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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

WhipCast

Say one thing about the Republican minority — they’ve shown readiness to embrace new technology in an effort to claw their way back to power that is occasionally something to envy.
Their newest effort is WhipCast — a BlackBerry application that, once downloaded, offers GOP staffers and activists the ability to pull up talking points, track votes, coordinate action on the floors of Congress, and follow the latest gossip and rumors.
This is actually a neat idea. Both parties need more tools for sharing information, and an application that can be accessed offline on mobile devices has the potential to be a winner. If I were a Republican, I could think of a lot of ways where this might be tactically useful.
The problem is, as a Democrat, I’ve got the same idea.
The POLITICO reports:

Starting Thursday, the GOP is making WhipCast available to the public for free as a way to show that the party is regaining the technical edge that has been lost to Democrats in recent years.

How valuable can the information on the application be if the GOP isn’t regulating who has the ability to access it?
If any Democratic hack can read, in real time, the Republican plan for coordinating action on a vote, then no matter how impressive a technical achievement WhipCast is, it fails in terms of usefulness.
If the information shared on WhipCast is watered down for the general public, then it fails in terms of usefulness.
If, in fact, the motivation behind WhipCast is, as POLITICO reports, to make the application available, “as a way to show that the party is regaining the technical edge that has been lost to Democrats,” then the ambition is wholly misguided.
Innovation should have a point, and in the business of politics, no one should care about a new piece of technology if it doesn’t do anything.
It’s a waste of resources to build a tool simply to prove you can.

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