June 6, 2006

The left and right blogohemispheres.

Jack Hawkins interviews RNC eCampaign Director Patrick Ruffini:
John Hawkins: Does the RNC have any sort of organized method for checking out what the blogosphere is doing on a daily basis?

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.
Ruffini on the left blogohemisphere:
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?

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.
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.

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.

63 comments:

Too Many Jims said...

My guess is that this comment thread will degenerate quickly but before it does I wanted to thank Ann for the image of Russert as "tehtered balloon." I may never look at him (or the Macy's parade) the same again.

Seven Machos said...

I'll never forget hearing during the 2004 election from my lefty friends how the right is so organized. Becauase, to me, the right (or, perhaps I should say, the non-left) in this country is so all over the place that it's comical. I myself.

The left seems far more coalesced to me. It's just that it has coalasced around an awful combination of old, bad, discredited, and unpopular ideas. Thank God for Big Media, huh, lefties?

Joe said...

Loved the tethered balloon image too.
Maybe Kos looks that way because he IS that way.

David said...

KOS has a radical agenda that has proven effective in alienating all but the extreme left-wing of the Democratic Party. He actually provides more assistance to the Republican side than his own party.

The Republican blogs seem to provide a more sensible focus group especially when the conservative ideas they put forth conflict with special interest talking points such as immigration.

In either case, web logs provide a good compass to those who would stray to far from true north.

Joe Baby said...

Whenever Kos & Company declare that Dems need to move left and focus on process, the DLC raises more money and the RNC smiles.

And this idea that Dems have no way to get their message out is really hi-lare. That, and the belief that "netroots" is some kind of superweapon, will probably doom the Dems for another eight years or so.

Jacques Cuze said...

Kos is wild-eyed! Dean screams!!!!

Althouse says they are too lefty!

Yearghh!

Meanwhile, in the reality based world, Public confidence in GOP governance has plunged to the lowest levels of the Bush presidency, with Americans saying by wide margins that they now trust Democrats more than Republicans to deal with Iraq, the economy, immigration and other issues, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll that underscores the GOP's fragile grip on power six months before the midterm elections.

And Kos' record, if you aren't listening ONLY to the RNC eCampaign director is very reasonable: Stephanie Herseth and Ben Chandler and Ned Lamont (off the top of my head) and were you to ask Kos instead of a partisan opposed to Kos and with a specific interest in trashing Kos,

Supporting "winners" The netroots could have a perfect record if we rallied behind incumbents. But that's not how you win when in the minority. You rally around the underdogs, spread the playing field, force them to play defense where they least expect it, and after chipping away, we'll have breakthroughs.

So let people laugh. Fact is, not a single Republican or Democrat wants to face a netroots-backed candidate. Lieberman isn't laughing at how ineffective the netroots is. He's scrambling to beat back the challenge of Ned Lamont, a no-name, obscure businessman with [strikeout] no [/strikeout] little political experience.

Seven Machos said...

If Ned Lamont wins the primary, I will lock myself in a small studio apartment with quxxo and 25 other loony lefites and let them lecture at me for three days while I remain silent. I will bring no media, only bananas and Gatorade and frozen pizzas. And a cyanide tablet, in case things just get too dire.

Adam said...

I don't believe Markos argues that the party needs to become more left-wing or leftist as much as it just needs to be more, well, partisan. And disciplined. He's happy to accept pro-life Dems or moderates like Bill Nelson; what he abhors are Democrats who attack other Democrats.

Joe Baby said...

Seven Machos,

Nice try. If you locked yourself w/ one or two lefties, that would be a difficult 3 days. But 25? They'll start forming committees, have a plenary meeting, and then the purges will start. Then they'll start taking ice axes to one another, etc.

P.S. Will the bananas be organic, or at least fair trade?

Jacques Cuze said...

Ann, have you read Crashing the Gate? Do you know what Markos' strategy and record are?

Customers who bought this item also bought How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok

Joe said...

