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.