Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 6, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE PERCEPTION OF POWER....If Ned Lamont beats Joe Lieberman in Tuesday's Connecticut primary, will it mean that blogs have truly broken into the big time? Publius comments:

My thoughts if Joe goes down this week, I dont think that blogs will have had all that much to do with it....But, because people like [Marshall] Wittman, TNR, and even the Lieberman campaign have harped on about those crazy bloggers throughout the campaign, they are inflating the power of blogs in peoples minds. And as a result, a Lamont victory will create a perception that blogs are far more important than they are (particularly among party insider types who do keep up with blogs).

That sounds about right to me. We're in an odd situation where bloggers like Atrios and Kos are trying to downplay the influence of blogs while mainstream pundits are trying to exaggerate it. Both sides have their reasons, but the end result is that the underlying reality doesn't matter much anymore. In the same way that all the chatter about "who won" a presidential debate is more important than the debates themselves, the chatter about the power of the blogs is probably more important than whether they really had any power to begin with. Like it or not, they do now.

Kevin Drum 7:48 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (114)

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Comments

maybe the fixation on blogs right now has more to do with the growing perception that there is still such a thing as political discourse in the United States. One couldn't really be blamed, though, for thinking it had dried up.

Posted by: Kenji on August 6, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

"bloggers like Atrios and Kos are trying to downplay the influence of blogs"
Oh, so that's what that "Crashing the Gates" thing was about.

Posted by: Jeremy on August 6, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

A pandemic of fear of Atrios has spread in the political landscape. No one wants to be the WOTD or, worse, WATB. Lieberman and Lamont and Kerry and Dean and Rove and GWB are all shaking with anxiety and fear.

Posted by: nut on August 6, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

If he loses on Tuesday, it will be Lieberman who defeats Lieberman.
.

Posted by: VJ on August 6, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Ya well I do like it, very much. The more power that gets taken away from the leeching crooks in DC and their whores in the media the better.

Posted by: paradox on August 6, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

...I'm so cynical, I'm wondering what's really going on now that we're distracted by the Lamont/Leiberman campaign and that little kerfluffle in the land of the ancient Phoenicians.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on August 6, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

The media wasn't as important as they thought they were, either. So now it's our turn to be out of touch with reality!

Posted by: Susie from Philly on August 6, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

So, if Lamont wins, bloggers will be this year's 'values voters?'

I suspect the next step will be the wholesale co-option of blogs.

Posted by: mecki on August 6, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

We need a real test of blogospheric power. I say Kevin Drum for Congress!

Posted by: Me2d on August 6, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Said before, and now I'll say it again: Political blogs are high-tech direct mail, a means of fundraising and communication. Kos doesn't vote in CT, Atrios doesn't vote in CT, Jane Hamsher doesn't, I don't vote in CT. Neither do Bill Kristol, David Gergen, Bill Clinton, Max Cleland (who broke my heart a little today), Barabara Boxer, Ken Salazar or Daniel Inouye. Neither, as far as I know Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Sean Hannity, Mitch McConnell, Tom Delay or any of the other fine respectable folk who have endorsed Joe Lieberman without, for some reason, getting Old Lady Broder's or Botox Cokie's knickers in a twist. Go figure.

Posted by: Jim on August 6, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of Whitman, what has happened to him? The guy has been imploding for about a month--more shrill, strident, whiney, hyperbolic. Used to be that the tried to create the aura of being above the fray. Now, he's made Lieberman into the savior of the Democratic party and, in the face of Lamont's poll numbers, closed up his blog for a few weeks "to recharge." It's been sad to see and a bit mystifying.

Posted by: nummelly on August 6, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Good lord, if blogs are political discourse. I think we are better off with out it. Seems like a lot of people screaming at each other. It's like AM radio without audio. Don't particular think that reflects well on American's either.

Posted by: DC1974 on August 6, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Blogs are powerful, because people can tell the truth about various otherwise taboo subjects:

I know it is hard to accept but, the holocaust AS DESCRIBED by Jews never happened.

It was hard for me, even though intellectually, I realized I had been LIED to, I could not really accept this for a long time, as its consequences were too frightening.

It is important to look at the holocaust evidence, or lack thereof, for yourself, but one indication that the story you have been told is a fable is this:

These are photos of plaques at Auschwitz (click on the links to have a look):

Plaque from Auschwitz showing 4 million "victims".

This plaque was on display at Auschwitz from 1948 until about 1990 (note the "4 million" victims).

Plaque from Auschwitz showing 1.5 million "victims".
Plaque from Auschwitz showing 1.5 million "victims" (Deutsch).

These plaques are currently on display at Auschwitz (English and German).

Note the dramatically reduced number of victims, now only 1.5 million (anderthalb millionen).

A casual reduction in the number of deaths by some 2.5 million.

Deaths at Auschwitz drop by a whopping 2.5 million, but 6,000,000 dead Jews, remains the same.

Why did you never hear about the Jew reduction of deaths at Auschwitz. I mean a reduction from 4 million to 1.5 million is quite significant, you must agree.

If Jews can reduce the number of dead from 4 million to 1.5 million, then why do they jail people like David Irving for just questioning the numbers who died.

There are many, many more problems with the HolyCo$t fable, but one must take one small step at a time.

Posted by: slim on August 6, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

"...the influence of blogs"

Not influence, just a way to get past the general discouragement that comes from the MSM's editorial scolding and apathy-inducing, he-said/she-said journalism. Blogs give hope.

As for power, could any demagogue rise up using the internet given the vast array of countercommentary available at all hours around the world ready to offer instant correctives?

Posted by: Foundation of Mud on August 6, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

Lieberman needs someone to blame for his problems, so KOS looks pretty good. If not, he'd have to admit that Conn. voters have had enough--he isn't going to face that reality.

Posted by: ecoboz on August 6, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Have to disagree with...

"I dont think that blogs will have had all that much to do with it"

Does anyone really think that Joe would be under threat if there were no blogs?

Posted by: still working it out on August 6, 2006 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

Of course the right-wing punditry is blaming Lieberman's impending defeat on the liberals in the blogoshpere. And when our troops are forced by circumstances to withdraw from Iraq, that will also be laid at the feet of the liberal bloggers, who will be duly blamed for undermining America's war effort.

When has the right-wing ever taken responsibility for any adversity resulting from its own actions?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 6, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of Whitman, what has happened to him?

Good question. This past week he was off on another one of his hyperventilations about Lieberman and came out with this gem: "Radical Jihadism poses an existential threat to liberal civilization."

Existential threat. Um, okay. A physical threat -- yes they are a physical threat, but an existential threat? So does this mean I should stock up on burqas and hijabs for my bomb shelter?

He also thinks John Bolton should be confirmed, and that Democrats should have not raised any concerns about FISA and... on and on and on.

He's to the right of many Republicans!

Posted by: JAC on August 6, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

While the ultimate choice is up to the people of Connecticut, the blogsphere had everything to do with there being a choice, with Lamont's becoming regarded as a viable alternative.

So yeah, the blogs make a difference.

