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May 09, 2006


Superb. And I agree that Murdoch has cast his bet already, because the appearance of his throwing support to Hillary will have effect. If Murdoch deserts the Republican right, I think we will see true panic on K street.

I'm glad somebody made the connection to the Murdoch/Blair alliance; it's the first thing that occurred to me when I read this Hillary story.

I'm of very mixed emotions about it (leaning negative). Yes, the deal in Britain made Blair utterly unstoppable in '97 -- but at what cost? Might it have been that the Tories had lost so much credibility that Blair was unbeatable anyway, and the only real effect of the pact was to limit the things Blair attempted to achieve when in control? (Of course, they may have been all he ever wanted to try for to begin with) Hillary making such a bargain seems of a piece with many of her actions in recent months -- her only goal seems to be setting herself up as a candiadte who won't change things in nay radical way. But many of us are in the position of craving radical change (at least relative to what's being done by this administration), and the complete flameout by the Bushes makes such change possible in much the same way the calamties of 1979/80 gave Reagan the opportunity to alter the direction of the country.

Would nominating Hillary -- after moves like this -- be the equivalent of the GOP settling for the 1980, pre-Reaganized GHW Bush, passing up a once-a-generation chance for more fundamental change?

Labour was going to win, and Murdoch was only being astute.
I'm not sure about Hilary's plans; in NY there is an upstate downstate disparity, and though the NY News is downstate its polity is more like the ambience which pleases staid upstate NY, and provides the votes.
While dKos has an incredible sprinkling of moments of brilliance very often, it is often comparably as superficial and ideological as the regressive strategizers whom it critiques.
Although it is proverbial that youth is the natural context for being a rebel, a close reading of modern history reveals there was a threshold there, perhaps around the moment Abe Ribicoff had a verbal standoff with Richard Daly, which defined a time in a political way mirroring changes which were more profound than simply having a rebel outlook. Clearly, though, insight is the key; it was in the late 1960s, and at the moment cited in the link, above; and is now as the best online communities develop our discussions quickly.
Dean was a magnet for the online aficionado in a campaign that began among some fairly slow, traditional politicians in his party.
And the general, while venerable, and incontrovertibly more even in pace, represented a kind of retrenchment that echoed Kerry's choice of Edwards, another step to the right side of the Democratic Party pantheon of leadership.
The laxity of regulation by FCC during Bush-II administration, as well as telecoms act dereg of 1996 during Clinton presidency, are nuanced and relate to global phenomena whereby government owned telcos were donning disguises and spinoff identies to capture the fragmented world of copper telephone lines. At that time fiber was still outrageously costly and megabucks were being spent on satellite, hyping space-based communications as a viable alternative. Then fiberoptic cable prices became affordable when industry realized bandwidth demand and internet protocol were going to justify renetworking our civilization with a fiber infrastructure; and transoceanic cables were deployed by the dozens, as well.
Bush-II's annointed chair of FCC, the secretary of state's son, Michael Powell, oversaw a kind of consolidation, but even that attempt to bolster baby bellcos at the expense of the survivability of independent portals to the internet only temporized.
It is true that our next president needs to understand what is happening in world telecoms and take a leadership on these matters.
But he or she simply can assign a team of researchers to read the online discussion sites and take their learning while in office. It helps to understand context beforehand, but on the whole it seems the Democrats have had a natural affinity for online information sharing and are likely to grow into a position of strength quickly.
I doubt there is any theophany in store, Rupert notwithstanding. There will always be some backwater regressives in our milieu, but civil society is making great strides, seemingly so amorphously at times that it is fairly outside the observation spectrum of ordinary political leadership.
If Hil and her angel band grab the brass ring and accede to power, for starters we will begin to see progress toward US universal healthcare. It will put a dent in arms race lineitems to reorient government in this more humane way, but it will restore some of our strained diplomatic ties with places like Old Europe, where if our image were one of greater caring our leverage in matters like economics and trade would increase.

