The Probama Saga: Small Changes

Oh, it’s still Probama under-the-hood. The screencap on the left is a small comparison between the original Probama and the Daria Novak site today. There are some cosmetic differences–not many.

Overnight I wrote about my discovery Daria Novak’s congressional campaign website was built using Probama, a WordPress ‘theme’ (which defines the site’s look) which claims:

A timely WordPress theme for supporters of Senator Barack Obama’s political career and presidential campaign. Built-in control panel options allow easy management of images, video, podcasts and other RSS info.

That’s somewhat ironic as Ms. Novak is decidedly not an Obama supporter.

Truth is, if you read her bio, she is a very accomplished person. My blogging has nothing to do with her qualifications. She has done a lot. I just found the irony irresistible. I’d feel the same way if she were a Democrat using material designed to promote John McCain or George Bush.

Last night I wrote, “My bet is Daria Novak will soon have a new look on her campaign’s website–and again, it’s a really well designed site. I hope I’m wrong, but “Probama?” That’ll be difficult.”

Sure enough today the look is different. The background has been removed as has any reference to Probama in the code. That’s a shame because the original theme author, Darren Hoyt, who lets anyone freely use his work no longer gets credit. He isn’t totally surprised.

“Holy cow, that is really funny. I have actually gotten some email from people saying essentially, “I’m gonna use your theme to make an ANTI-Obama site, hahaha!” but I haven’t seen anyone using it quite this unknowingly/ironically.”

Oh, it’s still Probama under-the-hood. The screencap on the left (click it to enlarge) is a small comparison between the original Probama and the Daria Novak site today. There are some cosmetic differences–not many.

Here’s why I started this thread in the first place. I knew Ms Novak (or any Republican candidate) wouldn’t want to be associated with anything having anything to do with Barack Obama no matter how tenuous the connection. I’m guessing the same would apply to a Democrat in a similar situation. What she was using was well designed and suited her (and I assume approved by her)–it just made a positive reference to Obama.

Why does that mere fact make it bad?

If Candidate Novak can take anything away from this it’s that no one but me really cares. I posted a link to last night’s entry on Facebook and got no response from my 1,500+ friends. Same thing here, no comments.

10 thoughts on “The Probama Saga: Small Changes”

  1. I’m betting even though you didn’t get a lot of comments you definitely got a lot of chuckles. Geek chuckles.

  2. Doris – This is just part of my curious nature. I can’t look at a website nowadays without deconstructing it to see what I can learn.

    I’m quite sure Ms. Novak had no idea Obama’s name was associated with her site’s theme. That it would make a difference (as I knew it would) seems a shame. Her site was really well done and the name of the theme is inconsequential (or even the feelings of the man who developed it).

  3. Dear Geoff (AKA 007):

    You have given me the best laugh of my entire Congressional campaign. You’re correct about me not knowing the name of the template. When I found out I didn’t matter to me. My first thought was that I doubted anyone else would care about it either. I have worked very hard on my campaign, 6-1/2 days a week, often 18 hours a day, for the last year. I have sent out press releases, walked the district, attended rallies, spoken to more groups than I can remember, and done the vast majority of events without the presence of any media.

    Your one comment on the code name for the template has provided me more publicity than I imagined possible. I must thank you! I really find it hysterically funny and am sitting at my desk laughing as I type you this note.

    As a first-time candidate who is not afraid to speak my mind it provided me a new opportunity to reach out to additional voters and to you.

    One of the issues I have discovered in campaigning is that many voters seem to think if you are not “against” everything the “other side” stands for, then one can’t be true to whatever belief system one holds. As Americans we should celebrate the good things no matter which political side of the aisle comes up with the idea while remaining principled and fighting hard against all bad ideas with the same strength and integrity. We don’t need extremes — just some sane thinking in Washington.

    I asked the web company to remove the code name for one simple reason… although this was a lot of fun, I want my campaign to remain on message.

    Your station has never interviewed me… not too hard to find me I live a mile from your News Anchor in Madison. But the only coverage I have received is about the template. I would love to visit your station to meet you in person and, perhaps, talk about my campaign. AND I am willing to respond to any “probama-gate” question you may have for me. LOL Geoff, thank you so much for pointing it out. It really has put a smile on my face and I am having fun with it here.