I'd disagree with Jim's comparison of blogs to direct mail. Blogs are interactive, and direct mail is not. The reason why the blogsphere's growing is that interactive element, that sense of community.

I get plenty of direct mail. I open almost none of it.

Posted by: RT on August 6, 2006 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone really think that Joe would be under threat if there were no blogs?

Yes. He doesn't seem to have bothered to run a campaign. Boxer won in '04 pretty handily, but she had a campaign that was always working it. (Disclaimer, I helped a little.) Lieberman got lazy. Had he put even a half-a** effort early on we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Also, Lamont has money and you can't discount that. I addition to Lieberman's lack of effort, Lamont has been able to pay a terrific staff and put together a great operation. As far as I'm concerned, this had more to do with Lamont's good use of money and Lieberman's shear incompetence as a candidate (remember '04 Joementum?). As much as bloggers like to think they represent the "Average Joe", they reach relatively few people and don't even share the same views as most Democrats (e.g. views on Hillary and Bill Clinton to name but one).

Posted by: gq on August 6, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

Generally blogs are more the reflection of public sentiment than the cause of it.

Blogs are following the Lieberman race because Lieberman (as a former VP candidate) is arguably the highest ranking Democrat to suffer a backlash for his support of Bush.

Democrats want the party leaders to start acting like leaders of an opposition party, not Stockholm Syndrome sycophants.

It's worth noting, however, that Lieberman has been playing a smart political game in terms of state voters overall; although he has alienated a majority of Dems, he now has the support of enough Republicans that he will run and likely win as an Independent. Bill Clinton knew what he was doing by campaigning for Lieberman (can the same be said for most of the liberal bloggers in question here?)

Posted by: Augustus on August 6, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Gene McCarthy would not have been able to force LBJ to resign if he did not have support of the bloggers.

Posted by: nut on August 6, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

still working it out: "Does anyone really think that Joe would be under threat if there were no blogs?"

It's quite true that liberal blogs have assisted in the widespread dissemination of information about Sen. Joe Lieberman's public record, which undoubtedly gave voice to Connecticut voters' clear dissatisfaction with his politics.

However, that "threat" under which the good senator now finds himself is primarily one of his own making.

It has been known for quite some time -- at least since 2000, when he refused to give up his Senate re-election bid despite being the Democratic vice-presidential candidate that year -- that Mr. Lieberman has seen himself as the center of his own political universe.

Unfortunately for him, he compounded that error in judgment by taking vehement public exception to that defining majority of Connecticut constituents whom he claimed were out of planetary alignment with his self-absorbed political gravity.

So while the bloggers may have helped grease the pavement, it's painfully obvious that Joe Lieberman gave himself a fatal running start on the road to his own political oblivion.

Adios, Senator. And on your way out, don't let the Capitol doors hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 6, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

The big thing places like dailykos.com and atrios do is to provide empowerment to otherwise cynical people by allowing them to bypass the traditional media filter and connect directly with fellow thinkers.

This doesn't create an interest group so much as decrease the transactions costs of grassroots organizing. We aren't seeing the emergence of a new group but the empowerment of a long-fallow set of linked groups who are basically partisan but disillusioned with current Democratic leadership. They fit neither with the Dem party establishment nor with the single-issue groups, so they didn't have a way to interact with the establishment. Now they have a place to go to find support and discuss the best places to put their energy.

Posted by: Kimmitt on August 6, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

I think blogs are fascilitating what the Founding Fathers envisioned. A modern day, "Government of the people, by the people and for the people", as it were.

This can only be considered a good thing.

Posted by: AkaDad on August 6, 2006 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii wrote: "It has been known for quite some time -- at least since 2000, when he refused to give up his Senate re-election bid despite being the Democratic vice-presidential candidate that year -- that Mr. Lieberman has seen himself as the center of his own political universe."

I was living in Connecticut at the time, and while Lieberman was still pretty popular, I can confirm that there was some negative opinion about his "have it both ways" campaign. It was felt that because he knew he was a shoo-in for Senator (his Republican opponent later ended up in jail, as I recall), he avoided the existencial battle that Gore was facing--victory of oblivion. Seemed kind of chickenshit to me and others in Connecticut.

Posted by: RWB on August 6, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

If Lieberman loses and then blames the blogs it will be an excercise in denial. Yeah, there is a voice of frustration on the internet that is there precisely because politicians and the MSM ares not addressing it. But the internet did not create the frustration. It is merely a tool to voice, and to connect to other frustrated electorates.

The word of warning really should be that the average american is turning to alternate methods - the internet - to voice concern and frustration because no one else seems to be listening. If the Powers That Be do not figure this out, this trend will grow between now and 2008.

Does the mainstream pol want to have influence over his/her consituency? Try listening to what is being said by the people you represent. Get smart: The people dictate the issues. Yeah, Karl Rove does his best to manipulate, but we are in dire straits beacuse of the Bush Administration. A LOT more people are paying attention, and the JAR numbers reflect that. The only people still in the Far Right Wing Corner are the fundamentalist wackos and as we read and write these comments, they are rationalizing their reasons for abandoning this Administration (not enough of ?????) This toeing the party line no matter what has worn so thin that there is nothing there anymore. Screw K Street, screw what Hastert thinks the process should be. Rep or Sen: If your district or state is coming in second to the beltway Powers That Be, you can bet your ass is being primed for kicking where ever average people congregate. In today's busy life, that place is the internet.

Posted by: jcricket on August 6, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

slim: "I know it is hard to accept but, the holocaust AS DESCRIBED by Jews never happened."

My late aunt, Bertha Staak, was always reluctant to show people the number tatooed on her forearm, which served as a daily reminder of her days as a prisoner of the Nazis in the Treblinka death camp in her native Poland. She was sent there as a prepubescent, her only "crime" being that she was a Jew. Her own health never recovered from that traumatic experience, and she died prematurely in 1986 at age 55.

When I was in fourth grade, and Hogan's Heroes was a prime-time hit on CBS, my teacher Susan Taussig literally cringed at the sight of pseudo-Nazi regalia adorning the Hogan's Heroes lunchbox of a classmate. With tears clearly in her eyes, she told us her own story -- that she had absolutely no idea as to the fate of her parents, five siblings and grandparents, all of whom were deported in 1943 by Vichy French officials from her village near Lyon to the eastern European camps. She was the only survivor of her entire family. It was an experience that influenced me profoundly and personally, and one that I'll never forget.

I know that I probably speak for Aunt Bertha and my Mrs. Taussig, as well as for about 98% of posters here (regardless of their political preferences), when I tell you unequivocally that you are full of shit and have no fucking idea of what you are talking about.

Go impress the fascistic wackadoodles inhabiting the Free Republic website with your fanciful revisionist tales of the glorious Third Reich. It most assuredly does not belong here.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 6, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

Agree with Augustus and Kimmitt and others upthread: the significance of the blogs is that they are a forum for the politically interested, and as such serve as a vehicle for dissemination and coordination of ideas. They give voice to, and by doing so magnify the importance and impact -- both real and perceived -- of some messages.