I love Jock Kooz here lecturing us on reality. "But the polls! the polls!" The same polls that gave Kerry a win before the last election.
We will know in November, won't we.

Alan said...

I only hope they don't use the Malkins, RedStaters, and Freepers to gauge what Republican voters are thinking. But then, one has to wonder considering the crap the GOP has been pushing the last few years starting with Terry Shiavo.

yetanotherjohn said...

I remember a labor law professor talking about his experience in organizing for unions. He said that one of the biggest handicaps would often be the "true believers" in the plant who would want to forcefully promote the union. The problem was that they tended to be the people who had been spouting off for so long that people would start to roll their eyes and mentally shut them off when they started talking. Not based on what they said, but based on their past behavior. So if these guys started “talking up the union”, then a lot of potential converts would be turned off. Not on the message, but the messenger.

So if you look at the two sides, you see one side is not taking directions and the other wants to give directions. But there is a subtle difference between those two positions. The right and the left both want to set their own agenda, not just act as a bunch of megaphones for a central party agenda. But the diversity of opinion on the right allows for competing positions and logic to be explored. While there is certainly a number of wrong notes played on the right, the competition and wide range of notes allow for a fuller sound to be projected. On the left, there tends to be a single note. And the response to most events is to play the single note louder and more shrilly. But when you see a 0-19 record in backing election winners, there should be some questions raised as to the effectiveness of the one note orchestra. Instead we see calls to play the note even more shrilly and loudly because it can’t be the note is of key, it must be that the audience hasn’t fully heard it.

So the question is, will the ‘one note band’ be able to set the tune for the left in a monolithic culture or will they start to branch out along diverse paths? I expect to be presented with a range of thoughts and arguments on the questions of the day from the right. A good example is the dozen blogs I read on a daily basis have a wide variety of positions on the subject of illegal immigration. Some ignore it, other argue for an amnesty and yet others against amnesty. But out of that symphony of different notes on the subject, I can determine which ones ring true to me. Something I wouldn’t get if the blogs were acting only as an amplifier or were playing a single note.

David said...

If crap is promoting the sanctity of life versus unlimited availability of abortion then I am full of crap! And happily so!

By the way, I define crap in this instance as a poor euphemism for morals, ethics, personal responsibility!

I am surprised that KOS and his ilk have not linked todays 666 non-event with Bush as the anti-Christ!
They do seem to be coalescing around a topic to run on for the upcoming elections; global warming!

What a yawner. I can hardly wait to hear the charges that Halliburton/Rove are conspiring to increase global warming through volcanic eruptions around the world. They are really trying to increase their real estate holdings when the dust settles.

Henry said...

On great occasion I read Redstate or Powerline and it strikes me that their basic approach is defensive and party-oriented. They spend a lot of effort attempting to beat back what they perceive as unfair media and blog attacks on their people.

I get the sense that left-wing blogs are much more aggressive in their advocacy, but also much more alienated from the party they wish to champion.

David said...

yetanotherjohn;

Well said! That is the difference between a one-trick-pony/one-man-band on a street corner and a symphony.

Another related topic; does any educated person actually believe that polls are about as serious an endeavor as watching wrestling on TV?

Joe said...

Ann said: "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."
This is so true, and it applies to race as well, in their treatment of black conservatives.
And all their professed concern for women and gays seems to evaporate when it is the American military liberating these people from the Taliban and Saddam. The left's priority is to score points against Bush. That trumps all other interests. Reality based indeed.

Townleybomb said...

I don't think that it makes much sense to talk about the netroots types wanting to pull the substance of the political debate to the left, or really in any direction-- see the 80% or so agreement that Atrios' list of consensus positions got from this DLC blog, despite their frequent attempts (after the election, of course) to portray themselves as a Democratic version of the Goldwater wing of the Republicans. Instead, it's pretty much an attempt to graft the ugliest rhetorical strategies of the Limbaugh/ Coulter Right onto a set of fairly mainline political positions. Since so much of their effort is aimed at driving away those of us who are more-or-less on their side but can be convinced to switch wholly over and so little is aimed at engaging with people who don't already agree with them, I doubt that they're going to succeed, and may in fact be the only hopes the Republicans have of avoiding huge losses in the upcoming election.