I was going to post a concept about tabloids in England, and the unique blend of telecom regulations; or discuss the French government's subsidies and part ownership of that country's telecoms; or the German networks' antiquity and rigid system of ownership; or the Italian network's egregious mismanagement which rendered it susceptible to takeover by another European country. But what is happening in Europe is a lot like a modern version of how the original colonies here coalesced into a single nation; and that is a progress in its early phases.
On neutral networks, Reed Hundt, offered an interesting, if succinct, summary of fifteen years of FCC's history there.

Clearly Hillary is going to have a tough time in the primaries with or without Murdock. Fox is losing it’s ratings for what I believe to be the prognostication factor vs. reality. Among other things the conservative Fox agenda has run smack dead into reality. Back to Hillary… my concern is that she is going to try to pander to African American voters during the primaries to get her over the top. She will use her husband to do just that. That said African American political blogs are perhaps the most informed of the black electorate and don’t really support the idea of a Hillary ticket. Unfortunately she has a horse in the race among African American churches and that will be to her advantage.

Clearly Hillary is going to have a tough time in the primaries with or without Murdock. Fox is losing it’s ratings for what I believe to be the prognostication factor vs. reality. Among other things the conservative Fox agenda has run smack dead into reality. Back to Hillary… my concern is that she is going to try to pander to African American voters during the primaries to get her over the top. She will use her husband to do just that. That said African American political blogs are perhaps the most informed of the black electorate and don’t really support the idea of a Hillary ticket. Unfortunately she has a horse in the race among African American churches and that will be to her advantage.

Excellent analysis EW. This topic of traditional corporate media vs new media and the corporatization of that is worth a deeper look. Billmon had a take on it too.

There will be tendency for the corporate set and their lawmakers to support increased consolidation and control. The fight over net neutrality is just beginning and as the net forms the backbone for new forms of media and opinion the fight will get bigger and the big money will throw their weight.

Right now the CW is that the 2008 nomination is Hillary's to lose. This election is a long ways and who will show up and gain traction in the primaries is wide open. Personally, I don't think Hillary will win the Dem nomination.

technical issue: why doesn't this post appear under

the main EmptyWheel page?



Fixed, I think. Firefox and I are having a little argument today. And Firefox, for a time, was winning.

Won't Murdock hedge his bets and throw money at a republican candidate as well? I don't think he cares who gets in as long as that person gives him what he wants.

I too think Clinton will have difficulty getting the nomination, assuming she decides to run. Beyond Iowa and New Hampshire we still don't know the order of caucuses and primaries, and thus we don't know which mix of voters will select the early front-runner.

I think there is need for a quite realistic analisis of what went wrong with Dean's use of net assets in Iowa in 2004 -- and a projection of how better use might be made of them in 2008. If people want to make sure that Hillary does not come out Number one in Iowa, I think knowing what not to do -- and what might work toward that objective would be useful. I'll offer up my idea of a plan.

First thing I would do is organize a large and open conference of Iowa Progressive political bloggers. The point would not be to select a candidate -- it would be to pull in the "numbers" so as to demonstrate a population that needs to be addressed, and make clear that bloggers will have their own rules as to how this should be done (on the net -- on Democratic Blogs.) If you could take Kos's subscribers, and a few other large blogs -- and sort them for Iowa residence, and then get a number of them to such a conference -- it would be the first step in organization.

Second step -- Iowa Precinct politics is indeed organizede by precinct, and in virtually every Iowa precinct there is a Cafe where Democrats meet informally and talk politics over pie and coffee. This is where decisions really are based, and the key to Iowa is to help Bloggers understand how to use this structure, and in fact strengthen it. Many of the people in the Cafe culture are probably already reading the Blogs -- but the Blogs also provide a means for distributing information about candidates and campaigns that could be useful. All this is organization before anyone gets into selecting a candidate to support -- and it is all pretty cheap and could be organized easily online. If Bloggers were sufficiently organized to pressure candidates to engage in online chat and Q and A -- then the transcripts could be distributed in the cafe's on cheap zerox copies Bloggers could download and copy -- and in this respect could be what they are -- a channel through which information is distributed and discussed. In Iowa I would start the process in the late spring, early summer of 2007. The organizing conference would be earlier -- Spring Break, 2007.

