Nobody gets the idea of Obama, and perhaps Obama himself, better than Dave Winer. I love Dave’s latest post, Blowing Up the Beltway. Step back a year, to when the Clinton Restoration was proceeding on schedule, and Obama was still this skinny dude from Chicago who gave a great speech at the ’04 convention.
Washington, we all knew, was an insider’s game. It was the Politorium, a backslappy blabblosphere inhabited by a few elected officials, vast allied bureacracies, lobbyists, consultants, and center-feeders of the sort that Hunter S. Thompson explained best. There were good people in there too, but they were trapped.
(An aside: would HST have offed himself if he know Obama was coming? How would he have covered this election? Man, we miss that guy.)
I know people who know Hillary, and to a person they all love her. But she played a new game the old way, and lost while leading in popular votes and Heartland America. It was a defeat more decisive and bizarre than Al Gore took when the Supremes railroaded him and the whole freaking Constitution, at the turn of the Millenium.
But we’re done with that. I think even the talk radio addicts who hate all Democrats by reflex know the old gig is up. The reason has nothing to do with partisan politics and everything to do with Democracy 2.0. That’s the one where the threshold of participation narrows toward zero. We’re not there yet, but we’re headed that way. Obama is leading the way, but it’s not just about him, or his candidacy, or his policies.
|As much as I believe in the idea of Obama, if he doesn’t live up to it, I’ll still believe in the idea, because I always have. I don’t want to be an insider, I don’t want the insiders to rule, I don’t want there to be insiders at all. I want to distribute opportunity and acknowledge intelligence and goodness where ever it appears. I fought against the centralized Inside The Beltway way of doing things in Silicon Valley, and we won. Of course a new aristocracy pops up but their power is as thin as the people whose power got popped in every bubble that came before.|
Then, this kicker:
|The Internet destabilizes every hierarchy it contacts. It erases every barrier to entry. The only way to win is to point off-site, in every way you can think of. Win by offering better value, not by locking users in. People will become instant refugees to escape your clutches. Think you’re immune? Think again.|
It’s about the Net. And the Net is us. It’s all outside, not inside.
And it’s not just about elections. It’s about governance. How we do it matters more than what we do with it. And we’ve hardly begun to visit that one.