In this respect, they are no more than another medium, albeit in my opinion a highly democratic one, and it would seem one that currently has a more investigative, agitative spirit than the mainstream print and radio/TV media.

What I think is really interesting, though, is that the blogs are in many ways the first highly distributed medium in a very long time -- ceratinly since the days of multiple newspapers in every city (> 50 years), possibly even since the Enlightenment-era pamphleteers. There are obvious advantages (numbers) and disadvantages (superficiality, herd mentality) to distribution, but it's certainly interesting to see how the blogs are evolving against (and perhaps soon with) the very much more centralized mainstream media.

"Fourth-generation" political warfare?

Posted by: bleh on August 6, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

I believe that the blogosphere is the way most con-Lieberman types have followed the CT election in the rest of the USA, but here in CT it is clearly a ground battle in progress. There have been more Lamont lawn signs in my area of CT than "Home for Sale" signs, and that is saying a lot. The local news media have something to write about that has the conflict they like, with juicy what-if scenarios. People are looking for some way to express their distaste for Iraq policy in the voting booth. Lieberman is not responding to this feeling in the electorate.

The blogosphere may have raised awareness of the CT senate primary nationwide, but Lamont would be running and doing well without it.

Also, I thank Donald for dealing with the troll. lets not get distracted.

Posted by: troglodyte on August 6, 2006 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

"My late aunt, Bertha Staak, was always reluctant to show people the number tatooed on her forearm"

Clearly, the Nazis didn't kill her then. How did she escape? Did she rush machines guns or something?

Since the Nazis didn't kill her, how can you wheel her out as evidence of genocide.

No one denies that the Germans rounded up Jews and put them in concentration camps, just like,...

No one denies that the Americans rounded up Japanese and put them in concentration camps.

Did you know the Americans started mass-incarceration of the Japanese before the Germans started mass-incarceration of the Jews.

Did you know the British were the first to build concentration camps for civilians when the put the Dutch (Boers) in concentration camps.

The death rate among the Dutch civilians (mainly through disease) was horrendous.

But back to the topic; Live Jews do not make much of a case for mass-slaughter, now do they?

Posted by: slim on August 6, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

jcricket: Rep or Sen: If your district or state is coming in second to the beltway Powers That Be, you can bet your ass is being primed for kicking where ever average people congregate. In today's busy life, that place is the internet.

Very nicely put, Jiminy.

The insistence on blaming the blogs as though Mr. and Ms. Average Connecticut Voter were hanging at Kos--and in complete disregard of Joe's detailed record of ignoring his own constitents' wishes--isn't limited to crybaby pundits, lobbyists and establishment Dems who see the potential for smaller paychecks. Our own conservative poster Yancey Ward, who lives in Connecticut, called Lamont supporters "lunatic" the other day, if I'm not mistaken. No matter that Lamont bests Lieberman in every single age group, that 64% of CT Dems want him to drop out when he loses the primary and that the overwhelming majority of Americans are against the war. No, Lamont supporters are just wacky radicals.

I still think this guy said it best.

Posted by: shortstop on August 6, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

The Democratic party is not a big tent party any more.

No room for moderates like Joe Lieberman in the ever-shrinking teeny weenie little Democratic Party tent.

Posted by: Freqency Kenneth on August 6, 2006 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

During the 1899-1902 Boer War in South Africa, about 120,000 noncombatant white Boers and 75,000 black Africans were placed in British concentration camps.

The Dutch (Boer) mortality rate ranged from 120 to 340 deaths per thousand per year (12-34% per year).

The Dutch (Boer) infant mortality rate, was as high as 600 per thousand per year (60% per year).

About 20,000 Dutch (Boer) women and children died in these camps.

So when civilians are placed in concentration camps, many, many die.

You do not need tell false tales of genocide to explain why many die in concentration camps.

The German camps were much better than the British camps because they were work camps and the Germans had a vested interest in keeping their workers healthy.

Jews tell ridiculous stories of Jews being transported by rail for hundreds of miles just to have a bullet put in their head, or be gassed, or whatever.

No one ships people hundreds of miles just to kill them. That is a obvious lie.

They were transported to be used as cheap/slave labor and the efficient Germans were not about killing their workers.

Posted by: slim on August 6, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

In case people outside CT worry about Lieberman-bashing, my exposure to TV ads and flyers by the Lamont campaign shows surprisingly little of it. I dont think a purely negative message would fly here. Lamonts ads seem to talk about everything *except* the war, because most Dems know that issue well. Maybe his earlier campaign used harsher rhetoric, but I have seen no evidence of it.

Its not a case of "liberals" moving the party to the left. If Lieberman were less gung-ho about US military action in the Middle East, he would have been embraced in CT, centrist ot not.

Posted by: troglodyte on August 6, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Like it or not, they do now.

Considering the alternatives, I'm going to have to go with, "I like it." What are other major influences on politics, other than traditional news media -- corporate lobbyists? Single-issue advocacy groups? Religious groups? Talk show hosts? Hired campaign staff?

I don't know how much influence blogs really have, but there's no reason for all the hand-wringing, when they are a heck of a lot closer to an actual democratic influence than anything else in modern American politics.

Posted by: Papajijo on August 6, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry to burst your bubble, Kev, but bloggers don't mean shit to a tree. Sitting in your bedroom typing away on a computer keyboard, ain't goin' to get you nothing but carpal tunnel syndrome. Don't flatter yourself over cyber-masturbation.

Posted by: A Cynic's Cynic on August 6, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know if Frequency Kenneth is a troll or just a jackass, but one thing the Lieberman race should do, and hasn't, is illustrate how useless the simpe right/left paradigm is in describing positions on Iraq. If by "right" you mean "close to Bush", Lieberman is to the right of Chuck Hagel and John McCain (or he was until the last Quinnipiac poll). Howard Dean was a moderate to conservative Democrat as governor, till opposing the war made him a wild-eyed freak in the eyes of Tim and Cokie. Pat Buchanan is to the left of Ed Koch. Lawrence Korb and Brent Scowcroft are to the left of Joe Lieberman. It's ridiculous.
The polls have stopped keeping track of this, but I would bet the majority of the public who still support this fiasco still believe Saddam was directly involved in 9/11.

Posted by: Jim on August 6, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

You need to ban Slim (Mel?), the batshit crazy Holocaust denier. He's probably a right wing set up, so the pro Lieberman camp can note that this site is frequented by Holocaust deniers. Seriously, his ass has got to go.

Slim,

Not to spread troll bait, but go fuck yourself.

Posted by: Rush's boil on August 6, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

...stay on topic! Stay on topic!

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on August 6, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

...disadvantages (superficiality, herd mentality)...

This qualm of superficiality...

My sense is that, here on the blogs, every topic will be expounded, every fact interpreted, every opinion challenged; plus I've learned some wicked, snappy insults.

Do blogs not force the received wisdom deeper?

Posted by: exasperanto on August 6, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

I'm assuming A Cynic's Cynic is just being a jackass, but if not, part Kevin's point is not that he wishes blogs to have influence, but rather that there's no longer a question that they do have -- perception of influence is influence.

