Just got back from Chicago, where I got to see Joe Trippi speak about his book, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Rumor had it I’m actually mentioned in the book, and sure enough, there I am. Twice, even!
I drove Joe to the airport after the book signing, figured it would be a good chance to get caught up. I asked him about this week’s US News piece, which seemed to be quite the platform for some score-settling. Joe was predictably disappointed, but his support of Governor Dean and the campaign in spite of the USN&WR article was impressive. When asked about the campaign, Joe pointed out, “In 30 years in politics, I’ve rarely seen a politician look at a poll where 80 percent of the people were for one position and 20 were for another, and pick the position with the 20 percent. Governor Dean spoke up early and passionately about the war, and gave the party life again. It took guts, and I gave the campaign everything I had because I believed in him.”
For the record, I found the USN&WR account of Kerry’s salvaging of Iowa to be remarkable. It echoes what I’ve observed before — that Kerry’s organization was stronger than anyone gave them credit for — and speaks quite highly of strategy and discipline. (Anyone else intrigued by the appearance of the secrecy and discipline theme showing up in another high profile piece on Kerry? This time it’s about his Iowa guy, Whouley — but the whole VP selection process focused heavily on the secrecy and discipline as well. Wonder what that’s all about?) As for the comments on the Dean campaign? Like with other debriefs, I think it’s best to take these not as fact but as one person/group’s representation of what happened. No doubt there’s elements of truth in each of the debriefs, but I think the agenda apparent in the USN&WR piece is obvious enough.
As I said to Joe tonight, personal attacks aside, one thing the USN&WR article did was lay to rest, once and for all, the canard that the Internet killed the Dean campaign. Compare and contrast Maslin’s Atlantic piece with Simon’s own piece in the USN&WR, and I think plenty of answers bubble to the surface. For what it’s worth, the fact that we’re talking about the Dean campaign’s demise at all is testament to the miracle of the campaign in the first place. Much of that miracle (the money, the people) is a direct result of the Internet strategies employed by the campaign.
I admire Joe for what he built, and I can’t wait to see what he does next. Oh — and if you’re in St. Paul tomorrow night and his flight got in OK tonight, then be sure to stop by the book signing at Ruminator Books at 7:30.