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Friday, August 15, 2003

West Wing

Although I try to avoid talking politics when I am socialising (after all who wants to talk about their job when they are having a drink with friends?) I do enjoy relaxing with a political book or a good political drama, "The West Wing" in particular. Considering this is a programme about a liberal President implementing radical policies its popularity in the USA is astonishing. Jed Bartlett is the sort of man who is supposedly unelectable as President of the United States in real life and yet the Americans managed to elect both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The growth of internet campaigning in America is another phenomenon to watch. It seems that there are thousands of small websites all cross-referencing to each other via links and message boards so that a concerted campaign of posting messages can reach a huge number of people. I am reminded of the web-campaign by American librarians that forced publishers to release Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men" after they had shelved it following 9/11 and propelled it to the top of the bestsellers' chart. It is heartening therefore to see that one of the Democrats running for his party's nomination for President is using the web to raise more money than his rivals, to push himself ahead of the pack and to motivate and activate a new generation of voters. There is a lot we can learn about the former Governor of Vermont, but for me the fact that Howard Dean is being promoted as the real Jed Bartlett is enough to justify my passive support for his campaign to become the next President of the United States.

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