Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"The Hope of the Web"

The reason the Dean campaign collapsed in Iowa, the authors argue persuasively, was largely that the new kind of campaign he was assembling threatened so many powerful people, from rich donors used to the kingmaking power their money gave them to "media advisers" unhappy at seeing their conventional wisdom ignored. Jerome and Kos tell the story of the series of TV ads that helped turn the polls against Dean; they were sponsored by a mysterious new group called Americans for Jobs and Healthcare and they showed, among other things, the face of Osama bin Laden in order to argue that "Howard Dean just cannot compete with George Bush on foreign policy." A few months later when mandatory financial reports finally emerged, it turned out that the ads had been financed by supporters of John Kerry and Richard Gephardt and organized by the "disgraced, corrupt former New Jersey senator Robert Torricelli." All in all, the backers of the ad had given more than $8.7 million to the Democratic Party in the previous few years. Dean made plenty of political gaffes on his own but he had been eliminated by powerful Democrats.
-from the review in The New York Review of Books of Jerome and Markos' "Crashing the Gates."

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