“IS THE BLOGOSPHERE ELEVATING THE POLITICAL DEBATE? I just had an interesting conversation with a journalist who’s writing on that question, and who pretty clearly seems to feel that the answer is “no.”
If “elevating the debate” means a sort of good-government, League-of-Women-Voters focus on where candidates stand on health care, etc., that’s mostly true, I suppose. But I think it misconceives what blogs are about. There certainly are bloggers posting on healthcare and other issues — see, for example, Jeff Jarvis’s Issues 2004 posts  and this post by Ann Althouse  on medical malpractice — but the political blogosphere is to a large degree about media criticism. If the Big Media were talking more about issues, and less — to pick RatherGate as the example which I think inspired this conversation — about Bush’s National Guard service, probably bloggers would be talking about issues more, too.
Well, due to a lack of a comments section over there, I’ll respond here, as calmly and as directly as I can.
NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!
This argument is really starting to get lame, and I suppose it’s time I addressed it.
It’s an offshoot of the oh-so-popular meme that “the voter is an idiot and wouldn’t know a real issue or a real leader if he/she/it tripped over him”, in that the people writing blogs are the best picture of the voters we have available to us today. They ARE the voter…. They ARE the people.
This argument about the voter’s smarts is really popular among the Democrats right now as a way of explaining why their boy’s polling numbers are in John Crapper’s elegant device. Thing is, the whole basis of this argument can be found there, too.
The fact remains that the voter always was, is, and always will be, concerned with the integrity and honor of the people asking for their vote, FIRST before any other consideration comes into play.
The reason’s simple enough… If integrity isn’t there, nothing else they say or do will matter… They cannot be trusted to follow through on what they say. The issue of integrity is why the Vietnam thing crippled John Kerry’s chances for the White House. Indeed, the Democrats of the last 6 decades or so fall right into this. Therefore, the subjects being blogged are more important to the people at the moment, else the people wouldn’t be blogging them.
As for the ‘league of Women Voters” crack… Well, Frankly, Glenn..The kind of crap ‘issues’ the Democrats keep coming up with invariably ends up being more feel-goodism, connected with larger social spending, which most folks aren’t too keen on anyway… And when pitched by people they can’t trust, the voter likes it even less. Hillary’s Healthcare stands as a prime example of this.
Look, let’s pave the road, here.
John Kerry’s biggest problem isn’t that the voter’s an idiot who doesn’t know what the real issues are….
Kerry’s biggest problem is that the voter is far smarter than John Kerry gives them credit for…. They know better than Kerry what the issues are, and also know that John Kerry:
Here’s what the mainstream press, and some bloggers….Glenn Reynolds,and the person interviewing him, here included, have yet to figure out:
Blogs are not changing minds by design… Instead, they are something that the MSM has never been…. REFLECTIVE of the minds of the voters. They can hardly be else, because instead of being written by those in the press seeking to change our minds, (and with it our votes) they are actually written by the people… The voters, themselves.
That point is the one thing that makes the blogging trend so remarkable, and for the press, so boot-shakingly frightening.
It’s a sure bet the left hasn’t figured that out yet, either. The leftists in the MSM may NEVER figure it out.
In fairness, Glenn does make reference to a Gallup Poll which suggests the public has some serious feelings about the liberal bias shown by CBS, et al. So, he seems at least vaguely aware of the public’s feelings.
(hmmmm…. Sigh) OK, look, I guess I’m being to hard on Reynolds. That happens in a rant, sometimes. But, beep it, we’ve GOT to STOP treating this nonsense about the voter’s lack of smarts as valid… and that’s what the whole discussion seems to me based in.
“Elevating the Debate” apparently means to this interviewer, treating all sides as equally valid… a concept which is so absurd only the far left could endorse it. The issue of what is right and what is wrong has already been decided by the voter… What was at issue in this election was the application of that right and wrong, and who could best handle it. The voters, if we’re to take the polls as indicative, have already decided that point.
What may be happening here is this all happened so fast, even the bloggers aren’t used to the idea, yet.