A Bit Late? Washington Post Discovers The Digital Divide

Like a research team breathlessly reporting a discovery that Thor Heyerdahl made sixty years ago, investigative reporters at the Washington Post have found that online Democrats run circles around the GOP.

“For the most part Republicans are stuck in Internet circa 2000,” [David All, a former Republican congressional aide,] said in an interview.

Another Republican — Michael Turk, who was in charge of Internet strategy for President Bush’s 2004 campaign — puts the problem his party faces more bluntly: “We’re losing the Web right now.”

A series of well-known facts and figures follow – GOP presidential candidates have web operations that range from poor (McCain) to inexcusable (Giuliani), Barrack Obama practically owns MySpace, Subcommandante Markos rules the blogs, ActBlue has raised $3 mil for Edwards alone. ABC PAC, the rightwing Actblue equivalent, has raised the comical sum of $385. Total. How long do you suppose it will take to recoup the cost of designing the site?

With the Olin and Scaife foundations giving as freely as ever we can rule out a lack of seed money as the primary cause for the lack of oomph in the rightwingosphere. Possibly the problem starts and ends with the extraordinarily weird times that we live in today. As the article points out we can only make guesses about what online conservatism would look like if its followers did not have an awful administration that repudiates every core conservative principle. Their Congressional delegation redefines corrupt. Their presidential lineup has less spark than Kodos-Kang and their glorious war against islamonazism has turned into the Athenian invasion of Syracuse. Some days I’m amazed when people like Malkin and the LGF drones muster the enthusiasm to boot their computers.

Then there is the question of sheer numbers. Moderates and every sensible conservative, meaning those who remember when torture and habeas corpus separated good countries from bad, got off the boat some time between abu Ghraib, Terry Schiavo and abu Gonzales’s personal China Syndrome. Even taking morale into account it gets hard to grow when your share of America is 28% and shrinking.

On top of that you can add the institutional differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Peter Leyden, director of the New Politics Institute, a San Francisco-based think tank that in recent months has been advising Democratic members of Congress and their staffs on how to take full advantage of the Web, argues that the culture of Democrats is a much better fit in the Internet world.

“What was once seen as a liability for Democrats and progressives in the past — they couldn’t get 20 people to agree to the same thing, they could never finish anything, they couldn’t stay on message — is now an asset,” Leyden said. “All this talking and discussing and fighting energizes everyone, involves everyone, and gets people totally into it.”

As the old saw goes, ask three Democrats and get four opinions. The flip side of that has long helped to explain the huge popularity of conservatism in the old media. Researchers like Bob Altmeyer have exhaustively demonstrated that conservative followers like being told what to think and conservative leaders don’t tolerate input from the masses. In that way radio is the perfect medium, sending the Party line through a select group of reliable disseminators to the polloi with little chance for feedback, which liberals value but authoritarians hate. It helps explain why few conservative blogs allow comments and why Clear Channel radio often jettisons popular local conservatives to make room for a Limbaugh/Hannity/Savage monoculture. Feedback is a bug and the more mouthpieces you have the harder it gets to control the Party line.

Watch the fun when a leading conservative blog decides to weigh in on a leadership decision like replacing one corrupt pol for another on the House Appropriations Committee. Baffled and a little irritated to find information traveling in the wrong direction, the leadership told RedState to piss off. Meanwhile Daily Kos keeps growing because the Kossacks receive feedback that tells them they matter. Presidential candidates, Congressional leaders and the DNC have all opened themselves up to critical input from the net polloi. With notable exceptions most even seem grateful for it. For some guy with a day job skipping lunch to write some comments or a blog post that feels pretty darn good.

Even more than the dire state of conservatism today, maybe that’s why internets will always belong to Democrats. Conservative leaders view bloggers as tools while liberals/Democrats see them as allies. That bodes especially well in you consider the blogosphere as a talent pool, sort of a huge farm team for the next generation of pundits and political operatives. The wingnut foundations can’t help with a startup cost near zero. More importantly, interesting new bloggers will give up if the best they can hope is to become a powerless apparatchik, and the people who do find that prospect appealing (Mark Noonan) will not do the movement much credit.

