Presidential politics and blogging

Presidential politics and blogging
: I’ve been making a lot of notes for provocative (read: obnoxious) questions to ask the participants — that is, everyone in the room — at the Bloggercon day 2 session on presidential politics and blogging. I’d like the discussion to start here, now (so I can lazily get more provocative questions). To start the bidding:

: Is it more important for a presidential candidate to create a blog — or to read the blogs of the voters? Or to put it a big more abstractly: In this medium, is it better for the powerful to speak or to listen? (And we can — and will — ask the exact same question about big media and weblogs.)

: I say the best thing a Presidential blogger can do is to link to posts in voters’ weblogs. That proves they listen. But will the spinmeisters fear linking to someone with whom they may agree on one issue and disagree on another? Will the lack of control freak the control freaks?

: What happens when your online supporters are bozos — for example, bozos who spam blog comments? Can your own fans give you a bad name?

: I want to see webloggers fact-check candidates’ asses, too (and not just media’s asses). We need the Presidential Snopes.

: Can and should webloggers organize around an issue? Can’t a pack (or PAC) of webloggers gather together enough critical mass to, say, make spam an issue in Congress? Can’t they make a difference that way? Can’t they prove their combined influence that way? Or are webloggers constitutionally incapable of organizing themselves? (And, by the way, is that why so many of them are Libertarian?)

Dave Winer created a comment link for all the BloggerCon sessions here. Please leave questions, comments, views, curiosities, and random controversy for the discussion there or here.

: Doc’s post on Wesley Clark and blogging from Friday is more rich and warm fodder for discussion:

…I suggested that the General instruct his staff to find all the blogs that support him on the Web, to contact them personally, and to turn grass roots support into working relationships. By relating to his bloggers, he could start to “out-Dean” the Howard Dean campaign, which is by far the most clueful of the bunch, Web-wise; but hardly perfect. There is still plenty of wiggle-room for others who might be even better grass farmers than Dean.

Well, now comes news that Clark is, incredibly, scorching the earth where his grass roots were just beginning to spout. Follow both those links and you’ll read a story that’s both extremely complicated and clearly just beginning to play out….

Now is the time for him to call those pissed-off supporters, publicly admit the mistake of killing off their sites, and get on with the business of out-Deaning Dean.

Which, of course, I’d give a snowball’s chance.

[Later…] Backblogs here, here and here.

: More questions…

: Do candidate blogs have to be boring?

: Do candidate blogs have to be pompous or self-righteous? (Check out this headline: “Why can’t we all just listen to Bob Graham?”

: Is it necessarily true that unofficial candidate weblogs are better than the official versions?