I think it important that Bloggers organize themselves as opposed to doing it through the party. I've not been impressed with the party efforts to sponsor blogs.

On Tweety, FWIW, Democratic strategist Steve McMahon, said Murdoch was only gving money to Hillary for her Senate run.
Tweety then called Murdoch a "king-maker." Tip O'Neil's former COS, said Murdoch did the same thing with Blair in the UK. Rupert anointed Blair when Blair was a liberal migrating towards the middle.


Both great ideas. It'd be nice to start it in IA, but plan to move it to the additional early states (and MI better be one of them!!!), before IA. Because in a State like MI or AZ, net organizing is going to be all the more important, because there are places that are tough to reach (I'm thinking the Navajo reservation or the UP), and because they're just bigger and more populous.

Um, isn't anybody worried that MySpace is owned by Rupert, too?

I mean, social networks, yay -- but if we don't keep our eye on attempts to void net neutrality, it won't matter how peachy keen the Internet is, for organizational power, because we won't have it as a tool, anymore -- at least not one where our privacy and autonomy will be safe.

Add me to the chorus who think it will at a minimum very tough for Hillary to win the nomination.

For one main reason: D voters are gonna look at her, look at how important '08 is, ask themselves, is this a risk?

They'll say yes, and pull the lever for Warner. Or somebody I'm not imagining.

And she's just not that impressive on the stump.

Drawing the connections was very helpful. But let's wait to strategize a bit--until things are clearer for November, until the primaries/caucuses are set, unitl we see how Al Gore's campaign around his movie is received. I don't think it's going to be Hilary.

Hey - Are you guys aware that Hilary has a primary challenger?

We have been showing some love to Ned Lamont, why not a little juice for Jonathan Tasini?


Please help get a real Dem on the ballot in New York!

Sorry to beat a dead horse . . . but I thought from the title of the post I would at least see a mention that Hillary has a challenger. Regardless of whether Hillary can be "stopped", she should at the least get the message that her Democratic Senate seat is not a gimme.

Love all of your stuff on Plamegate . . . that's usually what I stop by to read about. Thank you.

I think it is too early to give it to Hilary. We have over 2 years to go, and so much can happen, so many new faces will appear. But this media influence business with Murdoch really is the reason I am so bothered by the "big name" democrats with the "big contributors." That is where I think the net can have the bigger influence. 2004 was just a dress rehearsal for what we can all do to finance elections for the people we really want to win. I am hopeful that these 2 years will find a lot of that kind of effort going ahead. There simply has to be a way to undercut the big guys like Murdoch who buy everyone they want.

". . . And she's just not that impressive on the stump."

That's what people said when Hillary was dutifully visiting every county in New York State when she was first running for Senator. Everyone figured there was no way she could get votes in upstate New York. But she did, in the end. True, her opponent Rick Lazio ran a poor campaign (Jimmy Fallon did a devastating impression of him as "little Ricky" on SNL). Hillary's a formidable candidate. She's thick-skinned and persistent. The Hillary juggernaut is going to be a hard one to stop.

many of us are in the position of craving radical change..and the complete flameout by the Bushes makes such change possible in much the same way the calamties of 1979/80 gave Reagan the opportunity to alter the direction of the country.

Yes indeed, many of us are thinking exactly that. It's been 25 years, for god's sake. Put a fork in 'em. Like demtom says, this observation is not radical in a 'wild-eyed' sense. Rather it's plain common political sense. In that context, Hillary is high-risk. She has a lot of money, but that doesn't lock it anymore.