***Update***

I cannot make my point any better than this recent exchange: (via)

Rep. John Linder, a Republican from Duluth and a member of the steering committee that made the Calvert appointment, was the first congressional office targeted for calls by RedState.com. But Linder brushed off the online critics.

“I really don’t pay much attention to blogs,” he said. “You can say anything on those blogs without any attribution and get away with it.”

Liberal blogs have been influential, the Georgia lawmaker acknowledged. But he dismissed their conservative counterparts, saying, “I don’t pay any attention to them.”

Even some conservative bloggers object to the new blog activism.

“If you look at the top tier of right-wing bloggers, they’re almost unfailingly civil,” wrote Dean Barnett for the opinion Web site Townhall.com.

He charged that Erickson was trying to turn right-wing Web sites into “the kingmakers that the left-wing blogs are.”

It is hard to imagine a more trenchant, telling and dispiriting exchange for conservative bloggers than this short anecdote. A Republican lawmaker outright says that the influence of GOP blogs is a pale shadow of their Dem counterparts, and more than that, this subservient position in the political discourse is exactly where he thinks they belong. Even other bloggers like Dean Barnett acknowledge that unlike their liberal counterparts, conservative bloggers like Erick don’t get a place at the table. Barnett argues that a party member like Erick should know his place and stop making so much noise.

But the most remarkable thing about this short exchange is the way that Barnett irrevocably rebrands the word civil in a way that no liberal to my knowledge has thought to do. As defined by Dean Barnett, uncivil liberals get in the way and act like they have a right to speak out of turn. The old-timey word for that behavior is “uppity.” Barnett’s idealized rightwing blogger shows his civility when he passively accepts the party line and passes it on uncritically. Civility means knowing your place.

It’s really a devastating critique of the rightwing blogger mindset. And it came from a Republican.






92 replies
  1. 1
    The Other Steve says:

    It’s interesting. The Republicans moved to control the MSM, which forced citizens like me who were pissed off to find alternative ways of connecting with one another.

    In so doing, we leapfrogged their whole infrastructure of “think tanks”, “grassroots mailing lists”, MSM pundits and so forth.

  2. 2

    Good to see that Bush and Brownback are ahead of the curve, though.

    Scrutator was a decent conservative website, too. Too bad it was run by liberals, otherwise it might’ve really gone somewhere. (Same goes for http://www.rathergate.com and Red State, BTW.)

  3. 3
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Some days I’m amazed that people like Malkin and the LGF drones can muster the enthusiasm to boot their computers.

    Well, yes and no. People of that ilk engage in blogorrhea with fairly religious zeal: They and their fellow 28 percenters are David, taking on the America-hating Goliath of, erm, everybody else. They are fighting the good fight and will continue to do so no matter what.

    Of course, to non-crazy people, they just look like…well…a bunch of crazies tilting at windmills. Either that or unintentional sketch comedy.

  4. 4

    May be the most well-written Tim F. piece ever. I even learned something.

    It’s even odder when you think that post-9-11 conservative or Republican reactionaries flooded the internet. It’s what fed the machine early on. Yet they haven’t done anything.

    Of course, there is a different interpretation to the differences in “online activism.” The ABC $385 is simply astounding. I don’t quite believe it myself but maybe conservatives just like the old way of supporting their party and donate and work the old-fashioned ways. Today’s brand of conservatism, as you say, has to be having an effect though.

    Democrats are still as fractured as ever, but they are coming together for the sole and overriding purpose of getting a Democrat in the White House. And the American people, whatever their political persuasion see less damage with that happening than in emboldening Republicans with another win.

