The Blogosphere Should Not Have Candidates

By Big Tent Democrat

Ron Klain writes an interesting post about the left blogosphere that stumbles onto a central truth, that the left blogosphere should NOT have favorite candidates, it must have favorite principles and issues. Klain writes:

[N]otwithstanding this stunning success, this week’s withdrawal by John Edwards, coming a week after the departure of Dennis Kucinich [Klain clearly is not THAT familiar with the blogs], means that both of the preferred presidential candidates of the liberal blogosphere are now out of the race.

Despite Klain's glaring error, Barack Obama was at least the second favorite candidate of the blogosphere, he hints at an essential truth - the blogs should not be about favorite candidates. It should try to persuade and/or pressure Dems, candidates and officeholders, on the issues that matter to them. In 2007, I was very critical of the blogs' performance on withdrawal from Iraq. Why? Because it was candidate centric, not issue centric.

In essence, Klein gets to the issue in a roundabout way when he writes:

Maybe the blogosphere has actually won, and it just can’t take “yes” for an answer. A final possibility is that the blogosphere’s preferred candidates have had trouble getting traction because the other candidates have moved in the blogosphere’s direction.

This is true but the flip side is also true; getting your favorite candidates is not necessarily a victory. I wrote this a few months ago:

As citizens and activists, our allegiances have to be to the issues we believe in. I am a partisan Democrat it is true. But the reason I am is because I know who we can pressure to do the right thing some of the times. Republicans aren't them. But that does not mean we accept the failings of our Democrats. There is nothing more important that we can do, as citizens, activists or bloggers than fight to pressure DEMOCRATS to do the right thing on OUR issues.

And this is true in every context I think. Be it pressing the Speaker or the Senate majority leader, or the new hope running for President. There is nothing more important we can do. Nothing. It's more important BY FAR than "fighting" for your favorite pol because your favorite pol will ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS, disappoint you.

In the middle of primary fights, citizens, activists and bloggers like to think their guy or woman is different. They are going to change the way politics works. They are going to not disappoint. In short, they are not going to be pols. That is, in a word, idiotic.

Yes, they are all pols. And they do what they do. Do not fight for pols. Fight for the issues you care about. That often means fighting for a pol of course. But remember, you are fighting for the issues. Not the pols.

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    Blogs used to claim (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Judith on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:01:03 PM EST
    to be unbaised as the MSM was biased.  Not working out that way.

    I have never in my life (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Tano on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:16:38 PM EST
    heard any blog claim objectivity.

    Quite the contrary. The driving ethic in the blogsophere has always been advocacy, not objectivity.


    Yes but (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:18:34 PM EST
    They have now become embedded pundits to their candidate of choice. If they post critical material, the mob attacks. Readers from the others side, do not read them cause they are one sided.

    of course. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Judith on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:28:43 PM EST
    I expect the personal blogs to choose a "side".  but the blogs I started out reading in 2000 were going up against the MSM that they thought were biased.

    Some major bloggers have (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:43:03 PM EST
    been "coopted" by what those bloggers deride as the MSM.  Kos at Newsweek [or is it Time?], Josh Marshall on MSNBC post-debate show as talking head, Wonkette at Time.  BTD is classy though, he's at Guardian UK once in awhile.  

    of course (none / 0) (#15)
    by Judith on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:45:45 PM EST
    it is how empires stay empires -  

    Your point is well taken.


    Success (none / 0) (#21)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:00:57 PM EST
    There is a price to success!! So, new insurgents will arise. Unlike TV and radio, you don't have to buy a license to set up shop.

    co opt the leaders (none / 0) (#22)
    by Judith on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:01:53 PM EST
    and stall the revolution.

    Oh noes, opinions!!!! (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by sterno on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 06:34:44 PM EST
    The reality is that most blogs are opinion sites.  It is somebody or somebodys telling you what they think.  It is some random person feeding their ego and shouting to the world, "here's what I think!"  

    When we talk about the "left blogosphere", let's be clear that there is not central authority.  It's not any kind of organized effort.  Some bloggers try to remain neutral.  Others come out very overtly in favor of some candidate.  Invariably, no matter what, they'll be accused of bias by their readers who also have bias.  


    Huh? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Judith on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:26:44 PM EST
    you never heard a blog claim they could evaluate objectively?    Yikes.

    Yep, it's called being "reality-based" (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:37:56 PM EST
    -- different term, as "objectivity" is so problematic a term.

    But it hasn't worked out as reality-based at all on many blogs, I agree.


    my disappointment (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Judith on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:42:33 PM EST
    is not that openly subjective blogs have gone haywire one way or another - but that the ones that were formed as alternatives to the corporate profits driven sites/outlets have also gone haywire.  

    and yes, the term "reality based" is more fitting.  Thanks.


    objectivity (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by tek on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:56:37 PM EST
    If only the coverage in blogs were objective, but unfortunately they've chosen Obama for the most part and they relentlessly reprint every smear the MSM puts out on Hillary and claim it as the gospel truth. Maybe these bloggers don't have to be objective, but then they've become the thing they claim to hate, so you might as well watch FOX News. I actually read yesterday where one blogger wrote that every person who voted for Hillary in the MOVEON vote was a TRAITOR. Does that sound uncomfortably familiar?

    hold on (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Judith on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:00:26 PM EST
    I think a blogger can very much chose a candidate. But the reasons have to be objective as well as the commentary.

