Howard Dean Guests on Lessig's Blog

While Stanford Law professor Lawrence Lessig was away, Governor Howard Dean filled in on his blog. Here are a few excerpts:

[T]he Internet can help us restore active participation in our democracy. But in order to include everyone in the process, we need to expand net access to rural areas and to the inner city. Currently, too many minorities and rural residents are on the wrong side of the “digital divide.”

Someone asked which parts of the Patriot Act I thought were unconstitutional. I have real problems authorizing the FBI to obtain library and bookstore and video store records simply by claiming the information is “sought for” an investigation against international terrorism. It’s also clearly unconstitutional to detain indivduals and deny them access to a lawyer.

One of you asked if there would be a White House blog. Why not?

As a doctor, I’m trained to base my decisions on facts. This President never adequately laid out the facts for going to war with Iraq—perhaps, as it turns out, because the facts were not there. I opposed the war not because I’m a pacifist—I’m not—but because the evidence presented did not justify preemptive war. I opposed needle exchanges for drug addicts until I saw the empirical evidence that showed how such exchanges reduce the spread of disease. I changed my position, and I’m proud of that. Facts are a better basis for decisions than ideology.

No matter what the issues are that we as individuals care most about-- whether intellectual property, healthy care, the environment — I believe that the only way we are ever going to come to a real solution on any of these issues is if we all stand together against the special interests in Washington. There are now 33 lobbyists for every member of congress. How do we change that? By working together. One of the amazing things about this campaign is how the Internet has allowed people to meet and work together in common cause. Only by taking an active part in our democracy will we be able to restore a government of, by and for the people.

In a matter of months, Howard Dean has managed to create a new kind of political campaign, one that is dynamic, collaborative and interactive. I still wouldn't make too big a deal out of his campaign's use of the Internet. When the media does so, they miss the point. The Howard Dean campaign is succeeding and gaining strength simply because it's message-based, which is apparent in these personal blog entries. This is in stark contrast to the Bush White House, which is perhaps the most spin-doctored in history.