The Republican Party learned a few lessons about online petitions and repealing healthcare reform last week. Either they should screen petition signatures before they go live, or they should be prepared to accommodate the views of “BonerDudeSixtyNine” when they put together the party platform. Fortunately for the GOP, it appears that Mr. SixtyNine also opposes Obamacare.
Last week, the National Republican Congressional Committee had come up with what they thought was a pretty good plan: create a feed that would show, live, people’s names being printed out as they signed an online petition titled “#IWantRepeal.” Not only would it show just how many people wanted to repeal the healthcare law, people would get a kick out of seeing their name being added to the (hopefully historic) document.
Well, it was a good plan until people realized that they could sign whatever they wanted, including “Jiggly Puff,” “Like 20 more boners,” and “Piss Children.” Thankfully, BuzzFeed was able to grab screen shots before a mysterious hand grabbed the offending signatures. Eventually, the printer just stopped printing names. Now, you can't even see the printer; even if you sign the petition (although it still gives you a link to see it).
And while the Republicans stumbled, President Barack Obama's campaign team capitalized on the moment. Obama campaign digital director Teddy Goff quickly retweeted the link to the petition printer live feed just as things got out of control. Thankfully for us, someone did grab some video of the printer, including the last name to be printed “Bruce Dackler,” which quickly became a popular hashtag on Twitter.
Even though it's shutdown now, the NRCC said it plans to restart the online petition soon, possibly with a better way of detecting spam bots. It also said that even though the petition was attacked by spammers, it was considered a success because it gathered more emails and contacts for the Republican Party, an important asset during an election year.
Photo via YouTube