I think there is need for a quite realistic analisis of what went wrong with Dean's use of net assets in Iowa in 2004

A vital part of that need (as Charlie Rose would say:) in terms of intellectual hygiene, is the factoring-in that Dean wasn't a very good candidate. (I have no beef at all with Dean; I like him; if there's justice, he will be in charge of crafting healthcare-for-all in this country - the 'Healthcare Czar'). I was in IA for only the last week and the caucuses last time, and Dean cratered not because of the 'scream', but because people didn't really like Dean that much.
It's still most definitely worth it to analyze what went right and wrong. But national politics really is more top-down than bottom-up than we would like to think it is. A prarie fire needs coaxing from both sides. You have to have a candidate wtih political imagination. Probably not Hillary, as far as I can see.

I wrote about Iowa for two reasons -- first, I live next door, and the DFL uses essentially the same rules as the Dem's in Iowa do -- the caucus-convention system. I know those rules well -- at one time or another I served on the State Rules Committee, and I've Chaired both the Credentials and the Platform committee. I was also part of the small team that figured out how to get the Endorsement for Wellstone in 1990. My "Education" in this obscure subject was a result of being part of the McCarthy effort in the 1968 period -- and then working on the Fraser-McGovern Reforms in 1970. (Don and Arvonne Fraser are good friends of mine -- Arvonne taught me all I know about how to organize a campaign.) -- it is a very special expertise, and I wish I had had an hour with Dean before he first went to Iowa. My second reason for writing about Iowa is that I have now spent three years playing with theory in my head -- and my interest is how to make "Netfolk" a power center in the Democratic Party when the party (and representation) is all based on geography, and Geography is antithetical to Net Organization. One way or another we have to wrestle the potential power of the net into Geography.

Dean wasted much by not comprehending the importance of Geography. Much as all those Orange Hatted volunteers in Iowa made for good TV pictures -- none of it got anyone to the cafe tables all over Iowa (and Minnesota) where political opinion is formed and tested. What we have to do is find the locals who can use the existing networks to become influential. You spend your assets not in bringing in outsiders who can't vote anyhow -- you do field work locally -- bringing the progressive Iowa bloggers together, and show them the importance of organizing by geography. You break outside the Net by finding ways to get information and discussion to folk who are not online -- or don't read the blogs. The Blogs are great, but believe me, they will never really replace the Iowa Cafe and pie and coffee, any more than the Brits will close the Pubs and stop doing politics over a beer or perhaps a glass of wine (New Labor). These are the critical social networks -- and we don't want to destroy them, just make them better.

I suspect that in 2008 something will need to be done about the fragmentation of the Progressive vote -- Hillary wins if there are six or eight progressive types competing against Hillary. We need to talk about this because it is a real conflict between "individualism" and all that flows from that -- and what amounts to that old concept of party discipline. (or should I say "want to be powerful bloggers in search of a way to actually become a significant power.") I know, for instance, something about the power play that went into getting the DesMoines Register to endorse Edwards the week before Caucus in Iowa -- That was a "stop Dean" effort, knowing that Edwards would not be able to make the whole trip to the Nomination. I know how it was done. So yea -- there are lots and lots of power centers in the Democratic Party, and they are power centers because they have earned their places over time. The point is to know their game and be a player.

Most of what I know about Primaries comes out of Wisconsin, as it is traditional for Minnesota DFL'ers to go help out in Western Wisconsin around Primary time, because by then we have already had our caucus. And Wisconsin invented the Primary. The Dynamics are quite different, though in non-Urban Wisconsin (and I would add the UP) the institution of the coffee table in a local cafe is similar. (Look -- the Majority of these folks are Scandinavians, and they do politics at Kaffebordet.) Your goal is different -- you are not putting together the dynamics of a precinct caucus -- you are finding ways to get supportive voters out in a primary. One gets a ballot and votes, the other attends a meeting and working the rules, achieves the highest level support possible for their position or candidate.