    For example. BTD supports Obama.  He has made his reason(s)clear.  However, he is able to assess events from an objective point of view.
    Many others are failing miserabley to do that if they even try.


    I agree (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by standingup on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:07:13 PM EST
    on point that the blogs can be more effective in focusing on the issues and policies they want to see in place.  I also think Move On made a mistake in endorsing a candidate in the primary.  Why put all your eggs in one basket?  I am very disappointed and concerned this primary season could be a step backwards for our ability to influence and pursue the agenda that is best for the Democratic party.

    No one is ever unbiased... (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by rhbrandon on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:20:07 PM EST
    The challenge is to recognize our biases for what they are be open to new information and perspectives, and change and adapt as appropriate when insight and wisdom accumulate. When feelings get in the way, it can be miserably difficult at times.

    DKos is the best present example of the present phenomenom described. It really is the 800 lb. gorilla in the Democratic blogosphere. But it is now extremely difficult to get into any discussion that is fact-based about one candidate or another. It's Jacobin in its ruthlessness. A lot of folks who have been long-term diarists and participants have been posting their own warnings over there over the past few weeks. Apart from a lot of condolences, the people making the most difficulties have nothing to say regarding the warnings.

    Sad thing is Clinton won't particulary disappoint as President anymore than we've expected of her absent a lunge for Liebermanism. On the other hand, Obama is going to be a big letdown for his admirers if he actually has to get about the business of governing.

    2008, Democrat-wise, it turning into 1968 where Clinton is Humphrey and Obama is McCarthy at the Chicago convention, except that the online rioting has been ongoing for a month now and the Chicago Seven has now gained control of the convention floor.

    It'll all be over one way or the other in due course; I'm just not sure what pieces will be left over to pick up. It's seems like Wal-Mart has been bulldozed and we're stuck shopping at several different stores for the basic essentials - or in our case, ideas and perspectives - that we need for our day-to-day thinking. Probably should've been doing more of that anyway.

    Means I'll start having to get up earlier in the a.m. I guess.

    what's left (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by tek on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:00:16 PM EST
    This is a great comment and sums up my feelings exactly. First, for the last 7 years, it was icky to feel that the ruling Party was distorting the truth and suppressing democracy and the liberals had to sit back helplessly, now, it's terrible to see my own party doing the same thing. I really feel like a stranger in my own country and can't really go somewhere else at this stage of life.

    Ironically... (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by vdeputy on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:56:42 PM EST
    I predicted at the very beginning of this campaign that whoever the media decided our candidates would be is who our candidates would be.  Based on that presumption, I thought it would be McCain vs Obama. Seems the bloggers are no more immune to buying into the MSM's themes than just regular voters, in fact, they're more so. So, who will the MSM want to win in the general?

    McCain (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by MO Blue on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:16:49 PM EST
    If Obama is the nominee, I predict that the majority of the MSM, especially the pundits, will do a complete 180. No more media darling status for Obama.

    They have had a long term love affair for McCain for years and I don't see them abandoning him for Obama.

    Since Hillary has never been a media darling, her status won't change if she is the nominee.


    general (none / 0) (#25)
    by tek on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:07:47 PM EST
    Easy answer: they will support the Republican because the MSM is owned by corporations. That's why they are now lionizing Obama.

    what if? (none / 0) (#30)
    by Josey on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:23:14 PM EST
    the media corporations continue giving Obama a pass - right through the general?

    feel free to gamble on this. (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by ghost2 on Mon Feb 04, 2008 at 11:25:07 AM EST
    That's what it is, a gamble.  Bill Clinton was right about it.  

    I personally think choosing a president is a very important decision, and one should go with the solid choice, b/c although it's exciting to gamble on the new, shiny horse, a bad choice is not disappointment, but catasrophe.


    Media-hyped horse-race vs. judicious pres-choice (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by nmehlallen on Mon Feb 04, 2008 at 08:53:51 PM EST
      With the high way to D.C. inaccessible to anyone without top-notch political credentials, Obama has stuck a Cadillac hood-ornament onto the nose of a dark racehorse, thrown a beige blanket over it, attached a bumper sticker to its rump reading "Honk if you want some vague kind of change", passed the nag off as a genuinely classy vehicle, & plans to ride it into the presidency via dirt roads in the political lowlands, stirring up enough dust that onlookers won't see that he's not the real thing until it's too late.  The media, of course, have been happy to go along with the scam because Obama's campaign is the one which can be the most controversial, attention-getting &, hence, most profitable in terms of TV revenue.

