Lessig » politics http://www.lessig.org Blog, news, books Sat, 12 Nov 2016 16:31:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.2 a plea to the press: Please just cover the convention(s) http://www.lessig.org/2008/08/a-plea-to-the-press-please-jus/ http://www.lessig.org/2008/08/a-plea-to-the-press-please-jus/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2008 08:15:10 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2008/08/a_plea_to_the_press_please_jus.html The Democrats have a HD broadcast of their convention, but only on some platforms, through a Microsoft product. Those fortunate enough to own the most modern technology (and (contrary to the norm) fortunate enough to have fast broadband) can get full convention coverage.

The rest of America (to the extent they care, and the point may be related) are stuck with broadcasters coverage. From NPR to the networks, “coverage” means some ridiculous unprepared interview with a party has-been, while a prepared speech by someone currently significant is being given in the background. (e.g., Jim Leach, former GOP Congressman from Iowa, speaking in the background as NPR interviews Walter Mondale. Leach’s speech was fantastic. Mondale’s, well, you get the point.)

Please, networks, and especially, NPR, can you please just cover the convention — both the Democratic and Republican. Obviously, it is party propaganda. But it is also American politics. It is ridiculous that the only people who actually get to see what each party believes it should say are those who are at the Convention, or those with powerful computers and fast technology.

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will poker decide this election? http://www.lessig.org/2008/04/will-poker-decide-this-electio/ http://www.lessig.org/2008/04/will-poker-decide-this-electio/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2008 19:41:02 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2008/04/will_poker_decide_this_electio.html Watch the opening bid (read: tease) by the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society.]]>

Watch the opening bid (read: tease) by the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society.

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there but for the grace of God (and my pollster) go I http://www.lessig.org/2008/02/there-but-for-the-grace-of-god/ http://www.lessig.org/2008/02/there-but-for-the-grace-of-god/#comments Tue, 26 Feb 2008 04:22:22 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2008/02/there_but_for_the_grace_of_god.html Bill Foster, a physicist from Illinois, Democrat, running in a special election to fill Dennis Hastert's seat. When I started to think about this run, Foster was a model. A former researcher at Fermilab, and entrepreneur, he is precisely the sort a changed Congress would need. "Seven hours a day" on the phone raising money. And with a Special Election just 10 days away, they're pushing to raise a final $200,000 to run an endorsement ad from Barack Obama. Seven hours a day. Wow. ]]> So just off the phone with Bill Foster, a physicist from Illinois, Democrat, running in a special election to fill Dennis Hastert’s seat. When I started to think about this run, Foster was a model. A former researcher at Fermilab, and entrepreneur, he is precisely the sort a changed Congress would need.

“Seven hours a day” on the phone raising money. And with a Special Election just 10 days away, they’re pushing to raise a final $200,000 to run an endorsement ad from Barack Obama.

Seven hours a day. Wow.

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Two announcements http://www.lessig.org/2008/02/two-announcements/ http://www.lessig.org/2008/02/two-announcements/#comments Wed, 20 Feb 2008 05:16:08 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2008/02/two_announcements.html lessig08.org, you can watch a 10 minute video explaining the launching of a Change Congress movement, and the decision I am trying to make about whether to run for Congress. That decision will be made soon. I've been spurred to consider it seriously by the enormous support of many at draftlessig.org and facebook (and by the cool swag at zazzle). Those three I had nothing to do with. But this I do. This is a very difficult decision. In the coming days, I'll reflect a bit about it here. Thank you to everyone who has tried to help -- both through very strong words of encouragement and very very strong words to dissuade. ]]> At lessig08.org, you can watch a 10 minute video explaining the launching of a Change Congress movement, and the decision I am trying to make about whether to run for Congress. That decision will be made soon. I’ve been spurred to consider it seriously by the enormous support of many at draftlessig.org and facebook (and by the cool swag at zazzle). Those three I had nothing to do with. But this I do.