Posted by: Papajijo on August 6, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Slim, Donald did you the courtesy of speaking to you as a human being. So, just to be totally clear, you are telling him that was a complete waste of time, right? We're closing the books on you now, I'm afraid. Everyone is sorry that you weren't loved as a child, but this isn't really the venue for working that out.

Posted by: Kenji on August 6, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

the whole importance of bloggers discussion is bullshit. The significance has nothing to do with "bloggers" per se. What is momentous is that average joe schmuck human has a medium for communication ACROSS THE GLOBE, finding like-minded people and expressing his/her views.

If people communicating helps to take down conceited egomaniacal bilge like Joe Lieberman and make it more difficult for his ilk to hide and operate in the shadows, then that is real progress for humanity.

Posted by: pluege on August 6, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

I love the blog-power denial here. You fools that think blogs are a fad or that they have no influence are almost as lost as slim. And whoever it was upthread that interprets Lieberman's ineptitude as playing to the state rather than the country is also sniffing glue. Joe is going to be crushed by Ned, to the point that an independent run will put him in the same travelling nuthouse as the Silicone Queen of Florida. What Democrat is going to support him if he loses by 10+ points, which looks increasingly likely? And what Republicans won't vote for the Republican cannon fodder they're running this year? There is no room for Republicans like Joe in the Democratic Big Tent. The Reagan Democrats are pretty fed up with the oligarchs taxing them to death so that the rich can get even more obscenely fat. Joe is no longer a moderate Dem; he's a turncoat, an untrustworthy schemer with himself as his top priority. That's Republican, right down the line.

Posted by: ronjazz on August 6, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

Blogs have influence, but they mimic the discussion forum Americans used to have at bars and coffee shops. What is different is that the blogmaster (e.g. Kevin) and the commentors have a vast web-based literature to reference and critique. This great increase in available information, relative to coffe-shop discussions, is offset by the dis-information spread by the jolly trolls.

Its harder to find these face2face discussions in 21st centiry USA (though Im sure they exist), but the comment threads on the web-logs are always available, and offer anonymous posting, too.

Posted by: troglodyte on August 6, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Funny, I speak in facts and back up my claims as best as possible given the format, yet receive only insults from mad Jews.

Why can't the Jews use facts in their defense?

Why can't the Jews use argumentation?

Why do Jews have to resort to name calling and banning. They are weird people eh?

Posted by: slim on August 6, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Ronjazz,

Your assessment of Lieberman's chances as an Independent candidate fail to include the rather large number of registered voters who are no affiliated with either party. There are more of these than registered Republicans. I read a recent poll that put an Independence Lieberman the winner in a three-person race. The result of the CT primary could change some opinions, but the future is far from certain even if Lamont wins by more than 10 points.

Posted by: troglodyte on August 6, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

the "chatter" about the blogs is different than the "chatter" about who one debates. Being completely decentralized, blogs are not easily manipulated and not easily corrupted, which is why the whole of the establishment, republican, democrat, oligarchs, fundamentalists, the power mad are all against it - they will lose contol of the masses if the rabble are allowed to communicate freely among themselves.
.

Posted by: yowzer on August 6, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

This is the rant that never ends.
Yes! It goes on and on, my friends!
Slim hijacked the thread
Not knowing what it was
And he'll continue ranting here
Forever just because...

This is the rang that never ends.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on August 6, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

...damned spelling error!

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on August 6, 2006 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Ronjazz, be smart like troglodyte and me: Don't forget that huge pro-war, pro-Bush indendent vote!

Posted by: yahoo on August 6, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Darryl Pearce: "... stay on topic! Stay on topic!"

You're absolutely right. The topic is the make-believe political world of Joe Lieberman, not the dark cave inhabited of Holocaust denial by slim.

While listening to Lieberman and his supporters whine about Connecticut Democrats' failure to truly appreciate him, I was reminded of an actual episode concerning the GOP's reaction to a landmark Democratic sweep in the islands' watershed 1954 elections, as related to me by a dear friend, the late Hawaii Democratic activist Mary Gaspar.

The day after the Democrats took control of both houses in the legislature and all four county councils in the state, and Democrat John Burns was elected Hawaii's Delegate to Congress (Hawaii was a territory in 1954, and not yet a state), both the Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin carried the astonishing lament of the GOP's soon-to-be former congressional delegate, Betty Farrington:

"The people of Hawaii let the Republican Party down."

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 6, 2006 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Donald, how's it working out with Linda Lingleberry or whatever her name is? Apparently she's quite approachable, for someone from the Republic party. But I attended an event with her the year before last, at the governor's mansion, and she asked for a moment of silence for "the troops fighting for our freedom".

My very quiet "yeah, right", was met with immediate, hard-eyed shushes from people you'd think would be NPR listeners but were obviously cowed into frughtened submission.

I went to same thing a year later and, voil, no mention of overseas adventures or the spread of democracy. Guess that's because everyone's free now, right?

Sorry, but I remember this sad dynamic from the Vietnam era, and how the flag-waving virtually ceased by the end of that adventure. And the politicians suddenly stopped hogging photo ops with Tricky Dick.

Posted by: Kenji on August 7, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Donald said: "My late aunt, Bertha Staak, was always reluctant to show people the number tatooed on her forearm"

How did she escape? Did she rush machines guns or something?

No really, how did she get away from the Nazi killers? Make it a good story.

Posted by: slim on August 7, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Sometimes the perception of power is power. It's like the year and a half or so Hollywood actually believed that Aint It Cool News had the power to kill films, after it was credited with Batman and Robin flopping. In reality, Batman and Robin flopped because it was objectively a terrible movie-- it had a big opening weekend in spite of Harry Knowles and then fell off a cliff after everybody told their friends how awful it was. But Harry and his crew were able to claim credit and milk that perception of power for a good while, until executives finally wised up that like most Internet communities, it was mostly a couple hundred hardcore fanatics talking to each other while journalists and executives used them as a big focus group.

Posted by: Hank Scorpio on August 7, 2006 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

Hank, your anecdote supports the notion -- particularly true in Hollywood -- that nobody knows anything until somebody tells them what they think about it. It may be just the fact that this stuff is written down somewhere that makes it seem so potent to the majority, and to the political operatives, since most people of every stripe sit on the fence about everything while they wait to choose the winning side.

Seems like we should be able to use that, doesn't it?

Posted by: Kenji on August 7, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

The perception that Lieberman would win in a 3 way race comes from the old Quinnipac Poll a couple of polls ago (the last Q-poll didnt measure that question). In fact, a more recent Rassmussen poll had Lieberman and lamont in a dead heat 40-40 in a 3 way.

I think that I agree with a few other commentators I've read: If Lieberman loses, patricularly by 10 or more points... his support would start to rock-bottom fall.

Posted by: Scott Tribe on August 7, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

Rather than bother with Slim's absurd claims, anyone interested in a good summary case against Holocaust denial should go here:
http://www.holocaustdenialontrial.com/ieindex.html

Let us discuss it no more.

