Understanding what ‘beyond cutting edge’ means

UNDERSTANDING WHAT ‘BEYOND CUTTING EDGE’ MEANS…. Back in February, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said he intended improve his party’s image by taking advantage of technological opportunities. Explaining his vision, Steele said, “It will be avant garde, technically. It will come to table with things that will surprise everyone — off the hook.”

Asked if he imagined a cutting-edge approach, Steele replied, “I don’t do ‘cutting-edge.’ That’s what Democrats are doing. We’re going beyond cutting-edge.”

Today, we see the fruits of the RNC’s labor.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) launched a new website today, featuring a flurry of blogs, social networking tools and information on party history.

First time visitors to the site will be greeted by a digital Michael Steele, who walks on the screen to introduce the new site.

“We’re building a digital space that grassroots Republicans can finally call home,” the miniature Steele says.

The walk-onto-the-screen trick isn’t exactly new — Virginia’s Mark Warner was doing the same thing six years ago.

So, did the RNC get its money’s worth with its newly-redesigned site? A few things jump out.

* The site includes a new two-page section on Republican “heroes.” It features quite a few historic African Americans — note to the RNC: you’re trying way too hard — including legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson, who wasn’t actually a Republican.

* Steele has a blog on the site. It’s called “What Up.” The first sentence reads, “The Internet has been around a while, now.” Seriously, that’s exactly what it says.

* The site features a timeline of Republican Party “accomplishments,” dating back to 1860. The last entry is from 2004, and refers to directing federal funds to private religious schools in D.C., in a voucher program that’s failed in a variety of ways. The previous “accomplishment” was the launch of the Iraq war in 2003 (the piece also spells “Iraq” incorrectly). According to the RNC’s own new website, the Republican Party hasn’t had any accomplishments in the last five years.

* The RNC created a page for “future leaders” of the party. It’s literally blank.

* Steele’s first blog post asks readers, “Why are you are Republican? Think about that for a minute.”

That’s good advice, actually.