This is a very difficult decision. In the coming days, I’ll reflect a bit about it here. Thank you to everyone who has tried to help — both through very strong words of encouragement and very very strong words to dissuade.

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My congressman is retiring http://www.lessig.org/2008/01/my-congressman-is-retiring/ http://www.lessig.org/2008/01/my-congressman-is-retiring/#comments Thu, 03 Jan 2008 01:26:33 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2008/01/my_congressman_is_retiring.html Reuters reports, Congressman Tom Lantos has been diagnosed with cancer and is retiring from Congress. Lantos has had an extraordinary career in Congress. A Holocaust survivor and a Hungarian, he has been on the right side of most things in his million plus year tenure in Congress (ok, 26 years). In 2004, I supported his Democratic opponent on the principle that Democrats needed to express their opposition to the war at a minimum by opposing those Democrats who supported the war (and the Patriot Act). But we are all sorry to hear of Congressman Lantos' illness, and thank him for his public service. ]]> As Reuters reports, Congressman Tom Lantos has been diagnosed with cancer and is retiring from Congress.

Lantos has had an extraordinary career in Congress. A Holocaust survivor and a Hungarian, he has been on the right side of most things in his million plus year tenure in Congress (ok, 26 years). In 2004, I supported his Democratic opponent on the principle that Democrats needed to express their opposition to the war at a minimum by opposing those Democrats who supported the war (and the Patriot Act).

But we are all sorry to hear of Congressman Lantos’ illness, and thank him for his public service.

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Jim Hightower Downloads http://www.lessig.org/2007/01/jim-hightower-downloads/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/01/jim-hightower-downloads/#comments Mon, 22 Jan 2007 08:35:39 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/01/jim_hightower_downloads.html site for his colorful, and often compelling, commentary. The flash animations are free for download under a CC BY-ND license. The first is depressingly apt (though the 600,000 figure is not, in my view, correct. But the correct number is still astonishingly high.)]]> Jim Hightower has opened a site for his colorful, and often compelling, commentary. The flash animations are free for download under a CC BY-ND license. The first is depressingly apt (though the 600,000 figure is not, in my view, correct. But the correct number is still astonishingly high.)

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ok, sorry, THIS is really depressing http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/ok-sorry-this-is-really-depres/ http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/ok-sorry-this-is-really-depres/#comments Thu, 02 Nov 2006 05:04:09 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/ok_sorry_this_is_really_depres.html this story -- Kerry's gaffe -- is the top story on Google News. Can it really be that the most important story is (yet another) gaffe by a presidential candidate who couldn't beat George Bush? I can't believe how good the GOP is in playing this game. I can't stomach how bad the Democrats are.]]> Sitting in Germany, each morning scanning the morning Google News, I can’t describe how depressing it is that this story — Kerry’s gaffe — is the top story on Google News. Can it really be that the most important story is (yet another) gaffe by a presidential candidate who couldn’t beat George Bush? I can’t believe how good the GOP is in playing this game. I can’t stomach how bad the Democrats are.

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gifts from the other side http://www.lessig.org/2005/09/gifts-from-the-other-side/ http://www.lessig.org/2005/09/gifts-from-the-other-side/#comments Sun, 11 Sep 2005 20:08:26 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/09/gifts_from_the_other_side.html moral to the story" of the Katrina disaster is a perfect plan for the opposition. His basic message: see, this shows government doesn't work, so don't rely on it. The response it invites: see, this shows how we need to make government work. Government has failed. Must government fail? (Meanwhile, Fox had some fantastic reporting on all this. Gone were the sycophants in the field. Here are two great examples, snipped from a fantastic article at Salon. (Thanks, Lauren.))]]> O’Reilly’s “moral to the story” of the Katrina disaster is a perfect plan for the opposition. His basic message: see, this shows government doesn’t work, so don’t rely on it. The response it invites: see, this shows how we need to make government work. Government has failed. Must government fail?

