Thursday, October 30, 2008

Conservative Blogs and Electoral Politics

Last week I asked readers to join me in contributing to Michele Bachmann's reelection campaign.

That's a first for this blog, but Michele Bachmann's the first congressional candidate to whom I've contributed. Bachmann represents my ideals and values, and I'll be proud to have helped her across the finish line on election day.

I'm reminded of Bachmann's challenge in reading the Next Right's new post, "
What It Will Take to Build a Rightroots Movement."

Can the conservative blogosphere adopt the left's model of Internet political activism? Are conservative bloggers comfortable in making cold calls for cash on the front page of their websites?

A lot of folks won't be interested in that kind of outreach, but it's going to have to happen if the right hopes to really mobilize the grassroots in support of their candidates and causes. Here's a key passage:

If you're a conservative blogger, the question you need to ask yourself is this. Is the main purpose of your blog to express your personal opinion? Or is its primary purpose to build political power for a cause? If you cannot answer yes to the latter, you're probably not going to be comfortable with making the changes necessary to make online conservatism a political force to be reckoned with.

This is not a criticism, but an observation. Most conservative blogs are still stuck in 2003 -- both in terms of the overwhelming focus on media criticism and punditry, and the tendency to outsource electoral politics to the Republican Party. This was in some ways legitimate response to what was happening in 2003-4, when media surrender-monkeys were undermining the War on Terror, Republicans had a kick-butt political operation, and Kos was going 0 for 16.

I don't fault bloggers for holding on to this point of view in 2003 and 2004. What is unfortunate is that they clinged to it in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 and failed to pivot to the new reality, leaving the Republican Party without a powerful enough force to rein in the self-destructive tendencies of its elite.

Sadly, it's human nature to cling to the frame in which you came up - traditional media people will never fully reconcile themselves to the blogosphere, talk radio people will always tend to view it as the center of the universe, and even denizens of the "new media" can become easily set in their ways. This is not unlike people who got rich on the housing bubble thinking it could never end. When things first start going wrong, it's always just a momentary blip, not a sign of an impending crash. Only a catastrophic collapse is usually enough to make people rethink matters.

Building critical mass behind an independent online movement on the right will probably require new people. The old blogs that have been with us since 2003 will not go away. But they'll need to be joined by people who care more about Indiana's 8th district than Islamofascism, and MN-SEN more than the MSM.

There's more at the link.

I started blogging, back in early-2006, as a writing outlet and a hobby. This year, however, blogging's become a second job as I've thrown my heart into supporting John McCain with my political commentary and activism.

I'm a changed man, or, more particularly, I'll be a changed man upon the election of Barack Obama and a Democratic congressional majority next Tuesday.

I plan to be more politically active. To the extent that family and job commitments permit, I hope to get out more, becoming involved on campaigns and issues. I'll be blogging, as always, but my goal will be to contribute even more to the conservative right, in both ideas and action.

I urge readers to send me an e-mail indicating what action they have done to support local candidates for office, or other activities, like contributing financially to political campaigns. I'll be blogging more about things like this as we move forward, and I'll share stories and help people network.

Looking ahead, I'm convinced that the Democratic Party will overreach, and that a Barack Obama administration will be repudiated at the polls in 2012. But for that to happen, the conservative base must get active, doing more than writing one more blog post at Memeorandum.