Posted by: Patrick on August 7, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

Come on Donald from Hawaii, share your aunt's story with us.

I'm sure it is riveting. I am sure it is etched into your memory, not a single detail forgotten.

Tell us how many Nazis she killed as she fought her way out of Treblinka with her bare hands.

Posted by: slim on August 7, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, so that's what that "Crashing the Gates" thing was about.

Jeremy, if you had actually read Crashing the Gate, you would know that the book isn't about blogging.

And if you read the book (instead of sounding off and sounding ignorant about it), then you'd know that yes, what we're seeing in Connecticut is exactly what Crashing the Gate was all about.

Posted by: Carlos on August 7, 2006 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Kevin, for your refusal to ban trolls. It was only a matter of time before the holocaust deniers came along; I presume the white supremacists and pedophiles will be here soon enough.

Posted by: ahem on August 7, 2006 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

No, ahem, that's just a mild farting noise in the distance. Too many beans in the pot, I'm afraid. Pay it no mind -- since no mind is involved.

Posted by: Kenji on August 7, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

If this works Tuesday, how soon do you think before Bush tries the "kiss of political death" on Schumer or Reid?

Posted by: Thomas on August 7, 2006 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

The Bushies really are "made" men, aren't they?

Posted by: Kenji on August 7, 2006 at 3:20 AM | PERMALINK

Kenji: "Donald, how's it working out with Linda Lingleberry or whatever her name is?"

Gov. Linda Lingle, who's a Republican in a very Democratic state (not unlike her GOP counterpart in Massachusetts), is actually doing quite well. I'd describe her politics as moderate to liberal, which makes her somewhat of an anomaly amongst her fellow GOP'ers.

Most likely, she's a Republican simply by convenience. She initially sought to join the Democratic Party in the late 1970s after she moved from her home state of Missouri to the island of Molokai (pop. 6,000, and part of Maui County), but was apparently rebuffed by parochial-thinking Maui Democrats who saw her as a potential usurper.

By running as a Republican in Maui County, she was able to avoid competing in very contentious Democratic primaries. Afterward, she dispatched the weakened survivor in the general election. She's always been personally popular with her constituents. She served ten years on the Maui County Council (1980-90) and another eight years as Maui County Mayor (1990-98), before setting her sights on the governor's seat in Honolulu. She narrowly lost to incumbent Democratic Gov. Ben Cayetano by 5,280 votes in 1998, then regrouped in 2002 to win over Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono. She's the first person from a neighbor island to ever be elected governor.

Gov. Lingle's current approval rating is about 70%. The latest Honolulu Advertiser poll shows her taking 54% of the votes of Hawaii Democrats, which obviously renders the campaign of her Democratic challenger, former State Sen. Randy Iwase, problematic at best.

Gov. Lingle will win re-election in a walk, but probably won't have any coattails. In 2002, although she won quite handily to become Hawaii's first GOP governor in 40 years, her party lost five seats in the House, and then another five in 2004.

Hawaii is still very Democratic, and thanks to the Bush administration's overseas misadventures will probably remain so for quite some time. With Gov. Lingle in quiet attendance, the Hawaii Legislature recently awarded the state's Medal of Freedom to the families of all Hawaii-based troops who lost their lives in Iraq -- over 200 awards were given.

With Democrats holding rock-solid, veto-proof majorities in both House and Senate, and GOP Gov. Lingle a lock for re-election in November, both the legislators and the governor will have to learn to work together. Their relationship has been quite contentious, but it will probably improve dramatically after the election as both sides learn to live with one another.

If Democrats play their cards right, and focus on policy instead of politics, Gov. Lingle may well prove to be the the most progressive chief executive in Hawaii's history.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 7, 2006 at 5:22 AM | PERMALINK

Come on Donald from Hawaii, share your aunt's story with us.

I'm sure it is riveting. I am sure it is etched into your memory, not a single detail forgotten.

Posted by: slim on August 7, 2006 at 5:30 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Don. It's too bad she has to pay lip service to that loser in DC. But I do understand the previous crowd was pretty corrupt, and plenty of progressive Hawaiians were relieved when she won. Now I do remember when she was mayor of Maui and she was quite popular there.

Posted by: Kenji on August 7, 2006 at 5:38 AM | PERMALINK

The problem with Joementum is he supports a president who has broken 26 laws! Good God! What is it going to take for the American people to demand the impeachment of this turd?

Posted by: Dave's left toe on August 7, 2006 at 6:23 AM | PERMALINK

And (bringing this thread full circle), unlike Daniel Inouye, Linda Lingle has not been heard to defend Joe Lieberman! (Or has she? If so, I missed it.)

Posted by: shortstop on August 7, 2006 at 6:43 AM | PERMALINK

Would Lieberman be on the verge of losing his seat if not for "the blogs"? I think we need to go back the beginning. When Lamont was considering a primary challenge (about, what, 6-10 months ago) he made his run conditional on getting enough CT voters to petition him. At that point there was a coordinated push by blogs to "recruit" him. I signed his recruitment petition and sent him some token amount, say, $30. For the purposes of the petition, I lived in "Hartford, CT." In reality, I live in DC.

No challenger, no Lieberman loss. The blogs were instrumental in pushing Lamont to run at a critical time.

Posted by: ibc on August 7, 2006 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

Come on Donald from Hawaii, share your aunt's story with us.

Tell us how she got out of Treblinka. I'm sure its a good story.

Posted by: slim on August 7, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

The last Quinnipiac poll of the primary campaign is out and it has Lamont up only 6 points over Lieberman. That's really close. If you have an hour to spare today or tonight, please make a few calls.

Posted by: shortstop on August 7, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

My prediction is that the race is going to be very close. I saw Lanny Davis and Jim Dean on MTP, and Davis made a fairly compelling case for Joe. If the Democratic Party were healthier, there would be no need to punish a strayer (hell, the RSCC is strongly supporting Linc Chaffee -- and he didn't even vote for Bush). But the Democratic Party is dysfunctional at this moment in history. It needs to go through a wilderness period a la Goldwater, so we can get our bearings and decide firmly on our core values. We desperately need to grow a spine.

This is not a fight I personally would have chosen -- but I understand why it's been joined. I think the sheen is coming off Lamont as we get closer to the election; the anti-Lieberman vote is having second thoughts about tossing all that seniority for a guy who has essentially the same pro-business neoliberal ideology as Lieberman minus one issue -- important as it is. Probably the war in Lebanon (specifically how it's playing on US TV) is having its effect.

If Joe is blown outt by double digits (unlikely), he should step aside. But I think either way at this point, CT's going to retain a Democratic seat.

And that matters most in the end.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 7, 2006 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

And I watched old Cookie Roberts on ABC's This Week, complain about the netroots which has me wondering just exactly what she is complaining so much about.

Maybe Kevin can tell us how warped is Kos and Atrios? Black is not white and up is not down the way it is in those Republican netroots, free Republic, Glenn Reynolds Ann Colter wannabes.

This next time Broder or Cookie pipe up about the netroots perhaps one of those news anchors could ask exactly what they are reading that the find so ofensive? Or exactly what off the wall blog they are reading.

