Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Campaigning on the Web

By Jack Moczinski

MAY 10, 1999:  With the 2000 presidential campaigns underway, just about every presidential aspirant has come up with a campaign Web site that attempts to be worthy of the new millennium. Here's a sample of what these contenders have to offer on their Web sites and what they have to offer as candidates.


Republicans

George W. Bush: www.georgewbush.com
This isn't his presidential campaign site, it's the Web site of the "George W. Bush Exploratory Committee, Inc." Despite the fact that Bush has raised over $7 million, he's still not sure if he'll run (yeah, right). The site contains speeches by and video clips of Bush and emphasizes "education," "values," "responsibility" and "prosperity." All that's missing is "mom" and "apple pie." Although the site rattles off his gubernatorial accomplishments, it is noticeably devoid of any discussion of issues that may arise on the campaign. Where's abortion and foreign policy? Is this site a preview of what to expect from Glamorous George?


Dan Quayle: www.quayle.org
Dan Quayle is no dummy, or so he'd like you to think. The Quayle site is full of issues, opinions and strong stances on the issues, like "Quayle challenges 'arrogance' of Gore's environmental policy." Taking on Gore so strongly probably means that Quayle is trying to assert himself as the "I'm fed up with Clinton/Gore" guy. This site is one of the few that really explores the campaign stances of the candidate. For instance, Quayle's tax reform proposal is filled with figures, percentages and details that were noticeably absent from, say, George W. Bush's site.


John McCain: www.mccainforpresident.org
This U.S. senator and former POW posts a Web site that's very straightforward. But there is an obvious effort to lighten up the chief critic of Clinton's foreign policy with some cutesy pictures of the candidate. It highlights McCain's tough foreign policy positions. McCain smartly uses an on-line questionnaire about Kosovo to substantiate his views. But like McCain, the site is weak on issues outside of foreign policy.


Elizabeth Dole: www.edole.org
This is a Web site that pays homage to Martha Stewart with its blueberry background and sea-green highlights. It is filled with positive quotes and her most famous line, "The United States of America deserves a government worthy of its people." This is a site that tries to appeal to women and talks a lot about families and the inspiration that is Elizabeth Dole. Yuck!


Steve Forbes: www.forbes2000.com
This is probably the coolest political Web site around, reflecting a guy who can buy the best. Remember, Forbes announced his candidacy on the Web. It's updated daily with stories about Steve, the rich cyber-geek that he is. The site does a good job in graphically highlighting Forbes' innovative policy stances like the flat tax. The Forbes site has a special area and login for leaders of e-precincts. The e-precinct leaders bring other online users to join the campaign.


Representative John Kasich: www.k2k.com
This is about the worst political Web site I've seen in a while. The red, white and blue motif is so overdone you think that "It's a Grand Old Flag" should play when you enter. The site features a section called "Who's Your Hero?" where Kasich profiles some guy he met who is involved in the community and has become one of Kasich's heroes. Not coincidentally, the guy is featured holding a copy of Kasich's new book.



Democrats

Al Gore: www.algore2000.com
This is a Web site that does justice to the man who recently claimed he invented the Internet. This site has it all. Gore also wins the contest for the flashiest logo, which features some sort of shooting star cascading over his name. Gore's site even has an area to view the latest "Gore gear," so you can buy the denim shirts, jeans and faded caps that scream Al Gore! The site incorporates user surveys, an interactive town hall meeting, and is available in Spanish. The site profiles his issues well and demonstrates that this guy's campaign has its act together.


Bill Bradley: www.billbradley.com
This is a nice, congenial Web site that reflects Bradley's nerdy persona. Slightly disturbing is the rounded face of Bradley pasted on a campaign button that hovers over the page. Bradley, an advocate for campaign finance reform, allows the user to view all of his campaign finance reports. Somewhat tasteless, though, is the sudden solicitation for a contribution while you view his campaign finance reports.


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