Clueless Bloggers

Wow. This was an unexpected way to begin my day. From subscription only Roll Call:Blogger Chris Bowers at MyDD perhaps is the best example of how clueless some bloggers really are about politics. I have to say "ouch" to Chris Bowers.
Jerome has already covered a couple of blog supported races that Rothenberg chose not to discuss in his broadside. A woman who will always be a hero of mine was the Democratic candidate in another blogosphere supported congressional race Rothenberg fails to mention:

That is a picture of Ginny and myself before we broke into her liquor cabinet (I may not be the best interviewer around--maybe). Ginny was the only congressional campaign I helped raise money for in the 2004 cycle. My first request for donations came when the DCCC was still writing "no comment." Brian Welsh, a staffer on Ginny's campaign, wrote about this on MyDD after the election:

If the notion of competing in each and every seat ever needed an exclamation point, Ginny Schrader is it. Not too many people know that the guy who Ginny beat in the primary was a pro-life Republican who had lost to Greenwood in at least two previous primaries. This time around, it was his plan to Trojan Horse the Democratic party so he could challenge the pro-choice Greenwood from the right. Had Ginny not been there, this guy would have been the Democratic nominee in a top-ten race. Sure, they could have tried to get him out. But I heard stories about this guy. It would not have been pretty.

And this is what a Congressional district was almost reduced to--a district with a 53% Democratic performance rating and gaining in registration. A gob of Democratic votes had recently been carved into the district in an attempt to make the 13th more competitive for Republicans. It was expected that Greenwood could absorb those votes, but how about someone else?

And yet Ginny Schrader was the only real Democrat to step to the plate ensuring that the Eighth District of Pennsylvania would not go down without a fight. And she is for the things that we are for and she makes no bones about it. And sure, maybe with some digging, they could have found a replacement, someone with higher name ID, maybe someone who could self-finance and boy wouldn't that have been great?

But we knew that wasn't right and most of you knew that too. And when another five-thousand came raining in moments after a DCCC spokesperson gave a "no comment" to a reporter for The Hill we laughed our butts off.

Like I said, NO ONE, ever asked us to step aside. And this is to everyone's credit. We must compete in every seat, in every state including the old CSA and those candidates, many of them, like Ginny, just regular people with a lot of guts, deserve everything we can put behind them.

They may never have aksed her to step aside, but they must have at least considered doing so, or else their original response would not have been "no comment." In the interests of full-disclosure, everything I did for Ginny's campaign I did for free. The money you guys raised here and at Swing State Project, the advice I gave to Ginny's campaign about running Blogads, and the letter I wrote to Markos asking him to endorse Ginny in the Dailykos Dozen--it was all free. I did all of this at a time when I was almost completely broke, and I was taking a few odd jobs to help buy groceries. I did this not for money, but because I believed in Ginny--she is exactly the sort of person we need in Congress--and the principle of challenging every seat. Here's what Stuart Rothenberg has to say:Blogger Chris Bowers at MyDD perhaps is the best example of how clueless some bloggers really are about politics.

Last summer, he penned a piece, "DCCC Not Aggressive Enough," in which he complained about his party's House campaign committee. Now, in a two-part series called "Taking Back the House," he insists "we need to attack everywhere."

"I want 80 serious challenges to GOP House incumbents every two years and a Democratic name on the ballot in all 435 districts," he demands. "I have had enough of just targeting the twenty or so top races - let's engage in a full-frontal assault. ... The first step is to identify eighty Republicans against who we could mount a serious challenge."

It is undeniably true that you can't defeat an incumbent if you don't run someone against him. So, yes, it's better for a party to field candidates in 435 districts, if possible.

But some Republicans didn't have Democratic opponents because they were unbeatable, and no Democrat wanted to waste his or her time (to say nothing about money) by running. You can't make a race competitive simply by putting a name on the ballot, and the Democrats would not hold even a single additional seat had they put a name on the ballot in every district during the past two cycles.