Why don't Broder and Cookie just keep their noises in Ann Colter's best seller, or eyes on Fox News if the real world is too scary for those two.


Posted by: Cheryl on August 7, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

The pundits and bloggers are stumbling into a howler of a mistake. The real power doesn't belong to the blogs -- the real power belongs to anonymous folk like Al and their percipient asides.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on August 7, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think bloggers would have ultimately made the definitive difference -- and I believe the "perception of power" is just what pundits like to gas about -- like setting expectations in debate. I'm not very fond of all of that perception-is-reality stuff, even if I (reluctantly) recognize that it exists.

Blogging is just a way to connect supporters. It's teriffic for doing certain things -- like fundraising on a national scale. At the end of the day, though -- Ned's polls rocketed because of Ned's bottomless pockets for advertising. Blogging may have recruited Ned -- but Ned hired competent people to run his campaign.

Take it from a hardened and (formerly) bitter veteran of the Howard Dean campaign.

What blogs also do is inflate the self-image and influence of bloggers -- talking about themselves makes it so. So you get "visionary" bloviators like Joe Trippi with his three-hour conference calls who the media can make a celebrity for awhile, as long as the cash is rolling in. There's definitely a tendency to equate cash with support, and that equation still needs to be tested and qualified.

At the end of the day, it's still all about GOTV operations and traditional (passive) media. There are just not that many bloggers in the universe of potential voters -- even in a primary.

My prediction is for a photo finish.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 7, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

One thing the progressive blogs _have_ done is provide some early money. Not enough to run an entire campaign, but enough to get started. If this is not an influential thing to be doing then presumably EMILYS List is disbanding?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 7, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Cranky:

Early money is as an Aristotelian might say a necessary but not sufficient condition.

At the end of the day Howard Dean was Howard Dean -- and Ned Lamont is Ned Lamont.

The candidate and his campaign organization trumps blog influence -- as it would trump the influence of any interest group (and I realize that bloggers are not an "interest group" in the traditional sense).

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 7, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

But of course, Howard Dean being Howard Dean (i.e. a strong candidate) is also a necessary but not sufficient condition. I think the origninal question at issue was whether blogs have played a pivotal role--not necessarily a singular role.

Posted by: ibc on August 7, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

> Cranky:
>
> Early money is as an Aristotelian might
> say a necessary but not sufficient condition.

I agree, but you do know what the acronym EMILYS stands for, right?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 7, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Man that was some impressive shit on slim's part. He managed to turn a post about the precieved power and influence of blogs into a debate on the holocaust. That deserves a golf clap.

Posted by: klyde on August 7, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Cranky:

Early Money Is Like Yeast :)

ibc:

Blogs, at least in the Dean campaign when they came to the fore as a fundraising driver, also played a distortive role.

That was borne out by the fiasco of "The Perfect Storm" in Iowa. And one of the problems is that the punditocracy equated fundraising with a ground game. They are simply not the same things.

If Ned Lamont wins, it's going to be far more a testament to the savvy of his campaign team than any wisdom disseminated by Marcos ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 7, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

THE PERCEPTION OF POWER....If Ned Lamont beats Joe Lieberman in Tuesday's Connecticut primary, will it mean that blogs have truly broken into the big time?

No. Most people don't read blogs, and I'm sure that includes most of the people in Connecticut as well.

Posted by: JeffII on August 7, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Bloggers = Voters. Simple really.

Posted by: Mann Coulter on August 7, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

My prediction is that the race is going to be very close. I saw Lanny Davis and Jim Dean on MTP, and Davis made a fairly compelling case for Joe. If the Democratic Party were healthier, there would be no need to punish a strayer (hell, the RSCC is strongly supporting Linc Chaffee -- and he didn't even vote for Bush

rmck1: You must have seen a different show than I. Jim Dean didn't handle himself well--the Deans don't do good TV, one of themany reasons I was always one of the few blogosphere types who was cool to DeanMania, even before "The Scream"--but I thought Davis came off as a Beltway hack. He should be taken out behind the barn and beaten witin an inch of his life for comparing LIeberman to Max Cleland.

Linc Chaffeee didn't vote for BUsh, but he voted for Bill Frist, and he sticks with the Republicans when the chips are down. And as for the GOP supporting their own, look how they have made gelding out of poor sad little Arlen Specter, who had to grovel for his chairmanship, and is repeatedly made to eat crow every time he makes some half-hearted noise about the Constitution. The GOP is "healthy" as you put it, because they would never permit anyone to stray as far as Lieberman has in the first place. Besides. Holy Joe is a grating sanctimonious putz. I can't think of any party that isn't better off with out a preening jackass like him.

Posted by: Jim on August 7, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Mann Coulter:

It's more like a Venn diagram, truthfully ...

Somebody needs to do some good demographic surveying to find out just exactly *how* many bloggers/commenters there are per voters out there.

I'd guess as a national average that 1:10 might be a conservative estimate -- even for a primary.

Anybody else have intuitive reads on this? It's a critical number.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 7, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII: No. Most people don't read blogs, and I'm sure that includes most of the people in Connecticut as well.

Jeffers, we know this is a fave theme of yours, but don't discount the power of blogs to raise out-of-state cash and awareness among the highly motivated people who do read them. They did indeed play a notable part in this race, although that doesn't translate into the goofily vague "breaking into the big time," agreed.

On a related note, interesting that so many of the establishment wailers decrying the non-Connecticut blogs' "undue" influence are so silent when out-of-state corporate money is flowing into their guys' coffers. Races that affect the entire nation generate national interest. The chief complaint here seems to be the type of folks who are interested in this one. Too fucking bad.

When it's all over, the most amusing part of this entire campaign will be the complete willingness of beltway types and clueless media tools to repeat the "it's just about the war" mantra. It is simply amazing how much people outside Connecticut have lazily bought into this Lieberman-generated line. In fact, both the latest Quinnipiac poll and the New London The Day poll show quite clearly that the war is the key, but far from the only, issue influencing Lamont voters. Today's Q poll, for example, had 54% calling the war "only one reason" to back Lamont, vs. 36% who called it the main reason.

These people have had it up to here with a senator who doesn't listen to what they want re myriad issues--and who thinks a senate seat is a lifelong appointment. Unrepentant DLC types and lazy journalists fail to notice this at their peril, to borrow Joey Leebs' line.

Posted by: shortstop on August 7, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Jim:

I don't have a gripe with the general thrust of what you're saying, but I don't think I'd phrase it so hyperbolically. Lanny Davis gives off the *vapors* of a Beltway hack to be sure -- but his answers were more on-point than Jim's, who had to do a bit of deflecting from time to time.

Also, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on the Clelland comparison; I thought it was well-taken. It wasn't comparing Lieberman to Clelland -- only the ad technique of morphing their faces into the boogieman du jour. It *is* kind of a slimy, distortive device no matter who uses it for what purpose. Context *does* matter -- and that was a lot of Lanny's point.

I haven't been a fan of the National Noodge for quite some time. I thought Gore's picking him was a disastrous move in hindsight -- I think it clearly jacked the Nader vote.

