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February 12, 2004

The Tripping Point

Joe Trippi at an Emerging Technology Teach-In spoke to his Internet troops. He came to teach them about a fateful moment in the campaign, where the Net movement disconnected from Dean's condition. But he also told them: you made us. You are changing American politics. And it's still about the money.

You tend to put your own belief system in the vessel of the guy that you’re supporting. Clearly that happened with Howard Dean as well.Trippi.

San Diego, CA: Feb. 9-10 When Joe Trippi took the stage here at O’Reilly’s Digital Democracy Teach-In, it was an address to Net loyalists by a fallen hero. Trippi had lost three battles in full public view: Iowa, then New Hampshire, and then his position at the top of what he yet called an “insurgent” campaign. If you knew the history, knew the crowd, and had followed Trippi’s press, it was an appearance not without drama.

Of course, loyalist did not apply to everyone in the room in their attitude toward Trippi or Dean or even Net politics. I found skepticism about all three at the conference. But the bonds were real enough to make his talk a more intimate act than “figure in the news speaks out.” As Scott Rosenberg of Salon said to me the following day, Trippi was talking to his troops. For a core group at the Teach-In this was true. And Joe Trippi received a hero’s welcome: two standing ovations, with 50-60 percent joining in.

The d-democracy event was a shrewd and late addition to a larger happening: the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference at the Westin in downtown San Diego. It’s known as E-tech. Some 800 were expected for E-tech, and perhaps a quarter of these came to Monday’s events. In that group were about 45 journalists, including correspondents for Wired, Reuters, AP, Salon, the Nation, CBS News, plus all the webloggers doing the blow by blow, or commenting on parts of the day. (See Jeff Jarvis, Ross Mayfield and this page for lots more. Ross’s post lists many others who blogged.)

“I am out of the campaign, I am not out of the fight.” So said the general to the troops. (Read the transcript here.) And a few days later, the chatter at E-tech was confirmed. Trippi started his weblog, Change for America, with its lead post: Still in the Fight.

There are cynical ways to read these developments, but I think Trippi’s blog is a good idea— if it’s different, and really him, linking and thinking, arguing with people while freely interpreting the news. I want to see how someone with his knowledge of politics does a newsy blog, with a comments section— a far more promising proposition, intellectually, than Trippi mixing it up with Chris Matthews in a pundit’s role for MSNBC. The line at the microphone was daunting, so I never got to ask my questions of Trippi:

Since you are not out of the fight, what part of the fight can be won by putting Joe Trippi into the game as commentator for MSNBC? And, a follow on question, have you considered how this could wind up a fatal compromise with your great adversary, broadcast politics? Or perhaps you have a belly of the beast strategy to share?

In San Diego, Trippi was with people who understood—but did they really understand?—what the Net could do for American politics; what was different, in some cases radically different, about the Dean campaign as it grew; and what bubble of hope had been lost when the Dean candidacy crashed in Iowa and then New Hampshire.

O’Reilly Nation also knew, or thought it knew, that much more would be possible in the future, as the tools that had come into politics kept growing and the social momentum crept up. Here, Trippi was more like an Apple executive speaking to talented developers, who have to be convinced to keep developing a cause—a platform—that everyone knows may be lost. Other heads of big enterprises spoke: Wes Boyd of, Scott Heiferman of, David Sifry of Technorati, and Tim O’Reilly himself. Jeff Jarvis lifted the killer quote from O’s welcome: “User contributions are critical to market dominance.” If this becomes true in politics, what does politics become?

The interesting thing to me, a rookie at tech conferences, was that in the sphere I was visiting (without a laptop, which was very dumb) innovation by Net and other means was a normal condition. That’s what the people at the conference are “about.” Things were expected to change as new and powerful tools came within reach, or someone sprung them on the unsuspecting.

The premise of platform replacement is casually accepted in this crowd because it happens all the time. In politics, in journalism, in campaigns, a system overhaul is anything but normal. To me this is one of the great contributions techies have made to politics, which can always use people who see that things could be very, very different. (Micah Sifry, a writer for The Nation, has a yes, but view: “People here talk like all that’s needed is better tools, and then people will pick them up and take back their country from the powers-that-be. There’s almost no sense of how hard organizing actually is, or why.”)

