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Daily Digest: Bursting Bayh's Balloon

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, August 18 2008

(I'm back from vacation and am happy to report that northern Maine is one wild and wonderful part of the country. Thanks so much to Josh Sherman for doing a stellar job with the digest. -- Nancy)

The Web on the Candidates

  • Summer's Over; Get Back in School: Democracy for America, the organizing PAC that grew out of Howard Dean's '04 presidential run, will play host to online politics guru Zack Exley this Wednesday as part of its on-going Night School Series. The series is free with DFA membership, which in turns costs nadda. Zack, who spent some time on the Kerry presidential team and now runs a compelling blog on the American evangelical movement called Revolution in Jesusland, is consistently one of the cleverest and most innovative folks working in online politics. This might be worth Tivoing the Olympics track and field finals for. The session can be joined via conference call or online through Blog Talk Radio, and DVDs will be available for purchase after the event. With this and its other organizing programs, DFA continues as one of the best political programs out there -- some four years after the rather sudden end to the campaign that inspired it. #

  • What Women Want: As something of an antidote to the fact that, as a Pew Research Center report found, under a third of of news coverage in the U.S. included even one female source, the Center for New Words has launched a new site called This is What Women Want. (CNW is perhaps best known for its highly regarded Women, Action & Media conference held each spring.) The site is centered around "speakouts," moderated expressions of values or opinions that are in turn rated by users. An offline component of the project will be the What Women Want Tour -- in-person speakouts that will take place in every city where a presidential debate will be held, on the eve of the debate. #

The Candidates on the Web

  • Bye Bye Bayh?: The online movement to quash any potential nomination of Indiana Senator Evan Bayh as Obama's vice presidential pick has, reports Ari Melber, picked up some serious steam. Making use of both Twitter and Facebook (where the anti-Bayh group currently boasts 3,700 members), the opposition to Bayh has garnered its fair share of news coverage. The veep picking process often involves the floating of trial balloons, and while there's no real telling of how influential the anti-Bayh energy has been inside Obama's inner circle, there's no arguing that Bayh's balloon has certainly taken a few shots. The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman also reports that the online animus directed towards Bayh might have taken the sheen off of his potential nomination. On a related note, Open Left's Paul Rosenberg has some choice words for folks who think marshalling opposition to the Hoosier is, in a word, "lame." #

  • McCain's Digital Divide: Technologists' reactions to John McCain's business-minded tech policy continue to pour in, and if this was Rotten Tomatoes instead of techPresident, we'd have to rate Mac's plan as decidedly rotten. One Web Day's Susan Crawford: "This isn’t vision. It’s more like a wistful memoir about times gone by." David Isenberg: "[T]he McCain plan says, 'What's good for AT&T and Comcast and Cisco and the RIAA is good for America.'" Media Access Project's Harold Feld: "It reads like some crotchety technophobe knocked over the bumper sticker wrack [sic] at an Ayn Rand Reading Revival and tried to rearrange them so it made a policy." The Berkman Center's David Weinberger: "In sum, our Internet policy should be [according to McCain] the same as our energy policy: Hand a key resource off to big corporations whose interests are fundamentally out of alignment with ours as citizens." All four, it should be noted, are Obama supporters. And of course, some techie types like the e-view from McCainland just fine. Responding to criticism of the plan from the Wharton School's Kevin Werbach, McCain tech surrogate and former FCC chairman Michael Powell attempts a re-framing: "McCain understands that the President does not invent anything, patent anything, craft and fund a business model, or hire the skilled workforce necessary to bring inventive ideas to market." #

TechCongress and Beyond

  • The Point and Purpose of Political Party Platforms: We've showered some amount of praise on how members of the left's netroots are using a nifty tool called MixedInk to craft a "netroots platform" in advance of the Democratic convention in Denver next week, but Open Left's Chris Bowers hates the very notion that political consensus should be distilled and packaged into a platform. MyDD's Natasha Chart defends the project as a tool for alliance building and fellow DDer Jerome Armstrong argues that the netroots platform is a necessary bridge between winning elections and developing an governing ideology. #

  • The FEC Will Let You Be: The Federal Election Commission has ruled that whether or not a pro-Barack Obama blog coordinated its activities with the Chicago-based campaign is irrelevant -- blogs and other online media are free to booster for a candidate without triggering campaign finance restrictions. The ruling offers a little clarity to what has long (well, at least in Internet years) been a fuzzy area of election law. #

In Case You Missed It...

PoliticsTV's Dan Manatt celebrates the two year anniversary of the dawn of YouTube politics. Somehow we don't think that former Senator George Allen is celebrating the day with balloons and a cake.