Do Internet skills now determine one's electability for national
office? It does if you believe the guys with the spinach in their
teeth up in Silicon Valley.
Vice President Al Gore meets privately with a select group of
high-tech executives once a month to discuss public policy issues
large and small; its existence remains a secret in official
Washington, but "Gore-Tech" is rapidly becoming one of the most
influential brain trusts in town, fronts MONDAY'S LOS ANGELES TIMES.
Reporter Elizabeth Shogren writes long and interesting on Gore and his
growing digital dynasty. "Gore-Tech is a core group of 15 or so
regulars, although the roster varies somewhat from month to month. It
includes the young, wildly successful designers of new technologies:
NETSCAPE, YAHOO, WebTV, JAVA."
"You have to understand our industry if you want to be president in
2000," brags Halsey Minor, founder of CNET who describes himself as a
lifelong Republican but now is going Gore. "[It] would be like being
a politician in the '30s and '40s and not understanding the
implications of the automobile."
"The White House and vice president's office have been absolutely
masterful in the way they've worked this community," Dan Schneer, a
former press spokesman for California Gov. Pete Wilson, groans to the
paper. "I can talk to CEOs about how they shouldn't support Clinton
because he opposes capital gains tax cuts... But if they just had
beer and pizza with Al Gore the night before, I'm only going to get so
far." [Network Error: Connection reset by peer]
"The series of meetings the vice president has had with the Silicon
Valley CEOs has not been political," Ginny Terzano, the vice
president's spokeswoman, tells the TIMES. "He has not asked for funds
in the meetings."
The meetings are spiritual.
John Doerr, the guru of the group: "This is a political leader who
uses the Net, uses the Web, understands what an Adobe Acrobat is all
about. When you walk into a meeting with him, his first question is,
'Just what exactly is going to be the future of Java?' And he knows
it's not a cup of coffee..." Important.
* * * *
"I suppose that when ants get stepped on, they have no idea what hit them.
But I'll bet that hasn't stopped them from coming up with fancy names for
it, like 'spontaneous compression' or 'vertical planar syndrome.'"
- LeMel Hebert-Williams