Rage & Reach

Remember the scream that ended Howard Dean’s presidential run?



That was the start of the modern video age destroying a politician.


And Dr. Dean was just happy and excited, but his enemies made him look like a nut job.

Outrageous they said.

Rage has become the way to get attention these days.

We are a week away from Election Day 2010.   Seth Godin wrote about this change in the way politics:

How media changes politics

If you want to get elected in the US, you need media.

When TV was king, the secret to media was money. If you have money, you can reach the masses. The best way to get money is to make powerful interests happy, so they’ll give you money you can use to reach the masses and get re-elected.

Now, though…When attention is scarce and there are many choices, media costs something other than money. It costs interesting. If you are angry or remarkable or an outlier, you’re interesting, and your idea can spread. People who are dull and merely aligned with powerful interests have a harder time earning attention, because money isn’t sufficient.

Thus, as media moves from TV-driven to attention-driven, we’re going to see more outliers, more renegades and more angry people driving agendas and getting elected. I figure this will continue until other voices earn enough permission from the electorate to coordinate getting out the vote, communicating through private channels like email and creating tribes of people to spread the word. (And they need to learn not to waste this permission hassling their supporters for money).

Mass media is dying, and it appears that mass politicians are endangered as well.



  1. Unfortunately. I do not believe, we are there yet. I for one hope the day, “media costs something other than money,” comes soon. Money continues to buy elections, with the recent Supreme Court rulings that allow corporations to pour unlimited funds into campaign advertising, the wealthiest win. I watched Jimmy Cater last night discuss his Presidential campaigns against Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. In his day they referred to each other as “My esteemed rival.” Had they tried character assassination it would have back fired. Today with advertised half-truths, misquotes, out of context 20 year old quotes, and lies being advertised then repeated on line, the truth, and the issues, are lost in the wind. It is not one party, it is both, however if big business buys the election, who will be served? If Insurance, oil, and finance corporations are the bankroll whose interests come first? President Carter, through the Carter Center, has observed over 70 foreign elections. The United States would not qualify for observation, in part, due to campaign funding. BTW… I was not going to go all political, but it was only yesterday that the middle class had little or no say in this country. The Clinton admin left a 170 billion budget surplus, and W? A 400 + billion deficit (not counting the war). Am I the only one that does not understand how we can hand congress back over?

  2. Thanks Randy for your comment. I believe a lot of us do not trust the politicians we elect.

    I was talking to the campaign manager of a local state candidate and he was telling me his guy is boring and his best quality is he is a nice guy.

    Those who are the most qualified usually don’t run, or those that win have to compromise so much that we have lost a lot of trust in those who rule.

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