeably
absent from, say, George W. Bush's site.
John McCain: www.mccainforpresident.org
This U.S. senator and former POW posts a Web site that's very
straightforward. But there is an obvious effort to lighten up
the chief critic of Clinton's foreign policy with some cutesy
pictures of the candidate. It highlights McCain's tough foreign
policy positions. McCain smartly uses an on-line questionnaire
about Kosovo to substantiate his views. But like McCain, the site
is weak on issues outside of foreign policy.
Elizabeth Dole: www.edole.org
This is a Web site that pays homage to Martha Stewart with its
blueberry background and sea-green highlights. It is filled with
positive quotes and her most famous line, "The United States
of America deserves a government worthy of its people." This
is a site that tries to appeal to women and talks a lot about
families and the inspiration that is Elizabeth Dole. Yuck!
Steve Forbes: www.forbes2000.com
This is probably the coolest political Web site around, reflecting
a guy who can buy the best. Remember, Forbes announced his candidacy
on the Web. It's updated daily with stories about Steve, the rich
cyber-geek that he is. The site does a good job in graphically
highlighting Forbes' innovative policy stances like the flat tax.
The Forbes site has a special area and login for leaders of e-precincts.
The e-precinct leaders bring other online users to join the campaign.
Representative John Kasich: www.k2k.com
This is about the worst political Web site I've seen in a while.
The red, white and blue motif is so overdone you think that "It's
a Grand Old Flag" should play when you enter. The site features
a section called "Who's Your Hero?" where Kasich profiles
some guy he met who is involved in the community and has become
one of Kasich's heroes. Not coincidentally, the guy is featured
holding a copy of Kasich's new book.
Al Gore: www.algore2000.com
This is a Web site that does justice to the man who recently claimed
he invented the Internet. This site has it all. Gore also wins
the contest for the flashiest logo, which features some sort of
shooting star cascading over his name. Gore's site even has an
area to view the latest "Gore gear," so you can buy
the denim shirts, jeans and faded caps that scream Al Gore! The
site incorporates user surveys, an interactive town hall meeting,
and is available in Spanish. The site profiles his issues well
and demonstrates that this guy's campaign has its act together.
Bill Bradley: www.billbradley.com
This is a nice, congenial Web site that reflects Bradley's nerdy
persona. Slightly disturbing is the rounded face of Bradley pasted
on a campaign button that hovers over the page. Bradley, an advocate
for campaign finance reform, allows the user to view all of his
campaign finance reports. Somewhat tasteless, though, is the sudden
solicitation for a contribution while you view his campaign finance