    I wish you could have seen my campaign staff over the last 24 hours. I tell them “Hey, they can’t say we didn’t reach out across the aisle from the beginning. And, when the people’s voice said they didn’t understand why I approved the “probama” template, I listened and made a change!” Seriously, though, thank you as you’ve lightened up what is a “heavy” political year of campaigning and politics in CT.

    I watch your broadcast all the time and like seeing the joy you find in your work. I feel that way about what I am doing and my family. Your attitude draws me to your broadcast. One day I would love to meet you and shake your hand. Is that possible?

    My email is daria@novakforcongress and my tel no. is 203-318-8200. I look forward to, hopefully, hearing from you.


    Daria Novak
    Republican Candidate
    US Congress (CT-2)

    1. It’s nice to have your reply here. Alas, I have put myself in an awkward position because of something I’ve said often in the past, but not recently.

      Though I work at the TV station, this blog has no connection to the TV station–not its coverage or policies nor anything else. The views and opinions are my own and reflect only me–even my wife sometimes distances herself from them.

      That being said, I can generally add most people get on-the-air by doing newsworthy things. Often (not always) the station finds out because the newsworthy subject lets them know through press release or phone call. Again, in general terms, most of what most candidates do is not inherently news. That’s especially true where the candidate is speaking on a subject of his or her choosing in a single candidate setting.

      The last three sentences are based on my observations, not any specific policy I know of–but I’m the meteorologist. It would be unusual for me to be included when these policies are discussed or formulated.

      It is difficult for candidates such as yourself to receive the attention you feel you deserve. I’m certain Congressman Courtney feels likewise. Our state’s TV stations serve all our congressional districts. If we regularly covered routine campaigning we’d never have time to cover anything else!

      The station is better learning to use its website to augment coverage like this, but it is just that–a learning process. The station even runs ConnPolitics.TV.

      Darren Hoyt, who is the developer of “Probama” tells me it is licensed as GPL. Basically that means you are free to expunge any vestige of “Probama” or his name and still comply with the license. Darren, like many webdevs, has literally donated this to the community. I hope you’ll consider returning to your original design and background which was probably chosen with great thought by your campaign and which was expertly customized for you by your local developer.

      It’s still a long time ’til November!

  4. the name of the theme is inconsequential

    Mr. Fox: If you truly believe the name of the theme to be inconsequential, then why have you written not one, but two blog posts on the matter?

    I agree: the name of the theme is inconsequential. The theme was used knowingly (as Mrs. Novak’s website designer would have had to remove the Obama imagery/RSS/etc.), so there was nothing particularly ironic about the use. The theme is GPL, so there was nothing unethical about the use.

    So, what’s the story? How is it a “saga”? How is it a potential “problem” for Mrs. Novak (as your previous post claimed)?

    Surely there are more substantive aspects of her campaign that would be much more worthy of discussion?

  5. Maybe my choice of words was inexact. I thought the theme’s name should be inconsequential. I expected (correctly) that we’ve come to a point in politics where it is not. As soon as Ms Novak found out the name she felt little choice.

    Her gracious comment to me implies she found out the name while reading my blog. I would bet her designer never connected the blog theme’s name to partisan politics. That Ms. Novak is Republican is not heavily touted. The word “Republican” doesn’t even appear on the home page.

    I started this because I am disappointed by what we’ve come to in American political life. Here was my real life chance to show an example of what I’ve been thinking and sometimes talking about.

    I am going to pick on Republicans here, but only because they’re out-of-power in Washington. Given the opposite circumstance Democrats might do the same.

    We have seen Republicans lash out at things they once supported only because President Obama now supports the idea. I can give examples, but I suspect you can easily name a few yourself.

    Some Republicans have been attacked by members of their own party because they had bipartisan moments. The decidedly right-leaning said last month (

    “Thirteen Republicans crossed party lines to vote for Harry Reid’s jobs bill Wednesday, but it’s hardly time to herald a new era of bipartisanship on the Hill.

    Just ask Bob Corker.

    The Tennessee Republican is close to cutting a deal with Democrats on financial regulatory reform, but he’s gotten pushback from GOP colleagues nervous that he’ll give the veneer of Republican support to one of President Barack Obama’s biggest legislative priorities.”

    As you and I both pointed out the theme is license under GPL and Ms Novak’s campaign is free to use it as they wish. I thought it was prettier before they removed the background.

    I believe Ms. Novak knows, and I will repeat here, I wish her no harm. Her resume shows a woman of great accomplishment, both in political and personal life.

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