Politicians Who GET The Internet...

by M. David Peterson

... are *bound* for greatness.

Update: And for those who seemingly believe that their "power", "wisdom", "intellect", and ""character"" enables them to overpower and therefore overcome the same collective power, wisdom, intellect, and character held by those of us who are listening, watching, communicating, and promoting that in which we both will and, more importantly at this moment in time, *WILL NOT* tolerate as a human culture, let the wrath that is the power of our tightly connected yet loosely coupled Internet communities take its toll upon you. [UPDATE: *PLEASE NOTE*: As per my follow-up to Len** below, "let the wrath that is the power of our tightly connected yet loosely coupled Internet communities take its toll upon you." is *NOT* referring to wrath in the physical sense and instead in the social Internet networking sense. In other words, "Share this with your friends such that they can better understand the subject matter and judge for themselves how they might choose to react with their *alliance* to any given candidate.".

** Please see my SPECIAL NOTE below. Thanks![/UPDATE]

Please watch/listen/and share the following with *EVERYONE* you might come encounter with. Thanks!

[Original Post cntd.]

So just added Barack Obama's Twitter feed to my "following" list, soon thereafter to find the following in my inbox,

Hi, M. David Peterson.

Barack Obama (BarackObama) is now following your updates on Twitter.

Check out Barack Obama's profile here:



So two things,

1) He has either a bot, or an intern/staff member who is adding anybody who adds Barack Obama to the their following list to his following list.
2) Who really gives a damn, because the bottom line is that even with an audience of around 15k followers on Twitter -- or in other words, not even enough people to win him a spot as the mayor of a small city -- he's still paying attention to what's happening out here in the *real* world.

As per point 2, that kind of stuff matters to me. Maybe it does to you too?

** SPECIAL NOTE: While I certainly disagree with a lot of the comments Len (Bullard) has on this particular subject matter, he also happens to be one the smartest, most well versed individuals I know, and the one person I believe most capable of convincing me that my current line of thinking on any given subject matter we might be debating could very well be wrong. And at very least his thoughts/comments require I step back and think things through a bit more. Whether you agree or disagree with his opinions, his blog is a wealth of knowledge and thought provoking dialogue. If you haven't already, I would encourage you to subscribe.


2008-03-12 06:05:14
Nope. Learn from history.

Jimmy Carter tried to read every document handed to him word for word. It was a disaster. I think a person running for chief executive of a nation the size of the US and is twittering doesn't know what reality is.

M. David Peterson
2008-03-12 07:54:30

As per above, quite obviously Barack Obama is not, quite literally, reading everyones Twitter feed. In fact, I doubt much he's reading anything that isn't presented to him by one of his staff members, and even then it's going to be selective based on priority.

My point is simply this: He recognizes that technology exists and that it's an important part of our culture. If John McCain were elected he's already shown what he would like to do to Free Speech on the Internet (@ http://www.oreillynet.com/xml/blog/2006/12/politicians_who_dont_get_web_2.html ) which is ultimately my point: You can't exactly attempt to silence the masses when you have made every effort to become a part of those masses.

Of course, I can only assume that Hillary Clinton is in the same boat as Barack. I know she has a Twitter feed and uses it (or better said, like Barack, her staff posts tweets for her) just as often as Barack > http://twitter.com/HillaryClinton < so this isn't a "Vote for Barack instead of Hillary" post. I just don't see Hillary finding her way into the November election ahead of Barack, so this is simply acknowledgement to the fact that with a lineup of Barack Obama vs. John McCain, from my perspective the winner is clear: The one who GET's the way our culture now works and is not only willing to defend it, but be a part of it as well.

No doubt Hillary would do the same, but I just don't see that happening. At least not with her at the top of the ticket.

2008-03-12 09:07:16
She might, Dave. Hubert Humphrey did. Popular vote and electoral vote aren't the same thing as the last two elections proved. The problem for the Democrats is electability. I know all the arguments on both sides at the moment. I remind you that once the convention starts, it is still a contest. The Democrats can't win without the big states and he can't win them so far. Also, despite the numbers of states he is winning, a lot of those are states the Republican's carry handily in the general election.

I agree with Cowan's comment to me on my blog, paraphrased, the lousy thing is to get two *historical* candidates for the same party in the same cycle. Unfortunate. My question is, if he doesn't carry the nomination, what will you do then?

The kicker is this: Carter is a good man. He was an inexperienced politician. He was handed the complete nine yards of bad business of the previous 2.5 Republican administrations. Not being Hercules, he couldn't clean out the stables. Obama can't either. Nor will Clinton. So no matter who wins this, they have a better than even chance of being a single term President.