Net literacy was, of course, sky high among this group, political savvy less so. And so Trippi came to teach, as well as explain what happened in the crash, and defend himself from critics, including that morning’s Los Angeles Times. It carried a “hey, possible controversy” story about Trippi’s firm billing the Dean campaign. (See the Washington Post’s deeper analysis and Ed Cone’s commentary. Trippi’s defense is here.)

First, he wanted to show how much the “Net roots,” as he called them, had accomplished in a year: January to January. “That’s why I am here today,” he said, “because I think you started something amazing… a dot com miracle.” (His soundbite phrase for Monday.) “It must survive Howard Dean and his candidacy.”

The miracle is that an alternative to campaigns-as-usual had finally become visible with the Internet’s semi-maturation as political tool. “Broadcast politics has failed us miserably; failed the country miserably,” Trippi said. “The American people now have the beginnings of a platform to change it.” This alternative had proven itself in the one way that counts on everyone’s scorecard: raising money.

That Dean had raised it in small amounts, in distributed fashion, aided by a social movement which began to gather online and kept gathering, along with the blogs and the spirit of active participation— all of that motion meant something. For it had proved something. Before 2003, the record take for a Democrat in a single quarter was by a sitting President, Bill Clinton, who drew $10.5 million, Trippi said. Dean, an asterisk to many people at the time, raised $14.8 million in the third quarter of 2003, then $15.9 in the fourth.

Any system that can do that is a potentially powerful force. A candidate who can bank those sums is not only a threat to win, but a threat to disrupt the rules by which campaigns are run, paid for, and won. Just how surprising Dean’s performance was to the political establishment can be heard in this column from Dick Meyer, editorial director of CBS News online: (July 17, 2003)

Dean – maverick, outsider, underdog – cleaned his opponents’ establishment clocks in the second quarter. He raised $7.6 million, almost $2 million more than the second-place finisher, John Kerry.

Dean raised more cash from small donations than any legitimate, major party presidential candidate has since the 1970’s. Certainly, he’s the only candidate in ages that used small donations to actually win a money race. In 2000, 74 percent of Bush’s donations were $750 or more and 65 percent of Gore’s. Stark contrast to Dean’s 29 percent.

A whopping 73,226 people contributed to Dean’s campaign in the second quarter, 50,000 more than contributed to Kerry’s.

This is something very rare: a good news story about money and politics. I’ve never seen one of these before.

Who would have imagined that it would be money that pushed Dean over the edge into the realm of “credible candidate”? Go figure.

Trippi’s lesson here is not the banal one, “money talks,” but a slightly more subtle point. Money is the one thing that talks to everyone, including those who may be dismissive or out to lunch about online politics or the Dean’s campaign’s innovations, such as they stood. Money signaled the system that something was up.

The establishment had been shocked to see a power source that large—Dean raised $41 million—develop from a previously unknown direction. “The political press could never figure out what the Dean campaign was,” he said. “Now they feel qualified to comment on whether what it did worked.” True. But the press feels qualified to comment on any flat-on-your-face failure, which Dean has become in journalists’ eyes.

In the summer of 2003, Trippi as manager had enough money to go national, get his guy known, and respond to anticipated attacks. Dean was not tied to party fat cats or the office-holding establishment, in Trippi’s mind. Dean had the Net for reaching his people, and his people would later grow to 600,000. He was rapidly stealing the opposition label from the opposition party.

It was from that moment in political time that Trippi told his story of the climactic events in Dean’s demise. The story was about broadcast politics winning out in the end.

Broadcast politics has many other names. It’s politics in endless refinement of the one-to-many model. It’s big donor politics. It’s when you purchase all the air time so your rivals can’t respond, or drive up the negatives before a candidate is known. It relies on message delivery to targeted groups. It’s the astroturf effect—top down media blitzes disguised as “grassroots” eruptions—and other manipulations like it. Broadcast politics takes for granted that 50 percent of the country will not participate in the vote for president, and this is one of the most political things it does.

It’s also the Willie Horton tradition in advertising. It’s the mind that put Michael Dukakis in a tank to show who’s strong on defense. It’s the $2,000 a plate fundraisers to get the money to run the ads mocking a Michael Dukakis in a tank. It’s the Russert primary, the zinger from Ted Koppel, the feeding frenzy when that happens, and the expectations game, which always happens.

