's No Good, Very Bad Redesign

The Republican National Committee flubs its website revamp

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Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele is a busy man (find Atlantic Wire coverage of his war with liberals here). But one of his most important promises was to bring more young people into the Republican Party. So it comes as no surprise that the RNC's sleek new website (whose page has already crashed) features social networking and a Future Leaders page. The problem: when it launched on Tuesday, the Future Leaders page was blank. That gaffe (and others, which Think Progress dutifully rounded up) have not gone unnoticed, as the RNC rolled out the new and revamped, complete with "What Up?" the chairman's own blog. Page by page, bloggers are gleefully cutting down the GOP's latest attempt to reinvent itself. Conservative pundits have been particularly vicious.

  • Embarrassing  At Townhall, Meredith Jessup says the conservative activists Steele is trying to recruit don't care about the GOP. "I've got news for you RNC: the Republican 'activists' you're trying to draw to this new site are MUCH more concerned with preserving the U.S. constitution than preserving the Republican Party." And she finds the RNC's "desperate" attempt to dispel the image as a Party of old white men a fool's errand:
Playing into all the medias' favorite stereotype, the RNC seems so desperate to avoid being labeled the party of "old, white men." After sitting and clicking for a while, it becomes embarrassingly apparent how the RNC is seemingly desperate for female and minority voters.Instead of showing pictures of all different kinds of people, the RNC has singled-out these people and, more specifically, their votes--a petty political maneuver and one of many reasons disillusioned Republicans are so fed up with the party in the first place.
  • Time Wasted  Conservative talk show radio host Tammy Bruce said "Someone better tell Michael Steele his time would be better spent getting certain liberal Republicans in line rather than redesigning the GOP website." Bruce was referring to Senator Olympia Snowe's support of the Democrat's health care bill.
  • Slick But Clueless, Stephen Stromberg wrote at The Washington Post. "If the blog title’s painful act of self-parody is any indication, Steele watchers are in for new rounds of dopey misstatements from the hapless chairman. (Colby King wrote a great column on those, here). GOP leaders, no doubt, hope he has hired a good editor."
  • A Great Party Deserves a Great Website  John Cook observes at Gawker.
You really must check out the brand-new, which was unveiled today. It doesn't work, of course. (It's actually called "GOP beta," which is a rich metaphorical truth.) But if you keep clicking "reload," and if you're lucky, you'll actually bring up the page and be shocked to find a tiny, adorable little Michael Steele walking across your screen and addressing you directly, in the fashion of a Princess Leia hologram, to beg for "Republican coders" to help make the site actually work, which it doesn't.
  • Actually, Michael Steele Has a Point  At The Washington Monthly, Steve Benen is loving it. As he runs down a list of's features and gaffes, Benen says Steele isn't all wrong. "Steele's first blog post asks readers, 'Why are you are Republican? Think about that for a minute.' That's good advice, actually."
  • Top Ten Reasons Why the GOP Website Relaunch is Fizzling  At The Atlantic, Marc Ambinder breaks it down. Reason number one? The GOP "portrays itself as something it's not: diverse and ready to embrace new ideas. That may be what the party leadership aspires to, but, at least when it comes to diversity, a few pictures of Hispanics and African Americans doesn't make up for ... well, the history of the party."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.