Last part first--you think? Really? I mean, I thought we would win thse districts just by putting a name on the ballot. Which is why, when discussing the same subject, I wrote this:Most, but not all, of these districts have horrible demographics for Democrats. I freely admit that had Democrats run in these districts, they all would probably have lost, and many, if not most, would probably have failed to come within 20%. Of course, you would think from Rothenberg's article that I was demanding that the DCCC dump a million dollars into each of the thirty-six districts where neither a Democrat nor Bernie Sanders was running. Here are my outrageous demands: The fact is that for around $360,000, one-quarter the cost of a competitive congressional district, we could have found a candidate for each of these districts and raised $10,000 for that candidate's campaign. Rothenberg feels that raising such money would be akin to flushing it down the toilet. I disagree: Abandoning a district has repercussions in other elections. On the Presidential level, Arizona (maybe), Florida, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are battleground states, but Democrats failed to give Kerry any down ticket help in 14 of the 72 congressional districts in those states: nearly one out of every five. Even a half-hearted campaign by a Democrat in each of those districts would surely have helped Kerry to the tune of at least a few hundred, and probably a few thousand, votes per district. The same could be said for competitive Senate races in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Carolina where Democrats abandoned nineteen congressional districts. Our chances to retake the Senate and the Presidency were dented because of our failure to compete everywhere in the House. The same can be said for elections concerning Governors, state legislatures, county executives, and basically any election you can name. By abandoning these districts, we abandoned our chances to squeeze crucial votes out of them for other candidates running for office in the district.(...)

Abandoning a district also has repercussions for future elections. Failing to challenge your opponent's message in an area is damaging to your message in that area in the future. Failing to provide a choice to those willing to support you--and there are always tens of thousands willing to support you in any congressional district--sends a message that you do not represent or care about those people. Even worse, failing to challenge an incumbent sends a message that you are afraid of your own beliefs and that you are not working to make this country a better Democracy.

Running a candidate in each of these districts would also have helped to identify Democratic activists in each of these districts. Identifying, encouraging, and assisting potential Dem activists throughout the entire country would help to strengthen the Party, both now and in future elections cycles. These are the people who can help to bring the Democratic message to every corner of the country.(...)

Winning is never the only thing at stake in an election. For 36 candidates and $360,000, we could have done a lot of good. It is even possible that there is another way we could spend $360,000 that would bring us in so many votes, force the GOP to spend much money in defense, identify so many activists, and bring our message to so many more people?

Rothenberg cracks wise: As for Bowers' assertion that he wants "80 serious challenges" to GOP incumbents next year, he might as well ask for 120 or 150. I want vacation houses in Napa Valley and Palm Beach, and I'd like to be 35 years old again. "If wishes were horses, beggars might ride," as the English proverb puts it. As for my keen analytical skills and criticizing the DCCC for not being aggressive enough, I would like to point out that the DCCC targeted only 13 Republican held seats in 2004. Democrats needed a net gain of 13 seats in order to take back the House. Since the DCCC knew that Texas redistricting would result in a loss of at least one Democratic incumbent, they clearly did not even try to take control of the House in 2004. That is unacceptable. That is not aggressive enough, no matter how much you want to ridicule me for having pie in the sky dreams. Perhaps Rothenberg would argue that trying to take control of the House is akin to flushing money down the toilet.

Don't worry, they still want your money though:

Blogging is getting more attention in the mainstream media and from the political parties. As vehicles for fundraising, blogs can't be ignored. And some bloggers have interesting things to say. But when it comes to campaign savvy or understanding how the campaign committees operate, two of the most high-profile liberal bloggers have an exaggerated sense of their own importance and insights. Whatever Rothenberg. I apologize, and from now on I will only take instructions from the DCCC and high-priced Democratic consultants whose millions of dollars are entirely justified by electoral results.

Tags: House 2006 (all tags)

Comments

42 Comments

Smackdown City!
Who the hell is this Rothenberg character and who does he manage to stay so uninformed? If it wasn't for MyDD I never would have heard of Ginny and she never would have received my contributions. Did Rothenberg manage to post his article at Roll Call all by himself, or did he have his staff assist him with the technological aspects of putting a story on a website?

