City of Roses
It means both I think.
While the Internet certainly does much good in informing the public about other candidates besides the Clintons, McCains, Giulianis and Obamas, we also saw in 2006 how YouTube became a proving ground for political mudslinging and "gotcha" moments, the most famous of which was obviously George Allen's "macaca" gaffe, which quietly found its way to YouTube but then abruptly received hundreds of thousands of hits and would later flood the news, eventually leading to one thing that destroyed Allen's re-election campaign.
In response to your next question, I think it'll lead to longer election seasons, proving once and for all that EVERY day matters in-between election seasons. John Edwards understands this and that is why long before other candidates launched their exploratory campaigns he has already formed huge grassroots operations in Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada. And, so far, it has paid off for him, where Edwards actually leads in many polls in these states.
Despite all this, I don't think the public has really evolved THAT much toward gauging candidates by entertainment value. Likeability has always been the #1 thing that gets presidents elected, and is precisely why John F. Kennedy has enjoyed longevity as a presidential favorite and Ronald Reagan enjoys a popular presidential standing so far historically; because although some of their politics were not that popular, likeability is what kept them standing on their feet; that they were the kind of people you want to have a beer with.
George W. Bush remains a pretty likeable president too. Although most Americans currently don't approve of the job he's doing, including 61% in a new poll released today, as many as 57% in the same poll also believe he's a likeable person, which means while only 36% currently approve of how he's handling his job, his likeability factor remains 21% higher than his approval rating, and THAT is what's helping keep Bush resilient.
And I can see why he remains pretty likeable; he stands out as an ordinary guy to many, a family man who wishes nothing but the best for our country, even while many may disagree with him in how to go about achieving this nation's fullest promise. Thus you can't help but feel a little sorry for him when he's having a bad day. I too also have some level of sympathy for Bush, as I just believe he's misunderstood, and if he's guilty of something in particular, it's being naive that he has frequently been taken advantage of, that he has been treated as a PR spokesperson for the real troublemakers behind the curtain such as Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove, and THAT is precisely why the approval ratings for all three of them are significantly lower than Bush's.
It doesn't excuse Bush of his blunders and misdecisions, of course, but I don't think Bush is a bad guy at all, and happen to believe he's a loving and dedicated parent who loves his wife and children very much, and while I passionately disagree with much of his politics, he does believe what he believes and you can't help but admire it at least. Also, he's made a genuine effort time and time again to mark his handprints out there in the world and seek the American dream, and there's nothing to laugh about there.
I apologize for digressing there a bit, but the point is, likeability has and still remains the key ingredient to a successful presidential bid. Many Americans like both Obama and Giuliani on first impressions and that is why both are popular in the 2008 polls currently, and if neither possessed that trait, I bet neither would NEVER have a chance now to be elected.
And finally, no, I probably wouldn't run. I'll just appear too liberal to too many rural Oregonians and alienate them because of my pragmatist pacifist beliefs and support for gay marriage, and too conservative to too many Portland residents and alienate them because of my strong support for prayer in public schools and strong beliefs in the absolute right to gun ownership.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"