Senescent Wasp said...

joe baby,

Don't ax you and don't ax me
Ax the Trot behind the tree.

Kirk Parker said...

Wow, I never thought I'd see the day when I would defend Kos, but really: his closing comment, though indeed poorly chosen (got that? I concede it was poorly choosen!) didn't strike me as anything worse than a flambouyant way of saying "Could you please try to look a little more mainstream?"

It's his stuff about the Democrats needing to be more radical left-wing that's really the outrageous part, though taken together with the bra remark it does provide an amusing look into the cognitive dissonance that he exudes.

SteveR said...

As one who leans right, I hardly feel any need for the right blogosphere to support my point of view. I'm glad its all over the place. No one speaks for me and since the MSM has lost any sense of objectivity, I like having multiple sources for information.

To me its not a matter of the right being "organized" as much as a need being filled. To me the left seems to want to force the issue. As an example Althouse fills my desire for an intelligent discussion that goes where Ann wants as an independent thinker. And guess what? She's a Democrat who's blog is labeled conservative because she's not in a little box of ideas.

Jacques Cuze said...

Ann keenly aware, as usual, of feminist issues, taking Kos' remarks about bras and being telegenic and transforming them into an attack on lefties and feminists:

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.


Earlier Ann on Kos:

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,

...

Sex appeal? Don't drip any of that on me.


Earlier Ann:

And how bad is "tits," anyway? It's on the original George Carlin 7 Words You Can't Say on TV list,

As they say on "Project Runway," "too much tootie." Quit aiming that thing at me.

Seriously, I love the Slutskaya unitard approach. It creates an unbroken line and feels coherent with the winter setting, unlike naked-looking legs. And with those flesh-tone tights, you've always got that contrasting strip of fabric across the crotch -- like a sanitary napkin! And it is repeatedly displayed, and we can't help staring at it! Why is that not considered grossly vulgar?


Ann Althouse: she can spell tits and tootie, but she can't spell double standard

Hayduke said...

Before we let fly these canards about bloggers on the right being more diverse, let's wait to see what happens when (if?) Democrats gain control of at least two branches of government. It's a lot easier to talk about whatever you want when your team leads the discussion.

Even still, I'm not convinced this oft-repeated claim is remotely true now. Sure, if you stick to Kos and MyDD (or Redstate and Powerline) the 'sphere looks pretty homogoneous. The real action, however, isn't with the blatant partisans (including, regrettably, Instapundit), but rather with the freaks who view parties as irrelevant. Folks here should know that as well as anyone.

PatCA said...

Kos always looks for the "something else" that manages to keep the Democrats out of power beccause they have the "issues"?! I left the Democratic party precisely because of their defense posture (appeasement and the occasional Tomahawk) and culture (white men are bad). Kos is either trying to sell his book or he is in almost psychotic denial. His niche corresponds to the radical right--politicians may dance with him but they go home with the one they came with.

Ann Althouse said...

Jacques: You missed a key line, which you quoted: "Ah, well, what the hell does it matter?"

Remember, I TiVo Russert, one of the ugliest men who has ever had a TV show. I certainly intend to talk about how people look, but I'm not wielding sexist stereotypes and not not telling people who belong to historically disadvantaged groups to adhere to the standards established by the group that historically oppressed them.

Richard Dolan said...

The "left and right blogohemispheres" include a lot more than Kos on the left or RedState on the right, so why limit the discussion in that way? The real value of the blogohemispheres lies in the great diversity of views, often strongly felt, making blogs such a rich source of ideas for the two parties as the parties continually try to work out the public policies that should follow from a core set of not always consistent values and principles. Blogs have opened up the conversation to anyone who wants to participate, and offers a megaphone with an amazing reach to any who use it well.