    It's Obama's out-of-nowhere, unmerited grab for high political office that has made race the major, though sub rosa, component in his campaign.  Except for his racially mixed parentage, nobody would be paying attention to Obama, because he would be just another smooth-talking lawyer with a huge ego, political ambitions & no particular qualifications.  If he'd risen to prominence naturally, through outstanding public service or nationally noteworthy accomplishments, the brilliance of his achievements would have eclipsed the racial factor, but he has no such record, so all he's got is his color to distinguish him from all the rest, & that's what he's running on.

    Despite Obama's declarations of wanting to bring the country together, when his opponent says anything against him, if there's any way at all that the criticism can be spun to look as though it might have a racial component, it's cast in a whites-against-blacks light, &, at the rally put on by Oprah, Obama's manner of speech, very different from the way he ordinarily speaks to mixed or mostly white crowds, smacked of mush-mouth, while Oprah sounded for all the world like some drawling southern evangelist as she preached, "I believe.  I do believe he is The One", using inflections & cadences indistinguishable from those of Martin Luther King.   And when Obama speaks to black audiences, saying "Our time has come.  Our time has come ... for change", what message do you think he's intentionally conveying to African-Americans?

    If this campaign increases racial tensions, the fault will lie with Obama, a will-o'-the-wisp no more substantial than some political image polished up & projected onto a screen as a vote-getting entity.  Electing him would amount to substituting a Democratic empty suit for the disastrous Republican one who's finally leaving the White House, & it would promise to continue the downward slide of this country.

    Contriving to put a black into the presidency on any basis other than widely recognized merit will be disastrous, & choosing charismatic personality over substance has historically led to some horrendous world leaders.  Voting in favor of someone because of his color is just as racist as voting against him for the same reason, & just as dumb.


    Divorce (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by xjt on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:33:17 PM EST
    I don't know if they should pick candidates or not. But I do know that I will never again go back to Daily Kos, nor will I ever feel the same way about people like Josh Marshall or Arianna Huffington, and many more.

    I will no longer make financial contributions to candidates that Kos recommends or participate in the action alerts that John Aravosis or MoveOn requests. They have completely alienated me, turned me off, pissed me off. It's not that they had differing opinions, it's their downright antagonism toward my preferred candidate, and their arrogant assumption that I would agree with them, even as they contradict the principles they've been espousing for years. In some instances they have been downright hateful.  

    It's been eye-opening, and frankly I feel in many ways that I have been duped. I can only assume they don't care if they lose readers.

    Just for the record... (5.00 / 4) (#49)
    by Meteor Blades on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 06:29:58 PM EST
    ...there is more than one opinion at Daily Kos, and I'm not just talking about the Diaries.

    Sure...but it is not even clear (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Virginian on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 10:46:00 PM EST
    what those are...

    I still participate at DK, but honestly, I've started searching for a different "community." I'm not-not and Obama guy, but I've just found the discourse so poisonous. It's no longer what it once was, to big, no ability to control the message or members, and the momentum for the candidate of hope has nothing but a message of hate at Daily Kos...


    100% agreed (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 08:19:53 PM EST
    There is definitely more than one opinion on DailyKos.  However, I suspect opinion 1 has about, um, ~78% coverage, whereas opinion 2 has ~11%.  And opinion 1 is about a mob that conducts easily as much evil as good, making life for the opinion 2 folks ... *miserable* on DK, and administration couldn't care less.

    I agree with the prevous poster.  DKos will never be the same for me again. The group needs some moderation of the mob faction. It attempts to "self-moderate," using things like the "hide" feature.  "Hide" is used by the mob to squelch dissent via troll-bombs.

    I've found other sources of information, and I'm hoping others like me will do the same.


    Couldn't Agree more (none / 0) (#76)
    by kenoshaMarge on Mon Feb 04, 2008 at 07:52:20 AM EST
    I still pop in to the Obamington Post to throw a bit of ice water on the victory dance they have been doing ever since South Carolina. I stopped going to BuzzFlash when it became abundantly clear that they had traded their integrity for their preference. I still read their mailbag, where I was a daily contributor for years, and see that many of their readers are outraged. I now think of them as ObamaFlash.com and am really sorry that I wasted what little bit of resources I had in supporting them. I feel betrayed and I feel stupid. No matter what happens in the election, I will never go back.

    Mixed Feelings About This (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by MO Blue on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:35:16 PM EST
    I would like to see the blogs concentrate more on issues. OTOH, I do like the fact that the blogs are supporting primary challenges against some of the Dems who campaign as Democrats and vote like Republicans.

    There was a time over at DKos that if you stated something as fact and it wasn't factual, you had people quickly telling you not to do that. That all goes out the window the minute that candidates are deemed the official candidate of the blog. Even pointing out that something is not factual will get you hammered.

    The one thing that I really like about BTD is that he keeps reminding us that they are all POLS. It is harmful to the democratic process when we make heros out of pols. It is much harder to be critical or objective when dealing with heros than it is with pols.    

    But remember that photo of Tester (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:58:23 PM EST
    standing in the field out west?  DK really rallied for him, but it didn't work out the way DK wanted after he was elected with DK's help.  same with Webb.  

