August 9th, 2006
Slate’s William Saletan argues that the Lieberman/Lamont race demonstrates that the ‘net is indisputably vital to modern politics. The proof? Not that Lamont used internet politics well (which he did), but that Lieberman’s people treated a last-minute site crash as A Very Big Deal and possibly the result of dirty tricks.
I argued earlier that the race demonstrates that online politics works best when when integrated with offline political organizing, which this article doesn’t refute, but Saletan does make the point that email and the web have become such vital tools that their loss in the last minutes of a campaign is crippling. Money quote:
But a medium doesn’t arrive as a dominant force when one candidate succeeds with it. It arrives when everybody else gives in. And that’s what happened Monday and Tuesday, when Lieberman’s site crashed. The senator’s aides, not known for their cyber-savvy, reacted as though they were choking to death.
This is what happens when a medium becomes essential. Losing it produces desperation, pity, schadenfreude, controversy, and official action. (If you liked the investigation of phone-jamming in New Hampshire, you’ll love the investigation of Web site-crashing in Connecticut.)
He also gives some good details of Lamont’s online tactics. Well worth a read.