Help me out a little here Chris and Jerome. Who is this birdbrain and why does Roll Call give him print space and bandwidth?

by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-27 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Smackdown City!
I've seen him on CNN before. He has taught at a few colleges.

He reminds me of the DCCC staffer who I first talked too about running blogads for Ginny. The staffer claimed that we were wasted our money on CO-4.

by Chris Bowers 2005-01-27 08:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Smackdown City!
And that is why we haven't had a house majority in 10 years.
It amazes me how the DCCC lacks visionaries.  They can look at the current cycle, and possibly the next, but they have a had time planning 10 and 20 years into the future.  That is one of the deciding factors that has me supporting Dean for DNC chair is I see him as a guy who understands the importance of long term planning; someone who is a visionary.  I hope to god Emanual will change the current DCCC thought process.
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-27 09:07AM | 0 recs
Looks like we're right on schedule
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

- Mahatma Gandhi.

by afs 2005-01-27 08:45AM | 0 recs
Bingo
-nt-
by Paul Goodman 2005-01-27 11:07AM | 0 recs
whatever indeed
this sounds like the ramblings of some old-school dc dick who's threatened by the rise of the independent-minded blogosphere.
by annatopia 2005-01-27 08:46AM | 0 recs
Don't Sweat it
This guy is a closeted GOP hack.  (Non-Partisan report my ass).  Talk about arrogant and self important.  
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-27 08:50AM | 0 recs
But you forgot about the ATM!
But gosh -- don't they want the ATM to come thru for them?

This sounds like more rumblings against those DNC Chair candidates who want to run a visionary 50 state program.

50 state program, all the way!

by AnneinPhilly 2005-01-27 08:55AM | 0 recs
Damn Chris
I'm sorry he used such harsh words, but they're pretty unwarrented.  They symbolize everything I hate about the DC culture, the only things I've actually learned from DC folks is what not to say and what not to do.  

Your point that he mocks, is exactly what Dean's been saying, and what Ralph Reed was doing with the Christian Coalition when it started.  It's important to run Dems in every race possible, even if they're going to lose, that way if the incumbant retires or does something foolish, you instantly have someone in the district with some name recognition.

I understand the point Rothenberg wants to make about misinformation in blogs, I've seen way too many grossly misinformed personal diaries on kos, but I do think the main threads there and here stear clear of that misinformation.

by AnotherUnemployedDNCStaffer 2005-01-27 09:02AM | 0 recs
It appears
that we are not as impressed with Mr. Rothenberg as he is with himself. Any chance he will choose to show up here and respond to our criticism? Perhaps you could send him an invitation to join the fray and impress us with his profound insights.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-27 09:05AM | 0 recs
Well, Chris...
I've worked in Democratic politics on a local, state and national level for nearly twenty years, including an almost-successful run for the State Leg last year, and I agree with the 80 seat rule 100%.  

We can't win if we don't field.  And every once in a while, voters take out their anger towards a failing Presidency on the Congress.  It only takes a couple of lucky breaks to pick up a seat or two.

Good work.  Keep it up.

by MBW 2005-01-27 09:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Well, Chris...
Mary Beth, you rock. The entire blogopshere wept the day you lost (granted, we were already crying anyway).

Thanks for the kind words, and keep fihgting the good fight.

by Chris Bowers 2005-01-27 10:20AM | 0 recs
He is showing a common flaw of the arrogant.
He feels that if he or the DCCC cannot do it then nobody can.

I volunteered on the Christine Cegelis campaign against Henry Hyde in Illinois and with no help from the DCCC, and little help from other Democratic Illinois candidates flush with cash, she got 45% in one of the most republican districts in the state if not the nation.  I have to wonder what she could have done if the DCCC decided to fund her in her fight against the 82 year old uber-republican Hyde.

by Delver Rootnose 2005-01-27 09:07AM | 0 recs
Re: He is showing a common flaw of the arrogant.
How many votes did we fall short on CAFTA?

