Other Americans can speak out, too

OTHER AMERICANS CAN SPEAK OUT, TOO…. This week, House Republicans launched their “America Speaking Out” project, a taxpayer-financed, election-year gimmick intended to help the GOP come up with a policy agenda to run on in the midterms. Participants are encouraged to go to the site and consider various conservative ideas, which, at least initially, proved to be something of a mess.

In its return volley, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has come up with a rival site that allows participants to vote for the worst Republicans ideas.

GOPContractWithAmerica.com is a campaign website that links to a new Facebook application that allows supporters to fill out a poll and share it with their Facebook friends. Republicans have said their new site is not campaign oriented.

“The DCCC launched this new initiative to enable our four million plus grassroots supporters to vote for the worst GOP priorities that benefited big corporate special interests under George W. Bush,” DCCC Spokesman Ryan Rudominer told CNN in an e-mail. “The DCCC will continue on the cutting edge in allowing our grassroots supporters’ voices to be heard.”

As far as I can tell, the Dems’ project is paid for with party money, not tax dollars.

Salon‘s Mike Madden, meanwhile, reports on another potential down-side to the Republicans’ site: if it becomes more popular, it costs taxpayers more money. “[C]oncerned about keeping government expenses in check?” Madden asked. “Whatever you do, don’t click on America Speaking Out.”

Doug Thornell, a spokesperson for DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), added, “Republicans did enough damage while in power recklessly spending the American people’s money on huge tax cuts for CEOs and big corporations, and an unpaid-for government-run prescription drug plan. The fact that they are continuing this fiscally irresponsible behavior with their glitzy new taxpayer-funded website reflects the GOP’s arrogant belief that they should be held to a different standard from the people they lecture daily on government spending.”

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.