Campaign Different

Jim Moore writes today that the Clintons’ support for Clark is bad politics. In saying so, he has dropped an important clue as to why the Dean campaign is different and why that difference matters so much:

“Dean is the only real outsider in the campaign, and the only one who will attempt to reform the party if he wins the nomination.  Read “reform the party” as reducing the influence of big traditional party donors and money people . . .

What makes Dean threatening to the party elite is that he IS electable–and that he owes the elite little or nothing.”

Their lack of leverage over Dean is driving every other politician just nuts. And his freedom from traditional political power is THE political story of the first half of the 21st century. I hope that we bloggers and bloggees can put our heads around this, because every other technical, political and economic navel-gaze is inconsequential by comparison. Need I be more strident?

Sleepers awake! The Internet is hitting its stride, conforming to Paul Saffo’s rule that technology expectations are generally flawed: tech has less impact in the short term and more in the long term than we expect: “the amount of time required for new ideas to fully seep into a culture has consistently averaged about three decades for at least the past five centuries.”

The Internet’s first three decades are barely up and suddenly a Presidential candidate has the means to attract and bond with his constituents as Dean has, and prevail while owing nothing to the political machinery. Like open source software, the Dean campaign is more a result of constituents’ activity than the constituents are the result of campaign activity. That inversion is the point Jim Moore is making when he confronts the Clintons’ insider politics attacking Dean’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington run. Internet disintermediation at its most impressive.

What’s not to like about this populist hijacking (well, re-hijacking) of the political process? Don’t we the (majority of) the people benefit when we’re able to combine to elect our own candidate. If that’s so, why is it not more obvious that the Dean thing is a Good Thing?

But consider the downside. What if the majority of the people somehow take our country in a direction that the minority of the people don’t want it to go? Anyone who mistrusts majority rule is an aristocrat, and aristocracy, like monarchy, is a dead end.

This majority rule idea scares the shit out of most of us, perhaps because each of us suspects we’re in the minority–that somehow we’re at risk from the whims of the mob. And this is the inner challenge we need to face–to just get over ourselves. As we’re learning from the surprisingly good reasoning and openness behind most blogs and the comments to them, common sense is more common than we think. Perhaps we’ve just been misled by the aristocrats, telling us how stupid we all are.

Welcome to the Permission-Free Zone…

…The Twilight Zone of Broadcast Politics. Like a child’s mind wiring itself together, our dendritical connections are forming without permission, authorization or capital to support what our body politic wants to do. It seems that all we need is a set of neural pathways–the Internet–to form the web of common cause and mutual benefit that defines the combining of cells into a superorganism.

This is the point of Howard Bloom, biologist by training, student of mob psychology and author of The Lucifer Principle and Global Brain. He argues persuasively that families and tribes and beehives and nations–and you and me–are superorganisms, living entities composed of smaller organisms that have irrevocably combined. He’ll convince you that this combinatory urge is the norm in nature and that the Clint Eastwood syndrome, the notion of a successful existence isolated from society, is the stuff of fiction, not life.

Paul Saffo and Howard Bloom might say that the Dean surge is to obvious and right on schedule. I say that breakdown leads to breakthrough and that we are in the midst of a classic breakdown. This week brings more stirrings from the adult wing of the Republican party, saying that this administration has been as mismanaged as every other GWB enterprise: a Federal Reserve Bank Chair, the Cato Institute, the key Watergate figure, the CIA. Can breakthrough be far behind?

Jim Moore is the creator of the Second Superpower vision and originated the idea of people contributing a billion dollars to an Internet-based campaign. Now he’s illustrated the gulf between Dean and all other politicians. We’re at an inflection point which combines the populist medium with a candidate who thinks like an American. This is the kind of moment that history often leans on when forming a new pattern.

I’m looking forward to hanging out here for a while.

1:23:22 AM    

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