How many races wound up being close enough that DCCC support would have helped them over the top?

PS: I know Delay would have twisted and bribed more Republican Nays into Yays, but the downstream effect would be that more Republican Congressmen would be vulnerable in '06!  Politics are a continuum --not just 13 "key" races every two years.

by ThomasAllen 2005-07-29 09:28AM | 0 recs
Balls of Steel
I never ceese to be amazed at the balls of people who continually fail and never learn from their mistakes.

The problem is that they aren't hungry. They get the cash, win or lose. HECK, losing to Bush is the best thing that can happen to these leeches. Imagine the damage to the fund raising gravy train if Kerry had won.

You are absolutely right that as a Party we need to get beyond the horse race and look into the big picture. This is a battle of attrition. Damage done in one sector can result in dramatic results in another. Running a strong campaign against a "safe" opponent may not win you the election, BUT it will force him out of his comfortable beltway shell, shifting the playing field towards the middle and thus forcing all of the other members to shift away from the White House in order to defend their collective asses.

A candidate without opposition is free to take on the most outrageous of positions comfortable that there are no consequences. Privatize Social Security? No problem. Billions for Halliburton without audit? GREAT!

The fact is that Congress both the most powerful arm of the government and the most vulnerable. They are reeds in the wind. Even gently push them and the will bend.

I'll keep saying it. For the Democratic establishment this race has never been about Bush vs. Kerry. It has always been between the establishment Democrats and the outsiders. We are the enemy. We are the ones that must be controlled or destroyed.

Well... bring it on.

by ignatzmouse 2005-01-27 09:15AM | 0 recs
Heh
Their words would have merit if they could pull off a win without the grassroots.
by demburns 2005-01-27 09:32AM | 0 recs
Can we be open minded?
Chris,

How about posting the actual opinion (the entire opinion)?

By posting only excerpts from the opinion, you lead me to believe that Rothenberg may actually have some good points in his opinion (that you chose not to discuss).

Jerome's posting only gave a link to Roll Call (are you and Jerome actually assuming all of us are congressional staffers or subscribe for $$$?).

Let's be open: post the entire opinion.

by Bill70 2005-01-27 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Can we be open minded?
Jerome's post has the entire article.  It's in the extended entry.
by indianadem 2005-01-27 09:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Can we be open minded?
Mea culpa.  

Thanks for the correction!

by Bill70 2005-01-27 09:43AM | 0 recs
I am new to myDD and you are my favorite (swoon)
by lindiana0 2005-01-27 09:56AM | 0 recs
Silly Columnists
They think their opinions are somehow more important than Chris (or for that matter mine) just because their words appear in newsprint and some idiot pays them.

Roll Call is an insider publication that nobody pays to read, it just shows up at Hill offices. And all you have to do is give an email address and they let you read their tripe.

Occationally, there was something in there that was interesting to read, to see what the chattering class was thinking. But now I have the Hotline for that, which summarizes all those lame op-ed writers and newspapers from around the country. Now they even include blogs in their daily publication online.

Back to the point, Chris you are right to make Democrats challenge every district where we have a decent shot of winning (at least 40% or so last time).  I hate the idea of having people go uncontested but I accept the reality that no one wants to give money or run if they are an assured loser.

But people like Ginny need our support and I am happy to give it them. Let's make it the people's house by 2006!

by DaveB 2005-01-27 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Silly Columnists
Speaking of getting paid, I wonder how much Rothenberg is getting paid by the Bush administration to bash liberal bloggers? Why isn't he picking on Glenn Reynolds or LGF? How about it Mr. Rothenberg, how much are they paying you for your uninformed, biased opinion mongering?
by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-27 10:59AM | 0 recs
It takes a spine
Rosengoon is just like every one of the old school putzes that think they know how to win.  Their hubris is second only to Bush's.
Do we really want to take the country back or are we just playing?
Is this just a game like checkers where we sit across from the Right, they call out "Two moves to your one!" and we accept?