Case in point: Other than some legal academics and some students in Wisconsin, wwhat public audience did Ann Althouse have before she launched this blog? Today she reaches thousands daily, who often engage her on lots of different topics.

What is interesting to me about the blogs I read frequently is the way in which Joe Citizen takes a core set of values -- on the Rep side, usually tilted somewhat towards American exceptionalism, a positive view of religious values, liberty and equality of opportunity; and on the Dem side tilted more towards internationalism, secular values, community and equality of result -- and tries to derive political positions from them. It's not that the results are always or even often intellectually powerful or especially convincing. Instead, it's just lots of different players, each focusing on what matters to him, and trying to engage with others of more or less the same general views to see where it all leads. The blogohemispheres are so open that they avoid all of the institutional filters that in any organization can keep dissenting or discordant voices from being heard.

Sometimes all of this blog-chatter can lead to some really crazy places, and Kos and his commenters often provide good examples. For people like Rufini (and his equivalent at the DNC), it must offer a pretty good indicator of what is really stirring people up. It's similar to talk radio, but in some ways better for Rufini's purposes because there is no radio personality defining the issues or directing the discussion. Blogging also requires more individual effort. Depending on which blogohemisphere one reads, the result is an authentic and unvarnished indicator of the issues that matter to people who generally share the party's overall outlook if not all its policy prescriptions. The folks who are interested enough to blog are also more likely to be the same folks interested enough to contribute time or money to a campaign.

It's obviously not scientific, and unless Rufini casts a wide net and looks at lots of blogs, there's a danger that it will all just become a kind of fun-house mirror distorting rather than reflecting things. But done with care it can be a really powerful force in each party to keep the powers-that-be better connected to reality. What they do with it at that point is a different matter.

Ann Althouse said...

I wish all my readers would click on my profile, read the list of favorite movies, and make a point of watching them. Start with "Dr. Strangelove." How can anyone have missed this great movie? Why would you put any DVD in your machine before this one?

I'm going to do a "Dr. Strangelove" post next week. Please watch the movie before then so you can comment. This will be like "Althouse's DVD Club."

Steven said...

Between the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the founding of the DLC in 1985, the only Democrat to win a majority of the popular vote was:

1) A Southerner
2) A devout Evangelical Christian
3) Running against an unelected incumbent
4) Running against the guy who pardoned Richard Nixon
5) Running against the economy that gave us the term "stagflation"
6) Only able to win by the skin of his teeth anyway.

Since the founding of the DLC in 1985, the only Democrats to win a plurality of the popular vote were a pair of DLC founding members from the South.

Faced with this record, Kos proposes a campaign of driving the DLC out of the party, and nominating solid "progressives".

This is what passes for "reality-based" thinking?

Unless the Democrats utterly crash this year in a pattern that discredits Kos, 2008 is looking very good for the Republicans.

The Drill SGT said...

I've got Dr Strangelove, as a farce it's enjoyable, but being ex-military myself, I dislike the constant over the top military stereo-types.

There are many other movies in my collection that I watch more often.

I'll try it again this weekend.

The Drill SGT said...

Steve,

add to the carter list

7) Naval Academy Grad (can't be a wild eyed radical)
8) Nuclear engineer (Rickover took only stable techocrats)

Jenna said...

Adam said,

"I don't believe Markos argues that the party needs to become more left-wing or leftist as much as it just needs to be more, well, partisan. And disciplined. He's happy to accept pro-life Dems or moderates like Bill Nelson; what he abhors are Democrats who attack other Democrats."

Do you even know what you're talking about?

Kos would never accept a pro-life or moderate Dem, and he is a Democrat who attacks other Democrats--look at the Lieberman race--he backs his Dem opponent all the way, and screams vitrolic insults at Joe every chance he can.

The Drill SGT said...