No matter what is said during the nomination process, change in Washington will occur in the normal way and the Internet won't alter that. All of that information he is talking about sharing is already shared and few really care. How many hours a week of C-Span do you watch? Do the laws that govern the nation and therefore the capital apply or do you think those can all be changed quickly while the car is speeding through the intersection?

I like the talk. I think that is what it is. Given the challenges, I prefer a seasoned executive and not a rookie with a smooth act. The generational distance in this is obvious but that is a fight we don't want to have any more than we want to have it over gender or race.

If he carries the nomination, I predict McCain will win the election. That is the way the numbers stack. His secure base is the black vote and that is 13.4%. The rest divide up along lines that are not comfortably Democratic. Moderates will move right. With an established liberal reputation, he loses.

And that is what has to be hashed out at the convention. To quote the Trek, "Only a fool fights in a burning house."

2008-03-12 16:04:07
I just have to point out that the subject matter of this post may be misconstrued when the url gets trimmed to "http://..../politicians_who_get_the_intern.html"


2008-03-12 17:23:59

You better get used to the idea that Barack Obama is going to be the next president of the USA. The people of america have enough of the lies and scandals of the Clinton. And trying to change the rules of the games in the middle of the game to give an advantage to the losing team is not going to work. The people will fight back, you can count on that.


2008-03-13 06:40:22
I doubt that, Sunshine. Supporters afraid to sign their own name to their posts don't have the credibility required to elect an American president.
2008-03-13 12:02:31
I think the "idea that Barack Obama is going to be the next president of the USA" is exactly what len is referring to: do you place your vote behind an idea or behind a reality. I'm a canadian, so unlike Neil Young, I'm pretty non-partisan here, however, I will say that here in Canada, we have a very vocal deep left, which hasn't been in power for many years; they do, however, have an important influence on the moderate left, who adopt many of their ideas. Ideas are important as well as pragmatics.
2008-03-13 15:23:51
I think his website, especially when it comes to giving folks the ability to post blogs, organize get-togethers, etc., is a better example of him (or his campaign) getting the Internet.

That is until he complains about Twitter being down at one of his campaign stops. :)

2008-03-13 17:29:10
I don't think "historical" has anything to do with it. While some may support a candidate because of some non-relevant factor like someone's ancestry or what equipment someone was born with, the difference between Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson is that Obama's support transcends those dividing lines.

I think a lot of Americans are coming to realize that we don't *need* a president who is Black or female, we need a president who places the needs of people (for things like health care and freedom from oppression) ahead of the desire of corporations and government agencies to collect information on us and use it to increase their power over us.

As someone who voted for Nader last time, I am all for someone who will reign in the abusive practices of corporations and government agencies.

Old-style politics is not what is attracting the interest of voters. It is the chance to right some of the wrongs in our country and to once again make us an example of what other countries can aspire to do for themselves.

As for McCain, a lot of us have twenty year-olds and do not relish them dying to increase oil company profits. Even when we all believed Iraq was building weapons, they were never a threat to us, so we should never have invaded. Until McCain can acknowledge that, he's lost the fortyish group entirely.

2008-03-13 17:47:43

Let’s talk about "idea" vs. "reality" in this campaign and which of these two candidates is the most disconnected from reality, the most incompetent executive, and the least ready on national security.

Hillary Clinton who is trailing Obama in delegate count, popular vote, and the number of state victories is offering the VP seat to Obama on the so called "dream ticket". Obama has rejected the offer because he is not power hungry and desperate like Clinton. The leading white woman in Congress (house speaker Nancy Pelosi) said today that such a ticket is "impossible". Why is Pelosi saying that? Because she knows that Clinton’s tactics are destroying the party and will hand an easy win to McCain in November.

On executive experience, Clinton burned all her campaign cash by December and had to inject 5 millions of her "own money" into the campaign in January, before firing her campaign manager. She still hasn’t disclosed her tax returns like all the other candidates to explain where the money came from. She has therefore demonstrated her arrogance and sense of entitlement. A campaign is a perfect example of a non-profit enterprise like the government itself, and if the management of her campaign is an indication of what she calls being "ready on day one", then the current recession will continue for another 4 years.

On national security, she still has not released the documents related to her co-presidency in the white house. What is clear however is that while the Clintons were embroiled in various sex scandals, investigations, and impeachment, they failed to detect and stop the attacks of 9/11. We also know that Sandy Berger, Bill Clinton’s national security adviser has been convicted in 2004 for stealing classified terror-related documents from a national archives reading room before testifying before the 9/11 Commission. She also hasn’t released the list of donors to the Clinton library.

Do the voters deserve to know all these facts she is hiding?

Cindy R.

