Blog P.I. writes about one of my favorite topics– me (because we all know bloggers are all egomaniacs and shameless self-promoters):
Another popular veteran blogger has been steering wider and wider away from his peers in the rightosphere, and unlike Sullivan, it’s one who has called himself a Republican. This is John Cole, the West Virginian Army vet and Pajamas Media signatory who writes Balloon Juice. His site is a rarity in the sense that the chief blogger identifies as right of center, but the readership (as demonstrated by its loyal commenters) leans decidedly to the left. For some time now, Cole has featured a co-blogger, Tim F., who is even more critical of the contemporary right than himself.
Both Cole and Sullivan have voiced greater concerns about the direction of the Iraq war and the war on terrorism, and about the Republican Party’s priorities regarding social issues than most mainstream conservative bloggers (and more than avowed non-conservative Glenn Reynolds, at least until the “pre-mortem” post). Unlike many of their peers, they’ve lost all respect for the Bush presidency and reclaimed/redefined conservatism enough to justify staying on the same side of the fence.
The very fact of their disagreement isn’t so much the issue — they could have drifted apart and largely ignored each other. Instead, the animosity really has to do with Sullivan and Cole coming around to openly fight with their erstwhile allies. These arguments look like personality conflicts, and they certainly are, but are also so contentious because an ideological fight underlies them.
The fights they pick are not without merit, though it’s sometimes hard to decide which side is thinking about it more clearly, if anyone — and so I’ll punt and just say “follow the links”: a non-definitive summary would note that Sullivan has clashed with Glenn Reynolds and with James Taranto and become an inside joke among numerous other bloggers. Cole is currently in the middle of a blog fight with Dan Riehl, just concluded one with Red State, and before long will probably go another round with Michelle Malkin.
As far as I can tell, it seems Cole usually aims to stand up for decency, Sullivan for his principles. This also seems to mean Sullivan-engaged arguments often revolve around himself — and hey, that’s just what Time is probably hoping for. To use a phrase more commonly associated with the leftosphere, they’re like concern trolls in the wider conservative blogosphere.
Such blog fights can be either great fun or excruciatingly dull, depending on how much you have invested in the squabbling parties. And considering the war’s prominence in these splits, there will probably be more. Assuming Iraq gets worse before it gets better — that being one thing supporters and opponents of U.S. Iraq policy might agree on — we’ll see more bloggers reach a breaking point, lambasting their spherical allies for failing to understand what they do now, while the stalwarts kick them to the curb and renounce them as apostates.
Overall, an interesting discussion of where blogging might go, particularly relevant given the fact that we are beginning to see the “pre-criminations” over the coming Republican defeat in the House and Senate.
An interesting read, although I would take issue with two things (not including the slight dig- “it seems Cole usually aims to stand up for decency”)- I don’t think I am a concern troll, at least as it is defined popularly. I did, up until recently, really wish the GOP would succeed- I was a party loyalist (my archives are embarassing) until Schiavo (although I did have my issues I would speak out about). When I tried to give advice to the GOP, it was because I thought they were doing the wrong thing, often looking at the short-term political gain rather than looking at the bigpicture and the long-term effect. The trademark of this GOP has been doing things for short-term political gain, rather than looking at the long-term impact of their behaviors- and you can go down the list- the prescription drug plan, the domestic surveillance, the intervention in Schiavo, the torture bill, etc. Objecting to those things is not being a concern troll- it is trying, from my persepctive, to inject a little sanity in to a party that I now think is run by fierce partisans and reckless ideologues.
Second, most of the ‘fights’ I am involved in are not me picking fights, but me pointing to things people have said and trying to (in my own, delicate manner), explain why they are wrong. Take for example Dan Riehl- all I did was link his past and current behavior and point out the inconsistencies. It wasn’t me who called him a C*** S******, I just documented how his reaction was, once again, for short-term political gain and not based on any core beliefs. I also would not characterize my interactions with Red State as ‘fights’: those are tough guys, I know them pretty well, and they are not the least bit deterred by anything I might have to say. They have their opinions and beliefs, and they are going to stick to them. That isn’t fighting- it is disagreeing. Because we know each other and used to be on the same ‘side,’ the back and forths can get a little more personal, but I reject the notion that our interactions are fights. I still talk to them and wish them all well.
Regardless, I don’t know where the GOP will go from here, and I have even less of an idea where right-wing blogging will go. I can predict that whatever happens, it will be ugly, and if the GOP wants to start somewhere when trying to figure out where things went downhill, they should start with Terri Schiavo- that is really where they started to lose my support and the support of many others. Schiavo was the beginning of the end, and is a perfect example of where this GOP has gone wrong- they suspended all of their long-held cherished beliefs for short-term political pandering. The idea was that this is a great way to shore up political support with the base, but no attention was paid to how it betrayed core principles and less attention was given to the long-term effects. It is an offense the hacks who run this party would repeat over and over- I can’t wait to hear the bleating when President Hillary Clinton (or whoever) uses all of her expanded powers in 2008. Sure, it was ‘fun’ passing those laws and using those votes to portray all Democrats as terrorist-loving defeatocrats, and it may have yielded some short-term political gains, but we’ll see how much fun those broad powers are in the future.