Best moment of the State of the Union -- Bush says the Patriot Act is about to expire. Applause. Indeed. It's good that Bush is making a campaign issue of the Patriot Act. If that's what we debate, it will be a useful election. If we debate whether gays and lesbians have the right to legally ratify their relationships, and get the same benefits that accrue to heterosexual couples, that would be a wasted election. It's obvious that they deserve the right and a constitutional amendment preventing it would never pass. The country, even the most conservative states, understand that part of the population is homosexual, and they are valued law-abiding members of society, who pay taxes, vote, teach, etc.
An admonition to Web writers -- read more carefully before you write. I've seen several inaccurate accounts of stories I've written on Scripting News. I don't think Grand Hotel was a tale of money buying happiness. In fact it's many tales with many lessons, but that particular thread said the opposite -- the character played by Lionel Barrymore didn't find happiness until he got beyond money. I've also seen people say I was booted from Dean HQ last night. I was not. They were very gracious and friendly. I had to get back to Boston for a conference tomorrow, and my usual Thursday meeting at Berkman. We're already talking about next steps with DFA. I think the snipes are coming from people with an axe to grind. I'm still not working for a candidate, or as Steve Gillmor says my candidate is RSS. But I like very much working with the DFA people, and we're still in each others' loop. And please remember, winning Iowa isn't the same as winning the nomination. Clinton lost Iowa in 1992, for example. New Hampshire doesn't always choose the eventual winner, either.
PubSub.com "reads over 100,000 weblogs in real time, and generates new feeds containing information specific to particular issues."
BBC: "Bush is due to make his State of the Union address shortly, in which he is expected to set out his case for re-election in November."
Greenspun: "A thoughtful voter could easily write off Howard Dean as a non-entity after spending 30 minutes at his Web site."
Josh Marshall: "We’re at the Holiday Inn in downtown Manchester."
Arrived in Boston 3:10PM. Clear and cold all the way. Blowing snow. Stopped in Montpelier to look around. Sweet lookin town.
If you see this guy in your rear-view mirror, get out of his way.
The programmers room at Dean For America.
I'm heading back to Boston, taking some Chris Lydon interviews with me on the Rhomba: Paul Krugman, Jay Rosen (I met his nephew Zach Rosen on this trip) and Joe Trippi. There's a stretch on I-89 where there's not much on the radio. It'll be good to get a refresher from these teachers. Had great talks with Jim Moore and John Palfrey this morning on next steps. We're not finished fighting for democracy through technology.
There's a gem in this Register article about Google's plans. "Getting rid of the page rank spammers should be their priority, not expanding into a commodity marketplace where they will have no real niche."
NY Times: "Endorsements from Mr Harkin, Iowa's most popular Democrat; former Vice President Al Gore; two of the nation's largest unions; and 35 members of Congress seemed to complicate Dr. Dean's message more than help spread it."
Ed Cone: "A visitor to this blog joked last night that maybe Channel Dean had been cancelled. But the fact is that other campaigns would be wise to put a similar news aggregation service into use as soon as possible."
The hardest part isn't the technology, not by a mile. It was a tough night at Dean HQ. We hit an impasse when Howard Dean, on CNN, said "We came in third." He said it very clearly and unambiguously, so I opened the editorial page and typed in the quote and clicked Submit. I thought the candidate had said something very weblike. At this moment no one had said it. Not Larry King, not Wolfe Blitzer, they had qualified the statement, where Dean acknowledged it.
My post caused quite a stir in the Web bullpen and the post came down. At that point we all stopped posting. So Ed's commenter got it right. The show was cancelled last night. But in the morning light, the chance to open up the political process to the rare honesty of the Dean candidate, something the Dean workers had trouble accepting, was too good to pass up.
When I post on the Dean Channel I know I accept some compromises on my editorial freedom. That's why having Scripting News is so important. It's a bootstrap and there are always glitches in bootstraps. So last night Channel Dean went off the air briefly. This morning it's back.
An editorial comment, as if I weren't writing this from Burlington. The Internet still wants a candidate. The Internet isn't just a way to raise money, we've already seen that it can put people where the voters are. But it's not enough to have enthusiastic supporters, they must know what they're supporting, and then must have choice. We're not all anti-war. We're not all pro-life. We're young and old, students and teachers, anywhere in the world, seven by 24.
There is an Internet constituency. But we're probably not the most effective way to get Iowa voters to turn out for you. Getting Gore's support signalled that Dean would compromise any values he might have to win. Gore supported the CDA and his wife Tipper who appeared on behalf of Dean was on the wrong side of free speech in the music industry in the 80s. I used to think people don't remember, and maybe they don't, but their spotty history must be reflected in their body language. I voted for Gore last time, but only because the other choice was worse. Seeking and accepting Gore's support was a huge negative for me.
I want choice this time, and I want candidates that respect my mind. Dean still has the opportunity, but there's no time to waste.
Last night's result, two victories from the rear of the field, is why when anyone says someone has it wrapped up, I mutter "famous last words." Time is so compressed in the political process. Add to that the role that technology and hype played in this, and you get a cross between politics and Silicon Valley, Netscape up, fate conspires, Netscape down, then..? Then what?
I saw the events last night as an outsider who is inside. That puts me in a very rare place. I saw things that I would like to write about, but don't think it would be fair to write about. Maybe it's enough to say, for now, that the people in the Dean campaign are people. They've been on a roller coaster ride that swiftly and unexpectedly has come back to earth after soaring to unthinkable heights.
More than he probably should have, Dean was talking to the people in the campaign in his roll-up-the-sleeves state-recital pep speech last night. A few minutes before in a staff meeting (I couldn't attend), there was such yelling and cheering, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. If this is Netscape, they aren't blinking and Microsoft hasn't attacked yet (that comes tonight). There is bewilderment, and while they are very young, they are tired, having run a long race and still challenged to work even harder.
We all did some fantastic work last night. Together a picture of a diverse event shaped up on the Web, in a thoughtful and interesting way. Excellent work. And we'll get to do it again next week. We should be able to sharpen our skills and develop some new technology in the meantime. If you have ideas how we could do better, push them on the stack on last night's comment thread.
Where do I go today? I don't know. I may stay here, but I'll probably hop over to New Hampshire to see some of the campaign events there, and then head back to Boston this evening, and do the RSS Winterfest kickoff at 8:30AM tomorrow at Berkman Center. I know they said I would do it from Dean HQ, but it doesn't look likely.
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