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Not Netroots; a Movement
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, September 28, 2007

Patrick Ruffini is one of the brightest, so when he writes, you should pay attention. In his latest, he's taking on the Blogosphere as Punditry VS Activism issue...
Even in my ideal world, blogs will do commentary the vast majority of the time. What concerns me is that we don't always properly appreciate the implications of what that writing can accomplish. Do you understand what TPM Muckraker did with its team of reporters to seed the narrative of a corrupt GOP in the last election? Or ... what they did in conjunction with that famous New Republic piece to create a narrative of George Allen as racially insensitive, without which "macaca" may never have taken hold? Poring through FEC reports and doing original reporting is something we simply don't do enough of. Call it boring activism if you must, but looking at the Left's dominance of original reporting, the Internet creates an opportunity for conservatives to level the playing field.
[...]
...the fact that Democrats have figured out how to create a huge markets for online fundraising and actually raise anywhere from a third to half of their money through the medium should scare us. This is about more than Kos — he can only move coin in the low seven figures. I'm talking about the eight and possibly nine figures that the broader Democrat activist space can produce because their leaders have been strategic in fully embracing the medium and doing the important things online.
There are a lot of misconceptions about the value of the blogosphere in politics. The real value isn't really the fundraising. That's a secondary or tertiary effect of what the blogs are doing. And the truly effective Lefty blogs, themselves, are just a symptom of something else.

Patrick is correct about the need for more sophisticated activism in the online Right, and he's correct about the need for the Right to tap into the Long Tail more effectively. But the barrier isn't really tactics; it's not even really about getting buy-in from the politicians and organizations.

The problem is that the Right doesn't really have anything it wants to do.

The Left has the unifying cause, the mission that produces activists. The Right does not. It's as simple as that. Sure, the Right dislikes the Democrats and sometime the Media, but a Movement requires something more aspirational than criticism.

The Right will take off when it finds something worth doing. The Internet Right will probably lead that charge.

Until then, the Right needs to think first about what it wants to be and where it wants to go; good internet strategy and tactics can make that happen better, faster, but it cannot replace the motivation.
 
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Y’all take your time. No rush. Really. :)
 
Written By: Oliver
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
Exhibit A to support your thesis: the immigration bill and its defeat. The right was more unified than on any other issue I can remember recently, and I think it’s clear that the Internet outrage drove a lot of the rest of the debate.

Exhibit B would probably be Harriet Miers.

The next big step will be for the right to be the moving force in favor of some breaking change, rather than just having to oppose bad ideas from pseudo-conservatives like Bush. I have no idea if that will ever occur. The possible issues - Social Security reform, income tax reform, taking on Iran, etc. - don’t have obvious, clear paths, so there’s nothing very tangible for the right to get behind.

When you always want more government, as the left does, there will always be programs to get behind. When you want less government, you spend too much time blocking the more government crowd to get very far on the less government issues. And, let’s face it, there’s only one issue in that arena that the right can get substantial support from the middle: lower taxes. The mushy middle thinks it can have its cake and eat it too; more feel-good programs without having to do anything to pay for them. So the right has an uphill fight on any initiative to lessen government influence in any area.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
The blogosphere, just like the Internet as a whole, is merely a communications channel, and like any other channel, it isn’t worth a whole lot if you don’t have something worth communicating.

As Billy points out, when the right had issues worth fighting over, such as with the immigration fight and the Miers nomination, as well as with Rathergate, they were as good as the left in getting the word out and mobilizing opposition.

Unfortunately, the right not only doesn’t have its act together on policy, they lack competent voices to articulate policy in ways that ring with the American people.

Hopefully, once the right gets its head straight again and finds some people who can string together some sentences, they too can use the Internet to get the word out, raise funds, trash the opposition and so on... just like the Dems have been doing.
 
