Over the last few months hardly a day passed without something coming into Hootsbuddy's g-mail from the Obama campaign.
If nothing else, the election of Barack Obama illustrates the power of the Internet to drive a successful political campaign. But the power comes only partly from the technology. The tipping point derives from the candidate himself. His words, his choice of advisers and consultants, his ability to inspire others to work for no money... all of these qualities and more have made the difference.
And as everyone now knows, the unbelievable amount of money that has come via the Internet has forever changed the way that politics will be done in the future. What we have witnessed during the last year and a half stands as a model for future campaigns for both parties. But in the end, no one can sell form over substance, even -- or maybe especially -- over the Internet.. Lyndon Johnson said it well when he said he could tell the difference between chicken salad and chicken shit. In this day of cyber-swarming it is still possible to "fool some of the people all of the time" because there will always be those for whom ignorance is more comfortable than reality. But no more can anyone get away with "fooling all of the people some of the time," except for a very short time, because time is now measured in seconds and minutes, not weeks, months or years.
And Lincoln's famous conclusion remains true. You still can't fool ALL of the people ALL of the time. The whole world will know very soon what proof of the pudding is in the eating.
This is what came in today's email:
I'm about to head to Grant Park to talk to everyone gathered there, but I wanted to write to you first.
We just made history.
And I don't want you to forget how we did it.
You made history every single day during this campaign -- every day you knocked on doors, made a donation, or talked to your family, friends, and neighbors about why you believe it's time for change.
I want to thank all of you who gave your time, talent, and passion to this campaign.
We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I'll be in touch soon about what comes next.
But I want to be very clear about one thing...
All of this happened because of you.
No doubt it was composed well in advance, by someone on staff, and timed to be sent at just the right moment.
I would be disappointed if I thought it was composed and sent by Barack Obama as he prepared to deliver a speech in Chicago's Grant Park. It pleases me to imagine, though, that the notion may have come from him, even if it didn't, because the gesture says something important about what happened yesterday and the individual who started it all.
This morning he has delivered on the first of two themes: hope.
The other, change, is about to begin.