On the feminist thread, what passes for leadership of the feminist movement in the US seems to be completely within the orbit of the democrat machine. That isn't always apparent, but when for example, the subject of radical Islam comes up for example, you'd think the leadership of NOW would rather have Sharia law in the US than say something good about throwing the Taliban out of power.

Nope... Anti-bush trumps women's rights for some of them.

Just as with black organizations, one would think that rational economic thinking would make it clear that you should take positions based on economic or social self interest regardless of political party alignment and let the parties compete for your votes instead of taking you for granted.

Elizabeth said...

Jenna, Kos certainly has supported pro-life Dems, contrary to your assertion. From the Jan/Feb 2006 Washington Monthly interview with Markos:

He attacked NARAL after the abortion rights organization endorsed pro-choice Republican senator Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) over his predicted challenger, a pro-life Democrat.

A quick Google of KOS pro-life finds several references to Kos discussing support for pro-life Democrats.

I agree, Ann, that feminists (and gays and lesbians) need to be independent of party, or at least be dubious about relying on a party. But it's a condundrum. The Dems rely on women, blacks, and gays and too often let any and all of them down. The GOP rarely has a position that I can support--when it does, I do, but I'd call that bipartisanship, not a conversion to the GOP. I'm registered Independent, and vote for Republicans occassionally in local elections, where party politics is less an issue. The I is largely symbolic, though, as I rarely find an independent candidate to support; I'd rather have been shot than vote for Nader. Again, only local elections seem to offer real choices.

Elizabeth said...

when for example, the subject of radical Islam comes up for example, you'd think the leadership of NOW would rather have Sharia law in the US than say something good about throwing the Taliban out of power

Drill Sgt: read some feminist blogs and magazines and you'll find clear, unambiguous critique of sharia law, of Western countries that tolerate Islamic immigrant groups' efforts to make endruns around Western civil rights for women, and of violence against women in Islamic culture. Your impression is inaccurate, as far as actual feminists in the real world. Sadly, I don't follow NOW much, so I have no idea whether your impression is correct there.

Alan said...

Jenna,

Here's Kos on abortion:

"I've actually heard people say "abortion is a core part of the Democratic Party". Bullshit it is. I hate abortion. It's a horrible, horrible thing. You make that a "key" part of the party, and I'll start looking for a third party.

So why am I a supporter of abortion-rights? Well, it's clearly not because of abortion itself. And finding those broader values that lead us to support one issue or another is far more important than the single issue itself. We, as a party, won't win any more elections until we recognize that.

Let's take the abortion issue. I support choice because I don't think it's my business, or government's, to control any woman's body. I think women have an expectation of privacy when dealing with their personal medical concerns."


LINK

Adam said...

Jenna, Markos is also a strong supporter of Bob Casey Jr. in PA. Indeed, his frustration with single-issue Democratic interest groups takes up an entire chapter in his book.

Do *you* know what you're talking about?

chris said...

The "Kos wants the dems to be as far left as possible!!!" myth gets old. Sure his personal politics are much farther left than mine, but his goal isn't to make the party in his image. His support of Ben Nelson, Lamont, and on and on and on clearly makes that claim untrue. He's said many, many times that he only wants the Dems to stand up for their party.

It's Reagan's 11th commandment, “Thou shall not speak ill of a fellow party member.” The dems like to gain political points by seeing who can pile up the most Sistah Soujah moments. It's bad politics for the party as a whole.

Thanks for that Instapundit quote, though. Does your frequent praise of conservative bloggers, and consistent slamming of lefty bloggers, make you part of the right-wing bloghemisphere?

Speaking of independence, I too recommend seeing feminism apart from party politics: if elected Democrats can’t represent my personal views 100% all the time, then I don’t need to see woman’s issues as political.

Dailytakes said...

Personally, if I read commentary that examines a local or national topic exactly the same way I do, I'll just link to it, rather than echo that sentiment.

What's the point of just joining an amen chorus?

From a political campaign perspective, I am on both sides of the table here. As a strategist, I give info to bloggers if I believe it may be of interest to them. As a blogger, I welcome info from candidates, but rarely simply deliver their take, without adding my own perspective.