    – Temple

  5. 5

    What the GOP needs to win the blogosphere is some kind of perverse, reverse “Fairness Doctrine”: for every left-wing site, there must be a right-wing site of equal traffic. Not sure how that would work out mechanically, but I’m thinking maybe a hit on Daily Kos would transfer you to Red State half the time, or something…

    Ah, who the fuck am I kidding? Even that wouldn’t work to make the wingnut blogs more rational. Pretty hard to get swayed by the “reason” of alarmists chest-thumpers when sensible, sane, coherent commentary is a mouse-click away.

  6. 6
    Tim F. says:

    May be the most well-written Tim F. piece ever. I even learned something.

    I’ll take that not in the spirit that it was given and say thanks.

  7. 7
    Z says:

    Anecdotaly and based on generational attitudes, it seems to me that much of the hardcore 28%-ers are in my parents and grandparents generation. All those tubes confuse them.

  8. 8

    It’s a cycle, really. In the 1960’s and 70’s conservatives saw themselves as shut out of the MSM and invented their alternate media in talk radio, direct mail and cable, which they used as a launching pad against the mainstream. Now liberal see ourselves as shut out of the MSM and are setting up an alternative media in the internet, which is already taking shape as a launching pad into the MSM. Sooner or later conservatives will find their own alternative to counter our dominance of the internet. The cycle will play out endlessly.

  9. 9
    Jake says:

    Next week: Water is wet!

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the fRight wing approach to this disparity is to declare the tubes the realm of gay secularist martians and shut them down.

  10. 10
    elspi says:

    How about “Buba don’t read.” Only about 1/3 of the 28%-ers can read at a high school level.

    Can you say talk radio? … I knew you could.

  11. 11
    Mr Furious says:

    Democrats were shut out of power, both in political circles and the MSM, so we HAD to come up with a better way.

    Republicans have been coasting in power and a top-down, marching-orders mentality, and now they are caught flat-footed.

    Good. fuck ’em.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    RandyH says:

    Glad to see Tim linked to Bob Altemeyer’s book in the post. That really is must-read stuff for anyone wanting to understand how these folks tick.

  14. 14
    Punchy says:

    Wow, Tim, you outdid yerself. Outstanding. May be your best post evah (and no, I’m not Tim’s mom).

    Always wondered why so few conservative blogs allow comments. Now, it makes sense. They don’t want to know the truth…they don’t want to be reminded of reality, the 28%, the quagmire, the budget deficiet, the corruption, etc. Much easier to maintain a clear echo chamber when new sounds are never allowed in…

  15. 15

    >>I’ll take that not in the spirit that it was given and say thanks.

    :-) Actually that came across badly. Sorry. I was sincere. I usually just read something here for a take as I’m usually aware of the news part of things.

  16. 16
    Zifnab says:

    I are dominating ur interwebz.

    Wow. You just linked to the only other site I give more traffic than Balloon Juice. Creepy.

    http://www.xkcd.com/c262.html

  17. 17
    ThymeZone says:

    Who’d have guessed that an open and interactive medium that thrives on dissent, a wide range of views, and a streetsmart form of egalitarianism, would be a mystery to the authoritarians and the dogmatic chest-tyhumpers?

    Of course they are losing the Web, just as they are losing the contest to find out who can govern. They can’t really do anything, all they can do is bitch.

    Not exactly news, but still it’s fun to watch them writhe.

  18. 18
    RSA says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the fRight wing approach to this disparity is to declare the tubes the realm of gay secularist martians and shut them down.

    An InterTubal ligation? I’m sure there’s a Biblical injunction against such things.

    I do wonder how much of what we think characterizes the conservative movement is a reflection of its current leadership. Among some of the more far-right blogs, you’ve got the “disagreement is treason” thing going and the “no blog comments” bubble in place, for example. Far-right bloggers tend not to invade other countries, but you know they’d like to.