    That Is One Of My Points (none / 0) (#34)
    by MO Blue on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 04:24:00 PM EST
    Both vote contrary to what most of the community thinks is important. Both vote against any timeline for ending the occupation etc. and Webb votes against FISA. Yet, Webb especially is still a hero to be idolized and protected there. Whenever anyone talks about a possible VP candidate, Webb is one of the first names mentioned. Tester to his credit at least votes right on FISA.

    No...there is more too it (none / 0) (#63)
    by Virginian on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 10:52:34 PM EST
    Webb and Tester were less "progressive" movement candidates, and more about viable candidates who could possibly take a seat from the Republicans.

    The reason the "net roots" tout them both so much as successes, is because of the relative lack of successes from "net roots" candidates...They are claiming victories of candidates that DONT represent the "net roots" values (which seem to have been thrown out the f-ing door for the primaries...values, what values?), but instead are "victories" which the "net roots" can make semi-substantiated claims...Tester and Webb are used to legitimize the blogs' perceived accumulation of power, not the other way around.


    The reason dkos backed them? (none / 0) (#79)
    by ghost2 on Mon Feb 04, 2008 at 11:32:06 AM EST
    male comradry!! plain and simple.  They had and still have a crush on Webb.  

    Now, I like Webb, and his fighting spirit.


    Dems who hateLiberals (except for our votes +cash) (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Ellie on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 10:06:38 PM EST
    Firedoglake recently had a post up about the Darcy Burner campaign that used FDL and other (self-described) liberal sites for fund-raising. The campaign consultant revealed his motives and strategy:

    His [Burner's campaign consultant Sandeep Kaushik] challenge is keeping Burner from becoming too closely associated with the local liberal blogosphere, which overwhelmingly supports her.

    (For article cite and more on this particular douchebaggery click over to the linked FDL post.)

    He's not the first jerk Dem consultant who thinks this strategy is a good one. I call them "stoplight nose-pickers": those nauseating drivers who disgustingly root their nasal canals at while stopped at a red light. They seem to believe that people all around the car can't see the driver indulging this repulsive habit. For some reason, the spirits of the road have chosen to punish me by making me stop next to one way too frequently.

    This strategy of disavowing Liberals (and liberal causes and blogs) once they've been cynically mined for donations also got Blue Dogs like Mary Landrieu's pointless ass into office, ntm anti reproductive rights and anti-GBLT rights creeps like the Nelsons and Casey Jr.

    I've been Independent since '04. Since '06 to get Congress back, I'm not a door-knocker or vote getter for the Dems or any candidate except the ones I've seen perform their duty in upholding the Constitution and to represent me.

    I'm tapped out and disgusted with Dem consultants like Burner's and with this toothless "cooperative", enabling Congress that does one thing behind the scenes and feigns another for the cameras. They want to chase the "Independent Voter", well here I am.

    I support the issues I always have but my message to the party and to Bush Lite enablers like Harry Reid is that they can chase that elusive NASCAR Dad conservative all they want, but they have to earn me back too. (Oh and nice stealth job on warrantless spying, Harry.)

    (As for Sens. Clinton or Obama, after the debate I'm less uncomfortable with either one but still undecided.)


    Blogs should have candidates (5.00 / 0) (#56)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 08:25:19 PM EST
    especially for GENERAL elections. However, issues should matter more.  During primaries candidates should take really minor status, as in keep specific feelings about candidates OFF the front page, in separate candidate sectors.   We have to believe that whichever candidate reaches the generals has to be better than the one presented by the other side.  We won't ever get to that point if the blog identifies with one primary candidate, making the infighting is the front-page story, and breaking the movement to pieces.

    This primary has *RUINED* the major blogsphere for me. For me, it's no different than the MSM. (my opinion only).

    the blogosphere SHOULD ??? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Tano on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:24:38 PM EST
    The glory of the blogosphere is that it gives a platform for people to express themselves, unfiltered, and to reach as wide an audience as their contributions merit. It is a wonderful vehicle for the actualization of FREEDOM.

    Why on earth would anyone presume to tell the blogsophere what it SHOULD be?

    I have no problem with you expressing your wish that there were more of an issue based discussion in the blogosphere. The best way to do that, of course, is to have an issue based site and to win a following based on that.

    But why presume to tell other free people what they SHOULD be talking about? The fact is, that people in general do not tend to vote on issues - as strange as that may seem to policy wonks. The fact that the blogosphere often tends to be candidate-centric is simply an accurate reflection of the tendencies of the society at large.

    What you are really saying is that you think people in general should be more concerned about issues rather than candidates. Once you start meditating on why that is, you may gain some valuable insights into human nature, and to why it is that liberals and progressives have been less successful than we all think they should be.

    Ironic (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:29:56 PM EST
    that you are here trying to tell ME what I should write.

    touche (none / 0) (#11)
    by Judith on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:33:25 PM EST

    huh? (none / 0) (#20)
    by Tano on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:00:42 PM EST
    you find that ironic?

    You dont see the difference between you telling people what to do, and me telling you that people should not be told what to do?

    Uggh. This reminds me of the rightwing argument that says that progressives are being hypocritical when they preach tolerance to the intolerant. How intolerant of you to not tolerate intolerance!


