The Dangers Of Being The “Internet Candidate”

Is it me, or is it dangerous to be the “Internet Candidate?”

I’m looking at the “Edwards’s Campaign Tries to Harness Internet” New York Times article written by Adam Nagourney (thanks to Patrick). The takeaway is that Edwards is using the Internet like Dean did — to try and spur a populist movement for his candidacy. To do it, he’s hired the man I’ve referred to a countless number of times, Joe Trippi. They make mention of the “Hair” YouTube video that I’ve dissected, and mention (as I hypothesized) that Trippi conceptualized it, and talk about specific techniques that the campaign is using in general.

The quote that interested me the most was this paragraph:

“By all accounts, this is not simply the story of another power struggle in another campaign. Instead, it reflects a decision that Mr. Edwards could not rely on traditional means to get his message through in a Democratic field where the Clinton-Obama battle sometimes threatens to reduce him to an afterthought.”

This makes me wonder — is there a danger to all of this? Does the media narrative of the Edwards campaign now become the notion that he’s ceded the media ground to Clinton and Obama, and that he’s going to take his campaign to the ‘net, in some massive cyber “door-to-door” operation? What are the dangers of being called the “Dean 2.0″ operation, as Nagourney phrased it?

The Edwards campaign isn’t a “net only” operation, but the campaign needs to be concerned about this “Internet candidacy” story becoming the Edwards narrative. I just think that it’s never good when your biggest mainstream story in weeks is about the methods that your campaign employs, rather than what the candidacy is all about.  The campaign needs to show that it hasn’t just been banished to the nether-regions of politics, and that Edwards is still relevant, despite consistently being in a far third place in the polls.


Oh, and my favorite line in the story is the mention that Joe Trippi “is regularly accosted for autographs at events attended by bloggers.”

You mean like this?


~ by Brad Levinson on August 1, 2007.

2 Responses to “The Dangers Of Being The “Internet Candidate””

  1. The main problem with Edwards as the Internet candidate is that Obama is already the Internet candidate.

    I love Joe but the Internet is not just the netroots anymore.

  2. heh. Lovin’ this picture. ;)

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