Good evening everyone!
Blogs do not (yet) drive public opinion. The overwhelming majority of voters have probably never heard of DailyKos and certainly haven’t heard of MyDD. We aren’t there yet. We aren’t much better than an echo chamber. We can raise money pretty well and we’re not that bad at organizing. We can, on occasion, do some good opposition research (though the Republican bloggers have done a better job of it thus far).
We really aren’t kind of a big deal (yet). This is very important and it speaks to a misunderstanding. We’re self-centered, and we overestimate both the good we can do, and the damage we can wreak.
The blogs didn’t defeat Barack Obama’s opponent*s* during the primaries. The blogs didn’t create and furnish a narrative that furthered sexism in the media or the electorate writ large. These flamewars are tempests in the proverbial teapot.
Pick any ideology you like, from the most sainted to the most malevolent evil. You will find bloggers who carry that standard into battle and they will say the most rank and offensive puerile crap one can imagine. Throw into the mix a demographic tilt towards youth and it only gets worse. People grow up (usually, anyway) in any number of ways.
It is not Barack Obama’s fault that some of his overzealous supporters have gone too far in attacking <insert person here>. This isn’t new. It isn’t John McCain’s fault that some jackass printed up shirts asking “If Barack Obama is elected will we still call it the White House?” There are idiots in all corners of the Earth.
Either the best of us can come together and discuss and debate the heady issues of state or we are no more than children fighting over the conch shell and our turn to yell. I choose to be more than that. The first step in elevating discourse is accepting the fact that not every adherent of an ideology or follower of a leader is no better than the worst in that camp.
My best friend in the world was an ardent and passionate supporter of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. I didn’t tar him with the same brush as the one and only PUMA I know in real life. Why would I? I can see the nuance in life. Some of my best friends are Republicans. I don’t assume they’re racist or hate poor people because not all of them do. I don’t let the cacophony of idiocy on the internet determine how I view large groups. Perhaps I’m just more capable of bifurcating these two planes of existence. I have mused previously on whether or not there is a correlation at play here that might help explain the generational conflict. I honestly don’t know. I haven’t the data.
The fact that a bunch of over-wrought youths at the DailyKos have been mocking Sarah Palin does not magically let John McCain back his way into the White House. For that to happen these same people would have to behave similarly in a way that the multitudes not only could see but would see. The blogs are not there yet. Understand how remarkable it is that Keith Olbermann has a relationship with DailyKos. How many other major commentators actually do so? Keith may be the thin end of the wedge, but again that end is still very thin.
We aren’t going to lose this because some dumbass diary made the Rec List at DailyKos. We aren’t going to somehow undercut the silliness of a living, breathing Vice President (!) Sarah Palin by being foolish online. These astral activities must be accompanied by more tangible pursuits.
Don’t be dumb enough to go there!
I have been classy on this subject. I tried to set a positive tone by acknowledging the honor that Governor Palin has received. It is real, and I’m actually happy for her. I’m trying to be a bigger and better guy than the folks at RedState were about Joe Biden. For the record, nobody worries that they’re roughing up Joe Biden there will somehow get him sympathy or sympathy votes.
Don’t overestimate our importance. Try to be classy, those of you who lack it. For those who worry overmuch that the fate of nations hang in the balance I say this:
We ain’t there yet. This is still bean-bag.
We are going to win, and I’m positive that this completely boneheaded and desperate move by Senator McCain will blow up in his face. I’m looking forward to it.
I also look forward to the day that the blogs can drive public opinion in a meaningful way. Don’t confuse the amount of time you spend online at such places with the amount of time everyone spends there. Most of the people I know in real life don’t even know who the PUMA’s are.
I envy them.