Posts from December 2003

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve
: Off to church: kids’ service; choir rehearsal; late service; Santa duties…

Please see my Christmas Eve thoughts and prayers for our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan below.

And let me add that everything I say there extends as well to the CPA workers and to the journalists who are there, away from their families and at risk, to try to bring us the news. They all are sacrificing in the name of freedom.

If Dean is stopped, will he (and his Deanies) bolt?

If Dean is stopped, will he (and his Deanies) bolt?
: John Robb continues the discussion (news being a conversation, of course) about the Dean web movement with a fascinating question. He says we don’t disagree about the essential structure of the online movement and then adds:

However, it is pretty clear to me that the people supporting Dean have … chosen to join a community of like minded people. That community’s relationships are now being etched into social software (that automates many of the difficult parts community development and maintenance — this provides the productivity boost that gives this campaign its momentum). Can this community survive a defeat? The history of American politics suggests no. Will we see it develop a platform, voting mechanisms, and a nomination process to field candidates that run against other Democrats in the future? Maybe or maybe not (this time).

At the same time, New York Times columnist William Safire said he fears a Dean Democratic defeat, for be believes that Howard and the Deanies (sounds like a third-rank ’50s garage band, no?) would bolt and run as an independent. He sees a dangerous cleft in the Democratic party.

: He is not the sort who gives up easily. Nor is he likely to ask Clark or whomever in a smoke-free room for the No. 2 slot. Dean has grass-roots troops, a unique fund-raising organization, the name recognition and the fire-in-the-belly, messianic urge to go all the way on his own ticket.

Politronic chatter picked up by pundits monitoring lefty blogsites and al-Gora intercepts flashes the warning: If stopped, Dean may well bolt.

That split of opposition would be a bonanza for Bush. In a two-man race, the odds are that he would beat Dean comfortably, but in a three-party race, Bush would surely waltz in with the greatest of ease.

Here’s my problem: Such a lopsided, hubris-inducing result would be bad for Bush, bad for the G.O.P., bad for the country. Landslides lead to tyrannous majorities and big trouble.

Which is why I worry about Dean not getting the Democratic nomination.

: A still-unformed thought: I wonder whether the big impact of Dean online movement is a feeling of empowerment.

I sat down with some good folks trying to boost the online presence of an issue movement and I lectured them that “you have to look like a movement even before you are one.” That’s not the cynical comment it may sound like. It’s the way things are done now, post-Dean: You need to involve people; make them feel involved; make them feel invested; make them feel heard. That is what Dean & community have done so well.

So the thing is: Once a community is started, does it feel like a movement with legs of its own? Does it live without Dean? Probably not. Does it live with Dean if he bolts? Likely yes.

What I’m dancing around is that while the digital Dean doesn’t change the essence of a campaign, it may well change the essence of the movement, of the supporters and how they think. It may make them not only more connected but more independent of party hierarchy, less controllable. Only time will tell the impact.

Air France security cancellations

Air France security cancellations
: Breaking news that six flights into and out of France were canceled because of security concerns. What’s sobering is that this wasn’t something they saw on the flight but was, instead, done because of American intelligence. The chatter is getting louder and louder. I wonder (and hope) whether this is just an effort to harass us (“Hey, Osama, let’s start speaking French and see what happens…”) but I fear it’s real.

Low-cost iPod?

Low-cost iPod?
: Reports of a low-cost ($100) iPod (flash memory vs. hard drive) coming soon.

Hosting question

Hosting question
: I’m thinking of switching to dedicated hosting and need some recommendations and advice.

I’m very happy with Hosting Matters but I’m going way over on bandwidth (I pay $26/month for 20 gigs; this month, I’m already over 50; that means an additional $90; clearly, this does not pay!). But Hosting Matters’ dedicated servers are way too expensive, starting at $280/month.

ServerBeach offers a dedicated server (with 450 gigs) for $129/month with Cpanel.

I want to be able to host my site plus my son’s plus the church and various other things; none adding up to much, but I want the flexibility of adding domains and I don’t want to pay endless bandwidth.

And will I get the same level of service at a dedicated host that I get from Hosting Matters (who always impress me)?

Advice? Please….

The real emergent democracies

The real emergent democracies
: O’Reilly’s adding an Emergent Democracy confab to its schedule in February.

If you really want to talk about emergent democracy, try talking Iranian and Iraqi weblogs!

The Man is still The Man

The Man is still The Man
: John Robb gets carried away with himself:

One other thing to consider, are Dean or Clark the leaders of their respective movements? Increasingly no. The communities that have sprung up around these men are now bigger than they are. They have a life of their own.

Let’s let the hot air out of this technopolitical bubble before it bursts. That’s what I’ve been trying to do in this contrarian post and this one and in arguing with Jay Rosen here. Weblogs and community have made big changes in campaigning this year — in fundraising, in organizing, in the sense of involvement and excitement. But they have not changed the essential structure of a campaign: The candidate is still the candidate; the party line is still the party line; that’s still a top-down and one-way path. Dean and his chief advisers are still very much in control of his campaign and technocrats and fawning commentators and blog commenters shouldn’t fool themselves otherwise. It’s still politics, folks. It will be a movement when the movement ousts the candidates. Until then, it’s still a campaign.

Quotable

Quotable
: Tim Blair cuts-and-pastes up a year’s worth (and a book’s worth) of quotables.