July 22, 2009

Not All Republicans Are Clueless About New Media--Taking Aim At Gov. Ritter On Waxman-Markey

**Update--ColoradoPols is impressed:
We have to admit we were also impressed with the speed Sen. Jim Imhofe's office had this video packaged and distributed through a wide viral network--all the way down to our own community talking-point beacons. Clearly they're getting better at this. The problem is that, as the Post's Lynn Bartels correctly points out, what these guys are claiming Ritter said...isn't what he said at all. In fact, reading what Ritter actually said makes what the Republicans claim he said look, well, spun beyond recognition.
Of course Ritter never answered the question, so exactly who is spinning?
For many of us outside the Beltway, the perception (and the reality) is that the "insiders" on the Hill don't get new media, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. For every rule, however, there is an exception, and in this instance a very good example of how Republicans can use new media to challenge Democrats on any number of issues, including our own Gov. Bill Ritter on his support for the Waxman-Markey bill--from Lynn Bartels at the Denver Post (apologies for a lack of link earlier):
A Republican activist who heckled Democratic Senate candidate Tom Strickland during his 2002 run helped highlight the questions that made Gov. Bill Ritter squirm at a hearing this week in Washington.

Matt Dempsey, 30, is the communications director for Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which Ritter testified before on Tuesday.

In 2002, Dempsey worked for U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard's re-election campaign, often hollering out anti-Strickland slogans through a bullhorn at various political events. Dempsey's arrest just 10 days before the election went all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, Dempsey laughed when asked if he had a role in the Ritter hearing.

"Well, a little," he said, adding, "But I don't use a bullhorn anymore."
Now Dempsey has YouTube, a blog linked numerous times by Drudge, and a national audience.

Releasing video and digital press releases to blogs as-it-happens and not waiting for the MSM to garble the story is the best way to move the message on offense, instead of always playing catch-up, and Dempsey has proven that this new model works:
Dempsey also released an exchange between Ritter and U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., over the bill, known as Waxman-Markey, after its Democratic sponsors.

Critics say the bill is a tax increase, and in Colorado it would cripple oil shale development and increase costs for farmers.

With that in mind, Inhofe asked of Ritter, "Are you here supporting Waxman-Markey today?"

"I support a national energy policy that's married to a national climate policy that gets at these goals that we have for greenhouse gas reductions," the governor said. "And I believe that if you do that, that there will some vehicle that may not look exactly like Waxman-Markey, particularly after the Senate finishes its work.

"But I very much support climate legislation that is joined with a national energy policy to get us to the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals that are set for 2050."

Republicans have had success employing "new media," including YouTube, the Senate website and a blog.

The headline over the Denver Post story Wednesday read "Ritter attracts negative energy in D.C. hearing."

"We got our message across," Demsey [sic] said.
The video of the exchange quickly made the rounds on the blogs, including Michelle Malkin:

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