Trippi Praised McCain's "First Bold Attempt To Harness The Power Of The Internet"

Cassy touched on the latest Obama ad earlier, mocking John McCain’s self-proclaimed computer illiteracy. I remember a distinctly different history from the one Obama tries to paint. A little digging not only turned up evidence that McCain’s injuries from his time as a POW, but effusive praise from one of the people who made Obama’s Internet driven candidacy possible.

The man behind the Howard Dean’s Internet operations, Joe Trippi, details where he got his inspiration in his book, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything

From Page 59:

Of course there’s a fine but excruciating line between being the first and being the first to succeed. There can be a ten or fifteen-year lag time between the visionary and the vision. So for the first fifteen years, the naysayers win, and just before the thing is about to become a reality, a whole bunch of people give up on it. It’s like that brick-size Apple Newton that I had in 1993, a failure in the business world, but the precursor to all of today’s PDAs. In 2000, as tech companies list their pipeline to easy funding, a bunch of great ideas went under, devices that, in ten years, we won’t know how we lived without, services that will make so much sense that we can’t imagine they haven’t always been around. Like buying airline tickets on the Internet. Start up an online travel agency ten years ago and you’re a bankrupt idiot. Start up an online travel agency two years ago and you’re a billionaire.

It’s no different with politics. I had watched the “1-800” populist candidates, like Jerry Brown and Ross Perot, and I closely followed John McCain’s insurgent Republican presidential bid in 2000, the first national campaign to attempt to make use of the Internet. I held my breath that year – excited that someone was trying it, but terrified that they’d pull it off before I got the chance. They didn’t. McCain managed to pull a decent number of people, about 40,000, into his campaign via the Internet, but it was the Newton of online political campaigns. The technology simply wasn’t quite mature enough yet; enough snow hadn’t been plowed.

From Page 103, referring to the 2000 election:

And it’s how a Republican Senator like John McCain could use the Internet to raise $6.4 million after his shocking win in the New Hampshire primary.

From Back Matters:

The Dean campaign and all that we accomplished was made possible by the ideas and hard work of countless others who came before us: From Gary Hart’s brilliant concentric circle organizing strategy to John McCain’s first bold attempt to harness the power of the Internet, there are staff members and candidates who plowed the terrain and helped create what we were able to build.

In May of 2000, Forbes published a long article on John McCain’s Internet campaign operations showing he was intimately involved in the use of the technology. He was even a big (at the time) e-mail user.

In certain ways, McCain was a natural Web candidate. Chairman of the Senate Telecommunications Subcommittee and regarded as the U.S. Senate’s savviest technologist, McCain is an inveterate devotee of email. His nightly ritual is to read his email together with his wife, Cindy. The injuries he incurred as a Vietnam POW make it painful for McCain to type. Instead, he dictates responses that his wife types on a laptop. “She’s a whiz on the keyboard, and I’m so laborious,” McCain admits.

And what was the chosen one doing in 2000? I’m glad you asked.

As a correspondent for the Chicago Reader, I covered Obama’s 2000 campaign to unseat Bobby Rush, the ex-Black Panther who’s been a Democratic congressman from Chicago’s South Side since 1993. It’s the only election Obama has ever lost. As even one of his admirers put it, “He was a stiff.” You think John Kerry looked wooden and condescending on the campaign trail? You should have seen this kid Obama. He was the elitist Ivy League Democrat to top them all. Only after losing that race, in humiliating fashion, did he develop the voice, the style, the track record and the agenda that have made him a celebrity senator, and a Next President.

Losing seems to bring out the condescending elitist in Obama.

The ad suddenly makes a lot more sense…

Lorie adds: When I saw the email ad I was amused that it was so lame, but then thought it ironic because as a blogger I know what a great job the McCain campaign has done regarding outreach. McCain gave bloggers unbelievable access during the primary. He personally did blogger conference calls and not only answered questions for an extended period of time, but answered them pretty darn candidly. Most of the politicians that do those calls give you the same canned answers you hear them give in sound bites on the cable shows, but McCain often surprised me with his off the cuff remarks. I never knew what his answer was going to be. McCain’s blog outreach guy, Pat Hynes, has gotten much attention for the success of his efforts, even being cited in a couple of articles in national newspapers. As Cassy and Kevin showed, Obama’s people really do need to discover Google.

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