The Web Site That May Change History
For 15 or more years, Craver and I dropped off each other’s radar screens until suddenly last summer I received an e-mail from him asking if we would be in San Francisco for the DMA’s annual conference. It turned out that we were both going to be there and we made a dinner date.
Peggy and I met Roger at Kuleto’s, an old-world Italian eatery off Union Square. Its décor included mirrors, lots of dark wood trim, big comfortable banquettes and it boasted “a 40-foot-long, intricately-carved Brunswick bar made in England, which was brought around Cape Horn aboard a clipper ship and survived the 1906 earthquake while installed at the Palace Hotel.”
Roger was unchanged after 15 years—a tad more rotund, but with the same ebullient intensity, the foghorn voice, Terry-Thomas gap between his two front teeth and explosive laugh. We started talking and the years melted away.
Midway through dinner the subject turned politics, whereupon Roger laid on us a breathtaking vision of the 2008 election.
The Nominating Process
It was the notorious 19th century New York City Democratic political boss, William Marcy Tweed, who said, “I don’t care who does the electing as long as I do the nominating.”
By March 9, 2004, John Kerry had locked up the nomination as a result of primaries and caucuses in just 28 states.
Democrats in the other 22 states had no say in the nominating process—just a ‘“yes” or “no” on Election Day.
The Democratic and Republican conventions have become vestigial, Roger pointed out. No longer do delegates convene to choose candidates for president and vice president. The conventions are merely coronation ceremonies, so tedious that the networks have handed the gavel-to-gavel coverage keys over to cable news.
How Howard Dean Tamed the Internet
The idea for Unity08—a third party with a virtual convention that will take place on the Internet—was very likely inspired by Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign for president. From nowhere, the Dean campaign became a vast, loose-knit, viral network of bloggers, contributors and propagandists that briefly propelled the fiery former Vermont governor into the front ranks of Democratic contenders.