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John McCain and the Republican National Convention merge YouTube with 'American Idol'

May 23, 2008 | 10:50 am

This could be the ultimate merger of politics, the Web and entertainment. The Republican National Convention and John McCain's campaign have teamed up to solicit user videos of "someone in your neighborhood who goes above and beyond the call of duty to serve what Sen. McCain calls, 'a cause greater than their own self-interest.'" Then viewers get to vote on the best submission. The winner gets a pass to the convention in St. Paul, Minn.

Of course, the devil is in the details. When you look at the FAQs, the convention staff winnows down the submissions to five finalists, and then they'll open it up to a vote. Kind of like a private primary by the insiders to winnow down the list of acceptable candidates (now, that's democracy). So you can probably write off any chance of a talking snowman making the cut.

Still, the Republicans have generally lagged behind the Democrats in Web innovation. This might catch them up a bit. Meanwhile, we'll be watching for the Paulista backlash. Ron Paul's supporters have proven themselves to be adept at both the Web, and videos. And since they're still fighting for a bigger place at the St. Paul table, you can bet they'll be submitting.

And you can also bet that if they don't make the "final five," they'll be flaming (read any comments section on a blog post about Paul).

-- Scott Martelle