01 December 2005

Colorado GOP Goes Batshit Crazy Over Blog

Read the memo:

All Republicans
Hans Gullickson, Executive Director Colorado Republican Party
November 30, 2005

Fellow Republicans:

The Colorado Republican Party has recently obtained information giving us reason to believe that the website ColoradoPols.com is surreptitiously collecting information about individuals who post on its website. It's important to note that ColoradoPols.com apparently does not have a privacy agreement and has refused to address the issue of a privacy agreement when asked to do so. Therefore individuals who post on this site should have no expectation of privacy or anonymity.

We strongly suspect that the individuals running this site will use all kinds of reasoning and rationale to discredit this memo; in fact we will be disappointed if they don't try. But this still does not change the fact that someone associated with the site is apparently tracking posts and matching them to specific individuals.

We have suspected for some time that Coloradopols.com is run by Democrat activists. More often than not, Republican "news" on the site is either spectacularly wrong or consistently biased. It's very likely that this site is funded by one or more of the same three liberal extremists who bankrolled the purchase of the Colorado Legislature in the 2004 elections (Tim Gill, Jared Polis, and Pat Stryker).

We expect that the anonymous Democrat activists that run this site intend to use the information they are collecting to hurt Republicans and Republican campaigns. Regardless of where you stand within the party, there is a real danger that these Democrats will release the identity of many authors to this site and use it to divide us at a critical time in the campaign. There is also the distinct possibility that your address could be sold to an outside vendor.

For those reasons, I strongly urge all Republicans to immediately cease from posting on this site. We must remain united throughout this election cycle if we are to prevail next November! Thank you for your attention to this matter.

ColoradoPols.com is a relatively new blog which is far more widely read than my blog and traffics in political gossip, speculation and infighting. The wider readership is probably due in part to the fact, that, unlike my blog, it doesn't go on and on and on about policy issues that matter only to policy wonks. Indeed, it doesn't talk about policy at all, because that isn't what the site is about. Political insiders on both sides of the aisle read it regularly (a fact that I can attest to from personal encountered with such people), it is quoted in the newspapers, and it has done interviews with many of the leading political figures in the state. It's most prominent "anonymous" contributor and the public face of the site for the most part is a Democrat of about my age who doesn't hold public office. They have, at least, one Republican on board to provide gossip from that side. I've commented at the site before and have made suggestions to improve its blogroll which have been largely accepted.

The site carries advertising that, given its traffic, should be more than sufficient to "bankroll" the cost of running a site like that which is minimal (a studio apartment in Denver or a 200 square foot office in Denver would cost many times as much per month and it is customary for people running such websites to work on a volunteer basis -- Markos, of Daily Kos, makes about $50,000 a year plus expenses and he runs the highest trafficed political blog in the world full time).

Almost every site, mine included, does IP logs, and the only time people who run non-commercial sites like this look at them is when they have problems with trolls. Also, why in the world should anyone care if someone, be he Governor Owens, or Karl Rove, or Hans Gullickson, if ColoradoPols knows that someone they are reading their site? This isn't exactly intimate personal information. I can see the dud Gill-Styker-Polis funded campaign ads now: "Bob Beaprez read a popular Democratic biased political blog that writes stories about him on the Internet. Vote for Democrat Bill Ritter instead, because he doesn't know the difference between a spider web and a web page." I've never even met Gill and Stryker, and have only met Polis is passing once or twice, but I assure you that those guys aren't that dumb.

Still, it is nice to know that the Colorado GOP deems the blogosphere worthy of comment and that it is afraid of what we have to say. It should be. The truth is a dangerous weapon against those on the wrong side of it. If the Colorado GOP is concerned about bias, there is an easy, First Amendment philosophy based solution. Get your own damn blog and tell us you believe the truth to be. Right now, however, the Colorado GOP seems to prefer issuing fatwas directed at those with whom it does not agree, and fear mongering, rather than getting across its own point of view. In short, it is using the tactics of the weak and politically insecure.

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