    Extremely ironic (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:07:06 PM EST
    You are telling me what to do. Of course what you are telling me to do you are doing yourself.

    It is quite ironic.


    BTD (none / 0) (#35)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 04:41:23 PM EST
    I find it a bit ungracious as well to come here and complain about how things are run.  Jeralyn and you put a great deal of your time and money into this site.  Y'all make no qualms about it being moderated and your stance on nastiness.  We all play by the rules so we can stay in the sandbox.  You both are very polite about warning folks who step over the line.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I have no problem listening to it and having a discussion when it is logically stated and doesn't involve some kind of attack (or apostrophe error, which is really starting to annoy me--two Clintons = Clintons.  One Clinton = Clinton's.  Get a clue, people!)  I think folks who agree to the terms for posting should respect those terms, and not act surprised or outraged when they are called out on it.


    oh dear (none / 0) (#41)
    by Judith on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 05:13:33 PM EST
    my laziness must drive you crazy.

    I like passion though - I sure wouldnt want a tea party.


    Give me a break (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Lora on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 05:48:05 PM EST
    Tano made a good point.  Nothing ungracious or ironic about it.  People run for office, not issues.  But whether you believe in backing a person or an issue, Tano's point that the blogosphere should be a place to do either one is on target.

    Ironic is right (none / 0) (#64)
    by Virginian on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 10:56:59 PM EST
    BTD didn't say there was no legitimate point to be made, or alternate opinion, he just said the point was ironic...which it is...

    Disagree (none / 0) (#72)
    by Lora on Sun Feb 03, 2008 at 11:18:10 AM EST
    Saying that the blogosphere should express support for issues and not candidates is different from saying that the blogosphere should be free to express either.  The latter does not tell the former what to say.  The former does.

    Thank you Lora (none / 0) (#73)
    by Tano on Sun Feb 03, 2008 at 01:29:02 PM EST
    I should learn how to make my point as concisely as you do.

    You're right on your analogy (none / 0) (#75)
    by Virginian on Sun Feb 03, 2008 at 02:06:25 PM EST
    but thats not representative of the critique of BTD...the critique was one in which the poster told BTD that he should instead advocate the freedom of expression either way...the irony is found in the fact that Tano while advocating free expression proceeded to suggest that BTD should not be expressing his opinion in the manner in which he (BTD) did...thus the irony...

    I have no problem with you expressing your wish that there were more of an issue based discussion in the blogosphere. The best way to do that, of course, is to have an issue based site and to win a following based on that.

    But why presume to tell other free people what they SHOULD be talking about?

    Its circular...and there in lies the irony


    I like BTD (none / 0) (#80)
    by ghost2 on Mon Feb 04, 2008 at 11:35:34 AM EST
    But on this point I agree with Tano.  Yes, you should be able to tell BTD that he shouldn't tell others what to do.  Tano is also right about the tolerant/intolerant example.

    Funny, b/c I agree with BTD on his post about blogs.  

    Have I confused you enough?


    free people (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by tek on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:04:46 PM EST
    But that's exactly what the blogs are doing, telling the membership that they are not free to express their views, they have to get on board with the views of the bloggers who dominate that site. These bloggers might ask themselves what's the good of preaching to the choir? What's disappointing to me is that so many people on both sides of the political spectrum don't want an honest, fair, objective campaign where the candidates have to compete on an equal footing so Americans can make an informed--not a misinformed--decision. Even the Democrats think the people who shout loudest should win.

    not on this site (none / 0) (#26)
    by Judith on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:09:09 PM EST
    I have never been told what to think nor have I seen anyone else here told what to think. It is true that ill manners and nuttyburger ideas do tend to be squashed, but I think that is good.

    Analysis (none / 0) (#27)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:16:31 PM EST
    Frankly, I have had to look for longer analytical pieces-- blogs, or comments offer instant opinion. Longer magazine article with research and analysis is what most people are completely not reading. If you only get your opinion from comments, blogs and posts, you are missing some critical thinking and synthesis. Hard to find that material and not many read it when posted. People are lacking in critical thinking.. I love TL cause it disciplines you and has a standard. Makes ya think.

    Boring Boring Infrastructure Matters !!! (none / 0) (#7)
    by seabos84 on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:25:17 PM EST
    HOW we do what we do is a real big problem.

    This incessant idiotic zero sum game is great for the f$$$ing parasites of DC, but

    it does (pretty close to) NOTHING to foster sustained community involvement / participation.


    When campaigns have to get everything for themselves, for the most part - WHY should they give a hoot about 'The Democratic Party' ?

    The party should be in the business of helping people participate - AND

    that includes primaries for all all the time.

    Are campaigns and campaign cash a HUGE waste of time? YES.

    Fix it! elected people, do NOT tell me how you can't fix the freaking rules you make .

    this barack hillary stuff is the same merde I saw in carter v kennedy 28 yrs ago, AND every electino since - everybody is so busy fighting over the phone bank place or the phone bank list or the phone bank volunteers for months that

    when the smoke has cleared LOTS of people decide

    a plague on both your houses.

