June 11th, 2008 by Rightsideup

Just followed a link from the Hot Air blog to americansolutions.com, a site set up by Newt Gingrich and others as the main web presence of American Solutions, which is described as follows on the site:

American Solutions for Winning the Future is a new, non-partisan organization built around three goals: to defend America and our allies abroad and defeat our enemies, to strengthen and revitalize America’s core values, and to move government into the 21st Century. The General Chairman is former Speaker Newt Gingrich.

One of the organization’s key short-term initiatives is a petition to gather signatures in support of allowing drilling for oil in the US in areas where it’s currently prohibited by law. The wording of the petition is as follows:

We, therefore, the undersigned citizens of the United States, petition the U.S. Congress to act immediately to lower gasoline prices (and diesel and other fuel prices)* by authorizing the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries.

I’ve just signed it. I have no idea what good it will do – when was the last time a petition really changed anything? But I think it’s a useful way to gauge support among the population at large for this cause, which is the greatest single opportunity for reducing the price of oil and gasoline in the medium to long term. They had over 500,000 signatures at the time I signed it, and I assume that number has been rising rapidly. Newt Gingrich has (or had) a knack for corralling public support for big picture programs (think the Contract with America). This organization seems to have grown out of his failed attempt to have himself anointed the Republican nominee for president without participating in the normal process, but he’ll be trying to parlay it into something else. As long as the focus remains promoting sound policy rather than getting Newt elected to higher office there’s a lot of potential for good there. I think he’s a far more useful figure as an organizer and campaigner than as an office holder at this point.

Note to those responsible for the site: provide a logo and other materials that can easily be embedded into blogs and other sites. The main logo on the site certainly doesn’t serve this purpose. You need to make it as easy as possible for your core constituency to get the word out. They do have some stuff but they’re banner ads rather than logos or widgets. The only thing remotely logo-like is a naff-looking little thing (see below).