Last week, I wrote about the Dems use of technology. On Tuesday, I learned about the Majority Accountability Project. One of the people at that presentation said something to the effect of, "This is the first good idea that narrows the gap between the right and left online." I think that this is right, and I think that there is much to learn from that statement.
What is MAP? MAP a research operation dedicated to spreading the message that the Democratic Congressional majorities will not uphold their commitments to the American people, and are therefore unsuitable to lead Congress. There are three components to this.
First, it MAP is a research operation dedicated to spreading a message. It is not a fancy technology. Still, the most powerful tool that the online right has is the Drudge Report which is run with mid-nineties era technology. (the 2007-era features just make it profitable!) Ultimately, the video and Web 2.0 features have at best marginal value. If MAP has an impact, and I suspect it will have a large one, its impact will be solely due to its content. Remember: content is king.
Second, MAP intends to spread a partisan message: that the Democratic Congressional leadership will not uphold its commitments. Most of the blogs on the right are, ultimately, intended as personal reflections about what is going on. There is neither a message nor an attempt to stay "on message". The right blogosphere has been effective at moving messages when there is a clear focus, such as electing George W. Bush and defeating John Kerry. Most of the rest of the time, it has been unfocused, unlike much of the infrastructure of the left which has had (and to some extent still has) a clear purpose.
Third, and somewhat corollary to the second point, the partisan message has a clear electoral instrumentality. MAP intends that the information it produces will be used to defeat Democrats in elections. I can think of very, very few websites on the right that are not run by a candidate, PAC or party committee that have that kind of agenda. But there are clearly quite a large number on the left.
I would also make a fourth point. MAP was conceived by political operatives to achieve a political objective. This is not quite a rehash of other points. Perhaps Redstate is the only major conservative website that is run by political operatives. (perhaps Newsbusters too?) However, Redstate’s impact is well out of proportion with its readership because it is relatively focused.
In the end, MAP will be the TPM Muckraker of the right. That’s a good sign.