That would be Howard Dean’s list. You oughtta be. Not because he’s a Democrat or willing to be outspoken or a physician who understands exactly how you’re gonna be screwed when you or your family actually need medical care, or because he runs a state where the governor actually governs and which is prosperous without exploiting resources, while Texas is bankrupt despite its huge resource base and fouled environment, dead-last among all states.
As for media consolidation, here’s a clue from yesterday:
But never mind all that. You need to support Dean because he has said the most important thing that any candidate has ever said:
The reason his point is important is that we’ve never had a fact-based politician and if you read or write a blog or software code, you’re committed to the outrageous notion that facts matter. For many people, facts don’t matter. The process of discovering, testing, discarding and describing facts is such a mystery to many that they’re not willing to trust it. Most of us, and certainly most people in power, are interested only in what increases our influence, which is rarely factual.
So here’s a person who governs without the right to print money, who says he’s willing to listen to facts and make fact-checking a campaign issue. The other thing he’s doing is using the Internet as the center of his campaign strategy, ramrodded by his Internet-obsessed Campaign Manager, Joe Trippi:
His team is so focused on leveraging the Net that they may win in 2004 because they have ways of getting out the vote of disaffected centrists. They’ll also use the Net to sow discontent among the authentic conservatives who have seen their civil rights purged by a big-spending, little guy-hating big-gummint administration that promised all the right things and did all the wrong things, from the viewpoint of authentic (pre-1990) conservatives. You know about authentic conservatives, don’t you? They’re as committed to the Constitution as the ACLU.
My logic is escapable but probable: Appropriate use of the Internet is the inside track to the 2004 election, and Dean’s team is the only one that knows what the track looks like. Appropriate use of the Internet isn’t fake emails or PR but is the use of meetup.com and blogs and Knowledge Management to organize consensus around people’s inclination to support a candidate who makes sense, not noise.
For about 24 hours I’ve been urging Doc Searls to get all over this. There are still nine candidates for the Democratic nomination, eight of whom are congress critters who have supported most of the measures that have gutted civil rights and fair use of published materials. Dean will wipe up the floor with them, but can’t yet be sure of it, so he and his growing team are probably willing to listen to the blogging world and to consider a blog-based administration.
Here’s my recommendation:
Listen for the Blog Horn
Like most emerging media, blogging tends to contemplate its own navel. But it’s probable the navel’s attached to something worth attending to. Blogging inspired the social software meme and is wrapping Knowledge Management around itself. By the time Super Tuesday hits, we’ll probably have a way to aggregate bloggers’ opinions and roll them up into a coherent sense of grass roots sentiment in ways never before possible. My gut tells me Technorati could tally up our common sense of reality by identifying political key words and associating them with positive vs. negative adjectives and adverbs.
So we shouldn’t support Dean just because he reads and uses blogs. Rather, we should get behind any candidate who:
Blogger interest is just a start. The work part of this possibility is for bloggers and aficionados to engage friends, neighbors and fellow workers by proving that there’s a there there: someone who deserves our support because he’s actually committed to responding to facts, including proofs that most of we the people have a more than wee interest in doing smart things.
The Central Plank in the Platform
But let’s not get blindly behind this guy unless the centerpiece of his campaign is fact-based policy-making in a blog-based and blog-responsive administration. Then we may see a role for technologists in politics at least equal to Big Oil and Big Media.