Did the Web lead Obama astray?

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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Mickey’s Assignment Desk–Ben Smith, We Have Your Next Column! Why has Obama’s public campaign been so ineffective for the past month? Couldn’t someone digitally sophisticated and untanked–e.g. Buzzfeed‘s Ben Smith–make a good argument that the President was led astray by the overhyped reality and promise of Internet Politics. Specifically, a) he exaggerated the power of his Web-friendly left wing; b) he overestimated the force of attack lines the Web-friendly left wing would find convincing, like pointing out, when discussing Iran in Debate #3, that Romney had once “invested in a Chinese state oil company that was doing business with the Iranian oil sector;” c) he fell for the netroots’ psychological impulse to “fight back” when he should have been borrowing, triangulating and coopting; d) he ended his campaign pushing lame internet-friendly rhetorical gimmicks–“Romnesia,” “The 1980s are … calling”–instead of tried and true substantive pitches about protecting Medicare and Social Security, etc. ** Memes instead of meat! His team is so Web-savvy they’ve forgotten how to campaign…. After all, Obama’s aides are probably all on Twitter. Inevitably, if subconsciously, they’ll tend to skew in favor of ideas that get them big instant Twitter love,  as opposed to old-fashioned themes that will win over the unconverted. Webbische kopf. … I’m sure there are more possible bullet points.

Hard to believe Smith hasn’t already written this. … [You’ll be accused of contributing to false Obama Gloom-ed Don’t you know Obama Gloom is really a brilliant strategy to motivate his supporters?]


**–John Ellis first derided this as Obama’s “‘trending on twitter’ campaign.”

Mickey Kaus