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Author Topic: Venangoland Politics On Line  (Read 1595 times)

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The EETicket Arachnid

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Venangoland Politics On Line
« on: March 05, 2011, 12:03:48 AM »
Venangoland Politics On Line
4 March 2011, 8:29 pm

(News-Herald, March 3) Like many fans of local politics, I’ve been surfing on over to the to see what the new political website has to offer to the local internet landscape.

One of the most basic purposes of the internet is to provide people with an opportunity to say things anonymously that they would never say openly (because doing so would probably get them punched in the nose). This site manages that quite well, though the mastermind behind the site backed off the more obvious slander and libel once he (or she) was called on it. But it still showcases a nice big pile of axes and a thick stone to grind them on.

There’s a type of poster that one finds all over the internet—let’s call him the Righteous Crusader. The not-brave-enough-to-state-his-name operator of VP fits the profile. Righteous Crusaders see themselves as being practically the only people wise enough to see the Truth, and they act a little paranoid about being hunted down by murky mysterious opponents. Mr. VP duly notes that there are people who probably won’t like what he has to say, and ominously reminds us that The Media isn’t telling us The Whole Truth. Mr. VP expects all submissions to come with a name and phone number attached. Mr/Mrs VP’s identity remains shrouded in mystery, though the drumbeat that is raised on the site is a familiar one that gives even the casual student of Venangoland politics a good idea of who is on the short list of authorial candidates.

There’s a place for folks to chime in; the first few posts there are to point out inaccuracies in the municipal information listed, some comment on the value of the site itself, and a few make observations (featuring random spelling) about local politics. So far only one of the 146 people running for County Commissioner has posted his info, but others may yet emerge. And so far VP has delivered its promise of weekly articles. The current one about the county pension fund is reasonably well-researched, if not particularly well-reasoned.

There are what supposed to be connections to local political groups on line, but these are exceptionally sketchy. In this, Ms VP is blameless, because Venango County political groups remain blissfully oblivious to the internet.

Venango County Republicans have a multipage site (, including a calendar of useful information about the election season. For 2010. The site has no actual content to speak of; certainly nothing that would pass for a statement of what local Republicans see as issues or proposed responses to them. The site itself has a cobbled-together look, perhaps because it appears to have been assembled on, a set of free website-building tools popular with many teenagers.

It could be worse. I was going to make a joke about Venangoland Democrats being so out-of-touch that their only web presence was an ugly old empty MySpace page. Then I went looking for them on line and found nothing but… an ugly old empty MySpace page. The Venango Young Democrats have a facebook page with no information and three “likes.”

In other words, in an age that gives organizations an unparalleled opportunity to communicate their message to the people, an historic chance to let voters know what they stand for, the two major parties in the county have used that tool only just enough to embarrass themselves.

The Libertarian and Green Parties—those great RC Colas of the American political grocery—provide nationally based web tools on which to hang local groups. And of course you know who is head and shoulders above the whole pack when it comes to making use of the web to get message out—the Tea Party Patriots of Venango County. If I were suddenly wanted to check out local politics, see whose views I sympathized with, and find a way to become involved, only the Tea Party Patriots provide any useful information at all, and what they provide is fairly thorough.

So while remains the biased and fuzzy-headed product of someone who hasn’t the guts to sign his/her work, I give it a big round of applause for trying to start the kind of open(ish) conversation about local politics that the major parties are completely failing to engage in.

If there’s something solid on line from the two majors that I’ve somehow missed, I welcome the opportunity to stand corrected. In the meantime, to Republicans and Democrats, shame on both of you.

Source: Venangoland

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