IT SEEMS AS THOUGH I'M THE ONLY ONE WITH A BLOG who's not too excited about joining the noisy fray about the Lieberman-Lamont race in Connecticut.
In part, that's because I wonder if there's really anything more to say that hasn't been said. (It has gotten quite pedantic.) And I'm also put off by the self-satisfied air of the bloggers who have, to be sure, had an impact on the race but need to find something else to talk about. Not that there's anything wrong with them having an impact. But, I dunno, I sense a certain smugness from them that I don't care for, whether I agree their opinions or not.
Also, I wonder if they're overplaying this powerful new political communications tool. Last week, The New York Times reported about the role blogs have played in the primary in Connecticut, crediting them with giving Lamont the edge. Here's what I mean in two observations:
- You Live By the Sword, You Die By The Sword: As the Times reported: "[T]he results for Mr. Lamont have not always been what his campaign would have wanted. This week, the blogger who broke the news of Mr. Lieberman’s Halliburton stock posted a doctored image of the senator in blackface on The Huffington Post, stirring an outcry and prompting an embarrassed Lamont campaign to ask her to remove it. Lieberman supporters seized on the image, pointing out that the blogger, Jane Hamsher, has been closely involved in the Lamont campaign, even driving the campaign manager on Monday to New York for Mr. Lamont’s appearance on 'The Colbert Report' on Comedy Central." So who won that?
- The Putative Independence of Blogs Is Being Driven Into the Ground. If the whole value and magic of blogs is that they are independent, fresh voices, unencumbered in the way that the "Mainstream Media" are, then what do we make of this? Again from the Times: "[T]he influence of bloggers has become such an article of faith that most serious candidates hire consultants to create blogs and coordinate with other bloggers. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York recently hired Peter Daou, who worked for Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004, as a 'blog adviser to facilitate and expand her relationship' with the blogging community, as Mr. Daou described it on his own blog, The Daou Report." If that's the case, why would I want to believe anything that any of these blogs has to say if I know they're bought and sold by the candidates? And so many of the political blogs are so reflexively partisan, why bother even reading their arguments when I know where they're coming from before I even log in?
This is supposed to energize and inform civic engagement? This is suppose to strengthen the Democrats going into the midterms and 2008? Thanks for that favor, guys. I can't wait to get this Connecticut primary over with already.