Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Financial Times: "John Kerry's election team is to suspend advertising during August, opening itself to what it expects will be a barrage of attacks from the Bush-Cheney campaign."

They really need to use the web well in August -- that's part of the blogger equation.

Related: the ConventionBloggers site is number one at Popdex and Daypop.

5:55:32 PM    comment []

Unsolicited comments from three people I have spoken or emailed with this morning:

"John Edwards gives my wife the heebie-jeebies," said a house painter I know.

"This country was built on cheap labor. Slaves. Chinese. Southerners. I have to buy from China," said a small retailer.

"I thought Clinton was amazing last night. An incredible speech -- incisive and illuminating -- and brilliantly delivered," said a business writer.

12:43:43 PM    comment []

Drudge helped me understand why blogging the convention matters.

"The Big Yawn," he headlines the news that network ratings are very low, news that is itself yawn-inducingly familiar. 

There is something new happening, but it's not a TV story. Blogs are a route around TV. I would guess that a lot of people are paying attention to the convention this week who would have pretty much ignored it on TV. I know that's true in my case.

TV has failed to involve people in the conventions. The energy felt by the people in the hall is cooled by the small screen. Blogging is a warm medium. You know the writer. I find I'm drawn to the convention via some of my usual day's diet of blogs, and then link to other coverage from them.

Bloggers are of the grassroots, and if they can help generate grassroots interest and action after the convention, then the Democrats will have done something very smart by inviting the untamed masses into the tent.

How big can their impact be? It only has to be marginal to make a difference in a close election. And given Kerry's funding gap -- the extra month he has to stretch his federal campaign funds -- the Internet should be an important way of maintaining momentum at low cost in the weeks before the GOP convention.

I linked to NZ Bear when he said bloggers were there to watch the media, a quote I saw used in the big media this morning. That's certainly the way the media sees it, and there is some value there. But the media doesn't own the weblogs, no matter how much they preen over knowing the term and how many blogs of their own they launch.

It's not about them. The story isn't that Wonkette gets paid by MTV. The story is that non-corporate, unedited voices are telling the story, however banal it may be at any given moment, and sharing it with overlapping and highly-scalable networks of other people. The Democrats have captured a lot of the magic of the Dean campaign.

Now we'll see if magic works in the real world.

12:37:55 PM    comment []

Another day, another dose of certitude from an N&R columnist who thinks stuff is true because he says it is. Last time, Giles Lambertson on "the war." Now at the line for the Washington Generals...it's Charles Davenport Jr. on the true definition of a conservative, which as it turns out is everything those bad bad liberals are not.

Davenport Jr. (unposted) contrasts conservatives who "cherish tradition and established institutions as the means of conveying the accumulated wisdom of generations past" with "radicals" who "impatiently dismiss tradition and ancient customs as mere prejudice and superstition. (Witness the eagerness among many to adopt gay marriage.)"

Davenport Jr.'s "liberals" or "progressives" intend to "question and even tear down everything old and established in favor of the new and untested."

What a lovely, simple world he lives in. People who disagree with him on this issue or that are so easy to dismiss. But who the hell is he talking about?

My wife and I were married 15 years ago, according to tradition and ancient custom, before moving to my hometown to produce two children, buy a dog, pay our taxes and go to work each day. But I guess none of that counts, because we think gay couples should have access to the same benefits and legal protections that straight couples enjoy.

Here's another fascinating statement: "Those who contribute the most to society should be rewarded accordingly; their wealth, their leisure, their priveleges rightfully exceed those of ordinary men."

Davenport Jr. does not define what it means to "contribute most to society," although one supposes that he is not proposing that we make millionaires out of moms, teachers, and artists. He doesn't define the "priveleges" to be enjoyed by his aristocracy, either, but it sounds pretty feudal to me.

In his last paragraph, Davenport Jr. again uses "radical" as a synonym for "progressive." Maybe the paper can buy him a thesaurus to go with that copy of Bartlett's quotations he wears out every week.

9:50:52 AM    comment []

Salon on Joe Trippi (gotta click thru the ad): "His big idea in Boston: that Kerry should boldly reject public financing, the way Dean did during the primaries, and turn to his base to help him out-fundraise the mighty Bush machine."

Then Salon explains it's unlikely to happen, in part because of the competing interests of local candidates who would be chasing the same money.

The article describes Trippi as an outsider and a star at the same time: "To the extent that he namedrops, it's to tell you which bigwig Democrats hate him. Yet every few minutes someone would come up and shake his hand, bedazzled. 'Thank you for saving our party,' a well-dressed 50-something white man told the rumpled Trippi."

9:11:26 AM    comment []

So far the biggest blog news from Boston is the postive ID on previously anonymous Atrios, who turns out to be one Duncan Black. Used to teach at Bryn Mawr, though obviously many years after I decamped.

Will the whole blogging experiment end up as a circle jerk on a par with big media's effort? Says Dave Winer about the slack first day, "Maybe that's all there is to it. We'll find out. You can't hurry love."

8:54:46 AM    comment []

Elizabeth Edwards visits the blog to explain yesterday's cancelled speech in GSO: "I take responsibility. I caught a bug on the road, and when it looked like John might be coming down with it, too, the campaign took the cautious road and cancelled the road trip to Greensboro. John personally called and promised to come to A&T when the students were back."

8:40:49 AM    comment []