“Notice anything different? It’s the new GOP.com! It’s a forward looking, open platform for the party of new ideas. The new Republican Party!”
So says Michael Steele, the RNC chairman, in a video that plays across the newly designed homepage of the RNC: “If you’re a Republican activist, this is your space, for your voice!” Then, he does a little shimmy: “Express yourself!”
Indeed. Design and features wise, the new site is basically a checklist of recent Republican talking points; it’s intended, more or less, to be a social networking site, in the manner of Barack Obama’s famously effective Web mobilization efforts.
And that’s just the start: Elsewhere, the site uses design cues to underscore attacks on the DNC. In the homepage video, a summary of recent events–“TRILLIONS IN NEW SPENDING” “TAXES GEITHNER PELOSI”–is rendered in a font that recalls communist propaganda, while the music sounds like something from a Michael Bay movie. There’s even the sound of bubbling lava somewhere in the mix. Meaning, I guess, that Democrats will destroy us all, like Mount Vesuvius.
And then cut to the sound of bugles and shimmering cymbals, a gauzy collage, and a fake hand drawn font that declares, “Only you can turn it around.”
Now, to be fair, the homepage of the DNC is fairly awful as well–the blog, in particular, kind of looks like Barack Obama’s MySpace page. It’s also called “Kicking Ass”–given that the DNC logo is a donkey, does that mean they’re kicking their own asses?
Anyway, there’s a salient difference: Where the DNC site is boring–basically, an attempt to co-opt some of the design cues of BarackObama.com–the new RNC site is strident and, dare we say it, just a weeeee bit desperate. For example, eight of the eighteen people in the GOP heroes section are black; one is Puerto Rican. (Never mind that almost all of them are historical figures from the 19th century, who’d find our modern party divisions unrecognizable.)
The homepage, meanwhile, displays lots of images of young people–including what appears to be a stock image of a young lady in a jaunty paperboy cap. Pretty hip, right guyz?!
Michael Steele’s blog is called WHAT UP? Because the new GOP is on that multi-colored rainbow groove, you dig?
All of which makes me wonder: Maybe it’s better to be unremarkably bland than comically transparent?