Why McCain's Internet Ignorance Matters

There's been a lot of conversation in the presidential race so far about the impact of the Internet. From online videos and online fund-raising to social networking sites and blogs, this race is being shaped at every level by what takes place online. Much of this attention, rightly so, has gone to Barack Obama, whose campaign more than any other in history has been funded and powered by online organization. But the subject of the Internet may have just as big an impact on John McCain's campaign.


Last fall in the Republican YouTube debate, Senator McCain cited "information technology" as an area where he would likely need assistance from a vice president. It's a stunning admission and one we probably wouldn't tolerate in any other policy issue. Even given the nearly nine months since the debate, McCain still has no technology plan. Whereas Senator McCain devotes prominent real estate on his Web site to issues like "the sanctity of life," the Second Amendment, and "judicial philosophy," he has no entry on technology. Barack Obama, meanwhile, prominently features a plan to provide "technology and innovation for new agenda," an issue he addressed not only in his announcement speech in February 2007 but also in a far-reaching speech at Google headquarters in California late last year.


It's not so much that John McCain needs to personally blog or Twitter as president. In fact, I don't want the next president blogging or sending text messages from the Oval Office ... Instead, McCain's ignorance of the operations of the Internet today, I believe, says more about the candidate's intellectual curiosity than it does about his technical prowess.

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