Sunday, April 20, 2008

Obama Touts Open Source Nature of Campaign

Recently, Barack Obama made a long speech touting the Open Source nature of his fund raising and of his campaign's organization. Combined with his open government and net neutrality speech at Google and the accompanying policy position paper, this guy seems to understand the "wisdom of the crowds" thing.

Starting at 14 minutes and 50 seconds:

I want to make a point about fund raising because I think it is illustrative of what else is going on. We raised 55 million dollars last month. ... I'm sorry. We raised 55 million in February; we raised 40 million that last month. Now, these are gaudy numbers. But, what's interesting is not the amount raised. 90% of what we raised came over the Internet. 50% were for $50 or less. Our average donation is less than $100. Now, essentially what we've done is we've created a parallel public financing system. That using the Internet and mobilizing people all across the country - over 1.3 million donors - we've created a system where ordinary people can actually finance, can fuel, a campaign at the highest levels. It's the same way that we've competed organizationally. We didn't have all the fancy endorsements early on. We remember - you know, we had some courageous endorsements from Barbara Williams and some other folks - but most of the big names here in ... California went the other way. And yet, we were able to compete everywhere. Why is that? Essentially, groups formed themselves using technology. We have an Open Source system. For people to just grab onto good ideas. They start organizing their neighbors, organizing their friends. And, next thing you knew, we'd built the best political organization in the country. And that's what we have. I mean, we have the best national political organization that anybody has seen in a generation.

Later, at 41 minutes and 52 seconds:

The last thing I'd say about vice president is, obviously you'd want someone who could be president and who has - who shares, I think - a broad vision of where I wanna take the country. They don't have to agree with me on every particular, but I want someone who shares with me a bias for opening up government, having a rational discourse about how we're gonna solve problems, a bias to empower individual citizens. So there are those value questions that I think will be very important.

This is also the speech where he badmouths the Baer Stearns bailout and makes the controversial "bitter" comment (a little after the 35 minute mark).