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Project Orca: How an IT Disaster Destroyed Republicans' Get-Out-The-Vote Effort 578

cheesecake23 writes "Many talking heads have attributed Obama's success to an unmatched 'ground game.' Now, inside reports from campaign volunteers suggest that Project Orca, a Republican, tech-based voter monitoring effort with 37,000 volunteers in swing states, turned out to be an epic failure due to dismal IT. Problems ranged from state-wide incorrect PINs, to misleading and delayed information packets delivered to volunteers, to a server outage and missing redirection of secure URLs."
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Project Orca: How an IT Disaster Destroyed Republicans' Get-Out-The-Vote Effort

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  • Re:Serves them right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @05:39PM (#41936011)

    It's like the argument put forward by Neal Stephenson in Cryptonomicon - the Allies won WWII because they had the best technology, and the reason they had the best technology was because they were't the biggest assholes.

    http://markpasc.org/blog/gems/athena.html [markpasc.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @05:41PM (#41936027)
    I worked on Romney's IT team.

    Out of the blue one day, we were told to build a 30-foot stage in the server room. Gathered the guys, and we built that 30-foot stage, not knowing what it was for. Just days later, all three shifts were told to assemble in the IT server room.

    A group of people walked out on that stage, and told us that the plant is now closed, and all of you are fired. I looked both ways, I looked at the crowd, and we all just lost our jobs. We donâ(TM)t have an income.

    Mitt Romney made over a hundred million dollars by shutting down our IT infrastructure, and devastated our lives.

    Turns out that when we built that stage, it was like building my own coffin. And it just made me sick.

  • by justdave72 ( 651133 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @05:42PM (#41936043)
    Yeah, I got so sick of the Romney calls that I put an IVR on my home phone line that prompted to press 1 to talk to a human, and hung up if they didn't dial anything, without ringing my phones or letting them leave voicemail. According to my logs that blocked 8 calls (the callerID on each was either unknown, or did point at a known Republican call center) during the 24 hours leading up to the election.
  • by Darktan ( 817653 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @05:48PM (#41936127)

    Who distributes a 60 page PDF when the whole rest of the operation is a web site? If they all needed internet access to use the app, why didn't the web application just give each volunteer their customized list?

    As always, the group of technomorons at the top tell you it's all digital, then give out a PDF of a scan of a fax.

  • Re:LOL urbanites (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @05:55PM (#41936225)

    I'm a leftist? That's news to me since I solely vote Constitution Party. Nothing more funny, though, than someone whining about stereotypes and yet jumping to stereotypical conclusions themselves.

    Also, if your area is so great why don't you actually name it rather than being vague? Sounds like someone's bullshitting.

  • Re:Serves them right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:05PM (#41936363) Homepage Journal

    Can we get rid of the brainless AC posts already? They're all shoot-from-the-lip ignoramuses like this asshole.

    I'm an Obamatron, but I can't abide the Huffpost. So I learned about this fiasco from Newser, which linked a conservative web site [commentarymagazine.com] which linked John Ekdahl's blog [ace.mu.nu]. John's a Romney volunteer, and his scathing description of Orca is informed by his day job as a web developer. And the there's Pudge [pudge.net], who helped design Slashdot, and who I presume voted for Romney, unless he considers him too liberal.

    So obviously there's no absence of IT talent on the right side of the aisle. What is missing is administrative judgment by Romney himself, who obviously bought some IT snakeoil from somebody, and has generally managed to find total clowns to run his campaign.

    People keep telling me about this brilliant guy named Mitt Romney who had a brilliant academic career (MBA and JD from Harvard), did well as a management consultant and equity capitalist, and accomplished great things as Governor of MA, even though the other party controlled the legislature. But I just don't see how that can be the same guy!

  • Re:LOL rednecks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:10PM (#41936439) Homepage Journal

    Do they even have "the Internets" in trailer parks, yet? I would think it wouldnn't ve economical to lay down the tubes there.

    You might be surprised to learn that your average trailer park superintendent may have more experience running a WiFi mesh network than you do.

  • Serious denial (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:43PM (#41936857)

    The Republicans are blaming everyone else but themselves. They've gone as far as to blame blacks for voting for the party that doesn't have candidates that publish books claiming that slavery was a "blessing in disguise."

