Meet the new boss, nothing like the old boss

Nobody gets the idea of Obama, and perhaps Obama himself, better than Dave Winer. I love Dave’s latest post, Blowing Up the Beltway. Step back a year, to when the Clinton Restoration was proceeding on schedule, and Obama was still this skinny dude from Chicago who gave a great speech at the ’04 convention.

Washington, we all knew, was an insider’s game. It was the Politorium, a backslappy blabblosphere inhabited by a few elected officials, vast allied bureacracies, lobbyists, consultants, and center-feeders of the sort that Hunter S. Thompson explained best. There were good people in there too, but they were trapped.

(An aside: would HST have offed himself if he know Obama was coming? How would he have covered this election? Man, we miss that guy.)

I know people who know Hillary, and to a person they all love her. But she played a new game the old way, and lost while leading in popular votes and Heartland America. It was a defeat more decisive and bizarre than Al Gore took when the Supremes railroaded him and the whole freaking Constitution, at the turn of the Millenium.

But we’re done with that. I think even the talk radio addicts who hate all Democrats by reflex know the old gig is up. The reason has nothing to do with partisan politics and everything to do with Democracy 2.0. That’s the one where the threshold of participation narrows toward zero. We’re not there yet, but we’re headed that way. Obama is leading the way, but it’s not just about him, or his candidacy, or his policies.

Sez Dave,

  As much as I believe in the idea of Obama, if he doesn’t live up to it, I’ll still believe in the idea, because I always have. I don’t want to be an insider, I don’t want the insiders to rule, I don’t want there to be insiders at all. I want to distribute opportunity and acknowledge intelligence and goodness where ever it appears. I fought against the centralized Inside The Beltway way of doing things in Silicon Valley, and we won. Of course a new aristocracy pops up but their power is as thin as the people whose power got popped in every bubble that came before.

Then, this kicker:

  The Internet destabilizes every hierarchy it contacts. It erases every barrier to entry. The only way to win is to point off-site, in every way you can think of. Win by offering better value, not by locking users in. People will become instant refugees to escape your clutches. Think you’re immune? Think again.

It’s about the Net. And the Net is us. It’s all outside, not inside.

And it’s not just about elections. It’s about governance. How we do it matters more than what we do with it. And we’ve hardly begun to visit that one.

19 comments

  1. Dennis Howlett’s avatar

    I sincerely hope that Obama turns out the way you would like to see. We thought the same of Tony Blair in 1997 and look how that turned out.

  2. Dave Winer’s avatar

    Thanks for the support Doc. I’m glad you like the piece. :-)

  3. Daryl Kulak’s avatar

    Wow, Doc. That was an inspiring post. You’ve encapsulated what I like so much about the movement that Obama has created. To me, it’s about Politics 2.0. And when he’s in office, just wait until you see Government 2.0.

  4. Debate Mapping Obama’s VP choice… : Open to persuasion…’s avatar

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  5. Karoli’s avatar

    It’s a great post, Doc, but why are you repeating that old saw about her losing while having the popular votes? Geez. so not true.

  6. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    Why is it that techies understand that the role of ISPs is to carry bits, but so often don’t understand that the role of the government is to keep the peace. In both cases everything else gets built on top of that base through voluntary peaceful cooperation. When the government or the ISP starts to go up the stack, the people suffer.

  7. gregory’s avatar

    obama going to aipac the next day took a little of the shine off the latest speech, wearing a us-israeli lapel pin no less …

  8. Stephen Lewis’s avatar

    Now is the time for all of us who are Obama supporters to do what is most needed, i.e. become a “loyal opposition” who pressures him policy-wise if and when he moves more to the center and Clinton-like “republican in democrat’s clothing” stances while engaging McCain (or whatever other political fossil the Republicans put forth) and while being president. I don’t expect miraculous changes from Obama but I agree that openness and being from the outside (and “lack of experience”!) are what makes an Obama victory important

  9. Chip’s avatar

    Doc
    Bada-Bing
    Had read
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/09/us/politics/09legacy.html
    and posted
    “The Clintons often seemed out of touch with the political times — cautious when they should have been bold, negative when they should have been inspirational. Exquisitely attuned to the political winds in 1992, they watched Mr. Obama almost effortlessly master the changed environment of 2008.”

    Then saw your piece
    The whole “net” and IT bit, the new modes of connectivity

    They may have been masters of the medium, pre-net, but not of today’s.

    Suspect that you can’t spin the net, there is a lack of central mass
    You can spin a top, something with centralized mass, inertia, but not a fog.

  10. Drew Kime’s avatar

    > Now is the time for all of us who are Obama supporters to do
    > what is most needed, i.e. become a “loyal opposition”

    Wow, do you really mean this or is it a charicature of self-destructive liberalism? How about we get the guy elected first, *then* you can start talking about “loyal opposition”. I think for the next five months or so there will be plenty of opposition coming from people who really mean it. Let’s not pile on our own guy just yet, shall we?

  11. Drew Kime’s avatar

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    June 9, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Drew Kime
    > Now is the time for all of us who are Obama supporters to do
    > what is most needed, i.e. become a “loyal opposition”

    Wow, do you really mean this or is it a caricature of self-destructive liberalism? How about we get the guy elected first, *then* you can start talking about “loyal opposition”. I think for the next five months or so there will be plenty of opposition coming from people who really mean it. Let’s not pile on our own guy just yet, shall we?

  12. pluperfecter (formerly vaspers the grate)’s avatar

    Yes, you pioneer bloggers are correct again. Doc, you and Dave again prove that the blogosphere is not about trivial chatting, but about changing the world. End of celebrity, rise of you and me.

    I agree with Dave and this article he wrote is classic, as is your response.

    What makes me laugh are the trolls who use blogs and Twitter to attack blogs and Twitter. Even our enemies have been forced to play the game: the revolutionary rise of individual voice against the domination systems of elite idiots.

  13. A parade for a leader « A Man With A Ph.D.’s avatar

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  14. lurkerfan’s avatar

    Thanks, Doc.

    Guys like you and Winer must be really, really smart, to see politics EXACTLY as I do. I just wrote a post expressing my belated appreciation of Hunter Thompson’s wisdom. I missed it in real time due to being insulated in the conservative, Bible-belt South and preoccupied with my three small children.

    Wouldn’t it be great to read HST on Obama?

  15. Ryan’s avatar

    Great reference to Hunter S. Thompson :)

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