    When I read these live blogging things I and read the prominant blogger dishing some


    and then I see just about the same 'insight' around blog-o-topia

    it looks like we're heading for a bunch of new kewl kids instead of hte old kewl kids


    elites are elites, they look out for themselves first.


    I hear this so often (none / 0) (#65)
    by Virginian on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 11:00:27 PM EST
    about this election cycle, particularly in criticism of HRC.

    But can anyone please explain how just about everything political is called a "zero sum game?"

    I just don't see things fitting this definition...(at least not nearly as often as it is used).


    I guess we have different experiences, (none / 0) (#67)
    by seabos84 on Sun Feb 03, 2008 at 01:30:27 AM EST
    my phone bank example was a bit of a stretch, however, only a bit.

    it applies to any of the other resources candidates need for campaigning -

    the way the party 'organizes' things, stuff a hillary gets comes from what an obama could get but now won't get --

    unless they go get their own stuff.

    again, I've seen this ... over 100 ?? times in 30 years of doing various grunt campaign things, so

    I really really have no clue what you are seeing, or, not seeing.

    IF our party and our candidates were really really fighting for us bottom 85%,

    in my NOT humble opinion there'd be plenty of volunteers and phones and anything to go around --

    they (the party and too many of our fake 'leaders') don't fight for us, people don't care about them to participate, so the few that participate are over stretched and over extended and over committed.



    I am asking more specifically (none / 0) (#74)
    by Virginian on Sun Feb 03, 2008 at 01:58:45 PM EST
    about the "game theory" concept of "zero-sum-game", not the resource/capital/mercantile idea of fixed resources...

    The politics, people keep saying so and so (HRC usually) is playing a "zero-sum game" but I 1) don't think that is accurate, and 2) think it is widely misused or misunderstood. So I basically want someone to explain what they mean when they say that, so I can either see what I am missing about the analogy or see it for what I believe it is becoming this election cycle, code word for "old politics" (albeit an incorrect code word)


    Fence sitters (none / 0) (#29)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 03:21:21 PM EST
    I have plenty of very critical lefty friends who will swing towards Obama cause they bought the he is more electable and Hilary has negatives. This is conjecture on our part and the MSM's part. There is no real analysis of the Conservative coalition and where it's going. Has anyone read some serious stuff about the "conservative" voter? Not my aunt is a Reaganite and she hates Hillary.

    Electability is a patently phony argument (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by RalphB on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 04:45:39 PM EST
    No one, I repeat no one, knows who is more electable in any election.  The party voted for the electable one in 2004 and just look how that turned out. Literally everyone said Kerry was more electable and it was completely wrong.

    It's all spin and every election writes it's own narrative from scratch each time.  This cycle promises to be a Democratic year and I doubt it matters whether Clinton or Obama is the candidate.


    I'm not sure this is true (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Tano on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 05:10:20 PM EST
    I dont dispute your underlying thesis that electability is very hard to guess.

    But this statement:
    "Literally everyone said Kerry was more electable and it was completely wrong."

    is only true if you can confidently claim that Howard Dean would have done better than Kerry in the general election. And I see no reason to believe that.


    Oh yeah I can do that. (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by RalphB on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 05:25:02 PM EST
    I was at a talk and heard Karl Rove and Mathew Dowd both say that they were ecstatic when Kerry won the nomination in '04.  Both explained why he was easy to beat and said that Howard Dean would have been a much more difficult challenge.

    Seems that Dean's strength was the same as they were going to play up for Bush.  A principled man who would stand up for what he thought was right against the odds.  With Dean's actual record in Vermont, any hits on him would have been deflectable while Kerry was a perfect target-rich environment.

    That's not to say that Dean would have run but it would have been a more difficult race for Bush.


    That didn't come out right (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by RalphB on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 05:36:56 PM EST
    When I read what I wrote I surprised myself.  I should have said that I heard they had both said that by a man who had interviewed them about the race.  Not that they were there and said it in person.  Guess I should be a politician.  

    Wes Clark was more electable for sure (none / 0) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 05:40:48 PM EST
    He sure was and once he (none / 0) (#48)
    by RalphB on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 06:18:57 PM EST
    got the initial hump of starting the campaign behind him, he was better at it.  Media killed him off much too quickly.

    Bush II & Reagan PROVED electability is (none / 0) (#68)
    by seabos84 on Sun Feb 03, 2008 at 01:41:45 AM EST

    run an effective campaign = WIN

    oh ... opps!

    that = you are ELECTABLE! you won!

    Gore, Kerry, the neighbor's German Shepard --- ALL are electable with the right campaign!

    one of the most powerful manipulations of people who think they have some savvy is getting them into the 'electable' game.

    Had Kerry or Gore or Dukakis or Mondale or Carter

    (anyone here old enough to remember how we had to get a moderate to NOT scare / attract 'the middle' and NOT scare / attract 'the independent voter' ... gag, puke, hack ... in 1988?)

    run competent campaigns they would have beaten those lying, stealing, cheating fascist pigs.



    why are these obvious points not being pushed? (none / 0) (#66)
    by english teacher on Sun Feb 03, 2008 at 12:13:06 AM EST
    Rural Americans liked Bill over Bush because of Farm Policy.  