But that being said -- I can't rouse myself to Joe-hatred to the degree of vitriol I see in people I usually agree with. *Sure*, he's nauseatingly sanctimonious and all of that. But he *does* have a voting record which makes him, on balance nationally, pretty darn liberal. I know that he's not being targeted for ideology but for disloyalty to the Party -- and that's an extraordinarily important lesson for the grassroots to impart, which is why I'd no doubt vote for Lamont if I could.

But Joe ain't no Zell Miller, either ... He's no way as conservative as Mary Landrieu or Ben Nelson, to mention just two Blue Dawgs ...

It's just important to keep that in mind.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 7, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

"The Democratic party is not a big tent party any more.

No room for moderates like Joe Lieberman in the ever-shrinking teeny weenie little Democratic Party tent."
Posted by: Freqency Kenneth on August 6, 2006 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK


The Democratic Party needs to decide whether it can unite in support of Bush and the Iraq war or if it needs to be against the war. It's not an issue the anti-war group takes lightly. It doesn't define candidates like Lieberman as "moderate" in light of his position on that issue. It is an issue which divides the party severely and this has to be worked out long before the next presidential primary.

Liberals and Progressives are tired of being treated like the ugly step-child. They want their view on an issue of this significance to be the party's view. Lieberman is finding that out the hard way.

The corporate-fed politicians, of any stripe, will continue, but the Democratic Party Establishment will have to give some ground to it's Left Wing or they will likely face some major membership losses.

Nobody likes to belong to a party of war criminals, except maybe the fascist Republican Bushies.

Posted by: MarkH on August 7, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Bob / rmck1:

If tomorrow is as close as you think it may be, why are you so sure there won't be a "Ross Perot" effect and the GOP candidate wins?

Posted by: Thomas on August 7, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas:

Because the Republican trails badly in all polls. Had the GOP known ahead of time about the insurgent challenge from Lamont, perhaps they could've recruited a stronger candidate (although I dunno for certain as I don't follow CT politics all that closely).

Instead, the CT GOP nominated the usual sacrificial lamb type that the opposing party runs against a well-funded and well-regarded incumbent.

If it's a double digit blowout and Lamont wins, then it's my guess that Party elders are going to have a talkin' to with Joe to get him to give up his Independent bid.

If it's a close race and Lamont squeaks by, then it's my guess that it will be a three-way race with Lieberman running the toughest race of his life and ekeing it out by a nostril hair.

What I don't predict is the seat going to the GOP.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 7, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Is there a poll out yet on a three-way race?

Posted by: Thomas on August 7, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Somebody said I should use Google. What is Google?

Posted by: Thomas on August 7, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, I had missed Scott Tribe's post above:

The perception that Lieberman would win in a 3 way race comes from the old Quinnipac Poll a couple of polls ago (the last Q-poll didnt measure that question). In fact, a more recent Rassmussen poll had Lieberman and lamont in a dead heat 40-40 in a 3 way.

I have not been able to find anything recent on a 3 way race.

Posted by: Thomas on August 7, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

I guess I could use this Google thing and include the word "Rasmussen" this time. Is that what you guys would do?

Posted by: Thomas on August 7, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

LOL - I had missed Scott Tribe's post above:

The perception that Lieberman would win in a 3 way race comes from the old Quinnipac Poll a couple of polls ago (the last Q-poll didnt measure that question). In fact, a more recent Rassmussen poll had Lieberman and lamont in a dead heat 40-40 in a 3 way.
Posted by: Thomas on August 7, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Slim,

I'm not Jewish, but I had family who lived in Europe during the war. And they lost neighbours and friends to the Holocaust. They saw them rounded up and carted off, never to be heard from again.

The most tragic story was the mother of a little girl who lost it in winter of hunger in 1945 went outside with her daughter and was caught by the Nazis with only a few months to go. That daughter was like a sister to my family - and she was killed.

Her name was Mieke.

If you want the facts and figures to document the Holocaust, please watch Shoah, the documentary from about 20 years ago. It shows everything, including the detailed train schedules.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on August 7, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

I only glossed over the comments, so I'm not sure if anyone mentioned this, but we're all assuming Lieberman will lose tomorrow. What will it say about the influence of blogs if he wins?

Posted by: fembot on August 7, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

fembot:

In my view? I think that the Kos / Democracy For America folks are going to be crowing at the top of their lungs, and understandably so.

There will also be an attempt by the right to point to this and go "see, see, the Democrat Party is being taken over by one-issue antiwar freakazoids !"

In a perverse way, these two tendencies will reinforce and play off of each other.

Left blogistan will definately deserve *some* measure of credit for putting the race on the national radar screen, recruiting and encouraging Lamont, no question. But at the end of the day, it's the candidate and his campaign organization who'll deserve by far the lion's share of the huzzahs.

And right blogistan will have every vested interest in playing up the natural pride that the Lamont boosters show as some kind of insidious sign that the Democrats are becoming rigid and narrow.

Kind of like the way the Democrats attempted to portray it when the GOP began running its first movement conservatives after Goldwater in the age of Reagan.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 7, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

. . . don't discount the power of blogs to raise out-of-state cash and awareness among the highly motivated people who do read them. They did indeed play a notable part in this race, although that doesn't translate into the goofily vague "breaking into the big time," agreed.Posted by: shortstop

Proof? If people aren't reading blogs, which they aren't, where, then, is the power to raise cash?

Posted by: JeffII on August 7, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Slim,

I don't know anything about Donald from Hawaii's aunt but if you want my take on how she managed to survive Treblinka, it wasn't because she rushed the machine guns but because the camp was overrun by the Red Army before the SS managed to kill her.

Now fuck off and die, you worthless piece of shit.

Posted by: Auto on August 7, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Come on Donald from Hawaii, share your aunt's story with us.

I'm sure it is riveting. I am sure it is etched into your memory, not a single detail forgotten.

Tell us again, how many Nazis she killed as she fought her way out of Treblinka with her bare hands.

Posted by: slim on August 7, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK
If people aren't reading blogs, which they aren't, where, then, is the power to raise cash?

Some people are, in fact, reading blogs.

Those (relatively few, perhaps) people who are probably, on average, have significantly more financial werewithal than people more generally.

Posted by: cmdicely on August 7, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

1. I agree that blogs are not yet read by a large number of people, compared to the total universe of those who vote. The operative word is YET. More people are gaining access to computers every day. More people are getting email accounts every day.

It's hard to predict what the % of people reading blogs regularly will be when it settles down, but at this point, it's growing.

2. The blogosphere is democratic. Yes, it's infested by trolls and there is a fair amount of invective. But there are also people who post more-or-less dispassionately, and people who give valuable links to other sources of information. I've learned a lot by hanging out on Political Animal, ThinkProgess, etc.

3. The blogosphere also presents an opportunity for unique points of view to be expressed by people who have no prominence and/or money. If I were a politician, I would be monitoring or would have my staff monitor blogs just for the sake of happening upon new and creative ideas which might not ever be heard elsewhere.

