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Russell Shaw

Russell Shaw

Posted: December 17, 2006 07:03 AM

Time Mag's POY Choice: What a Bunch Of Hooey!


Every year, the esteemed editors of Time magazine anoint their Person of the Year. You know the individual-or in some cases, group- they believe whose actions or innovations in the concluding year will have the greatest influence going forward.

Well, take a bow, because you're it. Time has chosen you as Person of the Year.

Roughly paraphrased, the thinking behind this coronation is that 2006 was the year when everyone could create a MySpace or Facebook page, upload video to YouTube, create a blog, and... drum roll please... BE HEARD!!

To me this thinking is condescending, patronizing, marketing-driven hooey. I mean you can- and quite probably do- have millions of little islands of citizen created content where the majority opinion is that the Bush war in Iraq was/is a bad idea, and we should get out much sooner rather than later.

But at the end of a year when "you had all this influence, guess what happens. Bush ignores the Iraq Study Group and is thinking hard about how to inject 20,000 or so fresh troops into the Iraq theater.

True, "you" voted in a majority Democratic Congress that could thwart some of these plans. But sorry, I don't think is was all those "Bush sucks" posts on MySpace that did it. I mean who read them? Your fellow Bush-despisers?

Instead of "you," I'd be looking for a person, group, or institution that harnessed the resentment out there and turned it into action that created results. Results that in this year, introduced us to the transforming possibility of a Democratic Congress.

My choices for Person of the Year would be Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel or New York Sen. Chuck Schumer. Working closely together, each man identified vulnerable Senate or House seats, traveled to states or districts where these vulnerabilities were detected, and then persuaded an electable candidate to run for that seat.

There could be a case made for DNC Chair Howard Dean as well. But I'd lean toward Emanuel and Schumer, because they did so much of the work in the trenches to recruit enough of those candidates who were elected to make a difference in the new Congress.

And yes, while the collective "YOU" Time honored voted these people into office, their availability was provisioned by Emanuel or Schumer. Or in some cases, both.

My runner-up choices?

Keith Olbermann, though I think his effect on the election was more of "speaking to the choir," or

Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube, the video sharing service where an East Indian-American attending a rally for Sen. George Allen (R-Virginia) took cell phone "footage" of Allen saying "macaca" and then uploaded it to the service.

But if he hadn't done that, we'd still be at 50-50 with Cheney the tie-breaker. It was Emanuel and Schumer who got us to the point where the YouTube "macaca" video mattered.