Long ago this got called the media campaign, where the basic means for connecting with voters are thirty-second ads, the news on television, the debates, a candidate’s life story (in its mythic version), and a “message”—controlled at the top, refined by polling data—that is to be endlessly gotten out. There are big historical reasons why this system is in charge, which Trippi did not bother with, except to give broadcast politics a symbolic birthdate— 1960, and the Kennedy-Nixon debates.

Today this politics, in Trippi’s telling, is interdependent with the finance system that supports it in both parties, the lobbying culture that overtakes Washington once the elections are run, the political establishment in the two parties, the commercial media’s tollgate system through which the ads and images are run, and the national press, which both reports on the political game and becomes a player in it.

“We were hot in January” of 2003, Trippi said, meaning: Dean was picking up support far in excess of his national profile. But the press did not notice this until the fundraising figures came in from later quarters. Even then journalists didn’t understand how Dean had done it. It was not until Al Gore’s endorsement on December 9th that the system was shocked into recognition— “this guy’s going to be the nominee.”

From here the pace quickened.

The press turned up the scrutiny and put Dean in its sights. Meanwhile, rival candidates began to contemplate their attacks, and started swiping some of Dean’s message, using it as their market research. The Washington establishment grew alarmed— and with reason. On December 14, former Clinton administration official Everett Erlich wrote this in the Washington Post:

Other candidates — John Kerry, John Edwards, Wesley Clark — are competing to take control of the party’s fundraising, organizational and media operations. But Dean is not interested in taking control of those depreciating assets. He is creating his own party, his own lists, his own money, his own organization. What he wants are the Democratic brand name and legacy, the party’s last remaining assets of value.

This is what the Net had wrought, and it seemed to be working. The press realized that a “front loaded” primary schedule, designed by party insiders to produce an early winner, might make Dean unbeatable after Iowa and New Hampshire. Journalists are often accused by journalists of sharing one bias: love of a good story. (A forgivable sin.) An easy triumph by Dean and a list of meaningless primaries to play out is not where the love is for political reporters.

Howard Kurtz wrote ahead of the development that reporters want a two-man race for Christmas. If at that time, you are threatening to run away with it, the press looks (and “votes” via headlines) for a lead challenger to emerge; if there are several challenging, the press looks for a frontrunner. These are the semi-predictable parts of a zeroing-in mechanism, in which every movement is magnified. One can complain about the heightened scrutiny and magnifying effect, but this is sometimes like saying: hey, turn that lens back, I want to be out of focus, take me out of frame.

You run for president to make it into that spotlight, which either consumes its subjects, or clarifies them on the public screen, fixing an image of the candidate for the electorate just tuning in. If Dean and Trippi were not ready for that, they were not ready for Prime Time.

With the arrival of the new year, the countdown to the caucuses began. Richard Gephardt, in Trippi’s incendiary phrase, began his “murder-suicide” by stepping up the attacks on Dean. Criticism, missteps and gaffes began to characterize news coverage. “We ran straight into broadcast politics,” he said. This, according to Micah Sifry, is “the webocrats catchphrase for top-down, capital-intensive politics, where the main goal is having or raising enough money to buy broadcast power to send a message to the passive masses.”

But Dean’s Net supporters did not realize what was happening, Trippi said. They got complacent when their man seemed to be well ahead. “There was no way to communicate to people how high the stakes were right at that moment,” Trippi said. The Dean campaign had “this huge target on our back,” and it now had to win at broadcast politics, while avoiding minefields that come with being The Story every day. There was the air war fought with ads, the Frontrunner Stumbles plot turn from the press, the attacks by rivals (and by Dean himself, which could turn off voters.) An old quote of Dean’s appeared, in which he mocked the Iowa caucuses.

“We were having a hard time saying, ‘we could be in real trouble here,’” Trippi recalled. And this is where he made his most interesting observation. I had more than a dozen conversations with journalists about it, as we all tried to figure out what it meant. One thing was unanimous: Reuters (“How Web Support Failed Dean in Crunch”) got it wrong. Here’s the key passage:

We couldn’t figure out how to communicate to people that there was this—pardon the expression—a “holy shit” moment happening here. In other words, our Internet supporters were complacent. They were, “Man, we’ve got more money than anybody. We’re ahead in Iowa and we’re ahead in New Hampshire…”

I remember sending out an E-mail that said…something like, “If you’ve never heard the depth of our need for your support right now, hear it now,” and the blog comments were, “Why is Joe sounding so desperate? He’s never sounded desperate before. We’re on top of the world here. We’re ahead.” And so I think there was a disconnect between our Net roots’ understanding of the body politic and what was happening at that moment after Gore endorsed us.

