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Sunday, September 10, 2006

3 Sunday must reads

Here's three pieces that anyone following the fall elections should take a look at today:

  • ahf8 has a diary up at MyDD called If we don't fight, we'll lose.
  • Matt Stoller's criticism of the Lamont campaign is timely and has broader implications than just CT.
  • And James L put up a post at Swing State Project last night highlighting the state of primary races around the country. It's essential reading.

  • My impression of the pulse of the netroots is that all-Disney all-the-time has actually been a net negative. I'm sure GOP strategists are happy that netroots diarists are talking about Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright today and not vulnerable GOP incumbents. I wrote a piece yesterday on dKos called outrage and infrastructure. In retrospect, it was too gentle and considered.

    If you measure this weekend simply by the yardstick of whether the netroots pushed the name recognition of vulnerable GOP incumbents: this weekend is a huge loss. Most of the GOP incumbents we are trying to defeat this fall...incumbents like Anne Northup, Jon Porter, Deborah Pryce, Thelma Drake, Cathy McMorris, Mike Ferguson, Nancy Johnson...are hardly known quantities in the national blogosphere. I would add that while each of these GOP incumbents have ample reasons we should oppose them: not a single one of those reasons has much of anything to do with the ABC/Disney movie.

    Why does the netroots go for these distractions every time? Well, the internet is an "eyeball environment." No diarist at dKos likes to watch a diary sink like a stone. Every blogger likes to feel like they've got a hot scoop. The GOP Congress is a stale story. While no reader likes to have the name of some vulnerable GOP incumbent shoved in their face, here's a companion truth: a hell of a lot of people spent a hell of a lot of energy talking and learning about Disney and ABC this weekend. Could some of that time have been better spent talking about J.D. Hayworth (GOP, AZ-05) and Charlie Bass (GOP, NH-02)? In my view, yes.

    This post-Labor day weekend should have been a time to reinforce key themes and push some races to the forefront. At the end of the day, it wasn't.

    I offer the links above as one antidote to that situation.

    5 Comments:

    • ABC's travesty has proved an interesting example of how those of us so ready to fight for the truth are manipulated into chasing it as well. The ABC bait was tossed out and, as was necessary, we churned the waters like pirranha fish feeding off the carcass in order to point out all the examples of liemanship ABC pictured. As you point out, time is another precious commodity. The GOP know how to focus on the bigger picture or goal and likewise when to let go of a small fight in order to close in on a winnable one. The ABC fight is important, just not #1 for this Fall in the priorities list.

      By Blogger mainsailset, at 1:27 PM  

    • I don't agree with this assessement because the blogs are not a mass medium. We can influence activist networks and media narratives, but bitching about candidates doesn't resonate unless there's some larger hook.

      Destroying key links of power that the right has to influence the national narrative is criticall important to races all over the country. We had to blast the 9/11 right-wing dishonest myth out of the water or else it would be used against every single Democrat for the next 30 years.

      By Blogger Matt Stoller, at 3:22 PM  

    • re: mainsailset

      The ABC controversy dovetails with the GOP talking points highlighted in ahf8's diary. Deliberate? Bait?

      I Dunno.

      But I think Rove has got to be thrilled to see Democrats defending Bill Clinton 60 days before the election.

      re: Matt Stoller

      My point is that the names of many of these vulnerable GOP candidates are not even on the radar. You can't be outraged about a GOP incumbent if you don't know who they are or what their record is. And just because your average blogger sill doesn't know who Richard Pombo or Tom Tancredo are...doesn't make these guys any less noxious or powerful.

      You talk about the larger hook. Much of the conversation on the blogs is about what people see on TV. That's the common denominator: the hook. Shared experience. We love to talk about something that we know: Olberman. Jon Stewart. Lieberman. What's on CNN. Disney.

      We are uncomfortable talking about things we don't know. That we haven't seen. That's just human.

      My bottom line: Democrats have a chance to take back the House this fall. What role can the blogs play in helping that process along? How can we make this visible?

      Personally, I think the YouTube stuff you've been doing is right on the money in that regard.

      By Blogger kid oakland, at 3:47 PM  

    • I've been surprised that Jon Porter's name hasn't come up in some of the national coverage of both the DeLay/Abramoff stories, and the recent coverage of the VECO investigations in Alaska. Porter accepted funds from Don Young's "Midnight Sun PAC," and if I remember correctly that's part of the pay for play scandal in AK now?

      By Blogger DesertBeacon, at 11:44 PM  

    • I couldn't agree with you more about the Disney fight -- not even so much that we lost but that so many people put so much energy into it.

      We're in campaign season. In campaign season you talk with the voters you need.

      You play games with atmospherics the rest of the time. We're too good at that and not good enough at talking with people we don't know yet.

      By Blogger janinsanfran, at 4:37 PM  

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