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Deaniacs Help Sink Dean

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I hate to say “I told you so yet again,” but, I told you so. In a January 13 post entitled, The Blogo-Sphere of Influence, I made these points regarding Dean’s reliance on the Internet as his secret campaign weapon:

“[W]hile it is true, as pointed out by Rice, that campaign blogs create an interactive and, often-times, unfiltered forum, this is not necessarily a good thing. If you visit Dean’s campaign blog,, you will find that among the massive number of comments to each blog entry are plenty of examples of why you should not allow just any old person to post their comments.”

“Which is why I believe strongly that allowing ‘unfiltered’ posting directly on an official campaign site is a train wreck waiting to happen. There are just too many potential problems with allowing such a practice, including such things as turning off potential voters and firing up voters with the opposition party.”

Dare I use the word “prophetic” when it comes to this post? In’s Best of The Web Today section, James Taranto notes an article by Johnathan Last of The Weekly Standard in which Mr. Last relays this experience after visiting the blog:

“The sadistic Jonathan Last of The Weekly Standard checks out Howard Dean’s Blog for America and finds it filled with poor deluded souls:

Cool down,’ explained ‘John Morgan’ late Tuesday afternoon, ‘this is a marathon, not a sprint. Kerry is running low on money and has no grassroots base. Where is he going to get the money?

‘Charlie Grapski,’ a longtime supporter, wrote that ‘in the end, what will win this thing for US (and for our future), is our DETERMINATION and LONGEVITY in this race. As long as we stay focused–WE CAN WIN. WE WILL WIN. WE ARE DEAN.‘ [Didn’t the Borg say that?] Mr. Grapski is a political science instructor at the University of Florida.

As the final races were being called late Tuesday night, ‘Katherine’ wrote:

The way I read it, the attrition strategy is working. Kerry isn’t getting over 50% anywhere except Missouri and Delaware, and just barely 50% in those places. . . . As the field thins, the anti-Kerry vote will be split among fewer candidates.

For Dean, delegates in two states (AZ and NM) and almost a third (ND), with nothing but grassroots efforts, is *fantastic.* Also bodes well for CA . . .

Yeah, winning NM would have been nice, but I’m happy with the way this is turning out.

Live by the campaign blog, die by the campaign blog.

David Flanagan

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  • Ike

    OK you think unfiltered posting is bad. Exactly then how did the ‘blog’ sink Dean. I don’t see a cause and effect…

  • David Flanagan

    I don’t see a cause and effect…

    There are several problems with the way his blog and was run:
    1) People who oppose Dean were leaving messages arguing with the messages that were being posted there for Dean supporters. Not a bad to thing to have if you have a private site that supports a particular candidate, but not a good thing for potential Dean supporters to see if they are trying to decide on which candidate to support.
    2) Every campaign attracts fringe elements that like to come on and draw attention to themselves by posting radical things. So, you see messages posted on Dean’s official site that say things like, “hopefully that candidate will just die,” or some such nonsense that scares away potential supporters and also potentially turns off current supporters.
    3) It gives other campaigns intelligence on what supporters are saying and doing for a campaign. You can’t let your rivals know too much and supporters posting notes, thoughts, and observations to a campaign site gives other campaigns information that they would not ordinarily have.
    4) It allows people who support other campaigns to leave messages pretending to support Dean but which really try and marginalize Dean’s candidacy and win supporters away from Dean.
    5) Its an official campaign site and it gives the media fodder for their articles and news stories that, when published have the potential to damage your fundraising efforts on a much larger scale.

    Those are just a few of the problems that I have with allowing messages to flow unrestricted on an official campaign blog.


    David Flanagan

  • Arjun Singh

    I am not sure what point you are trying to make here. The people here quoted sound to me as normal committed campaign supporters.

  • David Flanagan

    Well, if you read what the people are saying in their posts and measure them against the reality of Dean’s situation at present, you will see a high level of self-deception. Think about this, Dean said just recently that if he loses in Wisconsin he’s done.

    On top of that, Kerry has won nearly every caucus and primary the two he has not won went to Edwards and, of all people, Clark. The only primary that Dean has won so far is Washington, D.C., and not all the candidates even ran in the DC primary.

    So Last is basically pointing out how strange it is for these folks, and others to be talking about victory while their candidate’s situation is so dire. This is the point I was making in my article on January 13, that the media can use angry or inconsistent comments as fodder to marginalize a candidate.

    Dean has said that the media has used him as a punching bag. That is likely true, but he’s partly responsible for this in that he’s allowing the media to marginalize him based, not on his own comments, but on comments posted by fanatics on his official campaign blog.

    Politicians normally control their campaign messages very tightly, but allowing open commentary on an official campaign site is tantamount to political suicide. At the very least, its completely inconsistent with common sense.