As I recall, TPM was one of a trio of blogs that first caught the MSM's attention on the Trent Lott debacle.
I'd say Josh has played a pretty prominent role in mainstreaming blogs from the outset of their rise as a political force. Before then, most news outlets thought Insty was the only blog.
As to who else should be on that chart, Jeralyn Merritt, Bill Scher, OneGoodMove, Brad DeLong, Jesus' General, TBogg, The Left Coaster, Smirking Chimp, The Poor Man, Taegan Goddard, Tom Tomorrow, Buzzflash and Orcinus were, by traffic, all in the top 25 lefty blogs just 2 years ago, as were most of those already mentioned, including MyDD.
Now, I'd guess John Amato, Jane Hamsher & Co, Glenn Greenwald and Juan Cole would be in the mix.
And where would think tanks like American Progress and Media Matters fit? As academics?
Whiskey Bar disappeared throughout much of the early voting. Unlike Hollywood, with its finite number of actors, directors and such, there's already millions of blogs.
It's pretty silly to assign one as the 'best' amid those numbers. You can generally pick the winner based on traffic.
Best group on the other hand, has a much smaller base competing. Heck, we've got 35 regulars and others in relief and I bet that many didn't even vote for us there (probably because we hate America AND ourselves). So consider it a feat that you made the finals.
Doncha listen to the Oscars? ("It's an honor just to be nominated," they say, through gritted teeth.) ;^)~
It's even to the point that conspiracy theories formerly rejected are starting to earn credence with me now. The latest on the FAA warnings about Al Qaida make me wonder if they projected a smaller suicide attack and wanted it to happen to justify the neocon plans to reshape foreign policy. (Remember, R. Clarke & others said the Iraq plans were underway in Bush's first month in office).
I don't know that the failure to strengthen air security qualifies as fascism, but it certainly created a national mood that has granted fascism plenty of room to take root and flourish.
Given the advantages of incumbency and the long odds you mention, I'd suggest the next 6 to 8 years will provide the greatest long-term benefits if we try to retake state legislatures and statehouses before reapportionment comes up again in the next post-census period.
Both in states gaining or losing total numbers of seats, it'd be great if we could prevent a repeat of the Texas fiasco, particularly in OH, MO, GA, and FL, which ll currently have R majorities runningtheir entire state shows.
I had my doubts about the integriy of vote-by-mail, but after using it a few times, and hearing of no serious problems with it, I'm a whole-hearted supporter of the method.
It's not all by mail, btw. Many cities also offer secure dropbox locations, saving even the cost of the stamp to mail it.
About the only way I can imagine how it could be defrauded is if a partisan mail clerk risked federal prosecution by dumping a batch of ballots from a heavily partisan precinct. Not knowing the internal controls the postal service uses to avoid mail tampering, I can only guess it requires considerable risk with a small chance of success.
I'm certain there are state party orgs that suck, state-chairs & vice-chairs ego-tripping, folks in the DNC that won't yield power, some that will seek advantageous (to them) compromises, and some that really get it and will build something new, given the chance.
I'm also used to seeing post-election circular firing squads among Dems; it's the most common attribute I can think of when I consider what Dems stand for (kind of a sucky brand, if you ask me).
But two things are especially obvious to me: the biggest loss in Nov 2004 wasn't the top of the ticket. It was the forgotten folks at the bottom of the economic ladder - the poor, the ill, the frail, the youngest and oldest, who will lose far more than anyone else because of 2004. It's the innocents in Iraq and the US troops on the ground who'll die.
Frankly, we all failed them. The Dems simply have to become a 50-state party again, though even a 35 state party would be an improvement. It will require insiders and outsiders cooperating, but the insiders have the most to lose. If they keep mishandling people who've earned cred, those folks will walk and the GOP could deliver a real ass-kicking, which would doom the insiders from that cycle.
Thus, I think Matt & Jerome's complaints are largely valid and deserve a response from the dumb clucks who decided to run this power play on them. It looks like they threw them out just to demonstrate that they could, continuing a pattern of dismissiveness that's been evident before.
I don't think it's right to casually take shots at state delegates unless they wish to specify which ones and where. But it sounds like a good group blog project to get in touch with the delegates and precinctpeople in all 50 states, to make a clearer assessment of who's competent and what's needed to make all 50 better.
But, regarding the immediate matter, since Matt & Jerome had agreed to keep privileged info quiet, the DNC was outa line forcing them out and they are owed an apology.
The GOP had a behind-the-scenes effort to build its infrastructure. It was not a topdown set of solutions dictated by the RNC Chair.
This indicates that both Rosenberg and Dean have the capacity for flexibility, beyond the reliance on insider CW. So the question should be, how can we utilize both of them for our mutual best interests?
That's something I plan to devote some effort to define in my blogging.
Businesses will inevitably compel the government to resolve the healthcare crisis, because it is fast becoming an unaffordable form of compensation. Since 1990, polls have demonstrated support for national healthcare ranging from 60% to over 75%. And workable plans - like Kerry's - have been put forth.
If you wish to bolt on this single issue, I'd have to guess you're a fair weather progressive, not a committed one. But it's ultimately up to you where you go from here. I choose not to abandon addressing the country's greatest needs.
This isn't related to Latinos, but another aberation - perhaps the one that cost the election was the voters aged over 65. In most swing states, Bush carried the over-60 crowd by narrow margins, but Kerry carried over-65.
The standout different one was Ohio, where under 65 produced a 50-50 tie and over 65 produced a whopping 58-42 for Bush! This was a 12% shift in this demographic over the 2000 election, and the group represents 12% of Ohio's voters.
If the numbers are close to correct, it means the ultimate deciders of the 2004 election were Ohio retirees. Did gay marriage swing that group? It's the other place where serious followup is needed to understand what happened.
There were other places besides Latinos where the ex.poll numbers didn't quite jell, either.
In my analysis, I left out states where Latinos made up 5% or less of the state's voters and focused on the predominant ones.
Why did TX (+16), NM (+12), AZ (+9), NJ (+8) and FL (+7) supposedly shift more than the others, like CA (+4), CO (+5) and IL (+6)?
And why, even post-shift, did Kerry pull in 68%-80% in CO, NY, CT, IL and MA, but only pulled 56%in NJ, NV, AZ, NM, pulled 63% in CA, and lost FL 44-56 and TX 41-59 and OK 26-74? (Note: I hadn't previously included OK, with a 5% Latino voting base)
These wide divergences can't be explained away by Mexicans vs. Cubans vs Puerto Ricans either.
It's significant enough not to just say the exit polling's off, but esp in TX, NM, AZ, NJ, FL, OK, I think it warrants further investigation to see what campaign efforts Rove made in each. Republicans are the majority in most of those, but NJ and NM had more registered Dems voting, so it's not just ideological surroundings, either.
Dismissing the exit polls is too easy. Getting a fuller picture is essential to longterm election strategy, so I hope there's wayyyy more followup.