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"They don’t own the Democratic party!"
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, July 07, 2007

Salon, in an interview with Joe Biden, asked the following question:
Do you think in the era of YouTube and video cellphones, you can get away with being Joe Biden? I mean being a guy who in the space of two minutes in Cedar Rapids started to tell a joke about Al Gore and the Internet and made a reference to George Wallace in a discussion of healthcare plans.
Biden answers:
The answer is probably not. But I'll tell you what — one of the things I'm not going to do. I'm not going to let that system alter who I am. For example, one of the things that happens is that the public is coming to grips with how to deal with this instant, unfiltered information that may be deliberately mis-edited.

But I think — and this is naive maybe — I have confidence that the American people will put this in perspective. Like when one of the bloggers said, "We're going to take back the Democratic Party."

They don't own the Democratic Party. What are they talking about? So, for example, my pointing out George Wallace from 1968 and quoting what he said, somebody could take that out of context and say "Biden quoted Wallace," making it sound like Biden is being favorable about Wallace.

At the end of the day, I think what happens is that people basically take a motion picture of their candidate and not a snapshot of their candidate. It's a little bit like the Barack comment. [Just as he was launching his presidential campaign in late January, Biden gave an interview in which he maladroitly referred to Obama as "articulate and bright and clean."]

Not a serious person in the press thought that I meant anything other than being complimentary. The good news is that I have a 34-year record on civil rights. Nobody, nobody could suggest that I was being prejudiced. But initially on the blogosphere, this was taken in a different context.

The answer is that there are two sides to my being straightforward and candid. And that is, I'm going to get myself in trouble. But the only thing I decided to do — I can't start trying to calibrate all this stuff. I really believe that at the end of the day, the public in the primaries, as well as the general election, are going to judge me for all of who I am.
A few points about Biden's comments. One, he talks about "unfiltered information" which may be "deliberately mis-edited". I'm not sure how unfiltered information is "mis-edited". If it is unfiltered, that means no editing has touched it. I would apply that more to audio and video than the written word. Audio and video gathered by the new media is, for the most part, raw and unedited. As for the written word, I don't think anyone who writes in the political blogosphere would deny a ideological filter is applied. Unlike the MSM, no one apologizes or denies it in the blogsophere, left or right. And most readers understand and accept that. It is, in my opinion, a much more honest way to do business.

Concerning the "Barack comment", Biden was more of a victim of his reputation of stepping on it than of the "new media". And I dispute his claim that all "serious persons" in the press knew he was being complementary. If so, they'd have ignored the story when it was kicked around in the blogosphere ... but they didn't.

Lastly, his point about "they don't own the Democratic party" may be right technically, but in may ways, Netroots influence is substantial. While his claime sounds good, he contradicts the point in an earlier portion of the interview when he says:
One of my colleagues on the [Senate] Foreign Relations Committee, a good guy, was, in the early days of the surge, going to put in an amendment to put a cap on troops. I went to him and I said, "You don't want to do that." I knew why he wanted to do it, because MoveOn.org and, you know — And so he introduced it and I said I'm going to debate you on it. I pointed out that it couldn't possibly work. He's capping [the troops] at an artificially high level. "Whoa," he said, "that's not what I mean to do."
What Biden is driving at in the remark isn't as important as his point that MoveOn.org and "you know" - what I took as the leftosphere - were driving legislation. In the very same segment, Biden then says:
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that every one of these things that these other guys — I haven't had a chance to debate Bill Richardson yet, but Bill goes out and he makes a speech to a group that I am going to speak to. The Daily Kos thing. I am going to go to that.
If they don't "own" the party (and I think an argument could be made that in terms of "ownership" they certainly don't) there is no question that they have a huge, and some would argue, outsized influence in the party. And that influence is something to which Democratic politicians are busily engaged in pandering.

If that wasn't the case, speaking at YearlyKos wouldn't be a priority for Democratic presidential politicians. In fact, they recognize that, at least in the primaries (see Lieberman/Lamont), the Netroots has some fair weight. The problem occurs after the primaries when the nominee, who may in fact be beholden to Netroots activism for primary wins, tries to move to the center.

The question is, how successful will they be in doing so? The obvious calculation for such a move, regardless of Netroots concerns, is the nominee understanding that the Netroots really have nowhere to go. That gives the politician the ultimate power. If, as Netroots claims, their entire focus is centered on Democrats winning then they'll end up supporting the nominee even if he or she attempts to move to the center with less extreme positions on controversial issues than Netroots would prefer.

Like many conservatives, Netroots most likely express their disgust vociferously, hold their nose, and vote Democrat, all the while feeling completely used. And, of course, they'll be right - Politics 101. It will still come as a suprise to some.