The Powers that Be had struck in a pattern predictable from before; the Governor was undergoing the trials of the frontrunner. All effort had to swing from creating a movement and building the tools for expanding it further… to grinding infantry work in Iowa: finding voters who would turn out for Dean and persuading them it’s worth a shot.

At the same time, Trippi as shot caller for Dean had entered a dangerous area where only the rules of Realpolitik can win you the prize. These were not the terms that existed between the Dean campaign led by Trippi and the movement for Dean that helped bring 600,000 forward in one way or another.

and there was really no way….we couldn’t figure out a way to communicate what was happening to us in a way that either didn’t sound desperate — I do not know what the word is for it— but did not ring alarm bells the wrong way…

“Figure out a way to communicate” involves the press. The conditions of scrutiny Dean had entered disallowed honest communication with the base in the very public terms the Dean campaign had half-pioneered. If you leveled with supporters and sent out the call, “we’re in trouble if we don’t make a big turn away from what we’re doing,” then the press—on frontrunner alert—would seize on that.

The master narrative has a well worn device for this: the “campaign in disarray” story. Mistakes are fodder, not only for reporters but also the comedy teams on television— a serious consideration when you are still introducing the candidate as a person. The situation demands from Burlington an absurd level of public confidence, but it was precisely too much confidence that was hurting the campaign.

Transparency—a buzzword but not only a buzzword—is a first casualty of Realpolitik. “We weren’t trying to keep the Net roots out of the loop,” Trippi explained. “We were trying to keep John Kerry out of it.” You cannot afford transparency or deliberation as the race intensifies. Could this be announced? Impossible. And so your distributed supporters, organized in affinity style or by weblog, had to sense it happening, or read between the lines of what the campaign was saying. What alternative was there? E-mail 300,000 of your best people and ask them to keep it quiet? “The press reads the blog.”

That was the tipping point, in the story Trippi told to E tech. Net politics had done a lot, and confounded the establishment. But it was still immature, only half developed. A lot of people feel that way about Trippi himself: Adina Levin is one: “He didn’t take responsibility for the disorganization in his own campaign and the lack of precinct organizing savvy that made the Dean get-out-the-vote effort less effective than Kerry. He didn’t take responsibility for communication failures and flaws.”

He didn’t. But maybe as a writer he now will.

Aftermath: Notes, Reactions & Links…

Also see PressThink, Trippi Didn’t Say What Reuters Said He Said.

Transcript of Joe Trippi’s Feb. 9th speech, Down from the Mountain.

“Okay, so I rambled a little.” (Trippi at his weblog) And don’t forget his Q and A with journalist and weblogger Ed Cone.

Don’t miss Ed Cone’s report of an email from Trippi about where the $41 million went: “This was the single biggest mistake I made — not demanding to be in absolute control of the budget and spending as a condition of running the campaign, something you must have if you are really running the campaign.”

Clay Shirky on Trippi and the Dean campaign blaming the voters.

Chris Anderson of Interesting Times on the Trippi speech and “point to point politics” as the alternative to one-to-many (broadcast) politics.

Dean campaign’s official blogger, Mathew Gross, at his own weblog, Deride and Conquer: “I believe the Dean campaign will be looked on as a seminal moment in American politics. The Dean campaign marks the beginning of the end of the broadcast age in politics, and a change toward more interactive and decentralized campaigning… The ability to participate wasn’t reserved for people in Iowa and New Hampshire. And that ability to take action no matter where you live was made possible by the Internet.”

Seth Finkelstein at Infothought: “I don’t want to turn my blog into ‘bash Joe Trippi’ one-notes. But the more I read, the more I distrust what he’s doing for net politics… It’s not wrong for a salesman to get a commission. And yes, we have to deal with the money involved in the whole process. But that doesn’t make this salesman right, nor this product a good one. In fact, the end results have been downright shoddy, and the number of people taken-in is only a measure of how much of a dream existed to be fleeced.”

