There are few more articulate or passionate commentators on digital politics than Andrew Rasiej, the founder and CEO of Personal Democracy Media and the organizer of the upcoming Personal Democracy Forum. As Rasiej told me when we talked in New York City earlier this month, the Internet offers the opportunity to create what he calls “we-government” – a much more accountable and transparent form of 21st Century politics than the type of governance that existed in the 20th century. But for this to happen, Rasiej reminded me, politicians need to be able to distinguish between “a server and a waiter” and we need to dilute the impact of money on our political process.
While Rasiej is critical of traditional politicians and political parties, he also recognizes that online activists have much to learn. “It’s a lot easier to say no to something than yes,” he says, suggesting that the real challenge now for digital political networks is to come up with viable policy and organizational alternatives to the status quo. Rasiej also gave me his insights into how social media would have a “massive” impact on the 2012 Presidential election and how even President Obama needs to more fully embrace the democratic nature of online networks.