Web sites that get our vote
'Fortunately for politicians, the Internet has just the right amount of unlimited space to offer a comfy online resting place for rhetoric - and to solicit a campaign contribution. We did find a handful of what appeared to be unbiased Web sites that post candidates and issues of every political bent so that the people can decide whoâ€™s real, whoâ€™s faking and whoâ€™s pandering to the fears of the uninformed. Then we threw in some obviously slanted pages. Good luck at that upcoming decision thing.
Election Search 2000
Partisan or nonpartisan, this presidential candidate search engine is a great shortcut to the skinny on whoâ€™s promising what, should he get to stay four years rent free in the White House. Visitors can search by issues such as toxic waste, health care and education; compare candidatesâ€™ sites; or stick with the party ticket and digest the entire agenda. Answers come from the candidatesâ€™ own sites, town hall meetings and discussion panels - even a few sound bites. A request for their stances on the Internet, for example, brought back almost 400 hits.
We featured this site quite some time ago, so itâ€™s fair to bring it up again just to aggravate political ideologues with a heaping helping of cynicism and sarcasm. Twelve presidential candidates have had their "dirt" uploaded onto this site because, as the host says, "character DOES matter." Well, true. The site launches several short jabs against each man, from the front-runner on down, regardless of party affiliation, then offers support for those claims with news articles and documents supporting - we didnâ€™t say proving - the allegations. Boiled down, this a nice site to vent on big money politics and to take the temperature of the nationâ€™s trust in those who would sit in the Oval Office.
The Global Election Co.
This bilingual site obviously aims to become a one-site-fits-all page when it comes to voting. It has online votersâ€™ registration forms and held the first secure online presidential primary back in November, which didnâ€™t really count but did show thereâ€™s ease and interest in using the Web as a polling station. Later in March, Democrats in Arizona saw almost 40,000 votes cast online in their primary - almost triple the turnout in the stateâ€™s honest-to-goodness 1996 primary. And that one counted, folks. So, now whatâ€™s your excuse for not participating in the democratic process?
Politics1 claims to be the "most comprehensive online guide to American politics, candidates and parties." Presidential heats aside, this site looks at issue and links on a state-by-state basis, which can be accessed easily through an interactive map. The results are truly impressive when it comes to finding out whoâ€™s due up for the polls soon, where the candidatesâ€™ sites are located, party sites, issues and a ton of newspaper sites to add just the right amount of unbiased objectivity and common sense to important political races. OK, you can stop laughing now.
George W. Bush for President
Being the Republicansâ€™ front man that he is, Texasâ€™ own "George Dubya" has a site just oozing with digital red, white and blue bunting, plenty of reflective, thoughtful poses of the governor and a pop-up window for online donations. Oh, and heâ€™s posted his platform here, too (darn near forgot the platform, didnâ€™t we?). All kidding aside, this page is organized to near perfection. Issues pages are short, punchy and link into much more information. Topics are easy to identify and jump into. Thereâ€™s a mirrored Spanish version of the page that offers up all the speeches and catchy phrases from this "reformer with results." His delegate counter, however, is a moot feature at this stage of the game.
Al Goreâ€™s site
For the man who allegedly invented the Internet, I guess we expected more out of the vice presidentâ€™s Web site. Then again, the manâ€™s a little busy right now to keep up with all the newest bells and whistles for home pages. But donâ€™t think our VP doesnâ€™t match his opponentâ€™s content, blow by blow. Mr. Goreâ€™s speaking engagements and speech transcripts are right up front, plus his agenda, campaign newsletter and carefully scripted headlines from stops along the campaign trail. We also couldnâ€™t help but notice his taunts for a debate in the form of a clock that tracks "how long George W. Bush has managed to bob and weave away from debating Al Gore." By just saying "no"?
Any other time, this site offers biographies of famous people. In an election year, Who2 posts profiles of the White House wannabes. Naturally, that field has been whittled down considerably after this yearâ€™s gang outspent the gross national product of a handful of Third World countries, making most of the crowd here also-rans. Still, the 14 candidates that Who2 decided to profile - weâ€™re sure some fringe elements were left out in the cold - are kept on this page in all their pre-primary glory. A click on each personâ€™s name normally brings back a secondary page that allows at least four links to material on each candidateâ€™s campaign, including his or her own Web site.