Peter Levine, a political philosopher and practical critic of democracy, argues with this post: “Dean’s cash may have been raised in a ‘distributed’ way, but like most campaign money, it came from rich people.”

Dean supporter at Independents For Dean site: “I thought Trippi’s story about the red bat, which he offered as evidence of grassroots ownership of the campaign, was telling. That’s about the level of ownership to which both the campaign and many in the grassroots ever aspired to… The campaign didn’t call people in Iowa…they didn’t have enough staff for that job. It was the grassroots who called people. The campaign didn’t have enough staff in Iowa to round up people to go to the caucuses, either, but the grassroots did. And could have done so.”

Wired magazine’s Noah Shactman: Trippi: Net Politics Here to Stay

Scott Rosenberg of Salon: “More than anything else Trippi said here, his confession of this ‘transparency problem’—his admission that, at its hour of greatest need, the Dean campaign was unable to level with its own online loyalists—seemed to break faith with the campaign’s revolutionary aspirations. What good is building a vast open network to route around the existing power structure if you can’t use it?…If in the weeks before Iowa, Dean’s campaign had told its followers that things weren’t going so well, maybe the media would have pounced on his vulnerability; but maybe his troops would have rallied.”

Alex Beame, columnist for the Boston Globe, It’s game over for Dean’s Web dreams.

And as for the Deaniacs — where can they go? The received wisdom is that the power of the Internet mobilized Dean supporters from men and women who had been alienated from politics as usual. But if they really want George Bush out of the White House, they will have to wake up before 8 p.m. on Nov. 2, skip the trip to Starbucks, and pull the old-fashioned lever down at the polling place.

The next election may be held online, but this one won’t be

Dan Gillmor, Trippi’s bet on Net will pay off far into the future (San Jose Mercury News.)

Steve Gillmor in E-week: “Technologists from all four major campaigns used the O’Reilly conference as a gathering point for discussing shared usage of campaign software in the general election.”

Audio file: Dan Gillmor, Jeff Jarvis, Jay Rosen in, “Gatekeepers No More,” panel discussion at the Digital Democracy Teach In.

Oh, and thanks to Matt Welch for the title of this one. I told him what I was writing about, he nodded. “Your post is called Tripping Point.”

Posted by Jay Rosen at February 12, 2004 7:33 PM   Print


What Dean and Trippi started will go on. The DLC and DNC think they finished this movement off.
Not so. I never took part in a campaign before but have voted democrat my whole life. You will not see us for a while but we will be busy with our local races and will become the state party.
The DNC will have to come up with some "new rules"
to purge us. They better keep looking behind because we will be there.

Posted by: Ron Schmidt at February 13, 2004 7:11 AM | Permalink

Last night at dinner after the end of eTech, Robert Scoble (of the Scobleizer, blog, and Microsoft employee) told me that the Reuter's reporter who wrote the story you are referring to above, talked with him about his blog post (, reacting to Scoble's take on the Reuter's story, where he said:

    Anyway, TechDirt ( compared the coverage from bloggers to that of Reuters. They underlined the "spin" that Reuters gave the story. I agree with TechDirt. The spin doesn't match the speech. Journalists need to report what was said at speeches and put it all in context. This was like listening to a two-hour speech and then ignoring almost all of it so you can write the story you want to write in the first place. Why go to the conference then?

Robert said that Eric Auchard from Reuters came up to him yesterday ( to explain why he (Auchard) had written the story they way he did. Robert was surprised, and notes it:

    Turns out it was Eric Auchard from Reuters. Now, look back at my blog on Monday. I took a swing at Reuters for how they reported Joe Trippi's keynote here at the O'Reilly conferences. The guy who wrote that story was now speaking with me. We had a nice conversation. He said that he had read and considered what I had to write and appreciated that. Then he explained his point of view. While discussing news judgment and other factors I found myself thinking just how unlikely this exchange would have happened five years ago.
    Because of the relationships I've built in the industry he was talking to me as a peer. Think about that. Reuters was explaining how it worked to me. And whether or not I was right or wrong really doesn't matter. The fact that a common citizen like me could be heard by a journalist who is at the top of his profession (you don't get a job at Reuters by being a hack or unprofessional) is simply amazing to me.
    Now, is Eric changed by weblogging? Absolutely! But I'm changed by Eric too. First of all, I was able to get Eric's point of view and, to tell you the truth, it is a compelling point (that his job is to report the news and that he picked out the most interesting things for his readers). Second of all, I now have a relationship with Eric. Who do you think I'm likely to call if I have a technology story that I think Reuters would be interested in?