Right now I think the best candidate to look at in Iowa for Progressives in Russ Finegold, because I believe he has strength in the River Counties and in the NE Quarter of Iowa where they frequently watch Wisconsin TV. They know about him, and he has been around and available in the parts of Iowa near Wisconsin. I could later change my mind -- but I think he has some following. I am not convinced he can be the Nominee -- but I suspect he could stop Hillary in Iowa if that is the point. And tactically that is the point in the first two states.

We need discussions like this because we have far too many venues where younger people and those not previously involved can write about and learn about our particular political culture. In 2004 I was so upset by so many young people with really great intentions coming off Iowa trashing the Caucus system. Dean didn't win so the system was rotten. Forget that. The Caucus System made it possible for people such as Hubert Humphrey, Gene McCarthy, Harold Hughes, Tom Harken and Paul Wellstone who had no money at all -- to get nominations and go to the Senate and do years of solid work. It puts organization on a par with money. But you have to understand how it really works, and not sound off on something that is not immediately satisfying.

But how to integrate the Blog World into the existant political one -- that we need to discuss at length.

if dingell is your rep / critter, you must be in the detroit area. a big time blogger in my state - cool beans !!

i think a Feingold / Dean combo would be quite the ticket.


I'm in Ann Arbor.

Compared to you and others here, Sara, I'm out of my depth on the subject of local organizing. But...

Much as all those Orange Hatted volunteers in Iowa made for good TV pictures, none of it got anyone to the cafe tables all over Iowa (and Minnesota) where political opinion is formed and tested.

...I would say that, in IA at least, the people at the cafe tables were all too aware of the Orange Hatted Ones and the tv pictures thereof (and the incessant Dean spots on radio). I'm just saying that the candidate matters. It's so early - who knows? But the way to stop Hillary is with a better candidate....and then everything which follows from that (organizing, etc).

BTW, brilliant post EW.

sara's comments about weblogs and political activity is really an idea whose time has come.

her comments has prompted lots of thought, with thoughts falling all over each other, unfortunately.

let me list two.

it must be said that i am talking on an abstract level and sara, with her extensive experience, is talking from a practical one.


there will probably be some sort of geographical aspect to weblog political organizing.

for example i can imagine (since i don't know the area at all)

the "mid-west" being divided into an upper mid-west weblog (minn, iowa, illinois, wisconsin, maybe the eastern dakotas, as a guess)


perhaps, a lower mid-west, say ,

kansas, nebraska, oklahoma, maybe, west texas.

maybe, too, an urban and a rural set of weblogs --minneapolis, des moines, chicago, ann arbor, etc etc

in both cases, parts of one state may fit better into one or another weblog "group".
large cities and university towns may fit together , in terms of their sub culture than rural and urban in the same state.

the idea being folks in these "regions" share a subculture- a common view of life and society.


it seems to me that one of the great problems with modern american politics is that, for most of us, it is such a passive activity.

why give a rat's ass?

we don't have much say in any political matter. no one listens to our concerns or responds to us as individuals.

why bother to express a point of view? why bother to register? why bother to vote? what do i own in this? what is my stake?


the act of receiving political information is, itself, passive.

we sit before a t.v. or radio, read a newspaper or magazine, and absorb, or not, political information in the form of newspaper article, television show or in the form of advertisements.

but only very rarely in the course of an interactive discussion.

the info we do receive is almost always designed to manipulate (that is what consultants are hired to do).

and it may be, and probably is, silly, tedious, dissembling.

but all we can do at present is to accept or to reject. we can't talk back.

a grass roots political weblog, or set of weblogs, similar to the next hurrah,

in addition to being a good political organizing tool,

would help ameliorate our current political passivity by allowing internet based interactive response.

much has ben made of moveon.org. but i grew rapidly tired of their importunities.

it seems to me that moveon likes to appear to be concerned with my opinion, but in fact is not, and cannot be because the volume of individual opinion solicited is so vast.

so they end up selling me a psuedo-connectivity in return for my contribution.

this is where a network of "small" , decentralized political weblogs could prove useful. they would form a network similar to the coffee an pie network sara wrote about.

and they could be useful tactically for distributing information, or campaign material. for voter rides or voter registration drives.

