Cocktail party etiquette and general social graces dictate that you're expected sometimes not to mention the elephant in the room, certainly not within hearing range of the elephant; otherwise, you might get trampled. For example, it was until recently severely ill-advised to use the word
"thunderbuns" "fat" on the same city block as Star Jones.
Ben Smith over at the Daily News, in a recent column, seems to have violated the Star Jones rule by referring to Fox News as "conservative".
In my mind, that's still kinder than "pitchfork-wielding reactionary lynch mob" and therefore far more circumspect than the network of Neil Cavuto, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, John Gibson and Ann Coulter deserves.
However, Fox is not amused at being called
a grotesquely one-sided and spittle-flecked tool of the extreme right conservative. Therefore, they have now revealed that Smith is, in fact, an underpaid and irrelevant communist. Take that.
Will Ben Smith back down? Or will Fox come to terms with
the fact that nobody believes their ludicrous "fair-and-balanced" claims being accurately described?
I am worried about 2008. I am worried that people are deluding themselves about Hillary Clinton's electability as president. I am worried that Democrats will not win this year more seats in Congress or the Senate.
But what I am worried most of all is that progressive Democrats, those people who believe government ought to have a good does of "by the people for the people" decision making, socially responsible policies and libertarian values, are being swept aside in favor of the corporational-style of politics the Bushites have unleash on this country.
It is not that I don't like money. I do. I wish I had truck load of it to give it to the groups and people and organizations I believe are making a difference. So yes, I like money. It' just that I believe you cannot favor one part of the equation for another.
The New York contingency of the Democratic party has made the very deliberate decision to not have a grassroots media strategy. Incompetence aside, the Ferrer mayoral campaign shot themselves in the foot because they kept heeding the NY Capitol Hill's advice to stay away from bloggers.
I personally had set up 3 conference calls with bloggers from all around the country for Ferrer. I had worked up the troops and personally asked Markos, Armando and DavidNYC of DailyKos to lead the charge and put a good word for the candidate. I even was able to speak directly to Fernando Ferrer and ask him "do you want the bloggers behind you". He screamed, YES! Calls in the morning, I'm ready. And every single time Fernando Ferrer's communications people sabotaged the effort.
Ferrer, of course, lost.
Yes, yes, I know :
--Clinton will win her Senate seat.
--Spitzer will be the next governor of New York.
Come time to campaign for 2008, though, the seeds of discontent will have had time to bloom and flourish. Come time for the Democrats to call on the people who actually do the work of democracy on the streets of each county, each city and each neighborhood; they will find themselves scorned and outside of the loop of growing social networks blogs like this are building throughout the state.
That's why I am worried.
Democrats will not be able to win 2008 without the networks of social progressives and moderate Republicans that are popping out all over the political landscape via blogs. Democrats will not be able to win 2008 without showing they can take dissent and dish it out as well.
A certain congressman once told me : "We don't want to deal with the nastiness of blogs".
My reaction has always been : Dude, these are the people that want you to win.
Which is why I cannnot stress this enough to the people partying in Buffalo : Activists who take to blogs are not nasty because they hate you. They are pissed off because they think you're not listening. They are people like me who have no significant anmount of money to give but have words, have wit, have wisdom to spare; but more importantly, have influence over their own networks of voters.
Which is why you have to understand why we are tired of knocking on neighbors doors for candidates we do not feel passionate about.
Rage comes not of emotion. It comes from the personal understanding that the country is going to hell in a handbasket.
Whenever I hear of politicos talking about the scourge of bloggers, it makes me wonder about their definition of courage. I mean, wouldn't you rather deal with the wrath of the people who want you elected? Why would you want to shun them and instead go to bed with the people who want you dead? Because, honestly that is what the extremiststs that have taken hold of the Republican party want : they want us all to go to hell. Literally.
That Hillary Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, Chuck Schumer and others in the New York State Democratic Party cannot trust contentious bloggers like the people of The Daily Gotham tells a lot about where we are headed to for 2008.
That's why I am worried.
The Democrats are starting to pave their road to failure in Buffalo, New York. If things stay the course, they're going to loose the 2008 elections to a pet rock.
Life used to be so simple.
Back in the good old days of hazy memory â€“ what, maybe six weeks ago? â€“ when you wanted to browse a blog devoted to New York City politics, you basically had The Politicker, and that was pretty much it.
OK, that's a gross oversimplification in the service of nostalgia, because there are many other fine blogs out there. That said, it's also fair to say, fellow bloggers, that Ben Smith set benchmarks for the local blogging scene. There was one place you could go to and find out what was going on in the Imperial City and its surroundings. Hence, the Ben-Smith-osphere.
