December 19, 2003


They’ve done it! Those wily, web-aware Democrat activists have tricked Google into listing George W. Bush’s biography at number one whenever anyone searches for "unelectable". Which, as we all know, people do all the time.

Still, I can’t help but feel that this might backfire somehow. Picture your typical Republican voter, just returned home via limousine from a day’s stockmarket plundering. His Halliburton investment assured, he affixes a monocle and searches the Internet for yet more easy millions. Accidentally typing "unelectable" when he intends to type "I want to kill all minorities", he happens upon the Democrats’ crafty Google ploy. "My God!" he mutters."This won’t do. This won’t do at all!" Soon all of the servants are summoned and sent out to corrupt voting machines across the state, to help illegally re-elect the evil Bush regime.

Now consider the likely response on election day of a typical Democrat voter. Exhausted from the previous night’s child raping, he nonetheless forms a mid-afternoon thought as the heroin drains from his bloodstream: "Wasn’t I supposed to vote today?" But, what the hell, he figures, Bush is unelectable. Nobody needs me to vote against the unelectable madman! Content that, at last, he’ll soon be allowed to voice his dissent, our Democrat voter tips anthrax spores into an envelope and addresses it to "Repiglican Party Headquarters, Military Industrial Complex, Washington DC".

It’s kind of obvious when you think about it. Latest polls, by the way, are yet to be influenced by the clever Google tactic.

UPDATE. Google has defused the election-skewing “unelectable” campaign. Now the first item to appear refers to Howard Dean. Clearly, Google is controlled by right-wing zealots. Incidentally, only minutes after posting this, I began receiving Wesley Clark spam:

My Fellow Americans,

My name is Wes Clark. I'm running for President because I love this country and want to see us fulfill our great promise as a nation. I'm running to restore leadership to the White House, to revitalize our economy, and to reclaim our role as a respected leader of the free world.

Your country needs you. Please join me today.

Sure thing. You good for the airfare, Wes?

Posted by Tim Blair at December 19, 2003 02:57 AM

Should we evil right wing types try and get Talkleft (That is the group behind it isn't it?) to come up whenever someone searches for "shittest political stunt ever"

Posted by: Ross at December 19, 2003 at 03:20 AM

Should we evil right wing types try and get Talkleft (That is the group behind it isn't it?) to come up whenever someone searches for "shittest political stunt ever"

Posted by: Ross at December 19, 2003 at 03:21 AM

It is like spamming Google. That said, I don't see how this stunt could work without the complicity of the people at Google.

Posted by: Fred Boness at December 19, 2003 at 03:26 AM

I stand in awe of thier technical prowess. Surely this will go down as the turning point in the '04 election. [I thought I had a low opinion of American schools before - what are we teaching those little monster?]

Posted by: LB at December 19, 2003 at 04:36 AM

So I typed "electable" as a google search and the first two items were Kucinich sites. Could Kucinich's Keebler constituency be behind this. I'd like to start a rumor saying as much, but, what with all the Tolkien-mania going on right now, Kucinich is just one elf too many.

Posted by: ccwbass at December 19, 2003 at 04:57 AM

Bush's polls may be on the rise for now but just wait until it's revealed that it was really a plastic Saddam that was captured.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at December 19, 2003 at 05:08 AM

Fred: It's a technique called "googlebombing" that uses a bunch of specifically named links to take advantage of Google's automated system of prioritizing search results. Do a search for more information. It's been used for lots of non-political things as well. Google doesn't seem to care either way, and they're not actively involved.

I think it's silly, but the DU crowd seems to practically wet their pants over this sort of thing. In the interests of keeping them suitably amused, does anybody have any suggestions for a counter-googlebombing? Maybe "ranting snob" should go to the Dean campaign site.

Posted by: Bryan C at December 19, 2003 at 07:10 AM

"any suggestions for a counter-googlebombing?"

I think "Bike Path" should show Dean's campaign website.

Posted by: LB at December 19, 2003 at 07:36 AM

I suggest that

"arrogant pathetic loser"

point to Jimmy Carter's bio.

Posted by: Nick at December 19, 2003 at 07:52 AM

Jimmy Carter was an honest Christian.

George W Bush is a dishonest pretend Christian.

Posted by: Adam at December 19, 2003 at 09:10 AM

Jimmy Carter was an honest Christian.

He's become quite vile, lately. But then, you *did* use the past tense.