    "Soccer moms" will go to McCain over Obama because of "experience".  

    On Iraq, at least 20 million voters gave Bush the benefit of the doubt on Saddam's WMD and now regret it.  Obama can not win these voters.

    The American electorate is scared about the economy and Obama prevents carrying the argument that as good as Bill was on the economy Hillary can be better!  

    "Look even some democrats don't want her" will be their talking point.  

    Why is Obama trying to run against the Clinton record that was so good for working Americans?  
    Thirty million people smack in the center of the electorate that want another Clinton in the White House!  
    If Hillary presses her advantage,  SHE WILL DESTROY MCCAIN ON THE ECONOMY!  

    What better way to repudiate the Bush administration than to vote for Hillary Clinton?    


    Writer's Strike: Jon Stewart (none / 0) (#36)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 04:42:12 PM EST
    Well, I am starting to believe that the MSM has gotten a free pass on the primary cause Jon Stewart is not doing his brilliant satire. The blogs have become partisan and the consumers of the news, in some way are not getting the Stewart analysis of the media. Was wondering if the "vitriol" would have reached this level if Stewart was around point out the idiocy of all sides. I watched a few clips and it was refreshing. End this strike, it's affecting our election.

    Thank you! (5.00 / 0) (#47)
    by stillife on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 06:01:59 PM EST
    I just watched the TDS show where Jon Stewart conducts a rather fawning interview with Peggy Noonan and chuckles over her assertion that Clinton is "smaller" than Bush.  It was one of those moments that I found myself yelling at the TV.  I'm sure I've never done that before while watching TDS.  I usually reserve that behavior for SOTU or MSNBC.

    Word is, the strike is ending soon and hopefully Stewart will be back to form, but in the couple of shows that I watched this week, his pro-Obama bias is blatant and detracts from the quality of the show.

    IMO, TCR is holding up better.


    Colbert (5.00 / 0) (#60)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 10:06:42 PM EST
    is from SC.  He knows how much damage the media has done to the state by stirring up issues of race.  It's very easy to do that sort of thing when you can run back to your white, male, media enclave the following week.

    I was so disappointed by John Stewart.  Really.  I took it so personally that it's hard to get past.


    Stewart suffers from Blue Dog Disease (none / 0) (#61)
    by Ellie on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 10:29:27 PM EST
    He wants to be the "reasonable", bipartisan-friendly Liberal who promotes this One Party nonsense that plays on the notion that we're "divided", so Dems (or self avowed appeasing Liberals) must roll over for the likes of gerrymandering thug Tom DeLay and mass murdering psychopaths like William Kristol (two of the neo-cons, theo-cons and conservative jerks that have been on so that Stewart can tea-bag them.)

    Stewart agreed with Nooners that "both" sides are responsible for this shocking shocking situation of parties being um, partisan. Stewart's evidence? One recent, off the cuff comment by Bill Clinton on the stump EQUALS eight years of BushCo malfeasance.


    Were it not for John Oliver and Samantha Bee (which I watch on tape anyway) I wouldn't bother with TDS anymore.

    Stephen Colbert continues to make my loins ache.


    you do know (none / 0) (#71)
    by Judith on Sun Feb 03, 2008 at 11:14:35 AM EST
    Jon is an entertainer, right?  Not a pundit.

    Stellaaa (none / 0) (#38)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 04:48:18 PM EST
    I said that to a friend the other day.  Without someone to humiliate them, there's no hope.

    Then again, I stopped watching him last Tuesday or Wednesday after he waxed on about an Obama/McCain general election, and how civil it would be, and how it would be a salve for America.


    He should interview BTD and let someone remind him of the fact that all of these people are politicians.

    I was really shocked to hear Stewart saying that, and-I know this makes me sound like an idiot-I felt more than a little betrayed.


    Now that I would really like to see: (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 05:23:08 PM EST
    Jon Stewart interviewing BTD.

    I love him (none / 0) (#39)
    by Judith on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 05:06:50 PM EST
    And McCain on Israel's human rights record (none / 0) (#70)
    by ctrenta on Sun Feb 03, 2008 at 07:04:16 AM EST

    I was REALLY surprised Jon Stewart gave Jon McCain a pass in a Nov 2005 broadcast. McCain told Stewart Israel doesn't torture and has a human rights record the U.S. should aspire to.

    Alison Weir of "If Americans Only Knew" has a great response.


    In the 10 presidential elections I have voted ... (none / 0) (#51)
    by Meteor Blades on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 06:56:08 PM EST
    ...in, I have never been wholly satisfied with the candidate choices - even in the primary. I was an alternate delegate (from Colorado) for Gene McCarthy in 1968. He didn't fully satisfy me either. Neither did McGovern, or even Shirley Chisholm in the '72 primaries. Carter? You jest. Not Kennedy, not Tsongas, not Mondale, Schroeder, Dukakis, Gore, et al.

