…we've all got to eat."
Lyndon Baines JohnsonChris Bowers
takes note of a new fundraising initiative by Philadelphia Democrats...
Campbell believes the Finance Committee’s operation will help move the party into the future. "We need to understand the Internet and to teach our people how to use it. We need to battle the bloggers on their own turf. This takes additional resources."
Yes, yes, yes! They need to battle bloggers on their own turf! Hahahahahahahaha.
Tell me again they aren't scared.
Scared of who, exactly, Chris? You? The liberal blogosphere? The mighty power of the netroots?
Actually the willingness to compete on someone else's turf isn't generally a sign of fear in my experience, but say you're right. Say you're doing enough damage to the Democratic Party to instill fear in the Democratic leaders. Who's likely to benefit from a frightened Party? Is that the clearest path to a Democratic majority in Congress this year, or an eventual victory in '08? Jane
They’re got to be joking. There are so many things wrong with this it’s hard to know where to start, but the underlying assumption seems to be that bloggers are uncontrollable and uncooperative and, one assumes, bad for the party.
Huh? Isn't it as likely, or more so, that the Philly D's underlying assumption is that bloggers have tapped a vein of grassroots support for candidates and causes that the Democratic Party could benefit from if they were more internet savvy? I mean, that's what they said, so it just might be what they meant. One may assume what one wishes, but Jane's assumption seems to be created from thin air.
In fact, the liberal blogosphere has demonstrated its ability to raise all kinds of cash for candidates and causes, but save the periodic pleas to throw some money at the Chairman's 50 state strategy, there's rarely a call to support the Party itself. The last big push in these parts was around the Washington State Democrats' effort to confront the challenge to Governor Gregoire's election, but even that was candidate centered and not directed toward meeting the financial needs of day in, day out Party organization.
Given that the Philadelphia Party has come up short on staff paydays, it's obvious that they could use some of that online financial mojo. That they recognize the need to understand how the net works should be taken as encouraging news, not another opportunity to trumpet the authority issues of some prominent bloggers.
Lots of people, including Chris Bowers and Jane Hamsher, have labored long and hard to make what is essentially a narcissistic activity ("Here's what I think, isn't that fascinating?" is the basic outline of most every blog post you'll ever read) into a socially relevant and politically useful one. They have, in great measure, succeeded in doing just that. That's why Party organizations start blogs and cultivate bloggers.
Is the Party behind the curve? Sure, a bit. I (and Chris and Jane) can wake up and do, say or write damn near anything I please. The Party has institutional responsibilities to thousands of employees, candidates and office holders, not to mention millions of voters. Still, there's some progress being made. However late to the ball, and however clumsy the announcement, the Philadelphia Democrats have noticed that what we're doing in the blogosphere has value, and they want in on the action. That should be a matter of celebration, not condemnation.
Pot shots taken at the Party on the basis of crudely drawn assumptions during a critical election year (yep, 'the most important election of our lives,' until the next one…) won't secure a single Congressional seat, won't fill a single Governor's mansion, won't be the tipping point for Democratic control of a single state legislature. Might it be costly in any of those areas? Well, yeah, it might. Giving the Party the slightest benefit of the doubt once in a while might, on the other hand, have a positive impact on the Party and its prospects.
Eyes on the prize, people.