Posted by: Rick at December 19, 2003 at 09:12 AM

Hey, Adam, just curious -- who was it said "judge not lest ye be judged"?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at December 19, 2003 at 09:23 AM

I hate to bring up religion again, but does being an honest Christian excuse incompetency, stupidity and naivety in a leader?

Can we praise Saddam as an honest Moslem?

Adult Hitler loved children and dogs, so he couldn't have been all bad after all.

Posted by: freddyboy at December 19, 2003 at 09:23 AM

I can just see the new Democrats campaign slogan:

"George W. Bush: so unelectable that he has never lost an election."

Posted by: Alex Robson at December 19, 2003 at 09:55 AM

Democrats can pull this kind of useless stunt with impunity because Al Gore invented the Internet. And won the 2000 election.

Posted by: ilibcc at December 19, 2003 at 10:23 AM

Hmm... That Google search doesn't generate what it's supposed to. This is what I get:

The Village Voice: Cartoons: Sutton Impact: "Howard Dean = ...
... Insurance Quotes. Cash Advance. Free Cell Phone. Sutton Impact by Ward Sutton

"Howard Dean = Unelectable." Says Who? ... Howard Dean = Unelectable." Says Who? ... - 25k - Cached - Similar pages

Posted by: Marty at December 19, 2003 at 10:25 AM

Maybe the guy who thought up the idea was a New Zealander and they simply misheard him.

George Bush = ineluctable.

Posted by: ilibcc at December 19, 2003 at 10:49 AM

Ten years before he was president of the United States Jimmy Carter was an ordinary missionary knocking on doors in poor communities, asking people to take Jesus into their lives. Sure, he wasn't the best president in recent memory, naive in foreign policy and weak in other ares, but at least he was a good person.

Carter and Reagan were moral giants compared to Clinton and George W Bush. As a Republican it makes me sick to think of George W Bush supporters criticizing Carter and ignoring the current occupant of the White House's shameful dishonesty and gross incompetence.

Posted by: Adam at December 19, 2003 at 10:51 AM

Evan rabbits didn't like Carter.

Posted by: Gary at December 19, 2003 at 10:59 AM

I don't care about political Google searches at all. I'm just laughing my ass off.

Posted by: Rebecca at December 19, 2003 at 11:01 AM

Carter was dumber than his hillbilly brother; at least Billy had the excuse of being pissed most of the time to explain his idiotic outbursts.
That simpering clod-hopper was an even worse President than Clinton- no mean feat.

Posted by: Habib at December 19, 2003 at 11:03 AM

And what was his Nobel peace prize for- services to militant Islam?

Posted by: Habib at December 19, 2003 at 11:04 AM

The Google stunt is indeed formidable but, please, don't bring out the giant puppet heads!

Bush's reelection bid could never withstand that!

Posted by: JDB at December 19, 2003 at 11:09 AM

Marty: none of your links work. I looked at your comment in the maintenance screen (I admin this site) and this is what I saw:

<a>The Village Voice: Cartoons: Sutton Impact: "Howard Dean = <b>...</b> </a><br> <b>...</b> Insurance Quotes. Cash Advance. Free Cell Phone. Sutton Impact by Ward Sutton<br>
"Howard Dean = <b>Unelectable</b>." Says Who? <b>...</b> Howard Dean = <b>Unelectable</b>." Says Who? <b>...</b> 
<br> -  25k - <a>Cached</a> - <a>Similar pages</a> </br></br></br>

Not an "a href" in the lot. And there aren't even urls everywhere you put "a" (without the necessary "href" and so on) so I can't even fix your mess. Look, I have instructions right above the freakin' comment form on how to post links, and there are tons of html reference sites across the net, so don't complain to me that your "links won't work waaah it's too hard." You don't have to become the human equivalent of FrontPage, you just have to learn one simple freaking html tag. Tell me why I shouldn't just turn off html altogether and make this site look like Usenet.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at December 19, 2003 at 11:20 AM

"Carter and Reagan were moral giants compared to Clinton and George W Bush."

I suugest you read this National Review piece on Jimmy Carter.

Highlights include:

"His low moment, however, came during the run-up to the Gulf War, when he wrote members of the U.N. Security Council — including Mitterrand’s France and Communist China — urging them to thwart the Bush administration’s effort. Our government found out about it when the Canadian prime minister, Brian Mulroney, called the defense secretary, Dick Cheney, and said, “What the . . .?” "


" While in office, Carter hailed Yugoslavia’s Tito as “a man who believes in human rights.” He said of Romania’s barbaric Ceausescu and himself, “Our goals are the same: to have a just system of economics and politics . . . We believe in enhancing human rights.” "

Yep, a real moral giant is Jimmy.