(Meanwhile, Fox had some fantastic reporting on all this. Gone were the sycophants in the field. Here are two great examples, snipped from a fantastic article at Salon. (Thanks, Lauren.))

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Watergate trivia — was there ever a press conference like this? http://www.lessig.org/2005/07/watergate-trivia-was-there-eve/ http://www.lessig.org/2005/07/watergate-trivia-was-there-eve/#comments Tue, 12 Jul 2005 09:45:44 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/07/watergate_trivia_was_there_eve.html This is an extraordinary transcript of the latest White House Press conference re the Rove story. Is this as unusual as it seems? 41 questions about one issue in 35 minutes.]]> This is an extraordinary transcript of the latest White House Press conference re the Rove story. Is this as unusual as it seems? 41 questions about one issue in 35 minutes.

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SF Voters: The Granick Slatecard http://www.lessig.org/2004/10/sf-voters-the-granick-slatecar/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/10/sf-voters-the-granick-slatecar/#comments Sat, 30 Oct 2004 00:56:16 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/10/sf_voters_the_granick_slatecar.html here. Her blog is The Shout.]]> Jennifer Granick, superstar of all things cyber, and director of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, has released her annual SF/CA Slatecard. You can download it here. Her blog is The Shout.

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Good luck, Granny D http://www.lessig.org/2004/10/good-luck-granny-d/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/10/good-luck-granny-d/#comments Thu, 21 Oct 2004 18:13:10 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/10/good_luck_granny_d.html Judd Gregg. Here is a great site that summarizes his views on the issues. From the Lessig Blog (and Lessig!), good luck, Granny D. Just show who you are, and the rest will take care of itself. Speak real -- not, e.g., "New Hampshire is a special place, home to many wonderful people." (from the Judd site), but the way you've spoken here.]]> In a couple hours, Granny D debates her opponent in the New Hampshire Senate Race, Judd Gregg. Here is a great site that summarizes his views on the issues. From the Lessig Blog (and Lessig!), good luck, Granny D. Just show who you are, and the rest will take care of itself. Speak real — not, e.g., “New Hampshire is a special place, home to many wonderful people.” (from the Judd site), but the way you’ve spoken here.

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Welcome Granny D http://www.lessig.org/2004/10/welcome-granny-d/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/10/welcome-granny-d/#comments Fri, 15 Oct 2004 13:03:54 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/10/welcome_granny_d.html And good luck in the debate. The key to winning a debate is to keep your own rhythm. After the (literally) thousands of miles you’ve walked, this should be a natural for you.

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Sharing with Granny D http://www.lessig.org/2004/10/sharing-with-granny-d/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/10/sharing-with-granny-d/#comments Wed, 13 Oct 2004 14:50:20 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/10/sharing_with_granny_d.html Granny D, the extraordinary 94 year old activist from New Hampshire running for the United States Senate, wants to guest blog @ Lessig Blog. I'm honored to welcome her here for the next week. I'm scaling back a bit, preparing for the KAHLE argument, while she's pushing ahead, preparing for November 2d. Her first post will come soon. Please welcome our first candidate for US Senate.]]> So Granny D, the extraordinary 94 year old activist from New Hampshire running for the United States Senate, wants to guest blog @ Lessig Blog.

I’m honored to welcome her here for the next week. I’m scaling back a bit, preparing for the KAHLE argument, while she’s pushing ahead, preparing for November 2d.

Her first post will come soon. Please welcome our first candidate for US Senate.

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Bill O’Reilly remixed http://www.lessig.org/2004/09/bill-oreilly-remixed/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/09/bill-oreilly-remixed/#comments Thu, 30 Sep 2004 16:19:24 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/09/bill_oreilly_remixed.html this (mp3) song. The song is written by John Amato and the vocals are by Donny Daley. More at Crooks and Liars.]]> The band “The Politnix” has remixed Bill O’Reilly to produce this (mp3) song. The song is written by John Amato and the vocals are by Donny Daley. More at Crooks and Liars.

