BOSTON -- Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, a keynote speaker at AMR Research Inc.'s conference Tuesday, had a
message for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama: Get out of the mainframe age.
Asked to handicap the candidates running for president, Bradley dubbed Mitt Romney likely to secure the Republican nomination. He endorsed Barack Obama as the "most interesting" Democratic candidate and the most able to bring about "transformative" change. To do that, however, he will of course have to upend front-runner Hillary Clinton. Bradley's advice: Use the Internet, specifically Meetup.com, to move away from the traditional model of putting control in the hands of a strong central office (a strategy used effectively by the Clinton campaign) to a more decentralized approach of giving power to the people.
Meetup.com, an online social networking site that facilitates offline group meetings around the world, allows members to find and join groups unified by a common interest, such as politics.
"Politics is still in the mainframe age," Bradley told the audience of IT executives. The Obama campaign, or the Edwards campaign for that matter, should call supporters, thank them for their money and "make history" by asking them to organize weekly online meetings with voters. If 5,000 people each convened 200 people to meet weekly to help set the political agenda, that's 1 million people putting their heads together over how to change the status quo. And there is "software that allows you to share opinions," Bradley said.
Among the Republican field, he said he considers Romney the front-runner, followed by Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain, "the most interesting person" on the Republican side, the dark horse. Romney earns his front-runner status with the help of a campaign run by the Republican rule book, "hiring all the right consultants," Bradley said.
Unlike Romney, who has spent heavily in Iowa and New Hampshire, Giuliani is taking a different tack, counting on his celebrity status as "America's mayor" during the crisis of 9/11 to win big. If Guliani pulls that off, he will "ironically" come into the White House with less military experience than anyone.
"That's OK, that's politics," Bradley said.
And just for the record, Bradley, who opposed Vice President Al Gore for the Democratic Party's nomination for president in the 2000 election, said he thinks it's a Democratic year -- lest there be any doubt about whose side he is on.
Let us know what you think about the story; email: Linda Tucci, Senior News Writer