Now we can add astroturfing to bad haircuts, excessive sweating, and other apparently less press-worthy reasons (e.g., lack of substantive ideas, insufficient respect for the United State constitution, dubious moral integrity, and limited leadership potential...) for losing elections
Now, as we come to the end of a tumultuous political year, it seems clear that the candidates and their advisers absorbed the wrong lessons from Dean’s moment, or at least they failed to grasp an essential truth of it, which is that these things can’t really be orchestrated. Dean’s campaign didn’t explode online because he somehow figured out a way to channel online politics; he managed this feat because his campaign, almost by accident, became channeled by people he had never met. Dean for America was branded from its core antiwar message down to the design of some of its bumper stickers and buttons by laptop-laden volunteers, and these strangers, it could be argued, both made and unmade the candidate. In the new and evolving online world, the greatest momentum goes not to the candidate with the most detailed plan for conquering the Web but to the candidate who surrenders his own image to the clicking masses, the same way a rock guitarist might fall backward off the stage into the hands of an adoring crowd.