Monday, February 23, 2004

Sidelining Washington Powerbrokers...

Pre-emptive strike on the Dean machine

Vince Stehle is a director of the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network in San Francisco, a technology support group for non-profit organisations.

"...The Dean campaign demonstrated the power of an intelligent network, not just to expand and pay for itself but to actually perform the vital functions of the campaign. More than any other campaign, it devolved critical campaign tasks to its burgeoning network of supporters.

But like a virus, the Dean campaign also represented a fundamental threat to the health of powerful forces in Washington - the national political media and the city's professional political establishment.

Its rapid rise, independent of the anointing touch of these two pillars of political power, threatened both institutions. Consciously or subconsciously, the political elite understood that their role in providing expert guidance to the vast electorate would have been undermined if the Dean campaign had succeeded.

Political consultants and fundraisers would see their influence wane if candidates could tap their networks for volunteer labour rather than paying millions of dollars in consulting fees.

Campaign fundraisers recognise that their jobs are in peril if politicians no longer need them to provide most of their funds. And political reporters have every reason to fear that voters will cease to take their guidance seriously when they are able to find commentary that is equally compelling on campaign websites and from independent blogs.

The political press and the Washington campaign consulting industry recognised that Howard Dean posed a grave danger to their position and they responded with a fierce campaign to undermine and discredit his message..."

The Guardian on the Dean Campaign

Luckily, the people's voice will only become louder and more powerful. Sorry guys, you're on the wrong side of history, again.

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