Gnomedex: Sen. John Edwards keynote

Who knew Marc Cantor, founder of Macromedia, was a “third generation red diaper baby?” That’s how he described himself in a question to Edwards, who asked what that meant. Cantor said, “my grandfather was a Communist, my father is a Communist, and I’m a Communist,” then went on to say the Democrats need to grow some balls and start fighting for a change. Edwards agreed, saying the current Dem tactic of trying to appeal to moderates was a losing proposition and there’s currently a “battle for the soul of the Democratic Party.”

Brian Livingston of WindowsSecrets remarked, you want to catch a terrorist, get a warrant and follow them. Don’t monitor everyone’s phone calls, financial records, and web surfing, because the government will use it against their political enemies. This got perhaps the loudest applause of the day.

To his credit, Edwards, who was an early adopter of blogging and podcasting, did not give a stump speech. Rather, he opened with brief comments about tech, then said, I want to learn from you, the experts, and opened the floor for discussion.

There was talk about how words are important, because they can frame a debate. He said, once Republicans managed to get it called ‘partial birth abortion’, it was over…

He wants the whole political process opened up. Make it bottoms up, not top down. Get people engaged in what’s happening. Have bloggers on the bus was a suggestion, use the reality tv model as a way to report on what’s happening in a campaign. He has two-way conversations going with his podcasts and uses blogs to build local organizing. Clearly, he gets it about tech, saying you can also have conversations via video blogging and texting.

Good stuff. Much lively discussion, a few fireworks, and a politician who genuinely understands blogging and podcasting.