I think this is rather amazing. I missed the Monday (and Tuesday) sessions because I was at another conference. But I'm happy that to see that the whole day is available here: Sorry also to have missed you Jay. Nexttime.

Posted by: mary hodder at February 13, 2004 5:18 PM | Permalink

Thanks Jay for pulling so many pieces of information together on this important story. Regardless of what happens from here on out I am certain that the Dean campaign will be one of the most intimately dissected political campaign of the last 50 years.

I've written some thoughts of my own on this matter on my own blog here. Check it out and see what you think.

Posted by: Chris Andersen at February 14, 2004 5:04 AM | Permalink

Although I cannot, and do not, claim to have read and understood NEARLY everything nor enough of what's been written and linked to above, here's what I say:

Bah... But here's what I know and here's what I see in this U.S. election so far: Loss of objectivity and dishonesty, which are not all that unrelated though different.

There are still an amazing number of people who are Deanic. This is the only way I can explain people writing this kind of crap, Mr. Rosen, including yourself to large extent. You are necessarily somewhat Deanic to NOT BE ABLE to see through a Deaniac's lies (or "story", piece of journalism, or whatever you prefer to call this stuff of Mr. Joe Trippi, et al).

"'Figure out a way to communicate' involves the press. The conditions of scrutiny Dean had entered disallowed honest communication with the base in the very public terms the Dean campaign had half-pioneered."

There never was honest communication between Dean, the Dean Campaign, the Deaniac Movement, and the clerisy and grassroots that supported Dean. Furthermore, you are going to HAVE more dishonest communication between two parties that are not particularly honest, themselves. ALL communication suffers in some minute and some HUGE respects, which accounts for "'information loss' between subsystems", in logic-systems-speak, and misunderstandings both great and small between people and countries.

How else do you explain even a 50% - 60% standing O, twice? This standing o was, in large part, for Mr. Trippi engineering enough coincidences to, in essence, scam (ie false-market) a (approx) "79-year old grandmother outta her bicycle". I believe that story was called "a tear-jerker" by Mr. Jarvis, though I may have the details of the story somewhat incorrect.

Even this comment, for another example: "'He didn't take responsibility for the disorganization in his own campaign and the lack of precinct organizing savvy that made the Dean get-out-the-vote effort less effective than Kerry. He didn't take responsibility for communication failures and flaws.'"

Obviously, Mr. Trippi has taken little to no responsibility about anything so far.

First of all, while not in the field, most everything I can gather was that the people out in the field were somewhat well-organized (most-EVERYBODY was wearing these orange hats, seems OVERLY well-organized in fact) and HIGHLY involved and motivated. Further, I maintain that Mr. Trippi was HIGHLY successful in ways, and disasterously ineffective at others.. but in contra-distinction to most, it appears:

1) I believe it is a story that the Deaniacs were in ANY WAY complacent (See Mr. Ron Schmidt's comments, if there is any doubt), and believe this is a cover-up of the facts of the matter.

2) Mr. Joe Trippi was Very Successful in communicating to both the constituents and Mr. Dean. He raised record dollars in record time, and spent record dollars in record time as well. Sucessful-failure. Iow, Mr. J. Trippi was as successful in talking Mr. Dean into spending the approx $40 Million USD as he was in getting (or scamming, if you prefer) the constituents out of the money. The communication flow back and forth was the best a campaign has seen, although "radically decentralized", or rather because of that.

