Recently, Allan Zaremberg penned
a piece for Fox & Hounds
announcing the launch of a new website,, for the upcoming
gubernatorial election.

I think the one thing that struck me most about this site,
which any true politico should visit regardless of political stripe, was the
way that the site presents a depth of information in a highly organized and
approachable way. (Full disclosure: one
of my partners in Fox & Hounds, Bryan Merica, heads up the digital creative
shop that built the Chamber’s 2010 site.)

In particular, there are two really original features that I
haven’t seen anywhere else. Both of these features (Video Vault and
Head-to-Head comparison) can be accessed using the Chamber’s "widget" posted

The Head-to-Head comparison reminds me a bit like a Consumer
Reports side-by-side comparison, only here you get to pick the candidates and
the issues (the Chamber presents nine economic/infrastructure categories) for
the comparison. I chose to see how all three major candidates stack up on
"Budget and Spending." Lest anyone cry foul on bias, the site does provide a
"more detail" option that has extensive and independently cited support. Given
the wealth of information found there, my one complaint is that the "more
detail" link should be a lot more obvious (my eyes nearly passed it over).

After my initial comparison, I spent some time trying other
combinations of candidates and issues. Admittedly, I might be a bit more of a
political junkie than the average Californian, but the process of exploring the
candidate’s positions in this way was, dare I say it, fun. I can imagine a time in the near future where, using tools
like this, voters can rely on more than 30 second ads and carefully planned
sound bites to make informed decisions about the candidates.

The second feature on the site that I thought was pretty
clever was the Video Vault.
This section of the site is downright addictive. I started out watching the
"issue videos" on Meg Whitman, which show news clips and other videos of her
taking positions on issues in their own words. I soon moved over to the other
candidates issue videos. The site also keeps track of the candidates’ own ads
as well as ads from independent expenditure campaigns, including ads from each
end of the political spectrum.

This is really game changing stuff. And, my hunch is that
members of the media may find this a very handy resource for their own work.
Too bad it doesn’t engage in the personal attacks and petty bickering that
would likely give it more coverage in the headlines.

However, as more voters use the Internet as a tool to learn
about candidates and issues I predict (or hope,
at least) that we’ll start seeing more sites like this; designed to put real
information in the hands of voters.