Zephyr Teachout's potential Congressional campaign has raised some eyebrows over at Politics VT. On Thursday, the anonymous politicos there "penned" an introductory post about Zephyr (with a photo) questioning her suitability as a candidate.
Here's the interesting thing, I think, her qualifications as a candidate aside. Reading their post, it looks like they've never met her, don't know much about her, and only recently heard about the whole "Dean paid bloggers" fiasco, which was a big story among national, tech-savvy Democratic activists. Weird, I think, considering her high profile during and after the Dean campaign. After citing two negative and puzzled quotes (from anonymous sources), they admit: "We could not track down anyone who knew of Ms. Teachout or of herplans. This is the only info we have on her, and all we heard wasnegative...which is not a good sign for a Democratic candidate."
Too bad they couldn't make it to coffeeblogging on Friday, eh?
Their unfamiliarity with ZT is a good example of the kind of Vermont's digital political divide. There's an entire class of tuned in, tech-savvy politics watchers — some of them Vermonters — for whom Zephyr is a celebrity, a household name. NTodd, for example. The establishment state Democratic Party still hasn't connected with these folks. This is no surprise. Does anyone remember Peter Clavelle's truly terrible flash Internet ad of the last campaign? Despite our former Governor's success with all things online, the stateDemocrats don't seem to really get the net.
This kind of unfamiliarity with an obviously influential, innovative thinker doesn't seem to happen with our state Republicans. They seem to be more in touch with the Internets, so to speak. Like Google ads. Did you ever notice how during the 2004 election, if you Googled Peter Clavelle, a little Google ad for Jim Douglas popped up in the right-hand margin? It's true. I asked Neal Lunderville, Douglas' campaign manager, about it, and he said it took him 10 minutes to do that on his laptop, and it drove a good amount of traffic to the Douglas website, and cheaply at that. I think this old school unfamiliarity with technology is bad news for Vermont's Democratic party. I think it might be one of the (many) reasons why our true blue state has a Republican governor.
UPDATE: Bernie gets it. He's podcasting.