Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Wizard

Here they go again.
It's not quite right to say the incoming president Barack Obama has no executive experience. For the past two years, he's run a sprawling presidential campaign with tentacles in every state that raised some $650 million from 3.1 million donors.
Arguing that Barack is qualified to be president because he ran for president.
All campaigns have cadres of surrogates that transition into running the Oval Office. But Obama also has the largest grassroots network of active operatives of any campaign in history. What happens to that network?
And he has an organization! And a website!
Behind Obama's successful campaign was a successful Web site:, a hybrid social-networking/political-organizing site, built by Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook. The site has over a million registered users whom the campaign could ping at a moment's notice, to make phone calls, send e-mails, post videos on YouTube and help plan and attend events and rallies. That network would be enormously helpful for a re-election campaign in four years.
I got woken up at 1am this morning so that Barack could tell me, via text message, that I had got him elected president. So far, I'm not so impressed with my new relationship to power. A little more distance might not be a bad thing.
After losing the presidential election in 2004, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., returned to his role in the Senate. But he maintained his Web site and has used the mailing list to draw attention to issues, raise money for ad campaigns and boost candidates in 2006 and 2008 elections.
Just think how meaningful that has been for us all.
One of Obama's stated goals as president was to get people more involved in their government. On Tuesday night, with the election results showing a decisive victory and Sen. John McCain offering a concession, Obama e-mailed a few million of his closest friends: "We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I'll be in touch soon about what comes next," he wrote. Then, signing off, "Thank you, --Barack."
Okay. But make it 1pm, not am, if you're going to be sending me another text message, okay?

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