Written By: steve sturm
URL: www.thoughtsonline.blogspot.com
The Right will take off when it finds something worth doing. The Internet Right will probably lead that charge.
But, Mr. Henke, if we do that, don’t we just become our enemy? Wouldn’t that mean that the Kos-monauts have won?

;)

Honestly though, I think it would take a Democrat in the White House to effect that kind of change. I think at present, since it is a Republican presidency, the Democrats are ’on the attack’ and thus dictate how the discussions go. Right-wing weblogs are thus generally forced to spend time defending the status quo instead of demanding changes to it. The right wing showed a unified vision and sense of mission when Clinton was in charge (think of Drudge breaking the Lewinsky affair as a foreshadwing of netroots in the pre-blog age,) perhaps a second Clinton administration is what it will take to establish a more organized right-wing net presence.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
Y’all take your time. No rush. Really. :)
Could it be any worse that the clown show that you and Duncan put on?
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
The post begins:
Patrick Ruffini is one of the brightest ....
The proof? Ruffini’s own words.
Do you understand what TPM Muckraker did with its team of reporters to seed the narrative of a corrupt GOP in the last election? Or ... what they did in conjunction with that famous New Republic piece to create a narrative of George Allen as racially insensitive, without which "macaca" may never have taken hold?
This is brillance? Please. It is has become a cliche on the right to characterize the reporting of bad information about GOP candidates with resoect to their qualifications to hold office as a "narrative." It’s a cheap rhetorical trick designed to undermine the credibility of the information without actually confronting the facts of the information.

The cited examples are paticularly revealing. TPM has been excellent it its repotinng of facts, and, in my mind, very restrained when it comes to generalizing from its reporting. As for Macaca, one does not need anything other than the use of the word itself to know what George Allen was all about.

It continues to amaze that otherwise seemingly rational and racially sensitive people do not understand the implications of the use of the word "Macaca" in a public fourm to refer to a person of color actually present at that fourm and seemingly there to signal opposition. Forget about anything else that Allen may or may have not done.

Ruffini and the rest of us live in different Americas.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Plus the left-wing blogs have an easier time getting their talking points into the mainstream media, thus providing them bigger leverage. MOveOn can somehow get an MSNBC anchor to ask their "gotcha" question to a Republican but I doubt any right wing group could.

This might simply be because of what party holds the presidency now, but I think its probably institutional in nature as well.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I’d also be interested to see a simple article count in the MSM between Macaca and Byrd’s use of the N word in 2001. How many articles on each incident?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
The Right will take off when it finds something worth doing.

As an independent, can I take off if I find that denying Oliver health care on my dime is something worth doing?

If I can’t smoke, he can’t eat any more oreos.:) ’Cuz a smileycon makes everything better.

Per your larger point, the right seems to grow out of the echo chamber while the left seems to cling to it. You are trying to herd cats while your nemeses need only herd sheep. Young Hollis makes a good point about the inherently complacent nature of the Right, and the inherently reactionary nature of the Left.
 
Written By: Uncle Pinky
URL: http://
Good examles of the strenght of the left versus right. Leftwing activist are out there looking at the business practices, personal behavoir, and employees of Republicans. The rightwight activist keep repeating the same tired talking points. Why is not one of the right going over Rahm Emanual’s behavoir with a fine tooth comb and finding every bit of hypocrisy that exist in his life?
 
Written By: superdestroyer
URL: http://
I’d also be interested to see a simple article count in the MSM between Macaca and Byrd’s use of the N word in 2001. How many articles on each incident?


66000 hits for Byrd
237000 hits for Allen

Two problems with using this as the basis for anything...
1. 2001 and 2006 are different ages in internet development
2. A gaffe during a political campaign where a power shift is the end game is a more complelling story than an old guy using a vile term inappropriately.