No more. Ben's now at The Daily Politics under the Daily News masthead; further, some of his commenters now have their own platform at Room 8; and now, with a flourish, and as recently previewed on The Daily Gotham, the New York Times enters the fray with The Empire Zone. That one-stop-shopping simplicity is a thing of the past.
Oy. Just how many people care about this stuff, anyway? Or are we all collectively, perhaps, creating a new audience to take an active interest in the decisions of our state and local governments and the players who make them?
The plot thickens people.
I have yet to hear from anybody over at The New York Times or from their most notorious consultant, the blog 'evangelizer' and publisher of Buzzmachine, Jeff Jarvis. Jeff is the same guy that led campaign against Dell for, of all things, ignoring his comments and criticisms about the company.
Irony works in mysterious ways.
The news of my wandering around their blog has been reviewed, newsed, gawked, slated and wired, to say the least. Here's the current list :
Daily News | Daily Politics
The Times uninvited new blogger
Online Journal Review
NY Times leaves backdoor open on new politics blog?
Life Of Rubin
Wednesday Morning Link-a-thon
Fast and sloppy rules
Security Blooper at NYT political blog in development
NYT political blog needs better homeland security
**Best. Title. Ever.**
New to blogging?
Editor and Publisher
Blogger Gets Sneak Peak at New 'NY Times' Politics Blog
I want to do a follow-up experiment. I would like people to submit the story to Boing Boing. And I want to wait and see what happens.
BoingBoing is now managed by a company called Federated Media. Federated Media got an initial round of funding from ...
wait for it ...
wait for it ... read more »
If you want an example of the mainstream media babbling on endlessly on what they believe the story should be, look no further than the endless obsession with New York's junior Senator. Two years before the first primary vote will be cast, Hillary is today portrayed as the all-but-crowned and inevitable Presidential nominee (as is John McCain for the other side, in a striking parallel that only makes the pattern clearer). The verdict of the elite chattering classes is in: Hillary it is, in a face-off against McCain â€“ a nice, solid storyline that plays to all the things the media like to see in their coverage, such as high name recognition, easy clichÃ©s, and nice little cookie-cutter boxes to frame their articles. Just think of all the 'Can a woman be President?' stories already written â€“ pure speculation (not to say useless wankery), but these stories practically write themselves and let you head out to The Hamptons that much earlier.
This kind of fixation on simple stories is only one aspect of a kind of decadent political journalism that consists largely of horserace coverage, a fixation on 'gotcha' moments, endless warm and fuzzy 'personality' profiles â€“ "Candidate X feels at home in a Wal-Mart, just like you!" â€“ standing in for discussion of policy, and a broad avoidance of the boring stuff.
Politics as presented by People Magazine, in short. It's what our lazy journalists do. Call it poli-tainment, if you will, Brangelina in the White House.
Meanwhile, if you talk to just about any politically active Democrat in New York â€“ not a bad idea, considering we are Hillary's home base â€“ any discussion of Hillary's '08 candidacy produces ashen faces and some variation of "God forbid, she can't win. Is there anyone else? Warner? Gore? Anybody?". Dig a little deeper, and you'll find a profound unease with and distaste for the Senator's dexterous triangulation, her hawkishness, and all the other things that Hillary must do as she labors against a remarkably stable negative image created over a decade ago.
The historical model that makes the most sense for gaming the Democratic nomination of 2008 is the republican Chicago convention of 1860; there, too, a liberal New York Senator seen as nationally unelectable, Seward, succumbed to a rival, Lincoln, who carefully positioned himself as everyone's second choice â€“ and won spectacularly. The real 2008 race is the one to be the acceptable and nationally viable other choice â€“ and that's without Al Gore getting into the race, in which case he will win by default.
Or try talking to just about any politically active republican, especially outside of New York, and mention McCain '08. You'll likely be surprised just how many variations of "liberal sellout" are possible in the English language. The GOP base has a better memory, to its credit, than the media think; in their eyes, McCain is first and foremost the author of McCain-Feingold, a founding member of the treacherous 'Gang of 14', and an advocate of various policies that may make the media love him, but produce outrage amongst the true believers. The simple storyline is that the base will overlook these treacheries (as they see them) as the Bush administration continues its slow-motion collapse.
Again, no. Rather, as the efforts to re-brand George Bush as a liberal (and thereby to insulate conservatism from his failure) suggest, the base will look for a dyed in the wool true believer â€“ and that is not going to be the treacherous John McCain. The GOP is now an ideological party, a historical novelty in its own right; but history does not suggest that ideologues choose free-thinkers (even if McCain is merely a shoddy simulacrum of one) to carry their banners.
But because the media are what they are â€“ in love with simple stories, to be generous, scandalously myopic and lazy, to be less so â€“ you will continue to read 2008 coverage that tells you that you essentially have no choice, that the race is already over, and that you must live with Hillary.
Don't believe the hype.