Medical Marijuana Supporters Are Winning the War of Websites
A supporter of this year’s ballot question that seeks to legalize medical marijuana in Massachusetts had a mildly entertaining parody on arguments against the initiative when he registered NoOnQuestion3.org and filled it with spoofy non-reasons to keep medical marijuana illegal, but the opponents looked even sillier when pamphlets they sent to every voter in the state contained a link to the spoof site. Now concerned voters who visit the site will learn about reasons to vote no on Question 3 like: “Fact: Marijuana is the gateway drug to Twinkies.”
Kevin Sabet, spokesperson for the opponents of Question 3, whose actual case against the initiative you can find on MAVoteNoOnQuestion3.com, says they sent the pamphlets out before anyone had registered the domain. He had a fairly mild-mannered comment. “It’s funny and upsetting, I guess, at the same time,” he tells the Globe.
Domain name pranks are not new to the realm of politics—you’ve got to be quick to register for any website that might embarrass your guy these days. Just ask Newt Gingrich. When he was running for president, a Democratic PAC purchased NewtGingrich.com and had it redirect to sites that might embarrass him. Jack Abramoff, too, has had trouble reclaiming ownership of JackAbramoff.com from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
In all cases, these pranks tend to amuse supporters of whatever political cause they parody, but they follow a pretty familiar life cycle that shows them to be pretty inconsequential too. That’s because the only serious point to be made by the creator of a spoof is that his or her opponent is slow. In this case, the creator is Boston resident Scott Gacek, who is quoted at Bostnno.com saying, “This shows how disorganized they are that they don’t even register a website. You would think you would try to make sure that website was accurate, and buy the domain.”
True perhaps, but that’s a criticism that works better on a politician, whose organizational skills might actually matter in office. On ballot initiatives, we have to believe voters are thinking about more than the web savvy of each side’s respective advocates. Still, it’s not like Gacek needs his website to do much heavy lifting. Polls show that his side is pretty heavily favored to win the vote.