Kaye notes that Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of the Democrats’ candidate for Vice President in the upcoming US elections, reads blogs. And writes in the Kerry-Edwards campaign blog. Actually the whole blog is pretty interesting. Coming from a country where we elect a political party to lead us rather than a husband-and-wife team, I’m surprised at the way in which Teresa Heinz Kerry and Elizabeth Edwards are presented as almost as important as their husbands – look at the “Get Informed” section up in the left corner. I found the travelogue and the First Person posts particularly interesting as examples of how politicians are starting to use personal voice online – and contributions from bloggers. There’s also plenty of posts using the official, boring-authoritative-voice. I’d love to see an article analysing a politician’s blog like this thoroughly and comparing it to the traditional ways of promoting political parties, and to the other ways the Kerry campaign is currently promoting itself. Has anyone written that article yet?

6 thoughts on “blog and be heard by politicians

  1. kaye trammell

    Jill, I have 2 articles about the campaign blogs – one on the Dems primary blogs (there were 10 candidates before Kerry was singled out & many of them blogged, including Dean & Clark) & one that folded in the President Bush’s re-election campaign blog.

    I’m currently working on a paper comparing just Bush & Kerry. That will be done a week after the election because I’m presenting it at National Communication Association here in the states.

    I’ll dig up those papers & send them to you. Also, I’m not sure I ever posted the results, so I’ll write a blog post about the findings & share with the world.

  2. Scott

    I think you should write one. It’s an interesting topic.

    The importance of first ladies in U.S. Politics varies a great deal on the president. Hilary Clinton was definitely a powerful one. Although you get the sense that Laura Bush must be doing some thinking behind the scenes (Dick Cheney can’t be doing ALL of it), her public role has been much more subservient. As the head of a large and important nonprofit, Teresa Heintz is already quite powerful whether or not John Kerry is elected, so if he’s elected, the chemistry there will also be different.

  3. Daisy

    Have you seen that the Bush twins are blogging now? Although I doubt they’re actually composing, I find it an interesting use of a campaign blog that until then only included posts authored by a “George W Bush.com”

    I too have recently written and presented a paper on online campaign strategies, specifically Dean’s blog and Bush’s letter writing wizard [grassroots vs astroturfing], and will share that with you once I update the Works Cited.

  4. Jill

    Lovely – I’m looking forward to reading your papers, Kaye and Daisy!

    As for first ladies – obviously I’m not following the US election as closely as I would if I lived in the States, but from what I’ve read, Teresa Heinz Kerry seems like a much stronger, easier to read and even more powerful person than John Kerry. She certainly has the money and clout to get stuff done, what with all that ketchup money, but, well, the little I’ve seen of the two of them simply leaves me with a stronger impression of Teresa than John. Not that that means she’d be a good president, of course. Comparing their bios is interesting though. For instance, her first marriage is right up front there, while there’s no mention of where his two daughters came from. I suppose a dead husband is more respectable than a living ex-wife. Teresa seems to have worked all her life in interesting jobs – fluent in several languages, worked in the UN – but still turned down taking her husband’s position in senate when he died (another interesting American tradition?) in order to “take care of her sons, family and professional responsibilities” – when actually she led the Heinz Foundation, which presumably wasn’t a part time job. She’s run all sorts of things, has honorary doctorates, has fought for women’s rights – obviously this was possible for her because of the vast wealth of the Heinz Foundation, but still.

    Did anyone think of asking her to run for President?

  5. AWolf

    She isn’t eligible to become president because she is foreign born. Wives (spouses) are important for several reasons. The traditional role of marriage in some ways views a couple as a single individual. This carries over in to the law with the concept of Marital Privilege. Spouses may not be compelled to testify against each other. Spouses can tell each other anything and the government can’t do anything to compel using that information (even after a divorce). Some one’s spouse is their closest confidant and adviser. If he isn’t listening to her, “Why not?” becomes a legitimate question and that also applies outside of politics.

    Filling Senate appointments with a spouse is a method of avoiding responsibility. Most governors, when facing a decision to fill an empty Senate seat, would prefer to leave it empty until the next election.

  6. Jill

    Interesting, thanks – I hadn’t thought about her being foreign born. I wonder whether Marital Privilege exists in other countries.

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