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Induce No More http://www.lessig.org/2004/08/induce-no-more/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/08/induce-no-more/#comments Mon, 09 Aug 2004 11:47:59 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/08/induce_no_more.html I have tremendous respect for the scholarship of Professor Larry Lessig, and I am honored to be asked to host his blog this week. I hope that over the coming 5 days, we will have a series of thought-provoking conversations. Your views and suggestions will be helpful to me as we consider a variety of matters that Congress is now debating or will take up next year.

Let’s begin today with the hottest topic, the so-called Induce Act.

The Senate has under consideration a bill ( S. 2560 , often referred to as the Induce Act) that makes it unlawful for anyone to “intentionally induce” the infringement of a copyrighted work. By creating a new cause of action based on a subjective test, the legislation would overturn, or at least make irrelevant, the Supreme Court’s objective test in the Betamax case (“capable of substantial noninfringing use”). The effect on device manufacturers, including computer manufacturers, would appear to be self-evident: They could not bring new multi-purpose devices (including software) to market without facing the threat of crippling litigation. They would either have to withhold from the market useful new technology or agree in advance to restrictions on the functionality of the equipment, perhaps even agreeing to specific technical mandates sought by content owners.

Although I have my doubts that the bill will make its way out of the Senate this year and be considered by the House, we could yet see the bill appear in some form before the House Judiciary Committee (on which I sit) either as freestanding legislation or as an amendment to a pending copyright bill. As we fashion a strategy to address this threat to innovation and technical progress, I would welcome thoughts on whether the Induce Act does in fact gut the Betamax decision, how its effect will be felt beyond devices, and whether it raises any First Amendment issues by potentially chilling speech (e.g., product reviews).

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The DMCA: Not controversial http://www.lessig.org/2004/08/the-dmca-not-controversial/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/08/the-dmca-not-controversial/#comments Wed, 04 Aug 2004 01:19:55 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/08/the_dmca_not_controversial.html Last week I was chatting with a friend who now works on the House Ways and Means Committee. Talk turned to the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, which Congress passed in July and which President Bush ratified yesterday.

“That DMCA and copyright term extension stuff,” he said to me, “None of it was really seen as controversial.”

“Some people consider it controversial” I said.

“I’m sure you’re right, and that’s what I thought” he said, “But we only got letters from the library people.” A pause. “Its become a standard clause, and doesn’t really get much attention. If people care about it, they need to do more.”

He’s right. Years of DMCA & term extension criticism can easily boil down to “not controversial.”

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a candidate who doesn’t get privacy in the digital age http://www.lessig.org/2004/05/a-candidate-who-doesnt-get-pri/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/05/a-candidate-who-doesnt-get-pri/#comments Fri, 21 May 2004 16:35:13 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/05/a_candidate_who_doesnt_get_pri.html Jack Ryan. (Warning: if you click on his website you get a pop-up asking to contribute.) (Disclosure: I've contributed to his opponent, Barak Obama). According to Joshua Marshall, Ryan has a campaign worker following Obama every moment of the day, video taping absolutely everything he does "in public."
Not only does he record Obama's public appearances, he tails Obama in his car; he follows him into restrooms; he stays a couple feet behind him when he's walking in public; he waits outside his office and pesters his secretary. And he heckles Obama at public appearances.
Technically, of course, ok. And even maybe more than technically -- after all, Obama is running for Senate. But do we really need another politician who lives by what is technically ok, to further erase any boundary of privacy? Wonder how Ryan will vote on cameras monitoring every movement of citizens in "public places"? (Thanks to Tom Barger).]]>
So how you reconcile privacyin a world where almost everything you do is “public” is hard. E.g., every click you utter on the net is in a sense “public”; every place you go on the web is “public” — both in the sense that you transmit to the public information about you as you do it. Yet all of us have the strong (and right) sense that there should be a limit.

