Farewell, Trippi

Farewell, Trippi
: Here’s another theory about what happened to Dean: Maybe the campaign became the star instead of the candidate. (And when people finally did see the candidate, they didn’t like what they saw.)

It’s fascinating reading the comments on Joe Trippi’s farewell post on the Howard Dean blog as he is kicked off the bus and replaced by a Gore Beltway boy.

Most of the comments are grateful tributes to Trippi from the community he brought together online. A few are snarky. A few try, gamely, to rally the troops for under the campaign’s new leadership. But all in all, it feels as if the campaign is sitting shiva for Trippi — or for the campaign itself. If I listen real hard, I think I can hear in the background:

Those were the days, my friend

We thought they’d never end

We’d sing and dance forever and a day

We’d live the life we choose

We’d fight and never lose

For we were young and sure to have our way

La la la la la la

Now when can you remember a campaign manager drawing this kind of cult of personality? The only personality that matters in a campaign, the only star, must be the candidate. But here Trippi became a star.

Or more accurately, the campaign and the campaigners became the star. It’s about them, not about the candidate. A few weeks ago, we would have said that as wondrous praise of the Dean online miracle: It’s about the people, not the politician.

But that turns out to be a big political mistake, for the voters don’t want to elect a bunch of bloggers with backpacks. They want to elect a leader.

  • Jeff, we’re in total agreement here. His Internet Advisors were mostly yes-men (sorry David)? Dean switched to decaf too late in the game. Now the Deaniacs must await return to the mothership orbiting in DeanSpace.
    Kaus is on. Sully is off.
    Crispy critters: Dean and Lieberman.
    DH – Kerry/Edwards have the big MO

  • Jeff, now why couldn’t you have said this during that Blogging for President radiocast?

  • Dan: Because it just occurred to me. That’s what reading a blog is: riding the rapids of the blogger’s stream of consciousness.

  • It will be fun to see what happens when a guy with Trippi’s wired skills is the candidate. When the campaign infrastructure and the candidate and the partisans are all in sync and can’t be divorced from each other (or fired), we’ll have a true cyber candidate. We’re talking bionic… and unbeatable.

  • That comment sounds utopian. I should add that I’m not at all sure I’ll be happy with Ms. Cyber Candidate’s politics, when she finally arrives. Wired does not equal good.

  • Jeff:
    You and I are both Lieberman fans, but I was wondering what you think of a few possibilities.
    1. Is Lieberman, the only Democratic candidate who has vowed to continue and win the War on Terror, a valid VP candidate, or would he sink somebody? It’s obvious he’s not going to be pitching in the show at this point.
    2. I was listening to a Libertarian talk, and he was a Lieberman fan over all the options, but still going to vote Bush given the fact that Lieberman wouldn’t be his opponent. But he stated something was scaring him that I hadn’t thought of: Kerry-Edwards ticket. Edwards would suck up some of the Southern votes (although, I suppose, Al Gore couldn’t do that), Kerry gets New England, the coast liberals may or may not go third party because they may be to hip to care, and the heartland could swing either way, especially with the strong union presence. Assuming the Democrats don’t paint themselves into a corner with the whole “anti war” thing, do you think this could unseat Bush?
    3) Beyond that pairing, do you see any others that could give Bush a run for his (very large chunk of) money?

  • Scott: I don’t think VP is a good platform and besides, Lieberman already tried that. Edwards has said he won’t be VP and he’d be a fool to; if Kerry runs and wins, Edwards is set up for 2008 v. Hillary. The VP pairing really doesn’t matter; it’s the main guy and this is the hand we’re dealt…

  • Jeff,
    Don;t you mean if Kerry wins the nomination and loses the general election, then Edwards is set up for 2008 vs. Hillary. Of course, if Kerry wins, it’s all pushed back until 2012.

  • john

    “Now when can you remember a campaign manager drawing this kind of cult of personality?”
    Well, there was James Carville in 1992. And that seemed to work out pretty well for the Clinton campaign …

  • angell

    Well, Kerry will please everyone–he sits on both sides of the fence and tells you whatever you want to hear–new flavor on request.
    Two letters Kerry wrote in /91–to the same guy, no less.
    “Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition … to the early use of military force by the US against Iraq. I share your concerns. On January 11, I voted in favor of a resolution that would have insisted that economic sanctions be given more time to work and against a resolution giving the president the immediate authority to go to war.”
    –letter from Senator John Kerry to Wallace Carter of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, dated January 22 [1991]
    “Thank you very much for contacting me to express your support for the actions of President Bush in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. From the outset of the invasion, I have strongly and unequivocally supported President Bush’s response to the crisis and the policy goals he has established with our military deployment in the Persian Gulf.”
    –Senator Kerry to Wallace Carter, January 31 [1991]
    Real decisive leader ,wouldn’t you say?