Saturday, July 16, 2005

Left-Wing Bloggers
Dean Barnett offers a great analysis of DailyKos and the left-wing blogosphere in The Weekly Standard, and an follow-up clarification on his blog, SoxBlog.

Read both.

I have a lot of experience with this, because I've spent a lot of time on DailyKos, resulting in a personal acquaintance with their lunacy. The number of times that someone over there suggests an electoral strategy (usually something like "Condemn Bush as a terrorist dictator"), that I respond by pointing out that most of America won't respond positively to such accusations, and that they come back with something like "But it's true, so we should say it!" is unbelievable to me. Many over there (with the notable inclusion of "Armando," who is also mentioned in Barnett's article) are so convinced that they are in the right, that just communicating their beliefs to the public is bound to result in a Democratic landslide.

What they don't seem to understand is that they can't actually prove a lot of what they believe. For example: clearly, Karl Rove was guilty of outing Valerie Plame. Despite the fact that a crime may not have actually been committed (and there is no public knowledge to prove it one way or the other as of now), and despite the fact that Cooper's email only proved that Rove had spoken to him about Plame (i.e. not even what exactly he'd said), it was clear to them that Rove was guilty. Despite my repeated pleadings that they look at the logic and change the rhetoric to allow for the multitude of other possibilities, I was attacked immediatley as a "troll."

The simple truth of American politics is that, even when you are 100% right, the public does not react well to certainty or gloating—the two things that are always the focus of DailyKos. Honestly, look at the few examples that Barnett provides. They are in no way out of the norm, and are not representatives of the lower level diarists, but the front page leaders of the site. Remember, Markos (the founder) was the blogger who cheered the beheading of American contractors in Iraq.

One last point: as far as the implication in this piece that Kos gets 6 times as much traffic as InstaPundit—it's a little misleading. The format of DailyKos provides for multiple refresh views in short amounts of time, throughout the course of the day. Unfortunatley, despite repeated efforts by site counters to weed out multiple visits by the same computer, it just doesn't work. Yes, at the very least, those numbers mean that Kos visitors come more often—but it doesn't necessarily imply that there are more Kos visitors than InstaPundit visitors.

UPDATE [7/17/2005 - 0:38]: I feel the need to respond to DemfromCT's comment with an update to the primary post. I will also get in touch with Dem and offer him/her (not sure which) a chance to respond.

First off, I never once claimed that DKos is monolithic; I claimed it's out of touch. This comment proves exactly that.

What do I mean? To start with, there is absolutely no evidence that Karl Rove has lied about anything—certainly not with regards to Valerie Plame. If DemfromCT would like to cite evidence that proves otherwise, I will retract and apologize for that statement—but from what I've seen there is some indication that it is a possibility, but to say Rove "is most certainly guilty of lying" is a statement of fact that cannot be proven with the information in the public domain at this point in time.

Second, if you go back to Bush's words in this often cited press briefing, where he acknowledged that he would reprimand anyone involved in this fiasco, he very clearly stated that he would take action if someone had broken the law. So, again, he very easily can stick to his man and his word if it turns out Rove broke no laws (a possibility that DemfromCT seems willing to acknowledge).

I will watch any indictments that may come down. And I acknowledge that Rove very well may be among them—but acting like it's fact that he will, which is what everyone at DKos seems so ready to do, is premature. It has not been proven in any way that he will. In fact, the past few days' events seem to suggest that Rove isn't in any way the focus of this investigation, just someone providing testimony for whatever Fitzgerald's cause may be.

Third, Iraq has not been Rove's policy. At best you can say that convincing the public to support the war has been his policy—which I would agree has been a disaster—but the decision to go into Iraq has been shown quite clearly to have been Bush's desire, and has been prosecuted by people other than Karl Rove. He is neither a foreign policy adviser nor a military strategist. My best guess is that the President wanted to go into Iraq, and Rove worked to help him get the public behind that decision, then to try and keep them behind it through all of the trials and tribulations stemming from that decision.

Fourth, and most importantly—this is exactly where DKos goes off the rails—this Plame business is in no way comparable to the Watergate. The Nixon campaign undertook illegal (felonious) action against an opponent for the office of the presidency. To imply that this will take down a presidency, or anything even close to it, is absurd. Take a poll, DemfromCT and other kossacks, and reread the introduction to the Barnett piece cited above. The majority of Americans have absolutely no idea who Joseph Wilson, Valerie Plame, or Karl Rove are—and if they're hearing bits and pieces about the whole thing in the press, they aren't tuned into it. This has nowhere near the same kind of traction as Watergate ever did.

Your invitation to check Google doesn't help your case here, nor does pointing out that the White House Press Secretary gets grilled on these events in the daily press briefings. The Washington press bureau suffers from the same lense as DKos—they know and care about things that do not in any way affect election outcomes.

DKos operates in a very select community of well-informed people with strongly developed political leanings. This falls far from the status of the majority of the American public, even when you limit the field to regular voters. Yes, this is just the kind of thing to excite Kossacks. No, it is not the kind of thing that can be turned into electoral victory.

The reason it brings a smile to my face is simple: it is precisely the kind of thing that will get Dem wheels spinning (especially if they follow the will of the left-wing blogosphere), and distract them from issues that they actually have a chance of winning votes on.


DemFromCT said...

Not two of your better posts, this and the last.

Daily Kos is hardly monolithic (as you well know from being there). I get into plenty of arguments there myself (sometimes from defending you!).

But the fact is that Rove and the Bushies are on the wrong side of this argument and all the smoke and mirrors in the world won't stop Fitzgerald from his indictments. Rove may not be guilty of a narrowly led statute for uncovering an agent (or he may), but he is most certainly guilty of lying. The question is whether he did so to the grand jury, and who else in the Bush administration will be indicted.

Bush now has the poor choice of choosing to defend his word or his man, as he cannot have both.

No need to argue with me. Just watch it play out when Fitzgerald announces his indictments. And if you think Rove's people leaking to the papers Friday gets him off the hook, you have not been paying attention the last 5 years.

His Iraq policy is an unmitigated disaster, the Republicans will be taking it on the chin in 2006 because of it, and Bush will go down as the biggest R disaster since Nixon.

Read up on your Nixon, while you're at it. They use the same play book.

And play with Google, too. This isn't dKos line I'm giving you, it's the real world. It's why Scottie Mac dreads the briefing every day now.

DemFromCT said...

Latest CBS poll blogged here at TNH.

Your assessment that this is merely an inside the beltway issue known only to the cognoscenti is disputed by polling data, and consistently so.

I am perfectly willing to see Fitzgerald's cards before debating further. But the American people know full well that the WH, Bush and Rove are not telling the truth. Look at the poll numbers.


Telling entire truth -
Hiding something -
Mostly lying -

You can fool some of the people some of the time...

RFTR said...

Of course, any political poller who's worth his salt will tell you immediately that it doesn't matter what someone feels about an issue or how strongly they feel it.

No degree of either guarantees that it will affect voting in any way.