    And this year, not even the left progressives' darling, Dennis Kucinich. Probably the only person who could really satisfy me would be me, as Pericles wrote at Daily Kos recently:

    But it's an illusion to imagine that the ladder stops here - that Kucinich represents uncompromising idealism. Because the truly uncompromising thing would have been to write in a vote for myself.

    Nobody represents my views as well as I do. Nobody agrees with me 100%. Nobody would do exactly what I would do. There's nobody I trust as much as I trust myself. In a campaign of ideals, a campaign that takes place entirely within my own head, without reference to polls or pundits or what anybody else thinks -- I win. Me for President.

    But I'm not running. Lack of popular support, money and a fat FBI file are slight impediments.

    However, while I am and have always been an issues guy, I do have to choose. Every election there is a choice between the Democrat and Republican (other choices, too, of course, but only symbolic ones). I doubt, BTD, that you would argue the progressive blogosphere should not take a stand for one or the other in that case. But I could be wrong.

    As for me, I've made my decision for February 5. It's a choice filled with misgivings, concerns, worries, frustrations, and tinged with a bit of cynicism. How could it be otherwise, given that, as aforementioned, I have voted in 10 previous presidential contests and lived with the consequences of two of my choices actually being elected.

    My complaint isn't that the blogosphere has gotten behind this or that candidate, but that so many progressives are utterly cult-like in their adoration for this or that one. As rhbrandon noted above, a large cohort among the supporters of the candidate who happens to be supporting the very candidate I have chosen, are going to be let down big time, in my opinion. That always occurs when the promises are vague and the supporters become fans who attach to those promises their most cherished hopes.

    Not what I meant (none / 0) (#52)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 06:59:55 PM EST
    Choose the issues and find the candidate who works best for the issues.

    As I wrote in my dd piece - fighting  for the ISSUES of course entail supporting a pol in a race, but remember it is the ISSUE you are supporting not the pol.

    Personally, I never have had a quibble with you or ANY of the FPers at daily kos on this score. Not even DH, who has done a terrific job of not falling into candidate support over issues trap.

    I think that is NOT true for other bloggers and certainly not true for the dkos community. Not your fault of course, nothing you could do about it.


    Sorry, I missed that piece ... (none / 0) (#53)
    by Meteor Blades on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 07:02:47 PM EST
    ...there is just too much to read these days, and less time to do it as the actual campaign work starts to encroach.

    Nothing special (none / 0) (#54)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 07:06:33 PM EST
    You've read it before.

    You are doing the more important stuff, getting voters to vote. I am bloviating.


    Will The Cult-like Be Let Down (none / 0) (#57)
    by MO Blue on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 08:53:32 PM EST
    or will their go out of their way to rationalize and excuse his every action? That is something that worries me a great deal.

    Personalities v. Issues (none / 0) (#58)
    by TheRef on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 09:10:13 PM EST

    I completely agree with your thesis, unfortunately, we Americans have been seduced by the Cult of Personality. I don't see a pathway that Americans are likely to take back to issue orientation. Sad, but I think our culture is far down the slippery slope of hero worship with little attention paid to, nor interest in, the issues of the day. The promise of three squares a day, a roof over the head, a six pack after work, and something to keep our feeble minds amused seems sufficient to content much of the flock. Unless and until there is a direct [mortal] threat to the collectives' being, I see little likelihood of America reawakening.

    It should be about the issues (none / 0) (#69)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Feb 03, 2008 at 04:49:30 AM EST
    but that's going against a dominant political culture that emphasizes personality instead. Jack Balkin thinks it's because of TV:

    My sense is that a political culture whose dominant medium is television inevitably emphasizes issues of character, empathy, trust and personal connection between the candidate and the public rather than emphasizing substantive discussions of policy. That is because television is far better at conveying techniques of character presentation and, conversely, character assassination than it is as a medium for serious discussion of public issues. It is good at telling stories, and portraying good and bad character and less good at conveying nuances of policy and explaining the long term consequences of policies that cannot easily be connected to individual persons and individual story lines.

    People think the issues are too complicated and they go by who they trust most to deal with the issues for them. The blogs have been their own little world and mostly text-based and issue-focused, but as more and more people come into the blogosphere they're bringing the dominant paradigm with them. So will the blogs change the political culture or be overwhelmed by it? Even if they don't change it, there's infinite space available in the blogosphere and no gatekeepers that you can't get around, so people who want a more issues based and analytical approach can always set up or seek out sites more to their taste - a more true marketplace of ideas than the controlled market of TV.

    As for pressuring Democrats, it would work a heck of a lot better if Dems weren't so terrified of being seen as ideological. In a more ideological party there'd be less gaming the base for their own benefit the way too many elected so-called Dems have been doing. Of course there'd also be less need to pressure them in the first place to do the right things. So it's not just the issues that the blogs need to fight for, it's also to be articulating and promoting the values and political philosophy that underpin the issues - making it safe for the party to become more explicitly ideological again, at least enough to counter what the R's have made of their party in order to pull things back into some kind of balance.