Friday, May 9, 2008

Old v. New: p1

This comment from jsarets on HuffPo has some great metaphors for the difference between the Obama and Clinton campaigns, and the future of politics:

The tragedy of Clintonism is that they package the kind of policies we need in the kind of politics we most certainly don't. The "Third Way" is really just a hybrid of Democratic policy and Republican politics, and the inevitable result is that Democrats have to run the right on policy in order to beat the Republicans at their brand of politics.

The Republicans and Clintons sell politics like IBM sells computers, through an arcane network of distribution channels accumulated over time: the MSM, lobbyists, think tanks, PACs, patronage, etc. This paradigm works well to the extent that politics (and computers) can be sold from the top down.

But Obama has arrived with a direct model that brings to politics what Dell brought to the computer industry. In his style of politics, Obama controls his relationship with the electorate by providing direct access through a centralized communications hub. His plan is to coopt the burgeoning sea of online political communities with one of his own, where he can deliver -- and the American people can receive -- his message unfiltered.

It's all part of Obama's "take back your government" agenda. Americans like to feel important, and the direct model extends this sensation to those who aren't really important enough to have their own IBM sales rep or K Street lobbyist, but who have a Constitutional right to participate in our democracy. He's won't just "work" for us, he'll listen to us.

Nice use of metaphor, and is a great retort to anyone who still stupidly says "Obama can't change Washington any more than Bill Clinton could." Bullshit. The main difference between Barack and Bill is that Bill promised change, but he tried to do it top down by trying to get the players to play the game differently. Barack is getting the fans tuned into a different game altogether, making the old game irrelevant, causing the older players to join in or get out, and hopefully bringing in a bunch of new players.

Matt Stoller has a bit more detailed analysis on this topic of how Obama is changing Washington, with our help. Read it.

At the end of the day, what we're talking about is accountability. When our leaders are accountable to the people, and not just interest groups and lobbyists, that means something. Every person who has given $5 or more to the Obama campaign has a voice now. When other politicians learn what that kind of accountability means, we the people will have that much more power in our government.

Meanwhile, at Camp McCain, we don't have to guess who he's accountable to.

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