Here’s a candidate running for U.S. Senate who doesn’t get that: Jack Ryan. (Warning: if you click on his website you get a pop-up asking to contribute.) (Disclosure: I’ve contributed to his opponent, Barak Obama). According to Joshua Marshall, Ryan has a campaign worker following Obama every moment of the day, video taping absolutely everything he does “in public.”

Not only does he record Obama’s public appearances, he tails Obama in his car; he follows him into restrooms; he stays a couple feet behind him when he’s walking in public; he waits outside his office and pesters his secretary. And he heckles Obama at public appearances.

Technically, of course, ok. And even maybe more than technically — after all, Obama is running for Senate. But do we really need another politician who lives by what is technically ok, to further erase any boundary of privacy?

Wonder how Ryan will vote on cameras monitoring every movement of citizens in “public places”? (Thanks to Tom Barger).

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total(ly wrong about the) recall http://www.lessig.org/2003/10/totally-wrong-about-the-recall/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/10/totally-wrong-about-the-recall/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2003 14:42:56 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/10/totally_wrong_about_the_recall.html results last night are as a democracy should be. A clear majority voted to recall the governor. And more people than supported Davis voted to elect Arnold Schwarzenegger. He wasn't my first choice. But it is interesting that the two top candidates "started" their life in the US in poverty. Anyone who gets as far as either did deserves our respect. And we Californians can hope that some of the benefit of the hard work and luck that has marked Mr. Schwarzenegger's life might now pass to California.]]> I was, at least. The recall provision is still stupidly crafted. But the results last night are as a democracy should be. A clear majority voted to recall the governor. And more people than supported Davis voted to elect Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He wasn’t my first choice. But it is interesting that the two top candidates “started” their life in the US in poverty. Anyone who gets as far as either did deserves our respect. And we Californians can hope that some of the benefit of the hard work and luck that has marked Mr. Schwarzenegger’s life might now pass to California.

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loophole executives http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/loophole-executives/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/loophole-executives/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2003 00:24:03 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/loophole_executives.html So if this California recall succeeds, then more likely than not the Governor who replaces Gray Davis will have received fewer votes than Gray Davis. Davis could get, say, 49.9% of the vote, and would be “recalled.” But his replacement is chosen with a simple plurality. Thus, in a field of 200+ candidates, it is more likely than not that the replacement governor will have gotten fewer votes than the governor he replaces.

Which of course reminds one of another election — the 2000 presidential election, where again, through a special rule in the Constitution, the executive who won had fewer votes than his opponent. Though President Bush won in the Electoral College, he plainly lost the popular vote. Nonetheless, because of a constitutional provision (and an overly activist Supreme Court), the candidate with fewer votes won.

In both cases, the results are consistent with the letter of the law. But one might well ask whether they are consistent with the spirit of democracy. No doubt there is still strong support for the (imho outdated) institution of the Electoral College. So Bush’s victory (forgetting the Supreme Court’s role for a moment) is not only consistent with the letter of the law, but consistent with an institution that at least some believe makes sense.

But the same can�t be said for the California recall provision. Whether or not you believe in the power to recall, the California provision is insanely stupid. It makes no sense to decide the winner on the basis of a plurality. This is just a badly crafted constitutional provision — a kind of constitutional loophole. It’s the sort of clause which we fail people for writing in constitution-drafting classes. (No, there are not really any constitution drafting classes, but clearly there should have been in California at the beginning of the last century).

Yet it is one thing to have a bad clause in a constitution. It is quite another to rely upon it to become the Governor of a state as important as California. Whether Republican or Democrat, there is something deeply wrong about taking advantage of a constitutional mistake to become governor of one the most important states in the nation.

I can’t understand why the Democrats, or at least why the Davis supporters, don’t make this point clear. And more importantly, I can’t understand why Governor Davis doesn’t at least nominate a protest candidate — a candidate who says (1) this election is wrong, and (2) whether you like Davis or not, you should vote not to recall him on the basis of a constitutional mistake, and (3) after you vote not to recall him, you should vote for the protest candidate. That candidate would promise not to run for reelection — or for any office in California, since no one should benefit politically from a constitutional mistake — but would hold the governorship �in trust� until we have another election where the candidate with the most votes wins.