So while Biden may be right about the "ownership" aspect of this, he also acknowledges the Netroots power and importance. What he and the candidates haven't decided is how much of a say they intend to let them have on the issues or how they will be framed which will, in the final analysis, determine who "owns" the Democratic party.
 
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The blogospheres on the right and left, like the precinct captains, have too much influence in the primaries, but after that, their influence is negligible. Their main function after the primaries is organization and get out the vote operations, but as you said, it’s not like they are going to jump ship at that point. The moves candidates make toward the fringes prior to the primaries and toward the center after the primaries is res ipsa loquitur evidence of this fact.

I think that what Biden was talking about when used the terms unfiltered and edited in the same sentence was that raw unflitered footage is being put out in places like youtube, and the bloggers are doing the editing, whether by actually snipping segments for play, or just recounting the footage out of context. When I see a one sentence quote and then go to the video, there is almost a 100% occurance of a change in context between the full statement and the extracted sentence, sometimes the statement in total context has a meaning 180 degrees from the selected quote.

It’s going to take a while before the general public really gets it that blogs are not news, there are zero journalistic standards required, but these are people out there that still don’t quite get it that the hot 24 year old girl e-mailing them is a 50 year old fat guy in his underwear.

On Biden, one could argue that if Biden were the frontrunner, he would be playing it a little closer top the vest, and I would dearly love to test this theory, because I believe that Biden is the most honest and capable guy in the pack (both sides) and that he would continue to speak his mind as a frontrunner, or as President.

As President, I think Biden would show what he wants to do, how he wants to do it, and then do his best to sell it to the American people, as opposed to the entire rest of the pack, who want to tell every audience what they want to hear, and then puruse the course they had in mind all along.

His chances are slim, but until or unless he drops out, I’ll be supporting him.

When you speak to your constituents candidly, you are bound to let some poorly worded statements out, but I’ll accept that as a side effect of honesty.

Give me a leader that says more than they have to, not as little as they possibly can.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
The blogospheres on the right and left, like the precinct captains, have too much influence in the primaries, but after that, their influence is negligible.
I don’t know if I’d worded so. I think I’d say, rather, that their influence is palpable, given that they will push their party in the primaries so far out of the mainstream as to be unelectable in the general election.

It’s going to take a while before the general public really gets it that blogs are not news, there are zero journalistic standards required, but these are people out there that still don’t quite get it that the hot 24 year old girl e-mailing them is a 50 year old fat guy in his underwear.
How Dan Ratherish of you.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
If Biden wants to co-opt the bloggers, all he has to do is buy them some computers and bandwidth...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
How Dan Ratherish of you.
I am not sure I get your point, but I will answer a couple of possible meanings.

1. You may be inferring that I think the American people are stupid and beleive everything they read. If so, my answer is to point out the amount of money that people are able to scam out of Americans with scams that appear absolutely ludicrous to me. Too many people, though by no means all or even most people, don’t see the internet for what it is, access into everything, good information, bad information, and wildly misleading information.

2. You may be inferring that I believe that only the MSM can be relied on for information. My answer to that would be no, I do not believe that. While journalistic standards exist in the MSM to a much greater extent than in the blogosphere, there is still a massive amount of bad information coming from teh MSM.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
I think I’d say, rather, that their influence is palpable, given that they will push their party in the primaries so far out of the mainstream as to be unelectable in the general election.
You may be right going forward. In the past this has not been so, but this is a fast developing element in the electoral process.

If you are correct, then it could affect both parties, and it could mean wild swings to the left and right, rather than the relatively narrow swings we have seen in the past.

I guess it all comes down to whether what we are seeing is simply a better view of something that has always happened, or something truly new. Someone recently made the point, and I think it has a element of accuracy, that pre-primary politics are analogous to child abductions, they have both always happened, in much the same way and much the same frequency, but we see them differently now because we have a much greater access to information about them.

Are we more polarized than ever, as it appears, or are we jsut as polarized as we always were, but it just appears different because anyone with a PC and an ISP can get an up close and personal view of it all?

Cap



 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 07/08/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention updated throughout the day…so check back often. This is a weekend edition so updates are as time and family permits.
 
Written By: David M
URL: http://thunderrun.blogspot.com/
They might not own the party, But they sure are renting it for pretty good terms right now...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
You may be right going forward. In the past this has not been so, but this is a fast developing element in the electoral process.
That someone with a lack of quality of Al Gore made it to the vice presidency, tells me my reading is very close. That someone like John Kerry was nominated, tells me my reading is right on the money.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us

 
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