- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 18, 2009


After the 2004 election, much was made of Joe Trippi, Howard Dean’s campaign manager and Internet guru. Mr. Trippi is credited with using social networking tools to hook up supporters and to drum up excitement and campaign cash for Vermont’s then-little-known former governor.

His book “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything” capitalized on Mr. Dean’s meteoric yet short-term rise at the hands of a previously competent yet little-known Democrat apparatchik who became an Internet legend for almost getting the dark horse over the primary finish line.

“The Howard Dean campaign was a dot-com miracle,” Mr. Trippi now tells audiences for a handsome price.

But Mr. Dean’s story was also the ultimate dot-com crash: “And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we’re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! Yeeeah!!!”

The “Dean scream” lives in infamy on YouTube. Live by the Internet, die by the Internet.

Now Mr. Trippi gets paid a lot of money to tell clients something that millions have known since the mid-1990s: The Internet is a big, big deal.

The last election cycle bore more online fruit for Democrats.

“Obama is really Howard Dean 2.0 when it comes to online fundraising,” said Phil Tajitsu Nash, who runs Campaign Advantage, a company that makes Web sites and develops Internet strategies for candidates.

So it’s understandable that Republicans are green with envy and scratching their heads wondering why the Internet works for Democrats but doesn’t work for them. The simple answer:

There is no technology that can help overcome the left’s current online dominance.

There is no wizard in Silicon Valley who can make things better.

There is no Joe Trippi who can take an obscure Republican and push him to victory using online tools past, present and future.

Facebook won’t do it. Twitter won’t do it. Countering Soros and MoveOn .org won’t do it. And mimicking Kos and Arianna won’t do it.

Sorry, Republicans, there is no magic Internet button.

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