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Posted by: Jon Henke on Thursday, August 03, 2006

Being one of those indy, libertarian blogger types, I'm very hesitant to actually endorse a candidate. I'm not opposed to it, mind you; if I found the right campaign—George Allen, Mark Sanford, Mike Pence, John Shadegg—or the right Activism project, I'd be willing to go to work for them. In the meantime, though, I prefer to observe and comment, rather than 'buy in'.

I've been asked to 'endorse' the list of candidates at RightRoots, a "broad coalition of conservatives joining together in support of a solid slate of Republican candidates for the US House and Senate." This is a Rightosphere response to the fundraising power of the Leftosphere, and eventually other groups should be able to start their own fundraising within ABCPac. If you want a good overview of the RightRoots project, the likely problems and its future, see William Beutler at BlogPI, who writes in part...
As yet, a proof of concept is really all it is: It’s more like a shareware demo that only lets you play the first level. Yes, it’s a big step for the conservative blogosphere in terms of catching up to the liberal netroots’ activist infrastructure. But only that. If the leftosphere is (I apologize in advance for using the term) Web 2.0, then the rightosphere is still figuring out 1.0.
I won't endorse the slate; they may be good candidates, but I'm not familiar with them — you're welcome to weigh in on the candidates in the comments. A few thoughts on the idea, though, which I initially shared with the Blogosphere discussion group... [Subscribe:]
Storming the castle is usually more fun than defending it.
I'm not sure if it will succeed in the short run like the Leftroots stuff for a couple reasons:
  1. The Right doesn't have the underdog, out of power motivation that the Left does.

  2. The Right is much less enamored of their politicians than is the Left right now. Storming the castle is usually more fun than defending it.

  3. The Rightosphere has spent the past few years blogging about political news, while the Leftosphere has spent the past few years building an engine of activism and opposition. The Right has a long way to go. They'll get there, but I suspect not until they're out of power.

The Party out of power is going to focus on that — on developing the non-incumbent electoral machine. The Left is doing that right now. The Democrats will regain a majority before too long, and the Rightosphere will start looking a lot like the Left does currently. And the Democrats will look a lot like the Republicans do currently.

Circle of political life, you know.

Baseball Crank Dan McLaughlin added a few more cogent thoughts...
[T]here are some differences in how the two parties operate that derive from who their voters/donors/interest groups are. Republican GOTV efforts, for example, are based around the fact that your typical Republican voter is a homeowner with a stable year-to-year address who has to be contacted individually but can get his/her own transportation to the polls, whereas Democratic GOTV includes a couple of different tracks, some more successful than others: low-income urbanites who need transportation to the polls, union members who can be reached through their unions, college students and unmarried young people who may move around a lot and are expensive to locate and keep registered.

The first two groups are why the Dems used to have such a commanding advantage in GOTV, since they were either geographically compact and ethnically homogenous (from urban blacks all the way back to the Tammany Hall Irish and Chicago's Poles) or were part of a pre-existing organization; the third group is what causes the Dems so many headaches; by the time these folks settle down and start a family, a bunch of them have become Republicans.

The GOP has actually been very sophisticated and successful in using email and the party website, moreso than blogs, to raise money, organize and promote a consistent message. Conservative bloggers tend to operate more independently of each other and are regarded by the party as a useful independent message-producing auxiliary (like talk radio) rather than folded into the party apparatus. This has the advantage of maintaining distance from independent bloggers when they say stupid stuff ...

I don't think the role of conservative blogs as independent and message- rather than activism-oriented will change much to resemble the Left. Still, RightRoots is a good step to help fill the gap in the narrow category of funding House and Senate challengers, and in that sense it's a welcome development.
To that, I would only add that I believe the best model for future activism is self-directed social networking rather than the old command and control, top-down model, wherein some group says 'support these guys' and the proles fall in line.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

To that, I would only add that I believe the best model for future activism is self-directed social networking rather than the old command and control, top-down model, wherein some group says ’support these guys’ and the proles fall in line.

Except that Michel’s "Iron Law of Oligarchy" suggests that this will be as useful as clicking ones heels together whilst repeating, "There’s no place like home." I don’t have time to examine everyone, so I rely on the opinions of others. We all do remember, "Dvision of Labour." I don’t mean to be dismissive, though I sund that way. I understand that "Right" and Jon Henke will NOT be a combo seen soon. That’s fine, but to suggest that social networks, cliques and leadership by a tiny minority is going change is to fly in the face of human history.

Any way groups EXIST to aggregate interests, this is interest aggregation, no everyone on a list may be my cup of tea, but overall they may be preferable to some other list.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The Right is much less enamored of their politicians than is the Left right now. Storming the castle is usually more fun than defending it.
And even less fun is trying to clean up the castle whilst all that is going on...

The "Army of Davids" approach is going to gain steam. I think we will still appeal to authority, it’s just that the authority is going to change.

Rather then towing the line of the Republican Party, maybe it’s the Republican Study Committee, or your favorite neo-libertarian blog, that people listen to.
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Well Keith and Jon as long as your study group or blog can muster between 51-60 Senate votes and between 218 and 290 votes in the House, that’ll work. Otherwise I’m’a thinn’n that things ain’t a’changin’ that much. At one level at least, parties existing as aggregators of variuos interests. The interests may be more varied, but the numbers won’t change....
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I agree that you have to work withing the current framework of the two party system, in terms of elections.

But if you want to vote in more conservative, or more libertarian candidates, then who do you vote for? And who do you listen to when trying to decide?

Currently the RSC has I think 41% of Republicans on it. If they could get over 50% of the Republicans, one would hope that they could change the course of the Republican Party, at least in the House, to be more conservative. And if their voting records match their rhetoric, we are better off for knowing it because a "like minded" blog tipped us off.
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
And say there were a Democratic candidate who was fiscally conservative, had a record to match, and didn’t always tow the Party line, I’d want to know that when making a decision about voting.

Because in that particular instance, we might be better served by voting for the best candidate that matches our goals.
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
True but the thrust of the comment that Jon made and I quoted was, to me, moving AWAY from Netroots, Right Roots,etc. And I don’t see it. People can be more EMPOWERED, but that only means that the 5% who do the work have to work harder. Sure I’d be in favour of a blog-list of candidates that held vaguely "Conservative" views with an candid assessment of their chances AND a strategic voting recommendation. But that doesn’t really mean what Jon wnats it too, so it seemed to me.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
That’s fine, but to suggest that social networks, cliques and leadership by a tiny minority is going change is to fly in the face of human history.
Settle down, Beavis. I’m not talking about revamping the entire political system — just discussing fundraising and activism models likely to be most effective in the information age.
Written By: Jon Henke
Well boss all I’m sayin’ is that the Iron Law simply means that the "proles" will continue to follow those top down’s about the 5% of a group that does the work.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
From my partisan, prejudged point of view, I think "the left" is much more subject to obsessive organization, and that the idea that "the right" needs to catch up to the left in on-line organizing is the same as suggesting that libertarians have to "catch up" to socialists’ welfare ideas.

There are exceptions, but the idea among bleeding hearts that we all yearn to "come together" and "enact positive change" is what the netRoots are all about. The rest of us, including "the right" and the "non-left", are more likely to just act independently and sort of organically emerge into ad hoc relationships and eschew top-down command structures.
Written By: equitus
URL: http://
Written By: how

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