There was, however, lack of much central authority other than Mr. Trippi himself. Thus, the campaign failed and now Mr. J. Trippi and the cult-following he's developed HAS to have "invented" something "larger than the (campaign for) President of the United States". This has been said SO often by bloggers other than Mr. Trippi, in addition to Mr. Trippi with his new Movement ChangingAmerica-dot-com (another "miracle in the making" I would guess), as well... Otherwise, these bloggers might find it necessary to agree with the ol' Hayseed of IA, USA... That the American People have been, in essence if not legally, "scammed" of AT LEAST $40 or so Million USD. (Records being kept on antiquated Linux gear, I would suspect that you COULD NOT GET a very accurate estimate AT ALL of how much is being taken in, nor an accurate estimate of what is being given out, within a week from now nor/and two weeks from now. IANAL, and I don't know what the legalities of this is, but SOMEbody sure *SHOULD* KNOW where this money WAS and IS, at ALL times (backed up on archive media to boot. I don't know how standard that is, in most Linux shops, but that's the standard in PROfessional IT shop "out here in the sticks", afaik, Linux or otherwise.)

So whether the American People were taken Legally, and apparently there is a question of whether they've been taken in Ethically (Ethics having primarily to do with finances of various kinds), I am amazed at people's standing o for what is, to my mind clearly, some people taking advantage of the gullibility of other people, in Principle if nothing else. I believe this is not a matter of opinion (your's nor mine, Mr. Rosen, nor Zack's nor Dave Winer's nor anybody else's). But a matter of FACT, and a matter of FACTS that haven't been scrutinized very fully, and may never BE scrutinized very fully.

From US, (as all those who gave Mr. J. Trippi the standing o basically implied and put it so many times,) "HAYSEEDS" and "people hooked on the boob-CRT".. and from "the Hayseed in IA" himself, (although it may never come to pass wrt Mr. J. Trippi and the Deaniac dot-com campaign)-:

"'I think there comes a point when you have to recognize reality,' said Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, one of Dean's high-profile endorsers. 'I understand he made the commitment to go to Wisconsin, but I think at some point there's going to have to be a reckoning here.'"

I still believe that the vast majority of the Deaniacs were Naderites and non-voters and gullible, because SO many consistently said they would NEVER vote for someone like a Senator, because they didn't sign on to get involved with any STINKIN' WASHINGTON INSIDER'S, like a Senator or Roy Neel. Many said that, and few were corrected, so obviously there was a huge non-Democratic contigent with this little half-time extravaganza in the election of the President of the United States, Mr. Rosen.

Fact of the matter, afaik but mebbe for legal reasons I should say imo: "And so your distributed supporters, organized in affinity style or by weblog, HAD to sense it happening, or read between the lines of what the campaign was saying."

This is Mr. J. Trippi's trippin' lesson here, Mr. Rosen, and it is (to me) extraordinarily banal. This is what also HAS to happen between the LEADERS of the campaign and it's constituency and everybody in between (ie, the Lords of the Blogdom), as well. I s'pose anybody's guess is as good as mine, but I don't think the leadership of the Deaniac campaign "dot-com miracle" (spit), such as it was, sensed what was happening nor is happening, either. Transparency, as one may or may not know Mr. Rosen and Ms. Weblogger, works both ways more or less equally, or it doesn't work very effectively at all, as we've just seen.

The results of this Dean MOVEMENT, "larger than the Presidency itself", has been fairly well documented, whether or not it's been very well recorded financially or not.

Let those who have ears smell the stench of deception, if they can. I think some in the press and that HUGE, AWFUL troll "Big Media" are a little more aware of what is happening than Mr. Trippi gives credit for, and much more than Mr. Trippi himself, although he's joined their ranks.



I say, Bah... Bah to the Deaniacs, and the Naderites and non-voters of the last election... Why not let others have their turn to speak and be listened to??? And, to Mr. Ron Schmidt, you better sleep with one eye open, like I do.

Btw, in the past I've disagreed (though not posted that I've disagreed, though implied disagreement) with those who view Robert (Scoble) as a complete MORON. Until now with his latest views, I've disagreed.

Posted by: JayT at February 14, 2004 6:54 PM | Permalink

Jay I sleep real well. I don't give a fig about who you think will march me off to Cuba. I was in Vietnam and that experience was enough that I am living on all free time now anyway. I am too old to give a damm.

Posted by: Ronald Schmidt at February 15, 2004 12:12 PM | Permalink

Mr. Schmidt,

Thank you for the reply and I apologize I over-reacted to your previous threat a little bit. And nobody will march you off to Cuba, afaik.

One-a my best friends, back in late 70's early 80's was in Nam, as was a black psychologist I got therapy from, for many years (a different kind-a "friend"). My ex-Uncle-in-Law, lifetime NRA and Bush supporter, did 2 tours and he and I had some talks of few words.