4. The left/liberal blogosphere was posting against the Iraqi war during the leadup. We had information and links which weren't in the MSM. We predicted accurately what would happen. If politicians had paid attention to us back then, perhaps this horrible and tragic mistake could have been avoided. Or maybe not, sigh.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on August 7, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, but Wolfdaughter, would you have you staff post on comments sections in blogs?

Posted by: Thomas on August 7, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Some people are, in fact, reading blogs.

Duh. That's why you (sort of) responded to my post. However, the number of people using blogs and the like as a news source is still dwarved by the number of people watching television, listening to the radio or reading newspapers and magazines for news and information. I believe that the Internet will continue to grow in importance as a news and information source (in a generation or so), but doubt that it will ever eclipse the others combined or even television considered by itself.

Good old "passive-participation" television will continue to rule as most people really don't care about government or politics, unless it's a specific issue that affects them directly, and then, typically, they only pay attention when it's too late. Otherwise, for a nation where the overwhelming majority of people can't be bothered to think about issues (Oh yeah? Two answers: George Bush, Iraq) or vote, actively using the Internet as a news gathering tool is unlikely. It's convenient for political organizers, but only because it's faster than the telephone and better than the fax machine. This newish medium is just one more version of the same message.

As voters and "citizens," Americans have next to no obstacles to participating in our democracy. The existence and proliferation of the Internet is not going to magically change this by substantially increasing and/or widening participation. In fact, for the most part, it's become just one more tool for amusing ourselves to death. YouTube anyone?

Those (relatively few, perhaps) people who are probably, on average, have significantly more financial werewithal than people more generally.
Posted by: cmdicely

And?

Posted by: JeffII on August 7, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Missing the point, missing the point. The whole "crazy bloggers defeated Joe Lieberman" story is just another exercise in framing the left as irrational and extreme. The Republicans are so good at this-- the storyline that Democrats and the Democratic leadership are nuts (and therefore exist only to be laughed at and ignored) is advanced in victory or defeat. If Lamont wins tomorrow, conventional wisdom distributed from all the usual outlets will be that the inmates have taken over the asylum. Politics of fear and hate.

This is how we end up with the majority of the country agreeing with us on issues, and continuing to lose elections. This is how a decorated war veteran is labeled as someone who hates the troops. This is how a moderate governor from a small state who is leading a movement gets portrayed as a number of bricks shy of a load. Until somebody finally starts to get the importance of narrative and symbols, and starts doing something to effectively fight back against the Swift Boating, the Republicans retain their mantle of God, Country and Family Values while acting in ways that would make Roman emperors blush, yet paying no price at all.

Posted by: bluewave on August 7, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II:

Well I agree with your generally, but I have two caveats.

First, you're dead-wrong about fundraising. That's one of the things that blogs do exceptionally well. We saw an intimation of this in '00 with McCain in the primary, and Howard Dean's campaign proved it in such spades that this is where the legend of internet-empowered politically inffluential bloggers began ...

The mistake the pundits made was to conflate the tiny, politically engaged and financially well-off subset of voters with a representative sample of them. Charged-up kids from all over the country poured into Iowa to be orange knit-capped "Storm Troopers" for Howard Dean -- and the ensuing ground campaign fiasco is one for the political science textbooks.

Now, how is this tiny and motivated subset of voters any different than, say, the Christian Coalition -- who *has* managed to influence elections and get politicians at all levels to be beholden to them? Aren't they the model, and isn't the idea to build an activist Democratic base to replace (e.g.) the declining influence of labor unions?

The answer to the second question is a resounding Absolutely.

But here's the thing: Those Brylcreemed jeezoid pod people are world-class envelope lickers, phone bankers, literature folders and door knockers. Until bloggers get off their sedentary duffs and go out and do likewise, they're going to continue to mistake their cyber-navels for The World At Large. There is *no known replacement* for a well-run GOTV campaign, and no moreso than in a primary.

Email alerts leave *cough* something to be desired as a way to get your 2's to the right polling place on election day ...

Now my second caveat is in line with your broader point that there's probably a hard limit set by culture as to how many people in a complacent and mature (some would say decadent) democracy like the US are willing to be anything more than passive, half-alert consumers of political information. I don't think there's a Moore's Law when it comes technology's human interface, and I think that internet ubiquity has probably begun to plateau. Contra Wolfdaughter I don't see blogistan exerting a fundamentally different or deeper influence on politics at least in the short term. And that's why it's so incredibly critical that bloggers become activists in the old-fashioned sense of the word.

If we can translate our enthusiasm into well-run ground campaigns, then this will herald the resurgence of the Democratic Party and not blogging per se.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 7, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK
That's why you (sort of) responded to my post. However, the number of people using blogs and the like as a news source is still dwarved by the number of people watching television, listening to the radio or reading newspapers and magazines for news and information.

Sure. So?

I believe that the Internet will continue to grow in importance as a news and information source (in a generation or so), but doubt that it will ever eclipse the others combined or even television considered by itself.

In a generation or so, "the internet" and "television" will, I suspect, not be two separate media that can be cleanly distinguished. (Same, too an even greater extent when it comes to news and information, for "the internet" and "radio" or "newspapers".)

Good old "passive-participation" television will continue to rule as most people really don't care about government or politics, unless it's a specific issue that affects them directly, and then, typically, they only pay attention when it's too late.

Passive participation will, of course, continue to rule for mass media (though person-to-person is probably as important as any mass medium, and is inherently more active than many), but any medium, including blogs, can be accessed passively.

Otherwise, for a nation where the overwhelming majority of people can't be bothered to think about issues (Oh yeah? Two answers: George Bush, Iraq) or vote, actively using the Internet as a news gathering tool is unlikely.

Yes, people who don't care won't actively gather news, regardless of the medium; that's really not particularly relevant to the power of blogs.


Those (relatively few, perhaps) people who are probably, on average, have significantly more financial werewithal than people more generally.
Posted by: cmdicely

And?

And that's the answer to the question you asked: ...where, then, is the power to raise cash?


Posted by: cmdicely on August 7, 2006 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Come on Donald from Hawaii, tell us how your aunt got out of Treblinka.

Gee, Donald,... don't you know? Didn't she ever tell you?

Posted by: slim on August 7, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Besides. Holy Joe is a grating sanctimonious putz. I can't think of any party that isn't better off with out a preening jackass like him.
Posted by: Jim

exactly. throw in the fact that he's an idiotic bushtool and what's to like?

p.s. hey slim - down at the bus station they're saying your mom has a jewish nose. better check her out.

your pal,
blake

Posted by: blake on August 7, 2006 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

Oh blake,... didn't I tell you.

Mom was at Treblinka, she clawed through 8,000 yards of solid rock with her bare hands, while tunneling out of the Nazi slaughter house.

Unfortunately, her tunnel surfaced in the local Gestapo headquarters and she got transferred to Auschwitz.

I'd like to tell you about her escape from there, but she died there at the tender age of 11.

After all this, she wrote a book about her experiences during the war, which was a best seller.

Posted by: slim on August 7, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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