Elizabeth Edwards passed away this week and is being warmly remembered from all corners. Many people talk about her great heart and the strength of her resilience, and it’s true that she was an incredible model for anyone dealing with personal pain.
But I remember her best for being whip smart and unbelievably charming. I met her once, and she was even more brilliant and impressive in person. Her death is a huge loss for Chapel Hill, for North Carolina, and for the whole country that has been a beneficiary of her health care activism in recent years.
I swear Rosemary and I didn’t plan this, but I just read and wanted to post about this article by my friend Micah Sifry about Elizabeth Edwards. He says she is the “only person who I think we can genuinely say is participating in the blogosphere, as opposed to just using it.” One of his supporting examples is Eliabeth’s visit to OP to answer some questions I had raised about the location of their new home and the status of their voter registration.
As usual, she responded openly and directly. As I wrote to Micah, Elizabeth is so smart and fierce and charming it’s scary. Further proof was seen in her graceful handling of that clown Chris Matthews on live TV recently. I sometimes have complaints about her husband’s policies (the same I have of almost every Democrat), but as a person I only admire her more the more I get to know her. I wish nothing but the best to the entire Edwards family.
Thank you for sharing part of your life with us, Elizabeth. You made the world a better place by sharing yourself with us.
Since you ask… why yes I was quoted in the Washington Post today! 😉
All the presidential hopefuls are online. Everyone’s got a Web site. A few hired full-time bloggers and videographers. Most have MySpace profiles, just a click away from “friending” a supporter. Yet Edwards has taken his Internet presence a step further, fully exploiting the unknown possibilities (and known pitfalls) of the social Web, online strategists say. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), judging by the number of friends on MySpace or number of views of his YouTube videos, may be the most popular online candidate, Republican or Democrat. But Edwards arguably has the most dynamic Web presence — he’s everywhere, doing everything.
Adds Ruby Sinreich, an online consultant who works with nonprofits and writes the progressive blog OrangePolitics.com, “What you have to remember is that signing up for these social networking sites is free, and it shows that he’s open to new ideas and open to the openness of the Internet. Look, voters are swayed by the people they know. That’s not new. That’s not about technology. But what we have now is a new technology that is all about building relationships.” – Grass Roots Planted In Cyberspace – washingtonpost.com, 3/30/07
I also pointed the reporter to Valdis Krebs, so I’ll take a little credit the smart stuff he said as well.
Salon has a very interesting article today by Lindsay Beyerstein of Majikthise on why she turned down the job that Amanda Marcottebriefly held with the Edwards campaign. She also addresses what she thinks is a major flaw in their online strategy: by making bloggers “official” you remove most of the value of their independent, outsider voices.
The Edwards campaign wants decentralized people-powered politics. Ironically, by hiring well-known bloggers to manage a destination Web site, it was actually centralizing and micromanaging. Every campaign needs a blog, but the most important part of a candidate’s netroots operation is the disciplined political operatives who can quietly build relationships with bloggers outside the campaign. And the bomb-throwing surrogates need to be outside, where they can make full use of their gifts without saddling a campaign with their personal political baggage.
I tend to be more interested in “how the web is using them” than “how the candidates are using the web” in techPresident’s mission. So of course I’m fascinated by the John Edwards Is Good website. I like the ambiguity of this slogan. Does it mean Edwards is good… looking, for America, at billiards? It could be any of the above.
When I saw first these 80’s-inspired t-shirts popping up during the 2004 campaign, I took them for nothing more than a smarmy remark on Edwards’ looks from some overly-clever college students. However, it seems that this meme has blossomed into a full-on campaign. While the goal was previously to market the shirt and take pictures of people wearing it in funny places, now the site seems to be semi-seriously promoting the election of John Edwards.
One the things that I found most powerful about Dean for America was how they allowed any interest group to really adopt the candidate and make him their own. Left-handed Rhode Island gun-owning cat lovers for Dean – right on! This is a great way for potential supporters to build community and feel that their interests are represented. Apparently this particular toungue-in-cheek version started with Mark Warner is Good (RIP), and has also spawned Obama is Good which sports all of the same features as John Edwards is Good (JEIG).
The sites have their own Facebook groups (of course), and links to MySpace, etc. They also have serialized, unauthorized biographies of their candidates, but the Obama is Good (OIG) site seems more earnest, while JEIG has a lot of humorous, fictional content and silly pictures. One my favorite features is a comparison of which is better, John or Elizabeth Edwards? (I’m partial toward the latter.)
I couldn’t find an equivalent Hillary is Good site, but it’s just a matter of time. Are there any similar independent and unorthodox campaigns for other candidates?
I am so damn mad about this. Since when do conservative zealots determine standards for Democratic campaigns?
Edwards should never have validated Donahue’s complaints. This whole thing should have just been an amusing footnote in campaign blogging history a year from now. Instead it has set a horrible precedent which will keep honest bloggers from supporting viable candidates for many years to come.
Seriously, who the hell cares what right-wing christians think of Democratic political staffers? Do Republicans care that their staffer are racist, sexist, homophobes? Do we make a federal case out of it? Aaargh!
As if I needed more reasons not to like her, Hillary Clinton’s campaign appears to have bought the domain name edwards08-dot-com and pointed it to hillaryclinton-dot-com. Actually, I’m not sure who registered it.
I heard about this story from a blogger I don’t know, and I looked up the domain and the WHOIS information is inconclusive. It’s possible that a “rogue” activist did this and not her campaign. The original registration date is 2/19/04. Anyone care to do additional detective work? And can someone write a press release because this is the kind of garbage that needs to be reported on.
Here’s one of my recent favorite John Edwards quotations (from his video blog entry “The Plane Truth“):
I’ve come to the personal conclusion that I actually want the country to see who I am, who I really am. But I don’t know what the result of that will be. But for me personally, I’d rather be successful or unsuccessful based on who I really am, not based on some plastic Ken doll that you put up in front of audiences.
If he’s serious about being true to himself before being true to the TV cameras, well, my boots will be a little lighter, but more importantly I could really feel good about working for that campaign.
I fully understand why JohnEdwards.com is not exactly the most responsive web site at this moment. 😉 But I am a bit concerned about his advertised “live blogging at 11 am CST” (in 2 minutes) when I see this message:
Please stand by…
The One America Committee Blog is down momentarily for a code upgrade. We will be back up in just a few minutes. Thank you for your patience.
W00t! Shoutout to Greensboro’s Converge South, and to conference diva Sue Polinsky. I can see the network forming before my eyes.
But wouldn’t it have made more sense for a blogger like Ed Cone (who has some credibility talking about politics and an interested audience) to be with him? I guess Edwards is trying to reach geeks, not Democrats. Fair enough.