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Friday, June 23, 2006

2008: Hillary Clinton Hates Blogs


The first questioner brought up what I'd been wanting to ask Senator Clinton. What do you think of new communication technologies like blogs, he asked, paraphrased. And she thinks they're great, she said. But does she really? Because she couldn't resist throwing in a dig, referencing one conservative commentator who had remarked, "Progressive blogs beat up on Republicans and other Democrats, while conservative blogs beat up on Democrats and progressives." The clear implication was that the criticism she is receiving online is counterproductive.
No. The things she is getting criticized for are counterproductive. The messanger isn't the problem, it is the fact the Senator Hillary Clinton keeps reguritating the worst DLC talking points.

Worse, she is wrong about the GOP blogs (anyone remember Harriet Miers, "not one dime", etc). But there is a key reason why the changes are greater in the Democratic Party, as today's Guardian reports:

If Mr Lamont stages an upset in the Connecticut primaries on August 8, it may signal the point of no return for American politics. "It will change the kind of person who goes into politics," said Arianna Huffington, who runs the political blog Huffington Post. "It will end the dominance of consultants who have been running campaigns in the same focus-group, poll-driven way that has taken the soul out of politics."

For the time being, this conflict between old and new is being fought out principally inside the Democratic party. That is mostly because the Republicans went through a similar shake-up two decades ago, driven by more basic technology. Social conservatives used talk radio to put their stamp on the party, making abortion a litmus test for candidates, for instance. Rightwing bloggers are ploughing the same furrow and consequently having less of an impact.
Clinton's crowd saw talk radio and only bitched about a "vast right wing conspiracy" -- they didn't create the progressive communications infrastructure we needed. That prevented reform and is one reason why the DLC has been run completely out of town yet. Discussion is good and having an infrastructure that enables involved communication should a key investment aim for Democrats.

hillary clinton 2008 blogsIf Clinton wants to debate the issues, she should by engaging the blogosphere as smart Republicans did with talk radio a generation ago. But she shouldn't assume that bloggers won't criticize her when she screws up -- the fact that there hasn't been an outlet for such discussion is why Democrats are in the minority and still trying to be a top-down Party in a post-broadcast world.

The blog discussion isn't the problem, Clinton's lack of leadership and cowardice and capitulation and timidness and selling out and DLC membership are the problems. People calling her on it is the solution.

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