Sunday Thoughts

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There's not much interesting going on; it's all mostly about Dean. And he is boring me right now. I could talk about how he says stupid things, but there will be plenty of time for that later. So this week, I'm going to be nonpartisan, I am going to be nonbiased, I am going to be non-opinonated, and I am just going to ask a question:

Is Howard Dean's use of the Internet something significantly new and different, and is it making a difference in his campaign?

I have a natural aversion to people saying someone is doing something "new and different," because I like to find similiarities in things. For example -- please excuse the comparison -- McGovern used direct mail in 1972, in similar ways to how Dean is using email (and in Iowa, actual personal letters). And certainly, coordinating using the Internet is not new: I went to an Alan Keyes event in 1996 in Philadelphia, organized over the Internet. To be sure, Dean's presence is more sophisticated, but online organization, activism, donations, etc. are not new.

So is Dean really doing something new and different? Or is he just doing it more successfully, more significantly? If Bush had similar Internet-based activities, it would be a proportionally smaller part of his support; and he won't get the "grassroots" donations and support because he is the incumbent President. Plus, there's the confluence of events, of anger toward the DC Democrats and the Republicans, plus the jobs loss and the Iraq war, that ignite those grassroots activists.

OK, so I did more than just ask the question. But I don't see much new or different here, it seems to me it's the same thing we've seen before, just -- in terms of the Internet -- at a greater level; that the Internet hasn't created Dean, but for the first time, the activists on the Internet had someone to, en masse, rally behind.

Followup question: would Dean be as successful without the Internet, if he had to rely on direct mail, newspapers, radio, TV? Perhaps he could get the same amount of support, but it would take longer for people to find out about him, such as when the debates rolled around?

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

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