Listen here. There’s a nice chicken-and-egg argument to be had whether Howard Dean harnessed the bloggers or, contrarily, the blog zeitgeist found and inflated the Dean candidacy. Either way, I think the late Theodore (Making of the President) White would begin his narrative of the 2004 cycle with the “open thread” of the Dean blog, from the moment last Spring when the Dean people relaunched their main page on comment-friendly Movable Type software, called it “Blog for America” and turned a campaign into a public conversation. Mathew Gross, 31, was the stray volunteer from Utah, a writer-blogger who’d also been a rock drummer and a Colorado River guide, who put blogging at the center of the Democrats’ nominating campaign. Since 1960, he remarked in our conversation this afternoon, “presidential politics has been a broadcast medium and a spectator sport.” Blog for America may have changed that forever. The Internet money machine for Dean is important, of course, but so is the blog discourse–hip, disciplined, hopeful. Matt Gross sets the tone: “Widen the circle,” he writes. “We must build the community now. We have to stay focused.” Anticipating Dave Winer’s BloggerCon at Harvard in October, Matt Gross had his own interesting forum the other day on “how blogs can create/are creating a better election.” His is a blog getting hundreds of posts and now 30,000 visits a day. The open thread reads to me not like agit-prop. It’s more nearly a sort of soundtrack, with abundant links, of center-left Democrats trying to make up their mind that the ex-governor of Vermont is tough enough, and good enough, to take the country back. It’s the lefties that are holding out. I was struck by the response from Mike in CT two weeks ago:
A Case Against the Case Against the Case For Howard Dean: Can We All Stop This Madness? …Truth be told, I’m still waiting for a minority radical feminist who puts renewable energy above everything else and guts the military budget to invest in renewable state-of-the-art public schools (including free college education). But you know what? I’ll be waiting a little while longer. While I could write articles saying Dennis Kucinich isn’t my dream candidate – “After all, one need not point out that our candidate of hope is not EVEN a minority radical feminist.” – while I could do this, I don’t. And why? Because today there is a bigger fight to be fought.
Clever writing. Serious politics. Here’s Matt Gross. As the old pols say, get to know him before you need him.