The diversity of opinion and perspective in the right side of the blogsphere is, in my opinion, a very good thing.

http://www.dailytakes.com

paulfrommpls said...

Kos's take on abortion there is exactly what I'd expect it to be, and also what I'd expect from almost all left-leaners.

The characteristic of much of the left on this topic that makes them so unappealing is their view - stemming I guess from how they make the policy decision on a concept of personal freedom - that it is not possible to righteously believe that abortion is awful similar to murder and should simply be stopped in almost all instances.

If you believe that, you are a dinosaur, or woman-hater, or a fascist, or a religious freak. You can't just be a person who says, gee, it sure looks like a baby, these things sure seem to always turn into babies rather than rabbits in spite of the much-described similarities at this point; is it really so insane to think of them as babies and decribe the act as a form of murder? And by the way can we at least discuss the impact legalized abortion has on lifestyle and culture?

I'd fully expect Kos himself to be in that group, for the most part, especially when confronted with relgious Republicans rather than the occasional thoughtful apostate Democrat.

Riane said...

please don't think that left = kos. just like rightwing bloggers do not constitute "the right," leftwing bloggers are not "the left" and comments like kos's bra comment are not indicative of how "the left" feels they can speak about women. although, i don't really think there is a "left" and a "right" the way you speak of them - you constantly reiterate your independence from political labels, yet you use them an awful lot. i'd much rather think of kos as a single entity, or a voice for a subsection of the left, rather than the amorphous "left"

reader_iam said...

I watched the Kos/Armstrong appearance not once, but twice (and I don't even have TiVo--imagine that)--or close to it: I made sure to catch it a second time because I missed parts the first time.

Hold on to your seats: I disagree with Ann's assessment of Kos' performance, overall, on the show. (Armstrong's a different case: Although he did provide one of most unintentionally hilarious bits in the entire thing, the one which made me wish we had Tivo.)

I disagree that he isn't and wasn't camera-ready, nor do I agree that he was particularly wild-eyed in that interview. That's not to say that I didn't disagree with him in a whole number of ways. I'm simply commenting on the presentation, as I perceived it.

My assessment isn't necessarily right, or Ann's wrong: That should go with out saying, but I'll say it just in case I need to.

For the record, I'm not a Democrat and have never been registered as such. (I'm also not a Republican, and have never been registered as such.)

I'm assuming everyone knows I'm not a fan of the Daily Kos, either, right?

Townleybomb said...

It's Reagan's 11th commandment, “Thou shall not speak ill of a fellow party member.” The dems like to gain political points by seeing who can pile up the most Sistah Soujah moments. It's bad politics for the party as a whole.

In my experience the Kos section of the blogosphere speaks frothing ill of fellow party members pretty regularly. In any case, I'd argue that a party is stronger when its members feel free to rebuke truly repugnant hangers-on like Sister Souljah or Michael Moore, especially when they are actively hostile to US society as a whole and have a pretty dubious commitement to the Democratic party. The country certainly is stronger when parties do that, and that's more important than any individual party, right?

Also, let me state my objection to the use of the word blogohemisphere here. Surely the blogoshpere is big and diverse enough that it's impossible to split it evenly in two-- Just for starters, there's a pretty big difference in tone and content between Kos and his ilk and sites like TPM cafe and Kevin Drum's. Perhaps 'semiblogocontinent' is more accurate (and cedes less ground to the bad guys).

paulfrommpls said...

Clarification: I'd assume Kos to be in the group that at bottom will not tolerate or respect most pro-life adherents.

reader_iam said...

By the way, the commenters here are correct that Kos has supported pro-life candidates. This is indeed an area in which SOME of those who dislike Kos consistently get it wrong. There are others areas as well.

Sheesh, I can't believe I'm emerging here as a Kos-defender, because believe you me, I'm opposed to the movement for which he's the spokesperson, in a variety of ways and for various reasons.