I attended college for a year and a half, and it was there that I registered in '72 and they drew the lotto (I got 300-some). But they instituted the all-volunteer army and my class wasn't drafted. Nowadays they hafta play public service announcements to even GET the youngsters to register.

All that to say.. I respect your opinions and your right to have them. The Deaniacs did the opposite, for the most part. But I STRONGLY disagree that Trippi started anything much more than a new way to scam the American Public. Some are actually calling it a "dot-com MIRACLE", those who have forgotten how much money disappeared in these two dot-com crashes.

I'll allow that Mr. Dean and Mr. Trippi probably MEANT well, but the money is gone anyway. I want to see people getting involved in elections, but without unnecessary sacrifices like $40 Million dollars spent before the first 2 states have voted. We can agree to disagree, or we can fight I suppose.

The Naderites tried, and almost succeeded, in taking over the Democratic Party so that it would represent THEM. I've been accidently watching and studying these folks this past year, (some of them being my favorite bloggers,) and I'm glad they failed. I was as certain as anything I've EVER been almost-certain of before, that they would win, just like everybody else who was Deanic.

Personally, I have severe untreated Sleep Apnea and haven't slept well in the past 6 or 8 years.. I get zero, zilch, zip, nada Stage 4 sleep, which is what they call "not fun" these days... Which was part of the reason for the comment. I envy you Ronald because, although I could collect SSI, I still try to work every now and then... Bills, and such.

But I'm way past old, have osteoporosis at 49, 4 or 5 vertebra with small compression fractions and my Gemini-half-Brother-I-only-barely-knew 2 years died Jan. 6. So did my Uncle, 8 days later. My ex-Wife, divorced from last summer, has found a better man than I...

So I've been feeling, this past month or 2 especially, a little WAY PAST too old to give a damm, I'm afraid. And then there's that Columbus sniper, just downwind from here.

I guess that explains, in part, why I write like I do. I posted on another site I'll probably be winding it down, as I grow weary easily at times.

Have a good day, sir.. I'll try-ta do thuh same...:-D

Posted by: JayT at February 15, 2004 3:53 PM | Permalink

Thanks for the long comment I understand you better and I am sorry we took up so much of PressThink thread as we could have done so by private E-Mail. Mine is if you want the talk More.

I just followed through on my first response by going to a meeting of a Minnesota House candidate who was inspired by Howard Dean and I think she will be nominated at the Caucas in March and endorsed in April.

You see I would never have started at this late date in Politics with out Trippi and Dean. I found my power even if you claim it was a scam. I don't feel it was wasted money. I do have the power and Dean taught me and Trippi deliverd the message. Politics 101 tuition 450 bucks. I got my moneys worth.

Have a nice day and be good to yourself.Sorry to all you Pressthink readers.

Posted by: Ron Schmidt at February 15, 2004 5:25 PM | Permalink

Pressthink owns our words, so they can dispose of them I guess, and I shouldn'a posted that po' me stuff, because everybody's got a tough row...

And I hate to "contradict" you again, Mr. Schmidt...;-)

That's exactly what this has been, an expensive education, but at least I see you got your money's worth! And you demonstrate Mr. Schmidt, MUCH BETTER than Joe Trippi and the Lords of the Blogdom, EXACTLY HOW IT IS DONE PROPERLY. Namely: follow-through.

So I'm glad we had this discussion, and maybe some will drop by Pressthink and learn from your hard efforts and your mature attitude.

I have had a Very hard time seeing any value of the Tripp'd out Movement, because I watched these generally good folks in Blogaria get lured, and then consumed, by the possibility of getting in tight with the "future President". And I've seen one too many teen or twenty-something dishing out LECTURES on how Democracy SHOULD be, and how the old ways "suck", when they have little to no ideas to put forward other than using the silver-tongued approach to "fixing things".

But I'm learning, also, and I'm starting to believe that mebbe next time "newbies" get involved in politics, they'll be more careful who they trust, and it won't turn into a daggone MOVEMENT and an expensive education.. Who knows, for certain? Thanks for writing, Mr. Schmidt.

Posted by: JayT at February 15, 2004 7:35 PM | Permalink

From the Intro