Also, there is no way you can put any trust into that 1.2 million VR number from Rock the Vote. That's the number of VR applications that were downloaded from their site. There was no follow-up with the potential registrant and there is no way they verified who submitted their application and who actually got on the rolls. The 200K number from their field programs is much more reliable.
That's not quite right. They did match downloads to the voter file.
But Field is so much more than voter registration. In fact, voter registration isn't even part of the field program in most campaigns. Campaigns exist for the sole purpose of delivering the votes for a win.
Searching for new voters, identifying them, getting them registered, and then getting them to vote is a process that takes too much time and money, time and money which can be spent on persuading registered voters who vote regularly to vote for you.
The point I'm making is that these tools can dramatically reduce the cost of voter registration and contact, just as blogs and email has changed the cost of communicating with your activists. Internet tools don't replace the other tools, they supplement them and often in supplementing them they change the political process in subtle and populist ways.
Plouffe is arguing for silos. The internet is thing A, TV is thing B, thing B is more powerful than thing A.
It's more of a synthesis, where message tools and GOTV tools are deployed together. For instance, there's some amazing cable targeting that can work really well with GOTV operations and MySpace/Facebook organizing.