What's the damage?
As a prelude to a future post about Eric Boehlert's Bloggers on the Bus (UPDATE: link added), here's a summary of what I view as the major sins of The Blog War of 2008:
a) Truthiness. The truth-telling alternatives to the lying media lost their compasses, as even sophisticated observers heralded resolutely post-partisan Obama as "deeply progressive" and, seriously, a modern-day Messiah.
b) Groupthink. Just about every aspect of Irving Janis's model of fiasco thinking took hold. To cite but one manifestation: delegitimizing concerns of "out-group" Democrats (as "pie-fighters," "Hillary obsessives," "Obama haters," "Rovian plants").
c) Bullying. In Boehlert's Firedoglake chat, he uses the term "endless grief" to describe what befell Digby for the mere suspicion of being a pro-Hillary blogger. Bloggers on the Bus notes death threats sent to maxed-out Obama supporter Mayhill Fowler for grudgingly sharing a damaging Obama tape with her HuffPo editor. I personally received credible threats that warned me to stop criticizing Obama or face grave consequences, along with being smeared as a racist and hate-speaker. How could I not bask in all that hope!
d) Instrumentalism. Any stick to beat a dog, even if it meant promoting obvious fictions including GOP-created smears, ignoring voting improprieties that favored the chic candidate, etc.
e) Sexism. Includes a blind eye toward sexism from the media, thoughtless (at best) words and actions by the candidate and campaign, and manifesting itself later against Sarah Palin.
f) Ageism. The veneration of young voters, the denigration of "dry pussy" voters (a two-for-one debasement special, that) and "bickering boomers," and also manifesting itself against "McOld."
g) Classism. "Creative-class" identity politics, out-with-the-Bubbas triumphalism, and manifesting itself later against Sarah Palin.
h) Squandering. A once-in-several-decades opportunity to repudiate the Reagan Resolution was wasted. In a change year, the opportunity existed for choosy progressives to make the candidates sweat, the way the GOP base makes its candidates go so far as to publicly deny evolution. But Obama seemingly could do nothing to shake the support of a blogosphere he disregarded, and liberals he strove to distance himself from. If progressives had invoked their critical powers, Obama might have spent the campaign -- especially the primaries, when one's base is traditionally catered to -- using his vaunted rhetorical gifts to make the case for progressive change. He instead tacked ever-rightward, and netroots barely flinched... until the FISA cave-in, once he had the nomination effectively in-hand. A Democrat did get elected, but isn't there -- or shouldn't there be -- more to our agenda than that?
This is what we're supposed to "get over" without any real accounting for what happened... at least until Boehlert's book came out.
I feel almost apologetic that the list is so long. I wish it were much shorter, ideally that there weren't anything at all to it. But all of these factors were, in my estimation, clear and present and significant in the progressive blogosphere during the Blog Wars.
For want of some reckoning for why it happened — and why we should be sure it's all behind us — I'll take a pass on that cup of STFU, if it's all the same to whom it may concern.