One might say, who could possibly resist such a loophole. That whether it is honorable or not, what politician would forgo the chance to become President or Governor, regardless of the means?

Yet we should remember that many believe that Nixon made essentially this choice when he refused to fight the results in Illinois and thus let Kennedy become President. In his moral universe, that’s not how an executive should become an executive.

It is a measure of this Enronera that neither our President nor over 200 candidates in this California recall election live up to the moral standards of even Richard Nixon. By whatever means, they will claim power.

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still waiting for the iPresident http://www.lessig.org/2003/01/still-waiting-for-the-ipreside/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/01/still-waiting-for-the-ipreside/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2003 19:58:20 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/01/still_waiting_for_the_ipreside.html website, and was impressed to see an online donation tool. So I tried it out. It told me my card was declined. I tried another card. It too was declined. Both cards are fine, so I figured there must be a problem with the routine. And so I searched the site for an email addres--any email address at all--to tell them something is wrong with the site. Result? None. Click "Contact Us" and you're given a mailing address in North Carolina and a telephone number. Oh well. Still waiting for the internet candidate.]]> So I wandered over to Senator Edwards’ website, and was impressed to see an online donation tool. So I tried it out. It told me my card was declined. I tried another card. It too was declined. Both cards are fine, so I figured there must be a problem with the routine. And so I searched the site for an email addres–any email address at all–to tell them something is wrong with the site. Result? None. Click “Contact Us” and you’re given a mailing address in North Carolina and a telephone number.

Oh well. Still waiting for the internet candidate.

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on mr. edwards http://www.lessig.org/2003/01/on-mr-edwards/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/01/on-mr-edwards/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2003 15:21:16 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/01/on_mr_edwards.html InstaPundit has taken some heat for his very sensible link to Virginia "a really great 'Future' book" Postrel's post about John Edwards. Glenn echoed Virginia echoing John Hood that Edwards being a trial-lawyer was not a bad thing. But Glenn, et al., are absolutely right. Whatever people say to pollsters, Edwards will build a wealth of capital by telling the story of his clients. Say Erin Brockovich three times and then tell me Americans hate trial lawyers. The real challenge for Edwards will be the "media filter." "A friend" (who doesn't want his/her name here) writes, "Fitness for office, gravitas, experience, these things matter little to the men and women trapped on a bus covering these guys for the next two years. Being a good guy, not being a phony, they matter more to the working press. It's hard to overstate the effect of Bush's genial personality and Gore's cloying, arrogant style. The worst thing you can be is a phony, in the eyes of the press. I fear that Edwards is going to be made to look like a phony." Forget the liberal bias of the press. Who's writing about the frat-boy bias?]]> The ever-sensible (save about his ALL CAPS TENDENCIES) InstaPundit has taken some heat for his very sensible link to Virginia “a really great ‘Future‘ book” Postrel’s post about John Edwards. Glenn echoed Virginia echoing John Hood that Edwards being a trial-lawyer was not a bad thing.

But Glenn, et al., are absolutely right. Whatever people say to pollsters, Edwards will build a wealth of capital by telling the story of his clients. Say Erin Brockovich three times and then tell me Americans hate trial lawyers.

The real challenge for Edwards will be the “media filter.” “A friend” (who doesn’t want his/her name here) writes,

“Fitness for office, gravitas, experience, these things matter little to the men and women trapped on a bus covering these guys for the next two years. Being a good guy, not being a phony, they matter more to the working press. It’s hard to overstate the effect of Bush’s genial personality and Gore’s cloying, arrogant style. The worst thing you can be is a phony, in the eyes of the press. I fear that Edwards is going to be made to look like a phony.”

Forget the liberal bias of the press. Who’s writing about the frat-boy bias?

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