The World I Want To Live In

1 comment March 18th, 2007at 11:28pm Posted by Eli

Oh, how I hope Stoller is right…

Here’s how I see blogs impacting Presidential politics.  It’s going to push Democrats to become more progressive, it’s going to put the press on the defensive, and it’s going to accelerate the Republican Party crack-up.

Democrats Become Progressive: …[T]he blogs are focusing a generic progressive push on every candidate that is coming from the progressive activist base.For instance, Clinton and Obama’s weak responses on homosexuality were not be tolerated for very long.  Every candidates’ ability to freeze out and marginalized right-wing propaganda outlets like Fox News is enhanced – Edwards raised a lot of money off of Ann Coulter.  Democratic candidates can hit back against the Swift Boat for Truth Veterans if they want, as there are now progressive surrogates.  But if they do not act aggressively, they will be criticized.

The Gang of 500 Is An Issue:  The basic left-wing critique of the political press is that as a system it is superficial and represents only the concerns of a narrow elite.  There is excessive tabloid and gossipy elements to it, leading to narratives that don’t adequately allow the public to make informed choices.  Liberals have built structures over the last four years to remedy this problem.  The media landscape now involves a genuinely progressive press and activist voices.  Obama has frozen out, and the Nevada Democrats canceled a debate with Fox News.  Credible blogs are now just part of the media landscape and can debunk smears like the Madrassa one against Obama and can push back on poor coverage of the prosecutor purge, Iran the Libby trial.

Look for journalists to become an issue, for Fox News to continue to lose influence (if not audience), and for Democrats to push back aggressively against the press.  Republicans will not change their relationship with the press, but their adversarial tactics will become less effective.

Republican Crack-Up: For a long time, the right has been in control of the media narrative, which has meant that Republican politicians could escape from genuine scrutiny and say different things to different audiences….

This will not be the case this year.  Republicans are going to encounter a host of issues they cannot respond to without damaging their coalition or their mainstream appeal.  Immigration, homosexuality, the war in Iraq, choice, scandal – they will be dragged along in Bush’s wake, and blogs will push the press to examine their contradictory statements.  For instance, Giuliani and Romney are being exposed by Youtube as patently dishonest, but there’s nothing remotely similar on the Democratic side.  Ann Coulter is damaged goods, and CPAC saw a conference split along all sorts of factional lines.

Giuliani’s record in New York is going to be on full display, and McCain will not be able to pander to the right and sustain his mainstream credibility.  Local blogs are going to be in a lot more forums than ever before, leading to increased scrutiny that Republicans are just not used to.

My sense is that blogs are basically part of the political and media landscape at this point, revamping the process and bringing in more public concern and reducing the power of the candidates and various insiders to set the agenda.  It’s a big shift, and one that’s going to damage Republicans, damage the mainstream media, and push the Democrats to become increasingly progressive.

Stoller is a lot more optimistic than I am. I think the political blogs are still mostly voices in the wilderness that only political junkies and insiders pay attention to. Fortunately, politicians and the media fall into that latter group, and can occasionally be influenced. But when they flat out refuse to heed the blogosphere, we don’t have a big enough voice of our own to be heard by the wider public. We’re still dependent on a host body to carry out our wishes, and probably will be for quite some time.

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Democrats,Media,Politics,Republicans

1 Comment

  • 1. spocko  |  March 19th, 2007 at 1:10 am

    Host body. HA! I love it. “You are not of the body”.- Landru

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