Suppose you were studying the voting patterns of the New York State Legislature, a body of representatives that is positively Dickensian in its sloth and malodorous reputation, and you wanted people to pay attention to the results. Well, you could issue a "scorecard," send out a press release, and hold a news conference. The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy did all that today when it released its report Fighting for New York's Middle Class: 2001-2005 NY State Legislative Scorecard. It's a great report, and gives each legislator a grade based on how they voted on a host of key economic and social issues inherently important to the state's middle class. Yeah, I know - another report card. Put in on the shelf.
But DMI went one brilliant step further: it bought the entire State Legislature.
Oh, not in the traditional way: no brown paper bags were harmed in the making of this report. No, DMI bought the names of each and every legislator in Google AdSense. So when you type in, say, Senate majority leader Joe Bruno - boom, up pops his grade in the neat little AdSense box. The link, of course, goes to the report.
I've never seen this done, but it's clearly another step in the evolution of digital politics, and it's nice to see it taken by a non-partisan policy group (on the left, of course - and as many readers know by now, I'm on the board). So go ahead, Google Joe Bruno - or your own legislator if you live in New York. Watch out Congress, you're next.