Posted by: Ross at December 19, 2003 at 11:21 AM

G'day Adam,

Ten years before Carter was elected president he was in State politics working on getting himself elected as governor of the state of Georgia.

As to Bush I was not aware of the "...current occupant of the White House's shameful dishonesty and gross incompetence...". Would you care to enlighten us as to how a man who is presiding over an historic boom in economic growth, the conduct of two succesful wars and who has been telling nothing but the truth is being dishonest and grossly incompetent?


Posted by: Russell at December 19, 2003 at 11:30 AM

Last month Le Monde Diplomatique had an article on 'control' of Google. Subscription only, but here's a taste:

"On 31 March James F Moore of Harvard University put on his personal website the title "The second superpower rears its beautiful head" heading an anodyne text that used the term
"second superpower" to describe net-heads (6). (This application could seduce even a Repub lican party member.) Techno-utopians seized on Moore's obscure article and made it a reference point. A month later, 27 of the first 30 results
Google presented for the term "second superpower" pointed to Moore's piece. Moore, an expert on economic strategy, technology and leadership, knew what he was doing. Orlowski
says: "Although it took millions of people around the world to compel the Gray Lady [the New York Times] to describe the anti-war movement as a 'second superpower', it took only a
handful of webloggers to spin the alternative meaning to manufacture sufficient PageRank to flood Google with Moore's alternative, neutered definition. If you were wearing your Google-goggles, and it was your primary view of the world,you would have a hard time believing that the phrase 'second superpower' ever meant anything else."

Google's limits are most evident when confronted with political questions, where there are radically different points of view among web users. Its mathematical criteria give de facto priority to certain opinions and can confer
undue importance on texts that represent the opinion only of a few. Those who got there first in net use are now so well-established that they enjoy a level of representation out of proportion to their real importance. The quantity of links they maintain (especially through the mainly US phenomenon of webloggers) mathematically give them control of what Google thinks."

Posted by: Ellie at December 19, 2003 at 12:01 PM

Andrea, I just copied the code from the Google search results (me being a lazy bastard). Sorry for making things difficult for you, I didn't intend to screw things up.

Posted by: Marty at December 19, 2003 at 12:03 PM

Getting back to Dean, if not bikepath, how about Metrosexual? After all, he said it (so it's not a manufactured stunt like the tools at Talkleft), and it's probably a word that's searched a lot. Perhaps some sites could even comment about "interesting theories" regarding Dean and his metrosexuality, given that he won't release his records as Govenor...

Posted by: Jerry at December 19, 2003 at 12:04 PM

`I'm running to restore leadership': what a platform, vote dean President so he can find a president to head the United States.This is even worse than Dean, for whoever Dean has in view they clealry would only win even fewer votes than Dean and those not many.
Who is Dean going to install? The Satanic Rev Jesse Jackson, Soros never a businessman who merely got lucky in some spec.plays,Castro loving Hilary Clinton, Beijing man revified Billy Clinton,Pilger, Alan Ramsey, Steve Bracks: hell the field of possible future presidents Dean is out to find is a whose who of leftoid shits.

Posted by: d at December 19, 2003 at 12:13 PM

Marty: I figured it was something like that. Google's pages have really weird, freaky code. What you should do next time is first copy the stuff to Notepad or something, just to check it. (Weird code should show up in Notepad.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at December 19, 2003 at 12:18 PM

Shall do. I didn't actually notice the lack of hrefs in the code. It probably had something to do with me not bothering to double check before I hit 'post'. Apologies again.

Posted by: Marty at December 19, 2003 at 01:01 PM

Cleverer and cleverer, those lefties:

Posted by: Brendan at December 19, 2003 at 03:32 PM

If describing Bush as unelectable helped him win, would that be suicide googlebombing?

Is Saddam unelectable?

Talking of Jimmy Carter, Mark Latham seems to be stealing a quote of his.

I just want a government in this place as good as the Australian people themselves.

Posted by: Andjam at December 19, 2003 at 10:32 PM

I've got a small list of counter-googlebombs that people are trying to propogate: unelectable, miserable failure, worst president ever, miserable failure, dumb lardass, great president, and one last miserable failure which has made it to #10 so far.

Pick and choose.

Posted by: Jason at December 20, 2003 at 02:12 PM