Karl Rove Is A Techie, Twitters, Totes iPhone

rove.jpgBush strategist Karl Rove emerged from his isolation tank last week, and magically appeared at the Willard InterContinental Washington to discuss the crossroads of tech and politics. "One of Rove's main points -- that the Internet creates a dangerous society of spectacle where every political moment is recorded for instant consumption and critique -- was realized as audience members live-blogged, Twittered, and took photos for instant proliferation throughout the Web.
" After the jump, The Washingtonian reports on what Rove says really happens when the Internet meets politics:

• The Internet changes the mechanics and logistics of politics, not its larger purpose.

• The person who masters politics online will have figured out how to convince undecided voters to support their candidate.

• Bloggers and other online writers have distance from their discourse and are enabled to say malicious things they wouldn't say in person or in a letter. Often these authors can be completely anonymous.

• Online vulgarity and profanity threaten to undermine efforts to convince undecided voters, because these people are turned off by coarse language and hyperpartisanship.

• The nature of inexpensive online publishing and other new media ensures that everything a candidate does is recorded; this constant surveillance threatens to damage our political system by catching good candidates in normal moments of human weakness.

• The 24/7 news cycle is enhanced by the Internet, and fact-checking and accuracy are sacrificed by the media in the race to get a story first.

• Online, the proportions of events are skewed in relation to reality such that these events have a short life on the Internet; although they can dominate the political chattering class's attention for a short period, such events often fade in political relevance as time moves on.

On the opposing party:

• Democrats and Republicans are both harnessing the political elements of the Internet, but Democrats are better at talking about it. 

• Rove really did want Howard Dean to be the Democratic nominee in 2004 (as he was quoted saying in a Time magazine article).

• The Republican strategist had an ad ready to go if Dean became the nominee. It highlighted excerpts from a speech Dean had given at the California State Democratic Convention in March 2003: "I want my country back! We want our country back! I am tired of being divided! I don't want to listen to the fundamentalist preachers anymore!" The ad--relying on Dean's own words--caused the Dean campaign "to be over" because it portrayed the candidate in such a bad light according to Rove's focus group research. 

• When Dean touted his 600,000-member e-mail list in the 2004 primary, Rove noted, Republicans already had a 6.2-million-member Bush-Cheney list.

• Ned Lamont's campaign was a giant failure of the liberal online community.

Other interesting tidbits:

• Rove criticized MoveOn.org's Tom Matzzie for boasting that an antiwar group would end the war. Later, the two IM'd on a T-Mobile Sidekick provided by Clay Johnson, a Democratic Internet consultant and friend of the antiwar leader. According to Clay, Rove wrote to Matzzie: "This is rove and I did take your name in vain." He then mysteriously added, "Have enjoyed listening to your [MoveOn?] calls!"

• Rove has an iPhone.

• His favorite blogs include the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web and Instapundit. He couldn't recall visiting the largest blog, Boingboing.net.

Later, off the record, he admitted to being a huge Wonkette fan. Natch!

Karl Rove Gets Twittered, IMs Opponents, and Talks Online Politics [The Washingtonian]


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