Friday, August 11, 2006

Learning from the year of the blog

After the defeat of Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut Democrat Senate Primary by Ned Lamont, many people are rightly crediting weblogs and bloggers with playing the decisive role in Lieberman's defeat. The Daily Kos, which is probably the most prominent left-wing blog in the national blogosphere, was constantly beating the drum in favor of Lamont and against Lieberman. It was more than just Kos, however, it was the many leftist bloggers who link to Kos (like these) every day. Lamont has even admitted that bloggers played a critical role in his campaign.

Granted, Lieberman stands a good chance of being re-elected as an independent, but the blogs of the left did as much for his undoing in the Primary as any media blitz by Lamont. That being the case, what the bloggers of the Left did in Connecticut could and should be used as a model for conservatives who are fighting for control of the Republican Party in Tennessee and in many other States. If the Left can use the blog as a decisive tool to undo a candidate that does not fit into their values as liberals and Democrats, the Right should be able to do the same thing to candidates in Primaries where that candidate does not suit our values as conservatives and Republicans.

We can really learn from Lieberman's defeat. There are a lot of Rightist bloggers out there, but we really need something on the Right that has the influence that The Daily Kos has that can be used not merely to pass on news and information, but connect more conservative bloggers to each other so that we can use our blogs even more effectively to influence the outcome of who controls the GOP and what direction the conservative movement takes. This can be done-we've seen the proof in Connecticut.


At Thursday, August 10, 2006 10:44:00 PM, Blogger Steve Mule said...

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that blogs were instrumental in this race. They weren't. Yes, they played an important role, to be sure. However, they were not, as I just said, instrumental.
The reason the blogs were so prominent was because of what was going on on the ground in Connecticut. The blogs could have blogged until Christ returned and it would not have made any difference if the folks had been satisfied with Lieberman. Ever since the '04 election Lieberman had/has placed more importance on being a Washington power player than on being a Connecticut senator. He lost touch with the people of Connecticut and created a fertile environment for everything that played out the way it did. Without that the blogs would have been inconsequential, no matter what they said or did.
So yes the blogs did play a role but it was much more limited than what is being hyped. Keep in mind the number of times an incumbent senator has lost their primary - only 4 times in the last 20-30 years or so. Remember the media likes to keep (or make) things simple ... so ... the bogs did Lieberman in!!
Does this mean that the blogs had/have/will have no role? No. Will they be more important in the future? Maybe, it depends. The blogs can not create a situation/environment for change that favors any particular political ideology. They, like any campaign tool can only exploit what is already there. Conservative blogs would not have changed what happened in Connecticut. At the same time Liberal blogs did not create what happened in Connecticut.
So, yes, use blogs, create networks, whatever ... but don't put a lot of hope in them, at least not for a long time.
You also need to keep in mind the current level of internet "connectivness" present in America (East TN or wherever). It's not as high as you might think. I forget what it is but I was surprised that it was as low as it was. There really aren't that many people that have internet access (and most of it is dial-up; <56K) and of those that do have it even fewer read blogs. It'll be a long time (if ever) before blogs become a critical factor in a political campaign.
In the Connecticut race the blogs increased the race's visabilty, helped turn it into a referundum on the Iraq war, gave Lamont a lot of visabilty and name recognition and an early fund raising boost. Most of this would have been negated IF the story had not been picked up by the national media, who in turn hyped the blogs for reasons I've already mentioned.
Blogs hold out the promise for a lot of potential but they also have, for the foreseeable future at least, very serious limitations. Case in point - "Blogging for Bryant". How did that work out? I'm not bagging on Bryant or anyone that blogged for him. Just asking th equestion - Did it make any difference? What if the national/state media had picked it up and highlighted how it pointed out Corker's many shortcomings?
Also, remember that as a general rule blogs/bloggers often only talk to themselves. Liberals only read liberal blogs and conservatives only read conservative blogs*. It's very easy to unknowingly create a bubble and live in it right up until the election results come in.

*You're an exception as far as I'm concerned and that's why I respect you and your blog so much.


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