Peggy Noonan parses Obama's ability to win by gathering together various "jangling" constituences today in The Wall Street Journal in a piece titled A Bush League President:
He's raised a lot of money, or so we keep reading. He has a sophisticated, wired, brilliant computer operation—they know how to mine Internet data and get the addresses of people who've never been reached by a campaign before, and how to approach them in a friendly and personal way. This is thought to be a secret weapon. I'm not so sure. All they can approach their new friends with is arguments that have already been made, the same attacks and assertions. If you have fabulous new ways to reach everyone in the world but you have little to say, does that really help you?
A while back I talked to a young man who was developing a wonderful thing for a website, a kind of constant live TV show with anyone anywhere able to join in and share opinions live, on the screen. You're on your iPad in the train station, you log on and start talking. He was so excited at the technology, which seemed impressive. But I thought: Why do you think people will say anything interesting or important?
This is the problem of the world now: Big mic, no message. If you have nothing to say, does it matter that you have endless venues in which to say it?
I get those White House mailings all the time, and then there's Alec Ross flakking on Facebook and lots more on Twitter.
Well, you know what it is? It's the problem of "a Texas six-lane highway going out and a cowpath going in".
That is, it's not interactive. It's not just about having something to say, it's about the interactivity of listening and responding and saying something back that is substantive. You know, conversation. For all this blather about "the conversation" and "the national discourse" there isn't one with whitehouse.gov It's all push media. There is no voting. No forums. Fake one-time votes for fake stuff. And of course that awful email@example.com where we're supposed to inform on our neighbour bloggers if they have "bad thinking".
If there was listening and interactivity, there wouldn't be the HHS decision to harm the separation of state and religion, which is definitely going to backlash on Obama as Catholics start demonstrating more and more in the coming weeks.
The Wired State has been working with Google and its whipsawed techblogs and fanboyz and produced the freeze on the SOPA legislation. It didn't work so well with CISPA, but just as with SOPA, Obama promised to veto it to try to throw it again.
I wonder if, like various foreign policy situations the president has tried to get to "stay put" for the next six months "until I get re-elected," he's decided to stall the trial of Bradley Manning and anything related to WikiLeaks and Assange.