I think the real difference lies in the Presidency. Whoever holds the WH is automatically on the defensive. Clinton was the focus of attention for 8 years, with attacks from the right and the left in a defensive position, and the opposite with Bush. Malfeasance by members of Congress and subsequent exposure will affect those individual Congressmen, but generally not the balance of power. The "Culture of Corruption" meme worked because it was a top down attack, but started at the WH (2,140,000 hits on "Republican Corruption") while attempts to paint the Democrats with this brush, though twice as pervasive on the web (4,200,000 hits on "Democrat corruption"), fail because there is not single face to start with.

Above all of this, I am becoming more and more inclined to agree with those who argue that the choosing of Senators needs to be set apart from the choosing of The House and the President as originally mandated by the Constitution.
Section 3. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.
We can have our partisan bickering, but the Senate should be above it all, not a party to it. Of course this would depend on how State Legislatures chose their Seantors, but I would suggest they appoint Senators with the same care tehy would appoint a Supreme Court judge, with a priority on understanding and respect for the Constitution. I say this because whoever wins the tactical partisan battles, it seems that America loses. A Senate that was independent would be better able to be a check on abuses when either side wins.

Fighting the same old battles and getting the same old results seems counterproductive to me, but I do agree that if one side is going to do it, the other side can’t just lie down. Republicans will get their chance to be the loudest voice... when we have a Democratic President.

Cap


 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
I think the real difference lies in the Presidency. Whoever holds the WH is automatically on the defensive.
I think you’re exactly right. Think back to Gingrich and the "Contract with America" and imagine that today including the blogosphere.

That said, it also illustrates another point - someone has to articulate the vision or define the mission. And today there is no one on the right doing that.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
while attempts to paint the Democrats with this brush, though twice as pervasive on the web (4,200,000 hits on "Democrat corruption"), fail because there is not single face to start with
Jeffords’ cold cash and Pelosi’s hubby’s contracts come to mind inside of a half second.

Then there’s the story that showed lobbying money to Dem. House memebers returned 75 fold to their donors.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
Ooops.

"money to Dem. House" /= "money to three Dem. House"

And if I recall, one was Murtha.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
Young Hollis...
Heh. I’m afraid Google Images is all you need to disprove that. Unfortunately.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
"2. A gaffe during a political campaign where a power shift is the end game is a more complelling story than an old guy using a vile term inappropriately."

Right and Wrong. I agree about the horse race aspect and about the internet, but one person used Macaca (?) and the other used the N-word! The person who used the N-word used to be in the KKK!

Imagine if both people had R behind their names, you’d say, well, the KKK N-word guy gets it first. But he didn’t. And, I don’t care about the voters, I think the media could have EASILY shamed the voters into getting rid of Byrd then.

It’s the same with corruption allegations.


 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I know this will go in one ear and out the other, but are you aware Robert Byrd has a 100% rating from the NAACP? I certainly don’t excuse his membership in the Klan or use of N*****, but the real reason Allen’s gaffe caught fire was because he made the image of himself as a good old boy conservative who would stand up to those uppity minorities. That once worked in VA, but as the state has become more like the rest of America, good old boy didn’t sell anymore.
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
The thing with those of us on the Right in the ’sphere, heck, as a whole, is that we rarely band together, especially in the long term, for any type issue. Yes, most of us support Operation Iraqi Freedom, are for what we are doing in Afghanistan, and for the war on terror. We agree, to some digree, on most issues, but, we all have our own interests, and tend to blog about what we see that day.

Some of us have reecurring themes. Me, I touch on global warming, illegal immigration, and the nutroots a lot. I care quite a bit about the Ramos and Compean issue, and, I bet a lot of others do, too. But, do you think we could get a large group together to blog about it at the same time, and maybe get out there in Real Life and protest? That is very difficult on the right, as we tend to be in to doing our own thing, rather then sheepling along like those on the left, who simply LOVE to do what everyone else is doing.

Also, on the left, the talking points tend to roll down from a limited amount of sites. On the right, the issues are all over the place. It takes a lot to fire us all up.
 
Written By: William Teach
URL: http://www.thepiratescove.us

 
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