What Now For The Blogs?
[Thanks to Big Tent Democrat for agreeing to guest post. --lambert]
It surprises many people to know that I supported Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the primaries. I considered the two to be identical on the issues (except for health care, where I felt too ignorant to take a position on which of the two positions was superior) and preferred Obama because I believed him to be more electable. Weak tea for many people I imagine, but that was my view of the race.
Why does this surprise people? Because I have been extremely critical of Barack Obama since 2005 and was before, during and after the Presidential primaries. To some people, support requires blind devotion and adulation. It does not to me. But in many was, that is irrelevant. Because I am not a Democrat because Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or FDR or JFK inspire me. I am a Democrat because the Democratic Party comes closer to my personal views and values than the other viable political party, the Republican Party. I tried to express my approach in this post from December 2007:
As citizens and activists, our allegiances have to be to the issues we believe in. I am a partisan Democrat it is true. But the reason I am is because I know who we can pressure to do the right thing some of the times. Republicans aren't them. But that does not mean we accept the failings of our Democrats. There is nothing more important that we can do, as citizens, activists or bloggers than fight to pressure DEMOCRATS to do the right thing on OUR issues.
And this is true in every context I think. Be it pressing the Speaker or the Senate majority leader, or the new hope running for President. There is nothing more important we can do. Nothing. It's more important BY FAR than "fighting" for your favorite pol because your favorite pol will ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS, disappoint you.
In the middle of primary fights, citizens, activists and bloggers like to think their guy or woman is different. They are going to change the way politics works. They are going to not disappoint. In short, they are not going to be pols. That is, in a word, idiotic.
Yes, they are all pols. And they do what they do. Do not fight for pols. Fight for the issues you care about. That often means fighting for a pol of course. But remember, you are fighting for the issues. Not the pols.
Lambert invited me to discuss what the blogosphere should do now. My short answer is that it should do what it should have been doing before - fighting for the issues each particular blog believes in through the mechanisms it feels are most effective. The short answer is to do what is most effective to advance the cause of the issues you believe in. Let me give you an example of an issue I do not believe in but know that many of you do - fighting against trade agreements. I am a free trader - a supporter of NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO etc. Most of you are not. When Obama backed off of his positions on renegotiating NAFTA, I was pleased so I was not going to criticize him for it. Indeed, when he demagogued on the issue in Ohio during the primaries, I felt confident it did not express his true views. I was unconcerned and confident he would abandon those views after Ohio. And he did. I have no complaints. But a lot of you should. You should be blasting Obama on the issue.
By contrast, I thought Obama would not back off of his opposition to the FISA Capitulation bill. Now that he has, I have been criticizing him severely. You see, I am fighting for the issues I believe in. And so should you... That is my vision of what the blogosphere should be. And what it should have been throughout.