John Hawkins: Does the RNC have any sort of organized method for checking out what the blogosphere is doing on a daily basis?Ruffini on the left blogohemisphere:
Patrick Ruffini: Sure! Each morning we start off with a blog report that gets sent out in the morning and afternoon...that tells the entire building what bloggers are talking about that day.
We read about the perfect Kos 0-19 record. It's not important how big you are, it's how effective you are, frankly, at winning elections and in all aspects of the campaign, be it money, be it volunteers, be it media buzz.Hmmm.... did you see Markos Moulitsas (with Jerome Armstrong) on Tim Russert's CNBC show? Yeah, I know, insert wisecracks about how no one watches CNBC. I TiVo Tim Russert's show and usually check it out. I was struck by how un-camera-ready Kos and Armstrong were (as they continued to promote their book "Crashing the Gate"). Ah, well, what the hell does it matter? Russert himself isn't camera-ready. I'm always distracted by the way he gently sways, like a large, tethered balloon. But Armstrong seemed robotic, with his utterly frozen face. And Kos looked wild-eyed and rabbit-y, as he came right out and said the Democratic Party needs to become more aggressively left-wing:
Well, there was this, I think, notion in the progressive movement that politics is a pendulum, and all we got to do is sit and wait back for this pendulum to swing back in our direction. And [the 2004] election, I think in a lot of ways, brought home that even though we had the money -- money was always an excuse -- we had the money, we had the issues, we had the numbers in our favor, it still was not enough to win. So, therefore, there had to be something else. And as we write about, it's the lack of a left-wing message machine. It's lack of left-wing machinery, like a vast left-wing conspiracy to counter this incredible and very efficient, very effective machine on the right.What do you think Russert was thinking then? Oh good lord, these are the guys who are supposed to help the Democratic Party?
Back to the Ruffini interview:
John Hawkins: Are there any issues or ways things were handled internally at the RNC over the last couple of years where you think the blogosphere may have had a particular impact?So much for the assertions that we bloggers just serve up the party's talking points. We can only guess at what Ruffini is not saying there.
Patrick Ruffini: I could probably spew off a few examples...
John Hawkins: Sure! Go ahead.
Patrick Ruffini: ...But, I think it would probably be in the realm of the, "inside the playbook," kind of stuff which we generally don't talk about. ...One of the very helpful aspects of the conservative blogosphere is that I think you cover...a wider variety of issues perhaps than your counterparts on the left. The blogs are talking about one thing and the RNC might be talking about something that day. I don't see that as a weakness, per se.
It seems the left blogohemisphere wants to be a big machine for its party (but it foolishly wants to grind out a message that's too left wing). And the right blogohemisphere is all over the place, unwilling to provide mechanical services. Neither party can really get what it wants from the bloggers. That's a good thing.
But the style of not doing what the party wants is different on the right and the left. Which party is more threatened by the bloggers it perceives as allies? It should be the bloggers who oppose you that threaten to do the most damage, but I don't think it is. It's those bloggers who are trying to help that you've got to watch out for.
UPDATE: And here's Cox on Kos (via Instapundit):
Moulitsas’s rhetoric and passion have made him a posterboy bomb-thrower. He's the left's own Kurt Cobain and Che Guevera rolled into one, dripping sex appeal for progressives for whom debate has become synonymous with losing, who need a muscular liberal answer to the cowboy swagger adopted by the Bush Administration and its fans.Sex appeal? Don't drip any of that on me.
Moulitsas does know he has become the face of the netroots, though he insists that it's a position he has inherited only by default. The left lacks many telegenic spokespeople, he says, "It's the difference between the Fox News anchors — you know, blond, put-together — and our people. It's like, 'You know, lady, put on a bra. Would it kill you to put on a bra?'"Yeah, lefty ladies, your leader wants you to wear a bra. Put yourself together. Can't you bleach your hair and put on some of that high gloss lip goo? I'm hearing echoes of that famous old lefty line "the only position for women ... is prone."
Lefties assume they've got a solid image as feminist so they can say things like this and smile. They don't deserve that image, and people who care about feminism ought to resist it hardily. I recommend seeing feminism as something quite apart from other party politics. One party may seem to be on your side while it comes in handy, but they won't be there when it's not. Cultivate independence.