Newt Gingrich Collects Over 100,000 Signatures for Domestic Oil Exploration in 48 Hours
Newt Gingrich's American Solutions is closing in on 140,000 signatures for its Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less petition. On Tuesday, this number was about 12,000. When refreshing the page this morning, the signature count appeared to be rising by about 100 a minute. Full disclosure: American Solutions is a client of my company, but we haven't worked on this initiative.
This is a proverbial hockey-stick moment, and for an issue -- energy -- which hasn't traditionally riled up a lot of activist passion even if it bites consumers. Perhaps $4 gas is changing that, with gas prices taking their place alongside the war, gay marriage, and immigration on the list of activist hot buttons.
It should be pointed out that the issue isn't just ANWR, but Outer Continental Shelf drilling and Colorado oil shale. The Athabasca oil sands in Alberta -- home to a Saudi-sized reserve -- also offer hope for de-facto energy independence with the Bush Administration's approval of the Transcanada pipeline.
But the great infrastructure aspect to this is the ability to build something lasting. Many groups have talked about building the "MoveOn of the right." What they don't get is that it starts not with a lot of money or with TV ads but with the ability to galvanize activists around a cause using viral marketing. MoveOn was started in Wes Boyd's and Joan Blades's living room with an online petition attracting 250,000 signatures against the Clinton impeachment.
More than a few conservative groups have collected this many signatures around an issue over the years. The problem is that there's never been any follow through. After the initial rush to collect names, the list lies fallow, or the organization (usually just a website) disbands. Had there been any sort of continuity of effort, with a series of hot-button petitions and compelling messages, we'd have easily had our MoveOn by now.
Below is a list of issues which could have garnered a similar six-figure response. Had all been pushed by a single organization -- one that just like our readers doesn't care much for defining itself by the social/fiscal divide -- they'd have over a million members by now and would be raising upwards of $200,000 in small dollars with each email sent. They are:
- The California gay marriage decision
- The Berkeley Marines controversy
- The earmark moratorium
Am I missing anything?