If we allow the Party to keep these goons employed then we are as clueless as they think we are.  Time to clean house.  If we can get Dean elected to chair the Party, we need to get rid of some of this dead weight lying around.

Hold a Party-wide Rummage Sale:
"Brand new wonk, never been out of his office: 50 cents!"
"Political consultants, guaranteed to elect your opponent.  Great as a joke gift: 5 for a dollar!"
"Connecticut Senator, high mileage, steering gone, doesn't know which direction to go: Free, just take over payments."

We have to run candidates in EVERY stinking race.  It's not about money any more, we put that to bed this last election.  Now it is about presence.  America loves it when you show courage, especially in defeat.  They hate it when you give up, concede.  America has always loved the scrapper, the tenacious, the folks that keep fighting even when the odds are against them.  
We have the issues and people will see that. We need to keep those issues that are important to Mom and Pop America out in front as Bush's Agenda begin to show its true and ugly face.  
People will only accept this Right-wing Garbage if they have no alternative.  And by putting our candidates in the forefront, win or lose, the people will see that alternative.

Ginny Schader should have won, but she didn't.  What she did win was lots of attention and this means she should be a contender in 2006 if she chooses.  This is because of the grassroots and despite the DCCC.  

Time for a national gutcheck.  Do we have it in us to keep the fires burning while our message gets out.  It's going to take time and there will be more disappointments than successes in the beginning.

Some Key Words to Consider:
Patience - Diligence - Courage

Nowhere do you see the word 'capitulate'.  'Compromise' used to be there but it became too expensive so we got a refund.

by davidaquarius 2005-01-27 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: It takes a spine
Patience - Diligence - Courage

And some defiance, audacity, snark, and balls.

The repugnican vision of Democrats is a combat boot stomping on a human face. Every race in which they run unopposed is a realization of their vision. Simply flicking up a middle finger--running a sacrificial candidate--denies them joy.

by Bruce The Moose 2005-01-27 07:16PM | 0 recs
How's that working for ya ?
I can only say in response to Rothenberg, who is your own strategy working for ya ?

From my seat, working ? not so much.

Time to fight for every seat. from Dog catcher to President. I dont even care if we have to put a ham sandwich on the ballot if we have to.

And we have to get far nastier too.

I would suggest people like Rothenberg are the problem, not the solution. As evidenced by his and the DCCC results.

by Pounder 2005-01-27 10:13AM | 0 recs
I get flamed too
...on both sides of the aisle.
by kydem 2005-01-27 10:16AM | 0 recs
The Maryland Lottery...
...used to have a jingle, "You Gotta Play To Win!"

That's certainly true in elections.

by howie14 2005-01-27 10:23AM | 0 recs
what is Rothenberg saying?
That advice from MyDD and Kos is advice from folks who

are ignorant, so their selection which races to target should be ignored,

have a poor record of results from 2004.

Once those points are addressed (and the second will only be addressed to his satisfaction after 2006, maybe 2005), then the credibility == results connection will be ineffective.

by conelrad 2005-01-27 10:54AM | 0 recs
Even if its a blowout
an alternative candidate can at least put some new ideas out there, create some buzz for reform. When you don't compete you like like a whipped puppy.
by Paul Goodman 2005-01-27 11:10AM | 0 recs
Shorter Rothenberg
"Go away, kidz, ya bother me.

"But, leave your wallet here. I'll get it back to you at the end of the cycle."

by boadicea 2005-01-27 11:38AM | 0 recs
DCCC blog weighs in on this
jesselee over at the atakeholder has weighed in.

blog.dccc.org :

Jerome & Chris Bowers both shoot back at Stu Rothenberg for his column this morning in Roll Call (Jerome has the full article posted here). Valid points on both sides, and we're just going to steer clear.

