Power bloggers v. power brokers

Well, I was amused at The Times’ story today on how the Democrats’ and netroots’ excommunication of Joseph Lieberman only put him in the catbird seat as the man who can tilt the Senate to one party or the other. I said that would be the case here.

And now we also have The Times reporting that Trent Lott is back in a position of party leadership, despite being the first scalp on bloggers’ belts.

So are bloggers not as powerful as they/we thought? Well, politics aren’t so easily reformed.

  • I think they can make a bigger difference in primaries where differences in candidates is not that great and the voting populace is small and consists of Party activists. In a general primary with greater numbers and more swing type voters, the impact is much less. I think bloggers will have a lot to say about the 2008 Presidential nominees.

  • Alli Gerkman

    Politicians and old media are clinging to each other for dear life. Politicians are scared of new media, where they have not yet learned how to control their message, and where ROI measurements are not readily available. Old media is scared of losing its relevance. I suppose they’ll continue to hold hands as they walk down the plank–at least until one of them is finally forced to jump into the sea of possibilities.

  • Todd’s right. Bloggers are passionate, and they’re the base. They show strongly in the selection during primaries, less so later.

    As a conservative blogger, I couldn’t be more fed up with the Repubs. Most of the conservative blogosphere is in that mode right now.

    I think that as politicians move to the center and abandon base issues, we’ll see the creation of viable third and fourth parties. The current parties, on the left and right, are way too crooked in this age of accountability and transparency that we’re afforded through the Internet and technology. Murtha, Lott, Blunt, Reid… the whole lot of them ought to go.

  • The Populist movement got its start in the 1870’s and never achieved any real political power. William Jennings Bryan ran for president three times and lost. But, by 1908 many of their ideas were being adopted by the major parties and Teddy Roosevelt actually implemented many of them.

    So a political movement can’t be quickly judged by its electoral successes, especially in the first few years. The issues which seem important at the moment (Iraq and corruption) will be sorted out one way or the other. The real test will come when progressives start pushing for action on deeper issues like energy policy and climate change.

    Electoral reform would be a useful issue as well. Getting the big money out of running for office would allow more candidates who represent the common man to run. This requires drastic changes like federally funded elections, or free TV time or something similar.

  • David

    You miss the point entirely. For most of us diehard Dems it was a great victory just to get Lieberman out of the party. It energized the base when Lamont won, if Lieberman had some how pulled out a win in the primary most of us would have been very very very depressed. Good riddance Joe, now just start a Independent Dems party in NJ so we can get rid of Jarvis also!

  • Actually, David, it is you that miss the point. Those passionate activists ended up booting out of the party someone who ended up winning the election anyway…without the benefit of being connected to a political party.

    This is in a blue state, one that saw Republican incumbent members of Congress lose. But not Joe Lieberman.

    The passion that can turn to intolerance means that you can easily marginalize yourselves to the sidelines in general elections. This goes for both sides.

    I’m glad Lieberman won, even though I disagree with the war.