August 4, 2005

Paul Hackett, Daily Kos & The New Republic

Michael Crowley of the New Republic online writes a skeptical article about Paul Hackett run for congressional seat in Ohio and the roles of blogs in politics.
Within hours, national Democrats were already spinning Hackett's close defeat as a sign that they are poised to win back Congress in 2006. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (dccc), argues that "these are the early vibrations on the track." Hackett, he says, was just the sort of "change agent" that malcontented voters fed up with Bush, Iraq, and Washington corruption are looking for.

That may be true. But Democrats shouldn't assume a Hackett victory ordains a massive comeback for their party. His opponent was an uncharismatic, washed-up ex-state representative. And his candidacy combined two elements--his stirring Iraq service and the full firepower of the liberal blogosphere--in a way that few other Democrats will be able to replicate come fall of 2006.
The article mentions Bob Brigham of Swing State Project helping Paul Hackett post diary on Daily Kos.
On Election Day, the bloggers' "war room" consisted of a dark corner of the Goldminers Inn, a dank dive bar in Batavia, Ohio, where four twentysomethings quaffed cans of Miller Lite and ruminated about their growing role in Democratic politics. The leader of the group was Bob Brigham, who blogs for a site called Swing State Project. After raising a six-figure sum for Hackett, Brigham had flown in from San Fancisco and "embedded" himself in the campaign, riding in Hackett's small convoy from event to event in baggy blue jeans and faded red canvas sneakers. "We're three times as relevant as the dccc. And you can quote that!" he told me between sips of beer. [..]


On the Monday before the election, Brigham convinced Hackett to make a guest appearance on the militantly liberal website Daily Kos. The candidate sat with him in a darkened restaurant, squinting quizzically at Brigham's laptop. At one point, after Brigham relayed some slangy reader commentary, Hackett turned to him and deadpanned, military style: "Translate." It seemed that some of Daily Kos's more paranoid readers wanted proof that it was really Hackett posting. Hackett rolled his eyes. "What do they want, my Social Security number?" Then he dictated to Brigham at the keyboard: "It's me. Quit being a typical Democrat and get off my ass." Inevitably, someone took offense: "If exercizing [sic] critical thinking skills and healthy skepticism makes me a 'typical Democrat,' I'm proud to be one," harrumphed one reader.
I am not going to speak for the rest of you, but I am militantly liberal in my views. A better description would have been passionately liberal democratic website.

The Michael Crowley article also includes pressure of the national media on Paul Hackett and how he dealt with it. Go read the whole article.

Is Michael Crowley right to be skeptical?
And his candidacy combined two elements--his stirring Iraq service and the full firepower of the liberal blogosphere--in a way that few other Democrats will be able to replicate come fall of 2006. [ ..]

Whether this spirit means a 2006 Democratic sweep is another matter. While the bloggers who sustained Hackett are certainly around for the long haul, the midsummer timing of the race allowed liberals to focus on Hackett's campaign with an intensity that won't be possible when dozens of other races are competing for attention in the November 2006 midterms. And, while Democrats are trying to scare up more Iraq veterans to run next year, the list is likely to be a short one.
Can the liberal blogoshere replicate what blogs did on a national scale in 2006?

YES!

1 Comments:

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