Yes, jonnybutter, a better candidate. I just think it's a few months too soon to see who that might be. I'm waiting for someone with vision to emerge, and all we get are small-bore types.

Dean squandered a lot of money on bad ads is my understanding. Sara is right, though, that you can't come in with outsiders. It has to be done through people inside the state. That's what the Rs did--organize locally. We have to too, which is why Dean's 50 state program makes so much sense.

I'm sort of agnostic about Hillary - neither thrilled nor horrified by her - but I also have a gut feeling that she won't be the nominee.

Dem contests always come down to the idealists versus the pragmatists (including these rival impulses in individual voters). On the one hand, Hillary has compromised herself enough to lose the idealists; look how little support she gets on the netroots. On the other hand, she has enough baggage - starting with her gender - that she's no gimme on "electability." Worst of both worlds, so far as the primary season is concerned.

"Whatever Sara says" is good for me....

Sara, you're operating on another level entirely from most bloggers, making original and crucial strategic and tactical points.

We all need you, IMO, to beat the drum on your points ASAP; you already have credibility. Do not be shy.

The idea of Ruppert owning a chunk of the Internet sends a chill up my spine. Imagine if he did a levereged buyout of say SBC? Years ago, we would never have dreamed that such a man could own so much of the MSM. This, immediate payoff is what I see in this association. Hillary can bring across some democrats who might otherwise oppose the current legislation on "Net Neutrality". Remember, Republicans don't make donations and all political contributions, are instead, a political investment. The Return On Investment in politicians always exceeds what the same investment dollars would have brought in the Private Sector.

But back to one of my greatest fears. Can you imagine if one of our hops through the Internet had to go through a Faux router? Can you say goodbye to your favorite Progressive websites? Sure we might be able to see them, ping them, etc--but they could control how much bandwidth you get and you'd be waiting forever to wind up with a 404 type of error (page not found).

To count on DLC members like Hillary and Joementum to not sell out progressives in terms of the internet, is sheer folly. At this point in time, it would be to Joementum's advantage to sell us out! A Murdoch take over of a chunk of the Internet, would complete the Sovietization of information well demonstrated now by the MSM.

Interesting post with lots of good info. I do not, however, see any danger to net neutrality. It would appear from all that I can tell that no has or is planning to violate that principal. Until something happens I would not want Congress to get involved.

I don't necessarily agree with you on Net Neutrality and if my fears came to light, we wouldn't be having a similar discussion to one we are having now.

Perhaps I'm overly concerned, but this Congress and the DLC crowd have generally made my worst fears come true. I want Congress to stay out of not only this Internet Issue and the Insurance plan (that would deny cancer testing as a required benefit), but nearly everything else. The best thing this CONgress can do until it's out of office, is absolutely nothing. A "do nothing" congress at this point would be a welcome change. We'd be so much better off if they go home for good and wait for the indictments!

Bush can have his recess appointments and self-destruct anyway he wants. After all, recess appointments could easily be denied in the next Congress. Perhaps I'm overly concerned, but this Congress and the DLC crowd have generally made my worst fears come to pass. Everytime they say "reform", I say "Grab your wallet or your rights".

I'm with Ron--I fear this administration far more than I fear the market hashing net neutrality out on its own....

I just don't trust the government to handle regulation of the internet without compromising the freedoms that have made such an innovative technology. If things get out of hand, things might have to be done. Right now, though, I would rather let the market decide its own fate right now.

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