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A big hearty CONGRATULATIONS goes out toRep. John Fleming of Oily-siana, who has won the House Republicans' "March Madness style contest ... to see who could gain the most new Facebook friends, Twitter followers and YouTube subscribers" during a six-week period. The spirit of competition is alive and well in America! What exciting prize did Fleming receive for becoming the "new media" prom king?


An iPhone, hooray! Now Fleming can make even more Twitters and Facebook status messages for all of his cool new online friends. So happy 4 u JF.

Coming in second and third were Reps. Phil Gingrey of Georgia and Lamar Smith of the Most Glorious Nation-State of Texas, with Gingrey taking home a "flippy camera," and Smith receiving ... a set of steak knives? "[T]he knives are to 'symbolize the need for House Republicans to stay on the 'cutting edge' of new media," explained House GOP Vice-Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Smith is from Texas and probably eats a lot of meat, so sure, computers and cutlery, why not.

"I am honored to be the House Republican New Media Champion. Thanks to all those who participated," Fleming tweeted, demonstrating a level of modesty unusual among Republicans. The GOP, on the other hand, is not too proud to boast about its modernity and Web connectedness:

The New Media Challenge symbolizes the progress and leadership of House Republicans when it comes to using these critical technologies. In January 2009, 56 percent of House Republicans used YouTube, 37 percent used Facebook, and 28 percent used Twitter. Today, those numbers are 89 percent, 79 percent, and 64 percent, respectively. House Democrats are substantially behind in all categories.

Oooh, are the Demorats just going to stand there and take that? Sort of! Sure, they are holding their own social media contest, with Rep. Steny Hoyer at the helm. But it is totally a latecomer rip-off of the GOP's contest, and it only lasts two weeks. Democrats care about their constituents only 1/3 as much as Republicans do.

Even the liberal-progressive bible-zine Mother Jones has pointed out how the GOP is so much farther along than the Dems in using online-talkie sites to pretend they care about the citizenry. Come on, Dems! You can pretend to care even better than the GOP, when you just try hard enough. [GOP.gov/TheHill.com]

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