Posts from October 25, 2004

Here’s how Bush could have had a landslide

Here’s how Bush could have had a landslide

: Or to put it another way: Here’s how Bush could have had my vote — and if he’d managed to get the vote of a lifelong Democrat, a Bill Clinton Democrat at that, then he could have gotten millions more unexpected votes and he would have run away with this election. But he’s not. Why? Well, he coulda, shoulda….

1. He should have called Iraq a one-year war (at least), not a one-week war.

He should have known that this would not be as simple as overpowering Saddam’s limp military. He should have known that only when we had installed democracy in Iraq could we declare victory. He should have put in sufficient resources to do that while better securing the lives of Iraqis and our soldiers. He should have managed our expectations and should not have declared victory.

Of course, others would say that he should not have invaded Iraq. But in this speculation, I’m not trying to make him into Howard Dean. I supported getting rid of Saddam and bringing democracy to Iraq and the Middle East (in what was once known as the Tom Friedman doctrine). But like many others who supported this move, I’m disappointed, dismayed, distraught, distressed — pick your dis — at the administration’s inability to win the peace.

James Wolcott also imagines what the stage would look like now if we had squashed the so-called insurgency. Wolcott does so to make a different point than I’m making here but it’s a wrenching what-if:

Suppose there had been no Iraqi insurgency, no al-Sadr popping out from behind the curtain or Saddam loyalists prepped for guerrilla war, no car bombings or beheadings or roadside explosives.

Or an insurgency so feeble and scattered it was swiftly squashed and swept up.

Just imagine how different things would have been over the last year, how different they would be now.

Bush would have been completely vindicated for invading Iraq, despite the non-discovery of WMDs….

France, Germany, the other nations that opposed the war–they would have been rhetorically shunted forever into the dustbin of Old Europe….

Over a 1000 Americans would still be alive, as would countless thousands of Iraqis. Thousands more would have escaped grievous wounds….

The US economy wouldn’t be bleeding billions of dollars now and into the indefinite future. The economy would have lifted itself aerodynamically out of recession by now and restored much of the job loss of the previous years.

Oil would be in the $30-35 range as Iraqi oil flowed through the pipelines and infrastructure was repaired.

The United States would have been able to be poised to launch strikes against Syria or Iran from secure bases of action in Iraq, as the stage was set for act two of the war against the Axis of Evil.

President Bush would probably boast an approval rating in the 60s or 70s, and coasting to a landslide reelection against a Democratic candidate served up for sacrifice until Hillary could run in ’08….

2. He should have served the center.

Hey, if Bush can become an interventionist and nation-builder, it’s not so damned far-fetched that he could have become a centrist, or at least played one on TV.

After his unvictory in the last election, he should have gone to the center in an effort to really win the next time. And after 9/11, he should have owned the center to make himself the president of all America in this time of need. He even could have used that to protect himself on the right: Gee, he could have grinned, I’m too busy saving America and civilization and democracy to waste time trying to stop gay marriage or stem-cell research or even abortion. He could have appointed someone respected instead of John Ashcroft. And a little less talk about talking with God would have helped, too.

That’s it. It’s that simple: If Bush had done those two things, there would have been millions of voters (like me) who never would have thought of voting for him before 9/11 but would have considered it afterwards. He would have had a landslide and a real mandate. But that’s not going to happen.

Lust

treo650-box.jpgLust
The Treo 650 will be announced today. I want it now.

Guest stars

Guest stars

: Glenn Reynolds has Ann Althouse and Michael Totten blogging with him today while he travels. Megan McArdle will be joining in.

Q & Q

Q & Q

: Jay Rosen and I were each interviewed by Tom Brook for a piece on the BBC this week about declining trust in media (damn: I forgot to mention Andrew Gilligan). I gave soundbite. Jay came out of it with an outline for a friggin’ curriculum with lots of questions about the new media universe that don’t have answers yet. He asks us all to hit the comment button and help see what ties all his questions together.

I say it’s about control: If you give us, the people, control of our media — and government and markets — we will use it (see Jarvis’ First Law of Media). If we do not think we have control, then we’ll turn into passive spuds. But once we do have control — whether from the remote control or the TiVo or our blogging tools — everything changes: We demand to be part of the conversation. We compete with the once-powerful. We question their power. We establish new relationships of trust.

Exploding TV

Exploding TV

: By the latest count, the Jon Stewart CNN segment has had more than 1.4 million views on iFilm — not to mention all the BitTorrent distribution. Welcome to the future of media: A distributed network is more powerful than a centralized network. And the people you once called viewers are your best marketers (if you have anything worth marketing).

: Just noticed that iFilm calls this all viral video. Good title.

: Is there any way to get a count of how much something (namely: the Stewart segment) is seen in BitTorrent? I assume that’s complicated by (a) the distributed nature of the thing and (b) the fact that there could be multiple Stewart copies. But in the future, if I wanted to distribute something via BitTorrent, what is the current ability to track views? Anybody?

: Here‘s where you can get the latest counts on iFilm’s clip: It’s over 1.5 million now.

New wine, old skins

New wine, old skins

: I get amused when old media folks try to view citizens media under their old-media rules — as when they try to analyze traffic based on the old rules that only the big survive. Frank Barnako at Marketwatch did that last week.

And today, he makes fun of PR blogger Steve Rubel and VC blogger Fred Wilson for endorsing presidential candidates. Says Frank: “The idea of a blogger making an endorsement, as if he carried any weight, was presumptuous.”

Wrong analysis, Frank. Bloggers aren’t trying to act like big media (and, by the way, the idea of a newspaper editorial writer carrying weight is also presumptuous, don’t you think?). This is instead about transparency so your readers can judge what you say in context. Here, I called on bloggers to say where their votes are going just for that reason. In fact, it would be helpful if some reporters would do likewise. Frank: You made fun of two bloggers who are endorsing Kerry but you didn’t make fun of anybody endorsing Bush. Until we know where you stand, then we are put in a position of reading into what you say and some will think that you’re a Bush man. See what I mean? It’s about transparency.

Also don’t forget that blogging is a personal medium. It’s not just about publishing content, the old-media way. It’s about conversation. Steve and Fred are telling their friends what they think, the way you might over beers in the bar. This is not about trying to imitate the institution of journalism; this is about being human. And the institution of journalism would do well to imitate this.

: Steve Outing also posts on Rubel’s endorsement and wonders whether making a political endorsement (or statement) on a business blog could affect the blogger’s business.

: And while I’m chiding Frank, here’s one more. In the same column, he pooh-poohs iPodder for being difficult to use and not having shrink-wrapped documentation. It’s too new. It’s an experiment with a new platform; it’s not done yet; of course, it’s not ready for prime time. That’s like seeing the first browser and complaining, “Ew, what an ugly gray; I’m never coming back here again.”