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May 27, 2008


Re: HisSpace:

It is still unclear how far Barack Obama’s talent for online campaigning will take him. But it’s worth noting that some of the best-known presidents in U.S. history have stood at the vanguard of past communications revolutions—and that a few have used those revolutions not only to mobilize voters and reach the White House but also to consolidate power and change the direction of politics once they got there.
The communications revolution under way today involves the Internet, of course, and if Barack Obama eventually wins the presidency, it will be in no small part because he has understood the medium more fully than his opponents do. His speeches play well on YouTube, which allows for more than the five-second sound bites that have characterized the television era. And he recognizes the importance of transparency and consistency at a time when access to everything a politician has ever said is at the fingertips of every voter. But as Joshua Green notes in the preceding pages, Obama has truly set himself apart by his campaign’s use of the Internet to organize support. No other candidate in this or any other election has ever built a support network like Obama’s. The campaign’s 8,000 Web-based affinity groups, 750,000 active volunteers, and 1,276,000 donors have provided him with an enormous financial and organizational advantage in the Democratic primary.

Obama clearly intends to use the Web, if he is elected president, to transform governance just as he has transformed campaigning. Notably, he has spoken of conducting “online fireside chats” as president. And when one imagines how Obama’s political army, presumably intact, might be mobilized to lobby for major legislation with just a few keystrokes, it becomes possible, for a moment at least, to imagine that he might change the political culture of Washington simply by overwhelming it.

What Obama seems to promise is, at its outer limits, a participatory democracy in which the opportunities for participation have been radically expanded. He proposes creating a public, Google-like database of every federal dollar spent. He aims to post every piece of non-emergency legislation online for five days before he signs it so that Americans can comment. A White House blog—also with comments—would be a near certainty. Overseeing this new apparatus would be a chief technology officer.

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May 19, 2008

Not Bushism, Republicanism

Republicans have almost no hope in 2008 ... and it isn't Bush's fault, it is the party's fault.  He's just the last man standing in a failed 30 year right-wing experiment.

  • Republican deniers of global warming will take action on global warming?
  • Republican war cheerleaders will get America out of Iraq?
  • Republican enablers of administration lawfulness will apply the law fairly?
  • Republican incompetent managers will run an accountable government?
  • Republican cheap government idealogues will fund public infrastructure?
  • Republican capitalism for wealthy cronies will rebuild the middle class?
  • Republican opposers of children’s healthcare will address the healthcare crisis?

The Fall of Conservatism

Excerpts from The Fall of Conservatism:

Among Republicans, there is no energy, no fresh thinking, no ability to capture the concerns and feelings of millions of people. In the past two months, Democratic targets of polarization attacks have won three special congressional elections, in solidly Republican districts in Illinois, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Political tactics have a way of outliving their ability to respond to the felt needs and aspirations of the electorate....
The fact that the least conservative, least divisive Republican in the 2008 race is the last one standing—despite being despised by significant voices on the right—shows how little life is left in the movement that Goldwater began, Nixon brought into power, Ronald Reagan gave mass appeal, Newt Gingrich radicalized, Tom DeLay criminalized, and Bush allowed to break into pieces.

Continue reading "The Fall of Conservatism" »

May 13, 2008

Sea change in America

This looks to be a historic election.  The winds of change will almost certainly blow a Democrat into office as president and therefore we'll have either the first woman American president or the first black American president.

Democrats, under JFK and LBJ, did the right thing 40 years ago by supporting the civil rights movement, but at tremendous electoral cost as racist Democrats defected to the Republican Party which “Southern Strategy” to appeal to racists was started by Nixon, endorsed and perfected by Republican presidential candidates since.

If ever there was a time for bigots to self-select out of the Democratic Party, this would be the election.

With all the todo about race and Clinton's claim that she'd do better than Obama against McCain because of her greater appeal to whites, we've lost the forest for the trees.  Obama never-the-less leads McCain much more substantially than Clinton.  Furthermore, polling shows that McCain's age is more a factor (and one that might have relevance to his fitness through his term) than Clinton's gender than Obama's race.  And Obama's numbers are already a big improvement over Kerry and Gore's in the last two elections.

ABC News: No Rush for Clinton to Go, but it's Still Advantage Obama:

In general election matchups, Obama leads McCain by 51-44 percent, similar to the last two ABC News/Washington Post polls. Standings in a Clinton vs. McCain race are 49-46 percent, again roughly similar to previous ABC News/Washington Post results.
FACTORS – Age continues to look like a major hurdle for McCain. Thirty-nine percent of Americans say they'd be uncomfortable with a president first taking office at age 72, far more than say they'd be uncomfortable with a woman (16 percent) or African-American (12 percent) as president.

and futhermore, from The Numbers:

Obama’s numbers are nothing like John Kerry’s and Al Gore’s; they lost working-class whites to George W. Bush by 24 points and 17 points, respectively.

Clip: Obama/McCain: Kennedy/Nixon or Eisenhower/Stevenson?

Clip: Trey Ellis: Obama/McCain: Kennedy/Nixon or Eisenhower/Stevenson? -  Politics on  The Huffington Post:

Obama needs to get us to weep for McCain as a hero who wasn't felled by our enemies but by the grinding corruption of Washington insider politics. Senator Obama needs to hold him up as the prime example of why he is running for President. To fix a system that has turned one of our brightest hopes into a defeated shell of his former self.

Obama should tell the nation that the problem isn't that seventy-year-old John McCain has been around too long -- he's just been in Washington too long.

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