M. David Peterson
2008-03-13 17:49:29

Sorry. I can't side with you on any of this. As per the above update, I believe now -- more than ever -- is the time for us to recognize that the patterns of old world media and old world politics have no place in the new world of interactive and collaborative media in which the people have as much -- if not more -- power as do the traditional media outlets to change the course of an entire election based on principles of human dignity and culture, something of which Hillary Clinton does not have nor does she get.

M. David Peterson
2008-03-13 17:57:29

>> I think his website, especially when it comes to giving folks the ability to post blogs, organize get-togethers, etc., is a better example of him (or his campaign) getting the Internet.

That's a *VERY* good point. In fact, as per > http://code.google.com/p/draftlessig/ < this is exactly the foundation upon which I began building the platform for what many of us hoped to be a run for Congress by Professor Lessig. I've now change that project name to "Open Candidate",


... and hope to continue building that platform such that this type of grass roots campaigning can become the norm, not the exception as it is at present time.

Thanks for bringing this out!

M. David Peterson
2008-03-13 17:59:32

>> I just have to point out that the subject matter of this post may be misconstrued when the url gets trimmed to "http://..../politicians_who_get_the_intern.html"

Nice catch! I totally missed that one... Classic! :D

M. David Peterson
2008-03-13 18:03:52

>> Do the voters deserve to know all these facts she is hiding?

Absolutely they do! Of course, at this stage of the game my hope is that we can avoid a witch hunt and focus on a campaign cycle between two candidates ready to tackle the issues rather than attempt to tackle and beat down one another in a campaign built upon personal attacks instead.

Thats the day I am personally looking forward to. I just hope it happens sooner rather than later, for everyones sake.

2008-03-14 08:18:33
The big girl needs to step up and remind everyone where we were three and half decades ago when we promised each other it would stop in our generation. Not an apology, but a message of faith and hope. This is the time.

If the campaigns don’t get this message and the candidates don’t stand together right now and tell their supporters this IS what they are both about, then winning the election isn’t worth it because we are no better than the Republicans, or the Minister, or even Ferraro.


2008-03-14 09:29:41
"... let the wrath that is the power of our tightly connected yet loosely coupled Internet communities take its toll upon you."

So you want to set the cities on fire again? Burn down the neighborhoods? Create urban wastelands that last for twenty years while those who live in them are plunged into deeper misery? Do you want all the world to be post-1960s Detroit?

No, David. You don't get it at all. I hope you never do. It was terrible beyond words I have to describe it, but we lived through that. If words really matter, then understand it is not just what you say but who you listen to. If you are feeding each other that kind of manifest destiny speech, you are ill and spreading the disease fast.

Lay it down. No election is worth it.

Tim O'Brien
2008-03-14 12:09:38
Right, Obama's campaign has been a step ahead of most when it comes to the internet. The site itself looks better, more organic, more social.

The difference I've noticed is that Obama's comments are wide open, Clinton's comments are heavily moderated to keep out negative comments: read this blog post if you will.

2008-03-14 15:49:05

>>> Nice catch! I totally missed that one... Classic! :D

well, ajaxian recently ran an article "Getting some $ with Dojo", only the '$' got dropped, and the page ended up "getting-some-with-dojo" - gotta love the internets! Sorry to derail, this is some good discussion.

(are you around SLC next week, btw? I'm going to be visiting for a week. drop me an email! I emailed you, but probably got spam-filtered)

M. David Peterson
2008-03-16 12:33:20

>> http://lamammals.blogspot.com/2008/03/lay-it-down.html

Can we have a personal conversation? Quite possibly over the phone? I need to understand your perspective better than I believe is possible over our current form of passion-influenced communication.

Piers is in town (SLC) in a few days. Maybe the three of us can come to better understand each of our positions in a three way phone conversation?

M. David Peterson
2008-03-16 12:38:20

>> (are you around SLC next week, btw? I'm going to be visiting for a week. drop me an email! I emailed you, but probably got spam-filtered)

I just looked, and found your email. It wasn't spam filtered, but it was buried. I had a few days in which I couldn't stay on top of my @xmlhacker.com account, and the end result is several thousand emails that I am just now filtering through. Most are mailing lists and what have you, so easy enough to filter through. But it still took a while. My apologies for not responding sooner!

206.999.0588 is my cell#. I am *SOOO* looking forward to finally meeting you in person! Will respond to your email now, but *please* get a hold of me so we can make plans!

2008-03-17 06:46:10
It's not passion, Dave. I'm quite cold about this topic. It is not negotiable.

I've been aware of Reverend Wright and his teachings for some time and of his association with Farrakan. Farrakan came to our city to speak a few years ago at Alabama A&M a predominantly black college. It is a state school and was a public appearance. His goons stood at the door blocking entrance to whites. He speech as reported in the local news was full of hatred for whites.

