The 2012 Romney campaign decided at some point they had to go for tres chic and trendy and have a smartphone-and-tablet web-based app that would allow them to (in their words) "micro-target" voters who had not yet visited the polls and encourage them to Go Out and Vote.
Yeah, okay. The ORCA project was, as has been pointed out in other places (Ace Of Spades among others) was never stress tested, was never actually rolled out with any meaningful training; had incomplete documentation (when there was any at all) which caused their volunteers to show up without the proper paperwork to function as Poll Watchers in their precincts.
As we all know, the GOP is built around an authoritarian-directive model where all knowledge and wisdom flow from the top to the bottom. ORCA had to be the penultimate example of this; it was built and pushed out to an unready and seemingly unwilling group of volunteers by the boys and girls at the top of the pyramid who then it seems wandered off to get their clothes pressed for the impending victory celebration. There was no tech support, no training, no one answered any questions apparently and were unable to fix problems as the happened in real time.
Seemingly he was "had" by consultants (who somehow involved Microsoft too) in the development and deployment of this fiasco. Good for us, bad for them. Apparently none of them ever had the experience of never trusting anything from Microsoft that is v1.0 or worse beta, which this certainly seems to have been.
So where is this all going? (Chuckling) Wasn't Mitt Romney supposed to be the epitome of the successful 21st Century CEO? Wasn't he supposed to be able to put together awesome teams of problem-solving MBAs and other hired help while he had his evening milk and cookies?
I think it's ironic that the man who claimed to be the kingpin of business acumen was undone by "consultants" and a staff more interested in turf-building, reality-denial and internecine warfare than winning an election. You really have to wonder if there isn't a lot of serendipity involved in his success at Bain Capital or perhaps he's been successful because he was minimally involved and stayed clear of any function except cashing consulting checks.
Looking at how he fully trusted his "advisors"/"consultants" or whatever you want to call them, I think we dodged a huge bullet when we look at the Foreign Policy team he had assembled...17 of them were Beltway holdovers from the Dubya/PNAC team, folks like Dan Senor, Elliot Abrams, John Bolton. Can you imagine anyone as detached as Romney seemed to be getting the word from them that Iran had just built a nuke, but they really had no verification other than some modern-day "Curveball"?
Orca was certainly a good insight into the internals of the Romney 2012 Campaign, and a telling one as well. Thank goodness we don't have to worry about them with their ORCA-primed fingers on the button; or the economy.
Apparently, there was another little glitch which anyone with a half an ounce of tech savvy would have caught, their site was an HTTPS URL and it was disseminated as an HTTP URL with NO Redirect in place. Have you ever tried to explain to your computer illiterate relative the difference? Also, there seemingly was ONE web server and 11 database servers for this entire application. One web server? They're kidding right? No redundancy? No Load Balancing? No. Because consultants don't think in those terms frequently because they're not in the original scope of the project, and with a group as seemingly arrogant as the Romney IT team, they likely never would get a proposal for redundancy off the ground.
Here's a look at the ORCA app with a diagram on the iPhone, from CNET