I had a contrarian reaction to Steve Jobs’ keynote at Macworld Expo last week. Sitting in the convention center, tapping away at my laptop once again, I couldn’t help but think that some of the magic of Apple had left the room.

Jobs, now on the board of Disney, has been slowly morphing into a creature of Hollywood, more interested in doing deals that let consumers view streaming blockbuster movies than in helping to revolutionize Web video for users to take the next great leap forward.

It wasn’t a sell-out — Apple answers to its shareholders, after all — but it was by far the most disappointing keynote I’ve attended.

Tonight, as I was watching the spirited Democratic debate in South Carolina on CNN, I spent more time flitting back and forth between social networking sites (like Twitter) and political blogs, like DailyKos, to participate in some real-time reaction among fellow voters.

It wasn’t exactly a feeling of empowerment. But it was a feeling of engagement, of not feeling locked out of the political process as in years past. Others apparently feel the same way, with untold thousands of people posting reactions, heading out to cover the campaigns carrying only a video camera, or posting widgets on their blogs, like this one, from the political blog myDD.

We’re doing this ourselves, without licensing, streaming or buying anything from Steve Jobs or his friends in high places.