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February 11, 2004

It's a wave.

All this talk about what the Dean Campaign did right, or didn't do right. Here's what I think.

They did everything right.

The "bubble" didn't burst. The internet -- in the form of blogs, and meetup, and RSS, and email, and more -- was a breakthrough tool in communicating, organizing and motivating voters. And it's still working, maybe more effectively than ever. It was never a bubble, it was a wave.

Governor Dean was always a longshot. He was probably never gonna win. The internet managed to get like about 500% of what was reasonable to expect out of the candidate. But, you see, the Dean for America internet movement was never really about Dean. It was about a set of ideas -- about the war, and the budget, and civil liberties, and accountability. Ideas that, before DFA, really weren't getting widespread attention.

The DFA internet movement energized people around these issues. It got them involved. It elevated these ideas to be part of the national discussion. And that hasn't changed, no matter what the conventional mass media thinks, or wants you to believe. The internet continues to play a powerful role in the 2004 campaign's public debate.

As for Howard Dean, eventually his weaknesses as a national candidate took hold. Governor Dean is a good man, but he was never really gonna become president. But the DFA gang did a great thing. Dean and his team identified these internet tools that have energized the issues. It is unreasonable to think that these tools, especially in their still embryonic state, were ever gonna take Dean all the way to the White House. But that doesn't diminish what they DID accomplish.

Regular people now have a way to spread the word. They have a backchannel that is relatively unaffected by the conventional mass media. They created a groundswell of passion for a set of ideas that our leaders, and the mass media, were neglecting.

The Dean candidacy rode that wave for awhile, but inevitably the candidate slid off the backside of that wave... but the wave goes on.

The wave goes on.

It appears now that we have a Democratic candidate.

Senator John Kerry is not the person I would have picked. Frankly, he's not in the top 5. But unless something incredible happens now, he's gonna be the nominee. So it's time for we Democrats to mourn our losses, and start to get behind this candidate.

And make no mistake, the internet is still playing an important role in the election. Let's keep using it to do the job.

The bubble didn't burst. It was never a bubble, it was a wave, and it's still moving. Let's keep riding that wave.

Posted by jghiii at February 11, 2004 10:44 AM
Posted by: Jo Ann on February 11, 2004 04:20 PM

From my perspective, over a year ago not many outside of New England knew who Howard Dean was. His internet campaign was very innovative and "new millenium". He got a lot of folks interested in him and his viewpoints via the internet. He had a cult following.

But he achieved a false sense of security. Not many really knew the man, in person. Once the momentum for the primaries heated up, folks nationwide finally started to pay attention to this Howard Dean guy they've heard so much about, due to the publicity with his strong internet campaign.

The problem is, he comes across better on the internet! He might be the best Democratic candidate to be president, but on camera, he's odd. He just seems to be a bit of a strange guy! It's not just that speech with the infamous scream; it's his whole persona. I can't even put my finger on it, but he's just, well, he's just not very presidential.

Personally, I want the candidate who will beat Bush. I have nothing against Dean, he might be the best Democratic candidate out there, but I don't think he could beat Bush.

When you get right down to it, once the nation started really seeing all of the candidates up close and personal, Dean didn't come through. He is, unfortunately, just an internet candidate.

Posted by: dah on February 12, 2004 12:37 PM

Yes, I almost forgot, this is politics. It has always been about the “lesser of two evils” or “who is most qualified for the job” not who is “qualified for the job”, personally I don’t believe any one person in this country, known to us or unknown is qualified for this position.
Is all we want to see is Bush out of office, and we don’t care who replaces him, is Kerry the best guy to be President, or is he just the best guy we think will beat Bush? This is politics?

Do I want to see Kerry in office, no not really, but I don’t think Dean should be there either. Seems to me the president needs to be a person who is a backstabbing, manipulating, cheating and lying type of guy, “nice guys finish last”

Being a Vermonter for the past ten years, I have experienced what and how Dean has governed and changed this state. I never wanted to see him in the White house. First I did not think he could handle the job and second I did not want to see him leave a successful political career as a failure.

I have tried to come up with a good analogy for this:

Just because some one has been very successful and made a lot of money running small country store does not mean they can repeat that success running a nation wide supermarket chain.

Or I may just be a babbling idiot who has no clue what he is talking about when it comes to politics……

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