aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Romney proves the point
For those of you who need more evidence, Time Magazine has a story on the Republican reluctance to engage in a YouTube debate:
Still, some Republicans worry that shying away from YouTube will make their candidates seem technophobic or out of touch. Patrick Ruffini, a G.O.P. online political strategist, wrote on his blog: “It’s stuff like this that will set the G.O.P. back an election cycle or more on the Internet.” Democratic consultants are rubbing their hands together at being able to portray their general election rivals as being - as one put it to me - “afraid of snowmen” or simply ignorant of techonologies that many Americans use on a daily basis. Indeed, Governor Romney today, in the context of evincing concern over Internet predators, supported that suspicion: “YouTube looked to see if they had any convicted sex offenders on their web site. They had 29,000,” he said, mistaking the debate co-sponsor for the social network MySpace, which has recently done a purge of sex offenders from its rolls.
Snowmen. They’re afraid of puppet snowmen. And convicted sex offenders on some random other site not having anything to do with YouTube. (MySpace is owned by Rupert Murdoch, so I’m sure Romney will be boycotting the next Fox News debate as well...)
Of course, the GOP is still coming to terms with the fact that the internet is not a truck. So we can’t expect anything less than baby steps.
The Blogosphere: talk radio for liberals
In a podcast interview of Markos Moulitsas ZÃƒÂºniga by Dave Weinberger last May, Kos articulates why, like talk radio and conservatives, the blogosphere is an inherently liberal medium:
I often say that the blogosphere is really the first medium that plays to our strengths as liberals. [...]
[W]e’ve been at a disadvantage in the media world, because everybody jokes that liberals do not work from the same playbook. Will Rogers saying, “I’m not a member of an organized party, I’m a democrat.” This notion that were not going to follow: “Don’t tell me what to think, I’ll think for myself.” Obviously, that’s been a problem in a world that has been increasingly dominated by the talking points and by being able to properly message, and getting on that same messaging book.
So, we have a medium that doesn’t necessarily require that sort of singularity of message, that actually encourages what we love to do the most, which is just to sit there and argue, fight, and debate. And sure, when the elections come--when the time comes, we can actually get together and work for campaigns and work for elections. [...]
The conservatives can heat up--this is what they do: they say on message, they hammer that message, and it can be very, very effective and help them win for decades, that singularity of message. Everyone knows what the Republican Party stands for because we’ve heard it eight billion times: small government, lower taxes, national defense, and strong family values. Everybody can recite those. Ask somebody why they’re a democrat, and you’ll get 18 million different answers about why they’re a democrat. There’s no singularity in message. And again, in a traditional media world, that was a problem because everybody’s saying a different thing. There’s no common messaging, so the viewer is left wondering: “What are these people are about? I have no idea.”
Now we have a medium, the blogosphere, that allows us to embrace that diversity in voices, and that desire to debate, argue, and think for ourselves, and actually turn that, what used to be a negative and a weakness, turns it into a strength. [...]
The beauty was that we were so fragmented in the past that we would end up in our own silos. You had the environmentalists in one corner, and the women’s groups in another, and labor in yet another group. You had all these constituencies in the Democratic Party, and in a broader progressive movement, always sitting at a different table.
Now, what a place like Daily Kos allows us to do is that everybody will come to Daily Kos--the center of the party, the left of the party, the right of the party--and we’ll argue, argue, argue. We’ll hate on each other fierce. People talk about the echo chamber at Daily Kos, and it’s a joke because actually it’s quite a brutal place.
But, then what happens is we’re all at the same table, and we’re all arguing, but we’re at the same table. When an election rolls around, and it’s time to get together to work on behalf of our candidates, people will put aside those differences for those six months before the election, and will work their butts off. Then sure, once the election is over, they’ll go back to arguing, and a lot of that will be arguing and hating on the democrats that we just helped get elected. But, by putting everybody at the same table, we’re able to harness that collective energy and work for a commonality of purpose when that is needed--when the time for that is around, which is usually around elections. But sometimes, it could be around activism campaigns.