Saturday, February 07, 2004

Wicked Sean Gallagher has an agenda for the next Dean Meetup.

Let's hope he forgot one: throw support to Democratic nominee.

6:16:21 PM    comment []

Jay Rosen: Voices at the Crash Site Say the Frontrunner Was Never Ahead.

Not to be overly literal-minded about this whole thing, but Dean really was ahead, by the measures we use before the voting starts -- polls and money. And the polls were polls of likely voters, not just registered Deaniacs.

Polls are often wrong. That's why we bother with elections. But something happened along the way to Dean's lead.

In The New Yorker, Philip Gourevitch blames Dean's demise on the same things my pal the New Mexico voter and I cited -- electability, tax policy, strident anti-war rhetoric.

From where I'm sitting, the Internet aspects were the things Dean's campaign got right. Figuring out how to translate that organizational and financial strength into success in the field was the problem.

This is where I disagree in some part with Dave Winer, who writes "Howard Dean is not a soap bar." I am not arguing that Dean is made of vegetable oils and animal fats, preservative, magnesium sulfate and sodium silicate, just noting that all candidates are asking us to make a transaction, to buy what they are selling, to trade our valuable votes for their promises to do more of what we like (and/or less of what we dislike) than their rivals. It is a marketing campaign, and the market found Product Dean lacking.

Update: I should have just quoted the Kevin Drum passages in Jay's piece:

I think the internet enthusiasts are being too hard on themselves...the best marketing in the world can't sell a product that people don't want, and in the end I think that's all that happened here. After all, look at what the internet accomplished for Howard Dean: it raised a ton of money and generated loads of activist enthusiasm, which in turn bought a huge ground staff, encouraged endorsements from two of the biggest unions around, allowed the campaign to saturate the airwaves with advertising, boosted him to #1 in the polls, and helped fund a 50-state organization that was the envy of every other candidate.

In other words, the internet was instrumental in helping build all the traditional mechanisms that elect a candidate. The fact that it still didn't work just means that the candidate wasn't good enough. After all, Phil Gramm raised a boatload of money in 1996 and then disappeared without a trace. It happens.

2:13:26 PM    comment []

Oliver Willis has the scoop on the new blue-ribbon investigative panel.

1:22:33 PM    comment []