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Saturday, June 10, 2006

2008 and the Netroots and Mark Warner

One idea:

Hey Hey Ho Ho

If I were a potential presidential candidate looking for a way to jump start my campaign, get a bit of news, and get a bit of blogger support what I would do is be the first big name to endorse Ned Lamont.

If I wasn't quite courageous enough to do it now I'd make sure that if Joe leaves the party I'd be the first person to run to the microphone to do it then.
Or go the Mark Warner route and blow $70K on a party to try and buy votes by buying drinks. Now I like people buying me drinks, probably more than the next guy, but I'm not going to base a decision as important as Presidential nominee based on a few captain and cokes.

The netroots reward good behavior and I'm confident that former Governor Mark Warner would have received far more bang for his buck by investing that money in a mailer to Democrats endorsing Ned Lamont. But that would never happen because Joe Lieberman founded the DLC, Mark Warner is a DLC'er, and they stick together when it comes to the battle against the netroots.

Micah Sifray noticed:

"The blogosphere is the new town square," Warner likes to say, but I can't see what--if anything-- he is doing that suggests that is anything more than a nice-sounding but hollow phrase. What does it mean that the blogosphere is the new town square, Governor Warner? Are you talking about wikis for citizens to re-invent government, or connecting citizens to each other in new ways? If we're holding a virtual town meeting, are you prepared to be bound by an online vote?

I know, I know--it's too early to jump to conclusions. But I've now had two opportunities (first at PDF and now here at YearlyKos) to ask Markos Moulitsas why he thinks Warner is THE candidate who gets the Internet, and both times his answer is, essentially, "He hired Jerome." Now I think Jerome Armstrong is a smart guy and deserves a lot of credit for starting and nurturing a group of savvy bloggers there. And I respect him for his having spotted Howard Dean's national potential earlier than almost anyone else. But I'm beginning to wonder if this isn't a new version of the Bob Shrum primary, where we're supposed to be impressed by the campaign with the best consultant.

Last night, in the casino of the Riviera, surrounded by banks of electronic armed bandits, I bumped into Markos and asked him to give me one example of what Warner was doing that made him so net-savvy. "Look who he's hired," he answered. I pressed him for details. "You'll see." And then he made fun of other campaigns who think that having a blog will make them cool. Well, so far, all I see about Warner's nascent campaign is that not only does he have a blog, he has a cute video popup.

Introducing Warner at the Stratosphere party last night, Markos insisted that he hadn't made up his mind about a 2008 candidate. But then he grinned, gestured at the fancy surroundings, and said, "This is a great first date!"

No, it is another DLC millionaire doing what they do best. The candidate the netroots support in 2008 won't be the one lavishing money on the grassroots, but the candidate who inspires the netroots to invest money in the campaign. There is no reason to invest in a DLC candidate, corporations will provide any money they can't spend themselves.

UPDATE: Arriana is reporting that Warner blew $100K this weekend. Also, over at Daily Kos, Warner is getting blasted for pushing neocon foreign policy against Venezuela and Iran. And there is more on Warner and Markos. Arriana reports:
As Warner told me, "when I arrived at the party and saw the large ice sculpture in the room, I thought 'oh my God -- I must see the receipts.' But no one would think twice if this were a party for donors or elected local officials. Well, it's time we took the netroots seriously. This is a community that needs to be taken seriously, and represents the democratization of the public square of America."
What Warner doesn't get is the netroots want to be taken seriously, not bought. Warner thinks running into the public square and handing out cash will make him popular. It worked on one of his political campaigns but not the other and the netroots is the last place it will work. The netroots are the people who care the most about the future of our Party and country and have integrity that some politicians just don't understand.

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