NH Close…

Now — it is getting close once again — we are waiting for the next shoe to drop — and whether or not Kerry will be able to pull off New Hampshire. What I believe is that, with Dean wounded at the moment — his supporters know that NH is the “Waterloo” as the press calls it. And Kerry’s team is truly working the voters — trying to pull the same story in NH as he did in Iowa. From MSNBC, they write:

Siphoning from Dean
He hopes to keep siphoning voters from Dean, whose temperament and judgment came into question during the Iowa caucus campaign. Crowds at both Kerry and Dean events are filled with people torn between the candidates, their hearts for Dean and their heads for Kerry. “I like Dean a lot but I’m concerned about his electability,” said Art Hayek, 50, before Kerry spoke to a crowd in Concord. “I fear he might not have the experience and support beyond voters like me. Kerry might have a better shot against Bush because of his war experience.”

At a Dean rally, Gloria Kelly, 55, said, “His Iowa speech turned me off and I started thinking about Kerry. But if I had to decide now, and I don’t, I’d go with my heart and Howard.”

Kerry is solidifying his claim to be the party’s establishment candidate. In addition to the League of Conservation Voters endorsement, Kerry in recent days has won support from former Vice President Walter Mondale and South Carolina Sen. Ernest Hollings.

The line “Heart says Howard, Head says Kerry” — was the line that was being brandied about back in June/July — when people were amazed at the prowess that HD had accomplished back in June/July. And I had the same issue going through my mind. What I believe in is the power of the “movement” that HD has created, or more appropriately, been the focal point of. All of the progressives — the people who believe in the transformative effects of the Internet had (to some degree) successfully accomplished the goal of changing the process and structure of business. Now, you can not expect to see a successful company without a quality website and/or a method of handling customer feedback/complaints from email or forums.

As recently as 1995, I worked in a software company that tried to minimize the effects of having a user forum on Compuserve — since the company did not listen to the customer complaints or even have someone on the forum, it became a dumping ground for the company — and a poaching ground for our competitors. Now, flash forward to 2003/04 — Washington politicans are focused on “retail politics” — connecting with the voter and building the relationship though the typical channels they are used to: press, reporters, party officials, and “regular” voters.

With HD and Trippi, the other people who are not party to this exclusive power channel are now given “access” to the channel — blogs become the single-threaded forum that allows other people to connect. The open-source efforts pushed by the DeanSpace are fostered by Zephir’s need to connect with the online community — have someone commit something to a cause, whether it be money or time, and you get an even-stauncher volunteer and activist. DeanSpace might not be the enterprise-quality software that most corporates are looking for, but it is the AIDS quilt that is causing people to become supporters because they are part of something.

Where we (the Kerry Camp) has focused on has been the typical machine that is the political arena — Dean focused on capitalizing on the grassroots effort — with the message. Zephir built the community relationship, Matt with the blog and Trippi making Dean speak to the MeetUp and the people on the stump.

The message of “taking back America” resonated — and it fed upon itself — with people making blogs, websites, eGroups and other cyber ways of expressing their “endorsement” of the candidate. With this outware reflection — the movement grew — to a degree that allowed people to associate with HD — and thus became self-reinforcing. When HD did the Iowa speech — I watched with the enthusiasm of the students on the floor. What amazed me was that he did not think of speaking to the world — but rather the people assembled in the room. It was there that he got people fired up — and he was not “worried” about the world’s perception. To that end, he speaks with his heart — it is from that place that he both has his greatest strength and greatest political weakness. It will be interesting in the last few days to see what happens.

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