YIKES, IT MUST BE THE 666 EFFECT!!!

(***help me***)

paulfrommpls said...

On the right, the supposed* hate-filled wild-eyed irrational blogs like Free republic and LGF are but one of many kinds, and not at all obviously the most prominent blogs.

Whereas I don't think there's any dispute that the wild-eyed bloggia play a much more important role on the left.

*I say "supposedly" becuse I often see blogs on the right id'ed that way when they don't seem that way to me at all. Powerline for example is often dismissed as irrational; I find them quite open to opposing arguments well-presented.

Ann Althouse said...

Reader: I didn't watch the whole thing. Only the beginning. About Kos's eyes: there's something about his eyes. (Quote for the 666 day: "What have you done to his eyes?") Describe it however you want, but to me, in conjunction with his rabbit-y eagerness -- we need a machine, a machine, a left-wing message machine, a vast left-wing conspiracy message machine, a very efficient, very effective machine machine machine -- to me... those eyes look wild.

Bruce Hayden said...

I would suggest that the problem with being more partisan, from the Democrats point of view, is that that may excite their base, but it turns off the swing voters.

If the Democratic strategists were really that smart, this would be one of the first blogs they should read every morning. Kerry didn't lose by losing Moulitsas’s vote, he lost because he lost Ann's vote and those of millions of other swing voters very much like her.

Right now, a lot of these "swing" voters are up for grabs. Many are lifelong Democrats, and moving back would be reasonably easy, if they were made to feel welcome.

Changing gears a bit - what I find interesting here is that the Democratic politicians seem to listen too much to their bloggers, and the Republican politicians, not enough. Note Kerry and Gore almost waltzing to the Kos tune, as they turn so far in that direction that any White House run for them is most likely futile. On the other hand, the right side of the blogosphere was out front of the Republican politicians on Harriet Miers, and now on illegal immigration. Also, the House leadership resistance to the Jefferson office search, etc.

Adam said...

Bruce -- and that's where it gets interesting. Because the counter-argument I believe Markos would make isn't that swing voters don't matter, but rather that the way to attract them is to be more principled, less wishy-washy, that what voters respond to is clarity and a sense of authenticity, not pandering. The 1994 Gingrich revolution may have been more procedurally reformist than explicitly ideological, but at least it was *something* which served as a unifying branding tool and rallying cry.

(Also, Kerry won Wisconsin; losing Ann's vote didn't matter.)

Richard Fagin said...

Why shouldn't lefties assume they have a solid feminist image? The fems all went AWOL when the former sexual harasser-in-chief was credibly accused of rape. Just like the so-called civil rights leadership goes radio-silent when a black conservative is racially slandered. A pox on all of 'em!

reader_iam said...

Ann:

This may or may not pertain, regarding Kos' eyes, but I will say that I've been struck a number of times by his physical resemblance to Peter Lorre. No metamessage intended; this is just what's jumped into my mind on a number of occasions.

Ann Althouse said...

Who knows what it's like to be me? How I'm forced to act... how I must, must... don't want to, must! Don't want to, but must! And then a voice screams! I can't bear to hear it! I can't go on! I can't... I can't...

altoids1306 said...

Two comments (if anyone is still reading this thread):

With regards to bras, it is immediately and glaringly obvious when someone doesn't wear one. Not that there is anything intrinsically wrong with pendulous motion, but it's something that is at best neutral and most likely negative. I'm not well-read enough to know what the feminist argument against bras are (or if there exists such an argument), but certainly there must be bigger fish to fry then supportive undergarments.



With regards to left/right blogosphere, I still maintain that the right blogosphere is an alternative source for the news commentary of the left-leaning MSM. The left blogosphere seeks to replicate the grass-roots party machinery of the GOP. The differences in the two halves of the blogosphere come not from intrinsic differences in character or temperment, but by the different needs of the two sides.

reader_iam said...

Whistle.

reader_iam said...

