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Saturday, December 20, 2003

Revenge of the nerds.

Frank Rich on the Web's sudden relevance to American presidential politics:

The condescending reaction to the Dean insurgency by television's political correspondents can be reminiscent of that hilarious party scene in the movie "Singin' in the Rain," where Hollywood's silent-era elite greets the advent of talkies with dismissive bafflement. "The Internet has yet to mature as a political tool," intoned Carl Cameron of Fox News last summer as he reported that the runner-up group to Dean supporters on the site was witches. "If you want to be a Deaniac," ABC News's Claire Shipman said this fall, "you've got to know the lingo," as she dutifully gave her viewers an uninformed definition of "blogging."

But there's also this:

For all sorts of real-world reasons, stretching from Baghdad to Wall Street, Mr. Bush could squish Dr. Dean like a bug next November. But just as anything can happen in politics, anything can happen on the Internet. The music industry thought tough talk, hard-knuckle litigation and lobbying Congress could stop the forces unleashed by Shawn Fanning, the teenager behind Napster.

Wouldn't it be nice to find a candidate whose campaign had caught the same technological wave, but who could really go toe-to-toe with the President? Frank Rich, when you find out about Wesley Clark, you can say I recruited you.

("Napster runs for president in '04," Frank Rich, New York Times 12.21.03, reg req'd)

Also ran.

You can say that he's a dreamer:

"I am running for president of the United States to enable the goddess of peace to encircle within her arms all the children of this country and all the children of the world."

Friends, a simple rule: If a candidate sounds like an earthy-crunchy UUA General Assembly worship service, run away. Believing, as Dennis Kucinich says about himself, that he is "mainstream" doesn't make it so. Poor guy.

("The optimist," Marshall Sella, New York Times Magazine 12.21.03, reg req'd)

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 20 December 2003 at 10:29 PM

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Michael Miller:

December 21, 2003 01:48 PM | Permalink for this comment

Unless something dramatic changes, I'm voting for Kucinich. When he's no longer on the ballot, I'll be forced to make another choice.

No disrespect to any of the other candidates, except Leiberman who I'm really not liking these days. Or Kerry, who's slamming of Dean for being right on the Iraq war was stupid...

In any case, I think Kucinich deserves more respect than he gets. The occasional dreamy statement notwithstanding, his policies are well thought out and (yes, in my opinion) are best aligned with America's long term self interests.


December 21, 2003 02:30 PM | Permalink for this comment

Since it's very likely that you'll have to make another choice in the general election, what option strikes you as the best way to nudge the country in a progressive direction? Are you tempted by Nader? And what do you see as the best way to build a popular progressive movement?

Michael Miller:

December 23, 2003 12:45 AM | Permalink for this comment

Very likely indeed, though I would pretend otherwise. My settle-for goal is to get Kucinich enough votes to make headlines.

Two or three would do.

Then the primaries are history and we move to November with a Democratic candidate, a possible Green candidate, and a naked emperor. I like Nader, but the issue in November 2004 is regime change.

I'll punch the Democratic Presidential ticket without hesitation.

Unless they really make me mad.

As for nudging the country in a progressive direction and building a popular progressive movement, these questions go straight to the heart of it all.

I've written and discarded thousands of words today on this, but the reality is that we're already doing exactly that. The new blogosphere, independent media, groups like MoveOn, the ACLU, and so on are all part of the new Progressive movement. Money counts too. That's it. I can't answer any better than that right now.

Sorry...I'll keep working on it though.

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