Except for this from Chris Bowers:

    As for my keen analytical skills and criticizing the DCCC for not being aggressive enough, I would like to point out that the DCCC targeted only 13 Republican held seats in 2004. Democrats needed a net gain of 13 seats in order to take back the House. Since the DCCC knew that Texas redistricting would result in a loss of at least one Democratic incumbent, they clearly did not even try to take control of the House in 2004.

Emphasis his. I like Chris Bowers' writing, I like it a lot, and he's shown - as have Jerome, kos, and the rest of the bloggers out there - that he is willing to devote inordinate amounts of their time to a good cause for no pay. Unfortunately, this statement is simply way off the mark. The link he gives is to our R2B program. That was a program that identified some particular candidates who could use a financial boost at that particular time. Not only did it in no way represent the totality of our targets, we actually had two sequential slates, with about a dozen each, making 24 or 25 right there. That still did not include even close to the totality of the races we were focusing on.

We had every intention of winning the House in 2004, but the wind did not end up being at our backs. That said, outside of redistricting, we gained seats last cycle, and therefore frankly can claim better success all around than either the DSCC or the DNC.

she has more too...

by Pounder 2005-01-27 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: DCCC blog weighs in on this
jesse is actually a scruffy young man... :)

well, actually, a scruffy young man with impeccable fashion-taste.

by steveolson 2005-01-27 01:26PM | 0 recs
Re: DCCC blog weighs in on this
thanks for clearing that up, I thought it was a chick, because of the style of the writing of course. heh. Nothing to do with the girlie sounding name you understand.
by Pounder 2005-01-27 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: DCCC blog weighs in on this
"better success all around than either the DSCC or the DNC" isn't saying much.

Blowing big leads in the Senate races in AK and NC, and not even getting to the runoff in LA is inexcusable. Losing the close ones in KY and FL wasn't good either. Not pursuing the open seat in GA while all but telling Inez Tenenbaum to try to hide the fact that she's a Democrat in SC was also pretty bad.

Unless opposed by a clueless beer tycoon or by the even more incompetent Illinois GOP, the DSCC stunk up the election.

As for the DNC, they let Karl Rove control the campaign. Bush was re-elected. Need I say more.

by wayward 2005-01-27 06:37PM | 0 recs
I don't care (completely) if we don't win all 80
Case in point: here in DuPage several Dean inspired Democrats ran agains incumbent GOP county board members. Several of these board members had never even had to campaign for re-election. Now, DuPage has been historically Republican, but it is trending toward Democrats. Regardless, there are NO Democrats on the county board.

So these guys run, and do a good job of it. All of their opponents are forces for the first time in years to actually campaign. They all have to spend money, and the local county GOP spends money to keep them in office.

One board member feels so threatened by the quality of her Democratic opponent, who gets the Chicago Tribune endorsement, that she spends over $100K on a county board election run. $100K+ for a local board seat!

In the end, he lost, but got over 42 or 43% (can't remember the exact number) against someone who had always won without spending a dime or campaigning.

So is this just a waste of time? I don't think so. That $100K plus had to come from somewhere, and didn't get spent on the usual candidates. It made the county GOP spread their resources out where they had been able to just count on this race and the other board seats as being a gimmie. They had to campaign and refute their records and GOP positions and responsibilities for issues where they never had to before publically.

Was this a loss? Hardly. It laid the groudwork for next election, by building up name and issue recognition and drawing blood from what used to be a solid GOP county board.

by michael in chicago 2005-01-27 12:45PM | 0 recs
As a Canadian, I can hardly believe it
As a Canadian, I was amazed by this article.  In Canada, as I think is also the case in other parliamentary democracies, the only parties which don't run a full slate of candidates are the parties which DO NOT aim to win the election - for example, the Bloc Quebecois runs candidates only in Quebec.  But our three national parties, Conservatives, Liberals and New Democratic Party, run a candidate in every single one of our 300+ ridings, regardless of how miserable their vote count was the last time -- in fact, attracting quality, high-profile candidates and convincing them to run against even the most popular incumbents is one of the primary jobs of the whole party organization -- unless incumbents are defeated, the opposition party cannot win the election.
So I guess I just assumed that the Democratic Party and the Republicans did the same thing in the USA.  
How can you ever win if you don't run a candidate?  How can you build a local organization and gather a list of local supporters to get out to the polls, if you don't have anyone local for them to support? I guess I just don't understand it.  No wonder Kerry lost.
by CathiefromCanada 2005-01-27 03:54PM | 0 recs
Yes! Run in EVERY election.
My congressman, Gresham Barrett (R-SC-03), ran unopposed. He had been in the house only two years.

