February 15, 2005

My Hotline Column

Here is my most recent column from National Journals' The Hotline

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Web consultant Brian Reich returns to write a weekly column on the new and interesting political happenings on the web. Reich can be reached at editor@campaignwebreview.com.

Canary in the Mine Shaft

If I knew how to predict what candidates would win or when scandals would break, I'd be a very powerful person in Washington. Instead, I read the blogs of the people who read the tea leaves and report back on what they think. Here is my latest report:

1) Nicco Mele, the webmaster for the Dean Campaign and a key architect of their online success, told me the other day that 'Yahoo! Groups were the secret weapon of the Dean campaign.' So I was curious -- have any of the 2008 prospects found this little gem? I conducted a survey (unscientific and not-comprehensive) of Yahoo! Group listings for potential 2008 candidates.
Here is what I found: First, Howard Dean still has dozens of groups from across the country supporting him. For example, there are 229 people trading messages in the Oregon for Howard Dean 2004 group (12 messages posted in the last week) and 400 people claim membership in the Illinois for Howard Dean group (15 messages posted last week). 91 have signed up for the Northwest Indiana (Gary, Hammond, Whiting, East Chicago, Dyer, Munster, Highland, Griffith, etc) group, and there are 97 active members from Essex County, NJ, etc. Lastly, a group called Democratic Wings boasts 186 "Americans who have been inspired by Howard Dean and who are considering a run for an elected office." Of course, Governor Dean has a new job awaiting him, so those groups may want to shift their focus.

As for the next cycle, the group supporting John Kerry in 2008 has 8 members (the remaining 2004 group has 91). Mitt Romney has a loyal following of four. Joe Biden has four people in his group as well. Rudy Guiliani doesn't have a group. Condoleeza Rice has 29 people in her fan club. Fifteen people are signed up for the Yahoo! Group looking to Draft Mark Warner. And only one person has signed up for the pro-Hillary Yahoo! Group while there are nine people in an
anti-Hillary group.

Of all the potential candidates, Who had the largest following? The early prize goes to Even Bayh. The Yahoo! Group dedicated to exploring the candidacy of Evan Bayh for President in 2008 is 183 members strong. I'm not sure yet how many votes in New Hampshire that will win him, but it does show a commitment by the Senator's grassroots base to organize online early. The new Dean-N-C looks favorably on that kind of thing, so pay attention.

2) Let me introduce you to the New Blog On The Block

Fishbowl: DC is the latest in the proud tradition of gossip blogs. Except this one is focused on the DC media scene. Its smarter and more focused than Wonkette but is careful not to take itself as seriously as a real organ of journalism. At the helm of this new media empire is Garrett Graff, the Vice President of online communications for EchoDitto and former deputy national press secretary for Howard Dean's presidential campaign. Garrett IM'd the following insights to me from his perch behind the little plastic castle:

1) Why DC? Are you trying to pick a fight with Wonkette?

This city revolves around the 4,000 reporters who inhabit it -- and yet, there is almost no reporting on the press. Sure, you'll get a Post column here, a City Paper column there, maybe even a little buzz in the Washingtonian. A DC dateline is the holy grail for many reporters and they are rewarded by having tremendous sway over what our nation debates. If there was no medium to cover their back stories -- highlight their successes and mock them relentlessly for their spectacular mind-bogglingly stunning failures, where would that leave us? That’s where FishBowl comes in.

As for Wonkette? Ha! To say we’re in competition with Wonkette is sort of like saying that the Washington Post is in competition with Scholastic Magazine. We may be in the same 'industry,' but we're not in the same league. She got lucky
with one anal sex story and ever since it’s “Wonkette-this” and “Wonkette-that.” She doesn't even show up for work anyone, claiming something about a book deal. Just wait, the stuff we'll dig up on her will make, well, even her blush.

2) Are you really qualified for this? Why should we take you seriously?

I’m not the slightest bit qualified, but when have “qualifications” ever limited a reporter inside the Beltway? At least I write my own stuff. We’re following in the finest traditions of Bob Woodward’s reporting: We’ll be nice to our friends and sources, and merciless to those who don’t return our phone calls.

3) What story will you blog that will blow the roof off this town?

Stay tuned for a story involving a goat and a certain editor-in-chief.... well, just stay tuned.

4) What's your favorite color crayon (and of course, why?)

I’ve always been a Cerulean fan. Cerulean. Blue. But I’m supposed to be 'objective,' so I'll stop there.

Send your tips, comments, and favorite recipes to Brian directly. He'll appreciate them a lot more than we will.

Brian Reich writes regularly for Campaign Web Review and Personal Democracy Forum about the impact of the Internet on politics and campaigns. During this past election cycle, Brian coordinated online media for the Democratic News Service at the Democratic convention and was credentialed to blog the Republican Conventions as well as the Presidential Debates.

Posted by Brian at 02:00 PM | Comments (9433)

February 10, 2005

Happy Birthday Karen!

Today is Karen's 28th Birthday (she's the one on the right)

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Happy Birthday to YOU!
Happy Birthday to YOU!
Happy Birthday to Karen...
Happy Birthday to YOU!

I hope you have a great birthday (and will take on the responsibility of making sure you do). I love you. Happy Birthday!

Posted by Brian at 06:35 AM | Comments (5027)

February 01, 2005


I recorded a podcast last week about Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals and how its lessons can be applied to online organizing. EchoRadio Episode Eight is now live at radio.echoditto.com. Check it out.

The podcast is the latest step in my new project to write New Rules for Radical Communications. What does that mean? Well, I am working to update Saul Alinsky's lessons for the Internet age. I launched a blog about the project and am writing a book/paper outline now.

There is much work still to be done. Stay tuned.

Posted by Brian at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)