Get the point: Hate. This isn't something we resolve in a three way conversation, David. Hate is not acceptable. That was not Martin Luther King's dream and because it was not, my children did not inherit racism. We live together in peace and we enjoy our diversity. We do not condemn for color or religion. We thrive together. I live in the part of the world most associated with the racist era, but I lived the change, I helped make the change where I had power, and I will not go back to watching the cities burn because greedy vain men think they can win an election playing both sides of the fence with an issue that only has one side: peace.

It wasn't the campaign I wanted to be talking about but it has to be now. You believe in the technology, but it is just stuff. The meaning isn't in the message; it is in the source.

Obama is a member of a group that for over twenty years has been affiliated with a source that sows hatred. He has one message for his campaign, but another in his personal life because he accepts it without protest. Obama only distances himself when found out. That betrays all other promises and rhetoric. It is weakness of character offered at a time when strength of character is the message he conveys. I agree with that message. I reject its source.

That said, Lessig isn't my cup of tea. While I find many of the ideas compelling, I simply don't buy the "We are the Web. Resistance is futile." notion. We have to be a nation of laws because we are a nation of many origins. Consent of the governed is the source of our will to strength and wisdom. That the laws must adapt to the time and technology is evident, but force and violence even where passive and non-threatening on the surface are still force and violence. The idea that code is law means that vigilante code is the future of the web. A car can drive in excess of 200 MPH but that doesn't make that speed safe for any driver under any conditions.

If our technology is the means of change, it must be change we can agree to or it will be a means of disintegration.

Obama took his children to that church to listen to Reverend Wright. I can't get past that. He embraced those teachings by embracing Wright and nothing he says can change that history. These old politics you talk about are precisely those kinds of politics. As soon as you say 'wrath', you are on that path. Same old wine; brand new bottle.

Racism is a disease be it white racism or black racism. Obama and the new Trinity pastor tried to make a case over the weekend for black racism being somehow understandable. They hemmed and hawed, but they could not lay it down because to do so is to reveal how deep that hate is among their base, and that base is the source of their power which they will not give up.

Hate is never acceptable. Not now, not for black or white or brown or red or yellow. Never.

Obama's lack of honesty and courage on this subject voids any acceptance of his candidacy for me. If Lessig is hitching his horse to that wagon, he rides into that terrible void with it.

2008-03-19 15:34:13
The Associated Press today wrote:

"Hillary Rodham Clinton was in the White House on a half dozen days when her husband had sexual encounters with Monica Lewinsky, according to the first lady's calendars released Wednesday."

More info to come. Stay tune.


2008-03-20 06:38:12
That's slimey, Martin. There is no other word polite enough to put here for it. You would destroy a marriage to make a political point? She saved her marriage after $40 million was spent trying to destroy it for the sake of political power? That is simply slime and it does your candidate no good.

And yet Obama, after a long campaign of saying he is for transparency and open administrations chose to disenfranchise the people of Michigan and Florida because he fears losing.

Other issues where he has repeatedly said one thing then done another only to give a good speech when finally confronted with his duplicity reveal the essential defect of his character: lack of good judgement.

Whatever did or did not happen in the White House isn't known. What has been said and done in the Obama campaign is. Let the voter's decide which has more importance to being chief executive.

2008-03-20 09:45:15
The Associated Press continues:

"At least five meetings from the summer of 1993 until the end of that year aimed at helping her husband win congressional approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement... In one, on Nov. 10, 1993, her schedule shows her speaking about NAFTA to 120 people in a closed meeting."

M. David Peterson
2008-03-23 08:25:00

This conversation is obviously well past where either of us, I believe, would have preferred, but I did want to quickly clarify something: "let the wrath that is the power of our tightly connected yet loosely coupled Internet communities take its toll upon you." is *NOT* referring to wrath in the physical sense and instead in the social Internet networking sense. In other words, "Share this with your friends such that they can better understand the subject matter and judge for themselves how they might choose to react with their *alliance* to any given candidate."

Sorry for leading you to believe I meant something of a much more physical wrath! That's certainly not what I meant nor would have wanted to have come across. I'll update the post to clarify.

2008-03-24 06:30:09
The intent won't matter. The bile ratcheting up in the campaigns turns the landscape into dry tinder. The events I refer to happened usually for reasons few could comprehend after the neighborhood's burned down. That is what madness is: crazy behavior. No election is worth it.


We really shouldn't have political conversations on this site. We both have reasons for picking our candidates, but like a serious conversation about race, it can't be done during a time of this much passion on all sides. Best to let it cool and get back to work. If we want to have this discussion, let's take it to our personal blogs or to the news sites.

2008-03-24 06:44:02

I agree with you. Keep your BS to your personal blog.

2008-03-24 09:19:46