GOP Tech: Clueless Losers

Today, the GOP released a request for proposal for a new web site.  This is the RFP (PDF).  I have read it all the way through.  It's quite a document.  It's an especially interesting read for someone like me, who responds to RFPs for web development for a living.I say "interesting" because it's a masterpiece of confusion and idiocy.

<sarcasm>

I assume it was written by someone who has heard of this new thing called "com-poo-tors", and who doesn't actually have one, but has been told that they'll be very big in the future.

Let's take a little closer look at this document, shall we?

Integrate outside products through common API’s, widgets, or iframes (examples: Kimbia fundraising, Voter Vault, Widgetbox, Ning).

As far as I know, there is no common API for those applications.  Each has it's own API, I'm sure.  They may be accessible through a common technology, i.e., any ODBC compliant data/programming model like PHP or .NET will probably be able to access them in some way.  But there's not going to be anything common about it.  I also love the use of the term "widgets".  Because every tech person knows what a "widget" is.  It's such a specific term.

But the best part is asking for the use of the IFRAME tag.  I guess that's OK.  As long as you won't be wanting to use the XHTML Strict doctype, or anything.  Or you've never heard of the OBJECT tag.

Flash interfaces can often make mundane tasks exciting, and having Flash developers who understand user behavior will make the site more user-friendly.

Well, that's a perfectly uncontroversial statement.  If there's one thing that everybdy in the web-based tech community agrees on, it's how wonderful Flash is.  Because it makes things, you know, move.  And it's so easy to optimize for search engines!

An ideal client will have a CMS that is already built out and ready to plug into the system, so the only programming time will be building the outward facing presence.

Because, as everyone knows, every CMS system uses the exact database schema that the RNC uses, so there will need to be no data import, or customized programming to access the RNC's content data.  All you have to do is istall the CMS, and, like magic, the only work you'll have to do is set up a really nice theme. And how convenient that Flash will require no custom ActionScript programming to integrate into the CMS.

The really helpful thing about the RFP is that there are no indications of what database backend the RNC uses, no information about the database size or schema, no indication of the server technology they'd like to use, or, actually, any technical details at all.  But, when you throw all that stuff in, the RFP gets so, you know, long, and boring.

But long and boring is one thing this document is not.  In fact, it's only two pages long.  Once you start throwing that geeky stuff in, you end up with a hideous and stuffy nightmare of an RFP like this.

But, one thing the RNC does want:  They want to know what it'll cost them.

All costs of the project will be delivered with proposal.

Well, it's a good thing the RFP is so chock full of the kinds of detailed information that will allow a contractor to make accurate time/cost estimates.

</sarcasm>

Surely this is all some sort of elaborate joke.  Perhaps on Monday the RNC will tell us that they were just having us on.  Then, once we've all had a good laugh, they'll release the real RFP.

Because whatever this document is, it's not an RFP.  At best, this is some sort of marketing-related  statement of intent.  It's nothing more than a series of barely-related bullet points that say:

  • We want a cool web site.
  • We want neat external applications to run on it.
  • Flash is fun.
  • We want it to be easy to use, 'cause we ain't got us much of that compooter learnin'.
  • Make it pretty.
  • We have data.  We'd like to use it.

This the new, high-tech-savvy GOP?  This is the kind of in-depth attention to leveraging technology that the refurbished, Michel Steele RNC has planned?

This is a travesty.  And it's sad.  Especially since the opening paragraph states:

This RFP and the ambitious goals behind it result from the help of the RNC Tech Summit and the 7,000 grassroots volunteers who participated both online and in-person.

Wow.  That must have been an über-effective tech summit.

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Comments

Yes, I think you are right.

This is not a serious web RFP. It's a marketing ploy. I bet they already have their web site basically redone, that is the way they generally work. That's how these fine folks here at the Next Right worked the crowd.

But, what the hell; I'll submit my plan to give all party members a voice. Allow all to speak and all to be heard. If their website doesn't measure up to these three goals, they will fail anyway.

ex animo

davidfarrar

I also love the use of the

I also love the use of the term "widgets". Because every tech person knows what a "widget" is. It's such a specific term. ( Online GED and Home school )

Yep, you got it

Basically someone is throwing out all the tech terms them can think of and trying to look clever. There is clear message that they have no clue what they need. You would think after the "tech summit" they held it would be a bit clearer than this. This is a we need to catch up quickly plea not forward looking or cutting edge.

Good post and completely accurate I am afraid.

The really helpful thing

The really helpful thing about the RFP is that there are no indications of what database backend the RNC uses, no information about the database size or schema, no indication of the server technology they'd like to use, or, actually, any technical details at all. But, when you throw all that stuff in, the RFP gets so, you know, long, and boring.

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no indication of the server

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Not exacty a threat to Netroots Nation, I guess . . .

n/t

...

This is another resurece i've found for this matter:

 

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A blast from the past

Here's the 2002 RNC website RFP -- http://tinyurl.com/asmdgp

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there will need to be no data

there will need to be no data import, or customized programming to access the RNC's content data. All you have to do is istall the CMS, and, like magic, the only work you'll have to do is set up a really nice theme. And how convenient that Flash will require no custom ActionScript programming to integrate into the CMS. ( online computer degree programs , online law degrees and online psychology degree )

Hey!!! All you have to do is

Hey!!! All you have to do is istall the CMS, and, like magic, the only work you'll have to do is set up a really nice theme. Regards, Games

The really helpful thing

The really helpful thing about the RFP is that there are no indications of what database backend the RNC uses, no information about the database size or schema, no indication of the server technology they'd like to use, or, actually, any technical details at all. But, when you throw all that stuff in, the RFP gets so, you know, long, and boring.

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 Reagan was president when I turned 18, and I hated the bastard.  Still do.  Vehemently.  Republicans invoke the name of Reagan in order to discredit themselves and make them appear as if they have ulterior motives.  They would be better off to invoke the names of Goldwater or Eisenhower instead of some morally degenerate screwball radical.

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