He didn't even have to spend money on yard signs. His friends had a few leftover ones from the 2002 campaign that they displayed in their yards.

Meanwhile, Barrett was active in campaigning in Jim DeMint's Senate campaign.

Henry "Only YOU can prevent forest fires" Brown (R-SC-01) also had no Democratic opponent. (At least the Greens showed up.) IIRC, he also campaigned for Jim DeMint.

DeMint had these idle GOP congressmen as well as Sen. Graham and Gov. Sanford (neither of whom was up this year) campaigning for him. DeMint's victory was truly a team effort and the Democrats practically helped the Republicans build that team.

by wayward 2005-01-27 06:13PM | 0 recs
How to become a "professional."
Ask a lawyer what qualifies someone as an expert, and they'll tell you an old joke: an expert is someone who's done something once.

Stuart Rothenberg is a pre-web blogger, my friends. He has run no campaigns and formulated no national strategies. He became a "professional" by doing precisely the things that Chris, Jerome, and other bloggers are doing now: reading the news and analysis of others, cultivating contacts, and synthesizing the information for others.

The great advantage that bloggers have over the way Stu Rothenberg came up is that they can get instant, daily feedback -- often from the very "professionals" whose skills the bloggers themselves may or may not actually lack.

Strip away at the PR structure Stu has built around himself, and you will find that the Rothenberg Report started as little more than a blog printed on dead trees. A one-man operation that was informed by nothing more than what he could gather from the work product of others, and whatever interviews he could manage to scrape together. It was the quality of his analysis that enabled him to grow -- something for which he deserves credit, to be sure. But it was never his credentials as a "professional" campaign manager or strategist. It couldn't be. He hasn't any.

Don't be fooled by his age lines and Brooks Brothers suits. He's a theoretician, not a practitioner. He's much better informed by virtue of his proximity to DC than most other political science professors, but that's about it. There's no magic in what he says, or what his report offers. Certainly nothing that you won't find on the blogs, if you give them time.

As for his being a "closeted" Republican, I wouldn't give him the benefit of the doubt there. His first job in Washington was with Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation.

by Kagro X 2005-01-27 08:05PM | 0 recs
Hope
People like you are the hope of the Democratic Party.
by SRconbio 2005-01-27 08:29PM | 0 recs
Press Jealousy and the Triangu-Clintons
All I hear from the excerpts of Rothenberg is that there's a tinge of jealousy because the traditional media outlets were not as tough on Bush at the start and then found themselves duped.

Sure, bloggers can be wrong. And it is true that there is no professional ethic yet laid out for the Internet. But journalists have a code of ethics they always have to follow. They cannot have it both ways: either they want the blog to be informal and wide open...or they want it to be zealously guarded and perfect.

And finally, economics dictates that there is unlimited wants and limited resources. But that doesn't explain why if the DNC backed away on some CD's why it got beaten in the Senate and Presidency. Further, it's easy to run House Dems on local issues and have the candidate only mention the parts of the national platform that are convenient for him or her. It's as if the Triangu-Clintons are telling everyone what to do.

by risenmessiah 2005-01-27 09:02PM | 0 recs
good
Good story!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
by kevinliao 2005-09-17 07:33PM | 0 recs
Has Rothenberg apologized yet

.. and eaten crow.  

It is extremely fun to read this, 18 months later, and see how wrong Rothenberg was.

by xtrarich 2006-10-17 06:19PM | 0 recs

Diaries

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