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Saturday, May 05, 2021

The glam campaign gig for 2008 is the Online Political Operative, who’s supposed to make his/her Presidential hopeful look with-it in the world of blogs, YouTube and social media.

Of course, these Web warriors feel that, by being lumped together with a campaign’s communication department, they’re not getting enough love:

“They’re treating me like a mascot,” said one online director, who has complained to the close-knit group of online strategists that he is not getting the necessary staffing and money to do his job. “Like it’s enough that they hired an Internet guy and that’s it.”

Funny thing is, these strategists — Joe Rospars, Matthew Gross and others — point with pride to the trailblazing online political exercise that was Joe Trippi and Howard Dean in 2004. Somehow, Dean’s Web-heavy campaigning four years ago is supposed to stand as an example of why more influence should go to today’s OPOs.

In response, I’ll have to drag out my February 2004 post, which compared the Howard Dean campaign to a typical dot-com bust company:

- Overhype thanks to an extensive Web-based organization (which, remember, once again proves that blogging, as with many online phenomena, has a highly-exaggerated real-world impact);

- A penchant for burning through large sums of cash in a short time, with disappointing results, doing many a bygone Silicon Alley LLC proud;

- A dogged insistence on continuing a positive spin, despite obvious signs that all hope is lost; one expects the Dean campaign will end with no more flare than the headquarters simply disconnecting the phone and mysteriously not leaving a forwarding number.

I know the argument from Deanites will be that the votes in Iowa and New Hampshire simply weren’t “with it” enough, especially with regards to the Internet, to really understand the candidate. Natually, that’s the point. Dean spent way too much time targeting the flashy demographic, which was duly impressed with his adeptness at cutting-edge media and communications; but it turned out to be the least influential voting segment he could have courted. In the end, he failed to familiarize himself with the voters that counted-and this after apparently spending loads of money trying to do just that.

So yes, The Great Howard Dean Internet Freakout certainly influences the 2008 race. But not as a template for success but rather, as a cautionary tale. That’s why the OPOs are merely riding the bus, instead of being in the driver’s seat — so that it doesn’t go off a cliff.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 05/05/2021 04:40:49 PM
Category: Internet, Politics
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