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Daily Digest: Hillary Conveys That "Conversation" Feeling

BY Joshua Levy | Tuesday, April 15 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Get-out-the-vote initiative Voto Latino and English-language Latino cable network Sí TV have teamed up to produce Crash the Parties, a contest that gives folks a chance to report on the DNC or RNC for Sí TV. Contestants can upload videos of themselves and will be chosen based on a combination of community votes and the participation of three judges — Rosario Dawson (who co-founded Voto Latino), YouTube politics and news editor Steve Grove, and craigslist’s Craig Newmark. It’s a very cool way to merge TV, online politics, and citizen activism.

  • Say it ain’t so! Wonkette is being sold, along with two other Gawker media properties. A lot of people stopped paying attention to the ‘Kette after Ana Marie Cox left for a proper salary and a second life as a journalistic Twitterer. But what do we know? We’re in New York. Washingtonian William Beutler has a proper reaction from inside the Beltway.

  • Author and web genius David Weinberger resurrects a piece from fellow author and genius Steven Johnson from 2004 about the end of the Dean campaign. Johnson had just published his fine book Emergence, about, among other things, the organizational behaviors of ants. True to his style, Johnson makes the leap from ants to video games to politics, ending with this question: “Is there an emergent politics capable of a more subtle form of self-regulation? If there is, I think it will first take shape, not as a political campaign, but as a more local, day-to-day affair: more polis than politics.”

  • A bit more about Bittergate: The New York Times’ Katherine Seelye gets to know Mayhill Fowler, the citizen journalist who first posted Obama’s “bitter” comments on Off The Bus. Fowler, an Obama supporter, was reluctant to post the comments at first, but “she decided that if she didn’t write about it, she wouldn’t be worth her salt as a journalist,” Seelye writes. It’s a great narrative running under the more sensational Bittergate story that’s still paying the cable networks’ bills for days now.

  • MediaCurves.com played a video of Barack Obama’s attempt to explain his comments about working class voters being “bitter” to a group of voters and had them record their responses in real time. The results are illuminating — the negatives and positives might not be what you expect.

  • The Beatles are to the 2006 election as… Foghat is to 2008? Read Alex Kellner’s summary of an analogy made by Nate Wilcox if you’re confused. In short: the Beatles innovated and Foghat took it to the masses. Carry that comparison over to the last two cycles and you get a fun, if not completely workable, metaphor to share with the kids.

The Candidates on the Web

  • A couple of weeks ago Hillary Clinton launched a new series of proposed dialogues called North Carolina Asks Hillary, and we were skeptical her claim to want a real conversation between her and her supporters. Now her first response is up, and, rather predictably, it fails to convey that “conversation” feel. As Hillary reads a question from Tammi from Cherryville about rising gas prices, we view a still image of Tammi. She seems like a nice person. But why no video, and why didn’t Tammi visit Clinton in her NC offices? Clinton then reads a scripted response full of phrases like “lets put hybrid vehicles on the fast track.” Then she’s done! Conversation over.

  • TechPresident contributor Morra Aarons posts a great interview with Elizabeth Edwards recently on BlogHer (where she’s political director), gettin Edwards to open up about how the media anoints political leaders, the role of moms in civic life, the effect of money on politics, and more. As always, Edwards is smart and thoughtful, pushing Aarons to remark that “I wish she were running for president.”

  • Last week we noted that something big is coming for Mike Huckabee, and his website has bee counting down the minutes until it’s revealed. It was due to happen at noon ET today, but as we counted down the seconds — palms sweating, skin itching — the counter suddenly tacked on two more days! In any case, our money is on a site devoted to the Fair Tax. Huck launched HuckPac, which "will enable us to help Senator McCain become our next President, and to assist conservative, pro-life and pro-family candidates to Senate and House seats".

In Case You Missed It…

TechPresident publisher Andrew Rasiej was on Talk of the Nation yesterday, talking about how government is plenty up to date when it comes to doing online tax returns, but when it comes to deciding how to spend those tax dollars, it shows little interest in online technologies.

It’s always fun when dueling campaign emails arrive in Colin Delany’s inbox only minutes apart, particularly when they’re so gently massaging the same issues-of-the-moment. Recent examples: Obama vs. McCain. The weapons: “bitter” vs. “out of touch.” The immediate stakes: the contents of thousands of wallets. The long-term stakes: the public perception of each man, and ultimately his electoral fate.

Maybe now it’s time for a conversation? That’s why, as Micah Sifry writes, Hillary Clinton’s new lead campaign strategist seems to be trying with a new email that’s just out.

Confronted by the prospect of internet-driven public participation in crafting legislation, the past head of the American League of Lobbyists says, “What’s next? Are we going to let the American people decide our defense policy, our trade policy, our immigration policy?” Micah Sifry doesn’t see what the problem with that would be…

Yesterday it was revealed that the McCain Girls — three women with window-cracking voices that did their best to ruin yesterday’s classics in support of today’s Republican nominee — are the inventions of parody site 23/6. Who knew?