McCain: Giving Up New Hampshire and the Consequences of the Internet on Election 2008

He seems to have given up New Hampshire anyways, or is counting on voters already reading into his tax message.

The picture in this post at Making Light is worth 1000 words, or perhaps more, I think.

It’s been amazing to watch how the Internet has completely changed the election. The Anchorage Daily News would never have gotten their message out to the lower 48 and Hawaii if it weren’t for the Internet. If it weren’t for YouTube, the ability to replay outrageous clips from interviews has worked against Rovian tactics of denial of mistakes—indeed, it’s more than worked against, their tactics exploded in their faces.

If it weren’t for cable and the Internet web pages of certain comedy news shows—ComedyCentral’s Indecision ’08 being high among them—the jokers, the real power behind what’s going on for real, would never have been able to touch people as well as they have. Even YouTube has contributed to the effort, as people make their own videos and channels dissecting and destroying the ridiculous attempts at redaction of a Rovian campaign. Even Google has contributed as people find source material in the form of articles and pictures—and each other.

If it weren’t for social media—from blogs and Twitter, to StumbleUpon and YouTube and even Pundit Kitchen (of the ICanHasCheezburger family)—people would never have connected to each other as well as they did, realizing that they have something in common: the economy, pulling out of Iraq, Palin’s persistent stupidtude, McCain’s inconsistent stands. And those connections built upon themselves, rabidly and so quickly that the Rovian political aides to the McCain campaign never knew what hit them (and, I imagine, still don’t).

Obama understood. And that was how he managed to whip up a grass-roots network support the likes of which the world has never seen before. And all because of the Internet and what its audience of humans, a most gregarious and social species, has managed to develop from it. The old style Rovians don’t understand it—I’ve seen supporters, feh, say that Obama only has that much money because he has rich supporters behind him, insanely rich ones. They only say this because they think it’s the only way it can be done—they don’t understand just how many people there are who are tired, who are exhausted, who are willing to contribute $5, $10, $15, $50 towards a cause they believe in. Rove politics’ cynicism and disrespect for the “little people” was never quite so obvious to me as in that moment.

And never quite so obvious to the American people before.

I’m sure that the Rovians will have learned something from this, if their arrogance doesn’t get in the way. In which case they are quite capable of using the Internet as a massive disinformation campaign… but they would have to win the hearts of the Internet first. And they’ve already burned that bridge, for many years to come.

I have never seen a party disintegrate themselves quite so completely and so devastatingly. I don’t think this amount of damage even happened during the Watergate scandal. I can’t believe this is happening. How can the base of a party be, well, based on a fringe element? Or was that element already there in devastating numbers? I’m almost too scared to ask the question, but the Internet during this election has practically been about asking the questions, even the disturbing ones (perhaps especially the disturbing ones).

For the thinking conservatives among us, the ones who will be excommunicated from the Republican party, since it’s rotted to the point where the base is frankly what the Dixiecrats have evolved into, I hear the Whig party is still breathing, if very shallowly. Plus it’s got an owl for its mascot. Owls are cool. They can twist their heads 180 degrees and get a new view on things.

I’m afraid that the Neocons, the New Republican Party born out of the ashes of what Rovian politics has done to the Old Republican Party, cannot do this. Or perhaps I should be rejoicing. Eight years of an incompetent administration are way too many.

I know that I’ve said on this blog some time before that S∂ wouldn’t discuss politics again during the election. As you can see by my StumbleUpon reviews during these months, and later the various Pundit Kitchen collections I’ve been posting and even been creating, I haven’t been staying out. And that’s because this is an amazing election year—one that’s for the record books.

And because, frankly, this is my country and I should bloody well be caring about it. As Some Canadian Skeptic commented on Beyond the Palin ((The fact that a famous blog about astronomy has gotten involved should tell you the breadth and depth that this election has gotten into the bones of the ‘net)) :

I’ve read a lot of comments on here (and other posts) that usually have to do with the following notion(s):
“They’re all crooked to some degree or another”
“The lesser of two evils”
“Why can’t we just agree to disagree? Why do we have to try to convince other people?”
“Just let it go! This is supposed to be about astronomy!”
“I disagree with Phil’s politics, so I’m leaving, and never coming back!”

As a Canadian with a poltical science degree who has been watching this increasingly bizarre campaign sink into terrible depths of vitriol, naked racism, sexism, and a loose-change understanding of feminism (expensive clothing has NOTHING to do with feminism!!!), it’s comments that espouse apathy that really get under my skin.

Firstly, it’s your country. Care about it. Don’t berate others for caring enough about their country enough to try and express themselves.

Secondly, everytime your country shivers, the rest of the world quakes. I think no other country on earth knows that quite as well as Canada. The idea that one candidate is just the same as the other, and people should stop getting so uppity is not only demonstrably false, but it is flat-out irresponsible.

The full comment is required reading for those who insist that there’s no point in voting.

How political campaigns are carried out now has been radically changed. Never before has the narrative of such things, the kind that generates endless The Making of the President books, has been laid out before the general public—and the world—as plainly and as early as this.

And all because of a little thing called the Internet.