Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Howie Rich Gets the Website Takedown

This is only partially an Oregon-related story, but worth quickly mentioning. Well-informed readers will recall that the vast majority of funds provided for the OR-TABOR (Measure 48) and term limits (Measure 45) initiatives are coming from a wealthy interloper from New York, Howard Rich and his Americans for Limited Government. We've mentioned the Rich connection several times, and last month I reported on the lame job The O did connecting Chicago's ALG national convention to goings-on in state.

If you're still not sure who Rich is, where he comes from, what his obfuscating empire of anti-government organizations are up to, and what his nefarious goals are, check out
Howie Rich Exposed. (Yes, despite the title it's safe for work, although some of the copy may cause you to shriek and groan in disgust.)

Put together by the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, a DC-based nonprofit funded by generally progressive outfits, the site tries to tackle Rich's reach, his tactics, and what can be done to stop him.

Overall I'd give the site a grade of B; the graphics and general layout make sense, but I think the picture that dominates the front page is a poor attempt to show "big-city" skyscrapers overshadowing Main Street USA, and the link categories and arrangement of issues are not particularly intuitive. (Minor nitpick--the site refers to OR's Measure 37 as "Prop 37"--boooo.) It also makes quite a bit of sense to alert visitors that what Rich is doing in your state is just a piece of his national design, but ultimately the state-specific connection is rather weak. The best thing to do would be to screen people by their home state, and then deliver a template that is customized to what's going on there--and everyone not in an affected state would just get the general view. For what it's worth, here's their rap on how Rich works in Oregon.

The one thing that really is good about the site is that it provides a quick and easy answer for people to tell others why M48 and M45 suck, and who this NYC guy is--"Dude, just check out's all in there.*" Go to town, spread the word.

PS--as we noted earlier, Goobernor Ted challenged Rich to a debate in Oregon, which the latter obviously declined. The governor's letter got a little press, and the resulting hoo-hah from Don McIntire claiming HE was the real McCoy and Kulo the proxy carried the story for another day or so. A couple of days after that, Montana goobernor Brian Schweitzer made the same challenge, and HowieRichExposed has the amusing video, complete with backers behind Schweitzer who shout "New York CITY?!!!" on cue, a la the Pace salsa ads. Nice!

*the phrase has not been tested as a pickup line yet, but if you get results let us know.