By the way, since I've dragged part of this off the topic onto the actors of whom subjects in this post remind me, Russert (whom, by the way, I don't think is ugly, but Lord knows there's no accounting for tastes) has always reminded me of Randy Quaid. Now Quaid the elder doesn't do much for me, but his younger brother is a different story, or at least was at an earlier time. Hoo boy.

Steven said...

Chris—It's Reagan's 11th commandment, “Thou shall not speak ill of a fellow party member.” The dems like to gain political points by seeing who can pile up the most Sistah Soujah moments. It's bad politics for the party as a whole.

Which is why Kos denounces attacks on Joe Lieberman, has comments to DailyKos calling him LIEberman removed as trolls, and has expressed his support for Lieberman in Lieberman's re-election campaign.

Oh, wait.

Chris, you can try to sell it, but I don't have a garden, so I don't need it.

chris said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chris said...

Hold up Townleybomb and Steven--

Kos isn’t bashing the Democratic Party, he’s calling out Lieberman’s methods -- his frequent bashing of his party. Even if you like Lieberman's politics, his disparaging of his party is not a good thing for the Dems … so the grassroots are a little upset.

McCain called his base “agents of intolerance” in 2000 and they too got a little upset. If McCain got a big ol' smooch from Bill Clinton after the State of the Union, the right would’ve been up in arms.

It’s not about bipartisanship. Dean on the 700 Club? A good thing -- he tried (*ahem … “tried”) to represent his party to new audiences.

It’s about standing up for your party. Lieberman on Sean Hannity? A chance for Lieberman to distance himself from those “complaining Democrats.”

(Arlen Specter on Air America? Republicans would never stand for it.)

I actually agree with Lieberman on the war on terror, but the damage he does to his party is too much to stomach. It’s fine if an elected representative doesn’t agree with their party on abortion/iraq/etc,etc,etc, ... just don’t air those complaints on Hannity’s radio show. It's bad politics.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Ann Althouse said: "Describe it however you want, but to me, in conjunction with his rabbit-y eagerness -- we need a machine, a machine, a left-wing message machine, a vast left-wing conspiracy message machine, a very efficient, very effective machine machine machine -- to me... those eyes look wild."

It's true. The man is nuts. We joke about it, but it's scary. Not Kos himself - Kos is a buffoon - but his Internet rock star status. He weakens the left. A weak left, a pathetically weak left, can cause the right to get fancy. None of us wants that.

Paco Wové said...

...Markos would make isn't that swing voters don't matter, but rather that the way to attract them is to be more principled, less wishy-washy, that what voters respond to is clarity and a sense of authenticity, not pandering.

Maybe. I think it's more likely that swing voters respond to policies they generally agree with (or at least don't greatly disagree with) and the impression that the candidate(s) share the voter's general concerns, plus maybe a sense of "trustworthiness" ("is this guy too stupid or crazy to vote for?").

Adam said...

Paco, had the 2004 presidential race been decided based on "whose policies do I prefer?", Kerry would've taken a broad electoral mandate.

Paco Wové said...

"...had the 2004 presidential race been decided based on "whose policies do I prefer?", Kerry would've taken a broad electoral mandate."

Interesting, though irrelevant; your paraphrase pretty much kills the meaning of my comment.

So you're saying a broad majority of voters voted for policies they didn't like? Fascinating – please explain.

Der Hahn said...

Don't forget this about Kos.

Since Nov 2004, he's 0-20.

The redstate link lists the fifteen Dems he marshalled support for in 2004. All lost. Add to that 'not Kerry' (I can't remember if he backed Dean or Clark, or both at different times) in the 2004 Dem nomination race, Kerry in the 2004 general, Hackett, Ciro, and the latest, Busby.

He did back the man from Brokeback mountain in Montanta who won the Dem Senate primary. It's possible there was some Republican monkey-wrenching going on there since Conrad Burns (the Republican incumbent) easily beat a primary challenge, and the primary is open.

Mary said...

"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."

Love many. Trust few. Always paddle your own canoe.