    Romney lost because:

    1. He's slimy. He was an Etch-A-Sketch candidate.
    2. Rather than court the independents that could have won the election for him, he courted the fringe. He picked that lunatic Ryan for VP.
    3. He thought he was using the neocons. Wrong. The neocons used him. They were going to glom on to anyone who won the primaries and anyone paying attention saw this.
    4. Because of #1, nobody could trust him, not even his fellow Republicans and certainly not Roger Ailes. Remember how Fox tried to hilight everyone except him before the primaries were done and then had to reluctantly back him after?
    5. Not even the Mormons trusted him.
    6. He even lost his hometown of Belmont MA, which is full of rich WASPs just like him.

    People who know him didn't trust him. It showed.

    Combine that with the utter vile rhetoric coming from GOP the last 4 years, is it any surprise that everyone with two brain cells to rub together disliked him far more than they did Obama?

    Out of all the candidates that were backed by Roger Ailes' SuperPac, none won. Just look at the clown show that the primaries were, and the GOP picked a clown as a result.

    Introspection is required. Until then, it's going to be a long cold winter of discontent for the GOP.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:51PM (#41936921)

    I agree completely. I'm a raging Republican and i can tell you, the real reason Romney lost was that he gives most of his party the heebie jeebies. Even I almost didn't vote for him.

    I felt like this election was like being given the choice to sleep with your mom, or your sister. I begrudgingly voted sister, but damn we all knew it was wrong. (not voting to me is like sleeping with dad.)

    Sick in my heart,

  • Re:Serves them right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @07:33PM (#41937311)

    Bullshit. The Republican base are still as dedicated to vengeance and pursuit of theocracy as ever, and still control the House so they can and will still stonewall progress.

    The polarization of US is no accident. One cannot sit idly by waiting for ENEMIES to have a group hug. The US is too large to be one country, and as nature takes its course regionalism and the desire for self-determination rear their heads again. (The US has helped break up far smaller countries under UN auspices, but enforces Federal unity at gunpoint.)

  • Re:Serves them right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by strength_of_10_men ( 967050 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @07:57PM (#41937559)


    However, the NYTimes exit polling gives a more nuanced version of this. For those with college degrees, a majority voted for Romney. For those with Post Grad degrees, Obama was the overwhelming choice.

    Source [nytimes.com] (scroll down to "Education"

  • Re:Serves them right (Score:4, Interesting)

    by modmans2ndcoming ( 929661 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @09:08PM (#41938357)

    Why is it wrong to hate someone who supports discrimination and racial/socioeconomic hate?

  • Re:Republiclowns (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @09:39PM (#41938617)

    Bain actually used both tactics. Sometimes they would try to inflate the value of the company. Other times they would saddle a company with debt, charge it exorbitant "consulting fees", and let it go into bankruptcy once there was nothing left to loot (dumping the pensions obligations onto taxpayers in the process; I guess the federal government is good for something after all)

    In the end, it's still mostly a financial scheme that is more likely to result in wealth destruction than in wealth creation. And whatever the outcome, very little tangible work gets done.

    For as much as slashdotters like to harp on about "evil Micro$oft", it's still a company that creates real products. Those products help people be more productive, more creative. For all its flaws, millions of people were introduced to computing through Windows. You can easily find men and women who will testify about the good things they were able to do with MS products ("I wrote a novel using Word" or "I keep in touch with my grandma thousands of miles away through MSN Messenger" or whatever)

    I'm pretty sure it would be impossible to find somebody other than the company's owners themselves willing to testify about the great influence Bain Capital had on their lives. Quite the opposite judging by the most recent crop of political ads..

  • Re:Serves them right (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Burning1 ( 204959 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @10:40PM (#41939131) Homepage

    I believe Romney had the economic know-how to help get the economy back on track

    First of all, I'm not actually convinced that the economy is in trouble, based on the gross numbers. GDP is back to it's steady climb after the hit it took in 08. What we're actually looking at here isn't a poor economy, but instead general issues with the cost of living for poor and middle class families, dwindling employment, and low upward mobility*.

    Those trends started in the 80s. This was also the decade that we made a move away from Keynesian economics, back towards classical economics and the idea of trickle-down economics. Ever since then, the lower and middle class have seen their real income fall, asset ownership decline, and the cost of living increase.

    I'm not convinced that the guy saying "More of the same!" actually has the ability to fix those issues.

    * AKA the American dream. For many, that dream is dead.

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