: In this, the final chapter of Arianna Huffington Day in New York, she talked last night to a small group at the Citizens Table dinner. It’s usually off-the-record but she whispered to me before the dinner began, “Does that include bloggers?” I said that was up to her. She was, of course, fine with more mentions. Amid her always-amusing and charming spiel, this was new to me:
Arianna said she and Joe Trippi have created a petition to John Kerry:
We all want to send George Bush home to Crawford, Texas in November. We know that Bush will try to win by playing on our fears, appealing to our worst instincts, and keeping us divided from each other and the world. You can prove that the answer lies in appealing to the “better angels of our nature” and uniting us.
Let Bush own September 11th and the politics of fear. You should own September 12th – the spirit of generosity, courage, and community that poured forth in the aftermath of the attacks – and the politics of hope.
Offer voters a bold moral vision of what America can be. A vision that is bigger than the things that divide us. A vision that brings hope and soul back to our politics and appeals to more than voters’ narrow self-interests. A vision that makes America once again a respected force for good in the world.
Dont be tempted to adopt the familiar – and failed – Republican-lite swing-voter strategy. Instead, you can reach out and inspire the fifty percent of eligible voters who have given up on voting altogether. If you do, you will win not in a toss-up, but in a landslide.
Senator Kerry, I’m ready to vote my hopes and not my fears. So please: Go Big, Ask More!
I’m not sure what to think of this. On the one hand, you could see this as an expression of citizens’ media and politics: The people speak to the candidate. On the other hand, if two Democratic machers feel the need to start a petition to get their candidate on the right track or chugging faster, doesn’t that imply that they fear he could be the engine that couldn’t? I prefer to see it as the former, because I, too, have been pushing Kerry for a stronger, clearer strategy on Iraq (quoting Micah Sifry’s admonition: “You can’t beat something with nothing”) and it’s a lot easier to be heard not as one person online but as — taking Arianna’s latest tally — 300,000.
Strength in numbers is something I learned at yesterday’s Personal Democracy Forum. Rep. Weiner emhasized that he reads his mail from his district but it’s clear that the more letters he gets on a topic or the bigger media presence that pays attention, the more attention he pays. And the Kerry campaign’s CTO said the campaign gets 10-15,000 emails a day and they use it to tally up the buzz that’s out there. Not sure what to do about that in this blog world; I think there needs to be a way to aggregate opinion and express it as a movement. Strength in numbers.