Yesterday, we learned that the State Department had flown a delegation of new media experts to Iraq to consult with government officials and entrepreneurs on digital technology. The delegation made sense for several reasons, including the vast amount of digital talent that had been assembled. However, we couldn’t understand why Blue State Digital was in Iraq? This was a company that unlike AT&T, Twitter, Google, MeetUp and Wired, was relatively unknown and not an industry leader in really anything.
It was then discovered that Blue State Digital is the official digital arm of the Democratic National Committee, Obama for America, and countless other liberal organizations, trade unions and political candidates. So why did they merit the distinction of serving in this delegation over say, GoDaddy.com executives, or other non-partisan website developers? Hoping it wasn’t about securing government funded contracts and business for a political pal, we waited to hear the reason. Today we have an answer.
Reporting on the ground in Iraq is Wired.com Senior Writer Steven Levy who says:
[the State Department] hopes that a few of the companies will follow up and work out some technology exchanges or collaborations with Iraqis, beginning a process that will play at least some part in bootstrapping the bottomed-out situation into something approaching a 21st Century economy.
So, this is indeed about government contracts and business prospecting at the expense of taxpayers for the President’s campaign buddies. Granted, the President had a nice campaign website, but it was nothing that a non-partisan web developer could not have also brought to flourishing Iraq. While we are happy the President has finally realized that Iraq is a burgeouning civil society, we wish he wasn’t resorting to cronyism so soon. Will ACORN be on the next flight to Baghdad to consult on community organizing?