John Edwards did it again. He was in Connecticut over the weekend to campaign for Democratic senatorial candidate Ned Lamont and took the time to sit down with local bloggers while avoiding the mainstream press (nevertheless earning coverage from them in the process).
I posted about Evan Bayh sitting down with bloggers in Indiana back in May, so we might expect more of this leading up to 2008. But Edwards' tactic makes that much more sense considering the role that bloggers played in Lamont's victory over Lieberman in the primary earlier this month. Lamont has successfully energized liberal bloggers to put their combined resources behind him and elevate him to national prominence in a very short period of time.
Yesterday's Hartford Courant recounts the meeting, piecing together the tale from posts made by those same bloggers.
Brilliant. As far as I am concerned, Edwards is leading the pack as a 2.0 candidate. (Am I the first one to use that term? Am I? Can I pretend I was for 15 minutes even if I was not?) He's doing exactly what he should:
1) consistently showing respect for the power and value of citizen journalists,
2) providing a forum for CGM through his One America web site,
3) utilizing podcasts and social media to produce his own content -- again consistently and in a non-gimmicky one-off kind of way
4) providing ongoing opportunities for two way dialogue
but most importantly and most effectively,
5) speaking in a way that is honest, transparent, heartfelt, respectful of the intelligence of his audience and reflective of his capacity to think on his feet.
Listen to him. This is not even the Edwards of 2004 -- who was a great speaker then, but still sounded like a politician. (Go back and watch this podcast that I featured in June. Perfection.)
He is not in office, yet he has created a platform for himself to ensure his ongoing relevance and name recognition through to campaign season.
Edwards had my vote in 2004 and I'm saving it for him right now as well. His willingness and ability to speak about class issues in this country moved me and made me believe that he had an understanding of the realities of the majority of Americans in a way that no other candidate did.
I can't wait to see what he does next.