Where the Votes Are

Doc’s got a great take on Howard Dean’s Iowa meltdown. He’s sitting over on the couch, making more sense than the rest of, as usual, the sumbitch:

My take is that the Iowa story comes down to looks. Kerry and Edwards present themselves very well. They’re attractive on TV. Media-friendly. Telegenic. Watching Edwards right now, he sounds so much like Bill Clinton, talking about “hope and optimism,” it’s like some kind of re-run. New stars, same ball game.

Dean is the only star of a whole new ball game: one that’s all-grass-roots, no special interests. Great game, but not one that’s playing on TV. And most of us still watch hours and hours of TV every single night.

Further, Doc quotes Matt Stoller over at BOPNews:

What a disaster for the new politics. Dean could play in the new world, but as JFK showed in 1960, it wasn’t enough to be great on TV. He had to win the machines first. Dean won the internet in July, but lost Iowa in February.

‘Splain, Please

I honestly don’t know what to make of this, but here’s my instinct. People who are outside the Internet religion resent we who have it and want to peddle it to them. Frankly, our orange hats may have worked against us, making the conversation about our movement, not Iowans’ interests. Kids brimming with enthusiasm and inexperience can seem irrelevant to graybeards like me and the many people I know in Iowa. Here’s a message Doc just received and posted:

How is this for a theory? (I’m serious about this.) The Dean volunteers and troops contacted and nagged and pushed the same potential caucus-goers so repeatedly that people just looked for a way to “punish” them by voting for someone else. I honestly think that’s how I would have felt…so sick of upbeat, orange-hatted people calling, knocking, etc.

Most of us gauge others by their appearance first and their ideas and skills second. Bush proved that in 2000. We Netizens are confident that the ‘Net changes everything. But it’s not certain when it changes politics.

I believe we can affect that date. It doesn’t have to be 2008: It can be 2004. But changing politics via the Internet isn’t easy, and – amazingly – it won’t happen online, at least not yet.

Internet politics doesn’t happen online? Nope. In the real world, where the votes are, it happens over back fences and at soccer games and water coolers and PTO meetings. It may happen online for 20-somethings, but not for most of us. So how do we use our amazing Swiss Army Knife to inspire and inform and transform those offline conversations?

I’m still working on that.

12:08:09 AM    

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