Crisis of Faith
by michael in chicago, Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 09:53:09 AM EST
I'm having a crisis of faith today. Not in the sense you might assume though. I've always been a big proponent of the Blogosphere, and I feel it let me, and the Cegelis campaign, down. I'm not talking about the rank and file people who post a diary or comment regularily. I'm talking about the "main line" blogs like dKos, MyDD, etc. I read this statement from Chris Bowers, who is probably my favorite blogger, in disbelief:
A few months ago, I floated the idea of the netroots getting behind Cegalis full-force to a few other bloggers, but after we had all heard pretty much the same stories on how Duckworth was going to cruise, we agreed it probably wasn't a very good idea. Better to focus our resources elsewhere.
Chris Bowers is someone I'm confident is a supporter of candidates like Christine. But yet even he, and the "few other bloggers" he spoke with, still bought the storyline out of Washington that Duckworth would win and win big. He ignored, as did other main line bloggers, the word coming from the activists on the ground that Cegelis was for real and the race would be close.
Cegelis needed the big name blogs' support to counter Duckworth's free media in the mainstream press. Instead, they let their front pages go silent on Cegelis's story, and let me and other supporters slug it out in the personal diaries rather than on their front pages.
In in the end, everything I was writing: that Cegelis was a strong candidate, that Cegelis had a strong ground game, that Cegelis has strong support in the district, was proven true by her narrow loss to a candidate that had the full weight, backing and fundraising of the entire national party working on her behalf.
And now, the day after the loss, we read that Cegelis did amazingly well. Yet the only people amazed are those who believed that Duckworth would win big like they were told by those outside the district.
I am disillusioned deeply by this. Chris and Jerome at MyDD are people I admire greatly. I'm not in their league. But they put less stock in what the people who knew the race best were saying and instead listened to what those backing Duckworth were pitching. They listened to those in the District of Columbia, rather than those in District 6.
As I noted back in December on a blogger list I have, the goal of those backing Duckworth was to dampen enthusiasm and support for Cegelis (as well as kill her fundraising) by painting Duckworth as unbeatable. The media bought it. Many in the progressive community bought it. And those who I trusted to not buy into conventional wisdom, bought into it too.
If this type of manipulation of those I trust most is possible, what hope do we have to win back an electorate that is heavily uninterested, often too busy, and limited in the knowledge and/or understanding of the issues? If those in the Blogosphere who are opinion makers can be swayed like this, and they are the ones most tuned in, how do we have any hope of convincing the ordinary citizen of a candidate's worth in the full face of a well funded mass media onslaught?
If politics in the Blogosphere is going to be about who is the most marketable, so they can raise the most money, and is thereby the most electable, what is the point? Why not sell the seat off to the highest bidder or the one with the most friends with deep pockets?
I trusted the leaders in the Blogosphere to see beyond this type of conventional wisdom. Instead, in my opinion, they helped to prove it right.