Mumpower and the blogosphereThe World has heard from several sources that can be deemed highly reliable that new Tennessee House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower does not think too highly of the blogosphere. Even without hearing this from outside sources, this was something that I suspected since the day Mumpower was elected. After all, there were mysterious anonymous comments that I suspect may have either come from Mumpower or a source within the Capitol (a staffmember or a legislative supporter) close to Mumpower. Supposedly, Mumpower has told several different people that he "does not care" what the blogs say (presumably about him), and he has reportedly taken an uppity attitude toward members of the blogging community who have some political pull over and above their contributions to blogging.
I realize that there are still many leaders who tend to shrug off the blogosphere, and with some good reason. Public access to the internet, though very widespread, is still not high enough on a national scale for the readership of blogs to be widespread also. Readership is steadily increasing, however, as access to the internet increases, and people without the internet at home begin to discover the blogosphere through libraries and public portals. The day will come (not far off) when blogs have far more political influence nationally than they have now, though their primary use will continue to be as a tool for organization.
There is also the issue of the uniqueness of Tennessee's political blogosphere. Since I not only write a blog and host a daily podcast, but read other Tennessee bloggers daily, I can say without any reservation that Tennessee political bloggers provide the best coverage of the General Assembly of any news source in this State that is disseminated widely among the public. If Jason Mumpower wants people to know what is really happening on the Hill, and he wants to get the word out about the GOP agenda, he had better take a different attitude toward the blogosphere. Tennessee also has one of the best (in terms of numbers and readership) and most diverse political blogospheres in the whole Union. Our blogosphere boasts people from both sides of the aisle and all sides of the political spectrum. We enjoy solid contributions from writers, attorneys, political insiders, elected officials, musicians, journalists, television and radio personalities, activists, and "everyday citizens," all right here in Tennessee. None of us are people who sit around and do nothing, we act on the beliefs about which we write-and since that is the case, it would benefit Jason Mumpower to open himself up to the blogosphere a bit more than he is apparently willing to do.
The truth is, however, that I do think Mumpower cares what bloggers are thinking and saying about him. I think he does care that when he announced for a Leadership race against Bill Dunn, the Tennessee blogosphere on the right was in overwhelming support-of Dunn. I think he does care that he was hammered for even challenging the amiable and popular now-former Leader who was well-respected on both sides of the aisle, and I think he does care that in victory he gets no love, because his victory appears shady at best. I think he does care that the grassroots people who tend to be the ones most likely to be bloggers still support Bill Dunn. I think he cares about all of this and I think that is exactly why he is pretending he doesn't care.
Jason, all you need to do is the right thing and bloggers on the right will be the best friends you have ever had. If you do things that aren't good, don't expect mercy from us. But it would do you well to understand that we can help you-especially in a State like Tennessee with such a diverse blogosphere-get the word out about Republican and conservative plans for Tennessee's future. That is, of course, if your vision of the future is a conservative one.
Labels: Tennessee politics