John Edwards is running a campaign like you’ve never seen- and he’s got the tools to do it. He’s getting his hands dirty in the homes of voters.

While Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are senatizing themselves and raising money, Edwards is in Pennsylvania, making videos and posting them on youtube and his blog. One Corps, the nationwide people-helping-people program he founded, is a grassroots coalition of American citizen volunteers. Edwards was with one of the groups working to make a woman’s home more energy efficient.

Is this the future of campaigning? Instead of photo op’s and planned media events, the politician makes the media (in real situations, with his own editors), and then distributes it on the Internet. Off the TV and into the computer.

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does anyone else think the “game” of politics has gone a little too far? i mean- come on. the democratic primary is more than a year away and already the nominees are going full speed ahead. and they aren’t even jockeying for positions on important issues or trying to gain voter support. no, it’s not time for that yet. what comes first is what will really determine who’s on the ballot in ’08- $$$.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the supposed “front-runners,” are in a mad dash to see who can get the financing from major contributors. Clinton is feeling pressure from her base givers, some see more star power in Obama.

And what about star-power? Is charisma the only thing voters look for in candidates? Obama- certainly a man with a huge future and massive potential, seems to be little more than an inexperienced senator with big dreams.

Everyone agrees that politics in Washington needs reform. Maybe this is a good place to start. Is it really necessary to spend years campaigning? (Especially when you’re a member of the Senate and you actually have a job to do…but that’s another issue.)

The whole “conversation,” which Hillary initiated and Edwards followed in the footsteps of, is a ploy to make voters think they have a real say in what issues the candidates take on. Maybe the candidates will listen- i’m no cynic. But i can’t see a correlation between raising millions to finance campaigns and caring enough to hold online “chats” with the people.

today is election day, 2006. i’m sitting in the lamont campaign headquarters in meriden, ct and a teenage girl just leaned over and asked an older volunteer, “does ned lamont have a myspace?” he responded, “probably!”

the campaign of lamont was born in the blogosphere. it’s there that angry CT voters gathered first in opposition to incumbent joe lieberman. it’s there that his support is still strongest. it makes sense too. the future of news, technology, jobs, etc. is online. why shouldn’t the future of politics and campaigning be online too? whether lamont and his foreward thinking media campaigners take office and help pave the way for the government on the internet remains to be seen.

the folks here, volunteers and workers alike, are optimistic. they have to be.

The Tribune Company fired Jeffrey Johnson, the publisher of the LA Times, after he refused to cutback his reporting staff by 100. He has been replaced by a man with obvious partisan beliefs (he used to work in the Reagan whitehouse alongside John Roberts.) Read it here.  Scroll down the page.

Also reported is an advertising deal that stinks of corporate control. Free Press, the media watchdog organization, was prevented from taking out an advertisement that rallied against the FCC loosening media ownership rules. Read about it right below the blurb on the Tribune Company. And yup, you guessed it! They’re related.

the way the CT democratic primary race was covered in various media formats has created quite the buzz about new media, blogging and the internet. ned lamont, running a progressive, anti-war campaign had to his benefit many believers who started blogs and effetively mobilized voters as well as online media proponents. check this link for an example of how blogs helped ned.

lieberman, on the other hand did not have the same kind of grassroots activism behind him. his campaign suffered and has still not been able to harness the online energy in the same way.

both candidates have blogs on their websites, but only ned’s is run by champion blogger and netroots aficionado, tim tagaris.

the difference between blog and online coverage and traditional media coverage of this campaign is clear. traditional media tries to cover both candidates and takes no preference while most of the blogs are either pro ned or pro joe. check this article from the times and this one too for examples of traditional coverage.

anti joe/pro lamont blogs: spazeboy, myleftnutmeg, connecticutblog, lamontblog.
anti lamont/pro joe blogs: liebermania, lieberdem, vicious-poodle, bullmooseblogger.

interestingly, many of the pro joe blogs are more about moderate dems in general…

CORRECTION: Spazeboy posted a comment, correcting me on the content on liebermania. it is a satirical pro-lieberman blog.

i am going to closely watch the developments in the ongoing race for the senate seat in CT on my blog. the coverage in both traditional and online media has been heavy and extremely fierce.

lamont’s campaign message has been widely spread in part due to the “blogosphere” and lieberman’s camp is starting to catch on.

for example, just today an anti-lamont blog posted a doctored photo of osama bin laden wearing a ned lamont sticker. it was promptly taken down. read about it here.