Comments: Howard Dean and the banality of "Social Software"

And again, if you campaign as Mr. Anti-War, and ride high when the war is more in the news, it's not surprising to fade as the war fades.

Aside from your rather ridiculous if somewhat amusing bit of Dean bubble sophistry, whatever are you blathering on about, man?

3 U.S. soldiers dead today in Kirkuk, dozens dead this year, Kay's bombshell that those Saddamite WMD's don't exist and haven't for years, Bush's about face today on an independent intelligence probe into war claims due to an internal palace revolt in the republican party...just because some of the massively disengaged american populace who probably never heard of Dean (or Webvan for that matter) have changed the channel doesn't mean we've all swallowed the blue pill....'cept maybe you...

Posted by Mark White at February 1, 2004 08:08 AM

"Dean is a rookie."

The citizens of Vermont might take a different view. But I will concede that Dean may be a rookie in terms of hardball politics. It would be interesting to consider how many politicians get puked on and rise to campaign again.

Now that Ms. Washington-Williams has made it okay for Republicans to have illegitimate black children, might we see McCain back in a future presidential race?

As for Gore, I think Queer Eye for the Straight Guy has had a profound effect on the public's perception of sartorial consultants. Maybe he'll be back!

"fade as the war fades"

The war is not fading.

"So maybe the all the Internet chatter was just ... chatter"

There are three elements at work in a caucus/primary: grassroots organizing, campaign organizing, media. You don't need the Internet for this stuff, but the Internet can make communication more efficient.

Would Dean have gotten early media attention without his success in Internet fund-raising and organizing?

"But Kerry has campaigners who give the impression they'd literally take a bullet for him"

Well, that's a nice way of putting it. Turn it around, how many would balk at defaming an opponent? Would any be up for physically intimidating the other team? Kerry and Schwarzenegger supporters have been reported physically intimidating political opponents.

Let's just hope all the political "hate speech" does not lead to further violence.

Posted by sean broderick at February 1, 2004 10:37 AM

"... because some of the massively disengaged american populace who probably never heard of Dean ... have changed the channel ..."

AKA - "The voters have spoken - the bastards".

That they changed the channel is one reason (not all, but one) for Dean's decline. It may not be a happy reason, but there it is.

Dean is a rookie in Presidential campaigning - that's way out of the Vermont league, in terms of scale. Doesn't mean he's a bad guy. But he was inexperienced, and that's a factor which hurt him against more experienced opponents (including quite possibly, as you note, downright intimidation)

Sure, the money and buzz got him media attention - but my point was, he was less successful in organizing than he seemed. Sort of "Warning - voter-getting ability is smaller than it appears in pundit-mirror".

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at February 2, 2004 02:51 AM