  19. 19
    Wilfred says:

    Always wondered why so few conservative blogs allow comments…Much easier to maintain a clear echo chamber when new sounds are never allowed in…

    But the ones that do allow comments have done a great deal of damage to their own cause at the same time they opened the eyes of fence-sitters. It’s only there that you can see the piss-stained crotch of the conservative movement, its mean-spiritedness and lack of humor.

    Speaking of which, somebody please reassure me that blogs4brownback is a spoof.

  20. 20
    Mike S says:

    The net also allows for instant fact checking. It’s simple to google certain things contained in stories and make sure they are correct, even though far too few will even follow the links.

    Talk radio doesn’t have the same type of fact checking. Hannity can outright lie and the vast majority of his listeners just take it as truth. Plus he has his bimbo screener hang up on callers who have the facts and want his listeners to know them. I know this from personal experiance.

  21. 21
    ThymeZone says:

    you can see the piss-stained crotch of the conservative movement

    Today’s edition of “Word Pictures You Won’t Put In Your Scrapbook.”

  22. 22
    demimondian says:

    somebody please reassure me that blogs4brownback is a spoof.

    I daresay reassurance will be long in coming, Wilfred. It’s perfectly possible that it is — but they’re so freaking sincere. I mean, they don’t even take Google Ads, which would, at least, make them some money. Wouldn’t they at least do that if they were spoof?

    No, I think it’s plausible that they’re all too real.

  23. 23
    Tim F. says:

    No, I think it’s plausible that they’re all too real.

    The lead blogger’s tag is sisyphus. Let’s ask Krista what she thinks about giving the game away by choosing too cute a handle.

  24. 24
    Tim F. says:

    :-) Actually that came across badly. Sorry. I was sincere. I usually just read something here for a take as I’m usually aware of the news part of things.

    OK then. It didn’t seem like what I know of you, but I had a hard time interpreting it in any other way. No biggie.

  25. 25
    Pb says:

    somebody please reassure me that blogs4brownback is a spoof

    And while you’re at it, somebody please reassure me that Red State is a spoof.

  26. 26
    ThymeZone says:

    No, I think it’s plausible that they’re all too real.

    The material looks like boilerplate righty stuff to me.

    But of course, I’m a pinko commie Taliban lover, so what do I know?

  27. 27
    Tsulagi says:

    I’ll give the Erick guy at RedState some credit. He has voiced some issues with Republican leadership replacing one corrupt Pub (Doolittle) with another one (Calvert) on the Appropriations Committee. Not like that’s really news, but Erick woke up or something?

    Reading the comments on the Calvert posts at RedState is funny. A fair number do agree with Erick, but others are clearly uncomfortable with the concept. Sort of like “Okay, Calvert is corrupt, and yes he tried to drive away from a cop with his pants down and a heroin addict/hooker hard at work in his lap, but where is my “The Dems are worse” meme?” They needs their pabulum and reassurance.

    Also, since those at the top of the Pub leadership tell them there is nothing to the Plame/NSA wiretapping/manufactured intel/torture/Calvert/Gonzales/etc./etc. stories, that’s all they need to know. So when Calvert finally stopped for the police officer and told him he and the lady (with her head buried in his lap) were just talking, it must be the truth.

  28. 28
    Wilfred says:

    Re: blogs4browbback, this is from the post on gambling:

    The Bible clearly states that casting lots is akin to snuggling up to Sodomites or fooling around with fortune tellers in “winning” you a one-way ticket to the hottest country on Earth, Hell

    This is almost P.G. Wodehouse or Evelyn Waugh quality. My money is on spoof.

  29. 29

    The lead blogger’s tag is sisyphus. Let’s ask Krista what she thinks about giving the game away by choosing too cute a handle.

    I think it’s real. Frightening, but real.

    It sinks to depths you don’t normally see in a spoof. Spoofers usually draw the line somewhere, but I don’t see a line drawn on that blog. They link to a site of Holocaust deniers, for Christ’s sake!

  30. 30
    ThymeZone says:

    They link to a site of Holocaust deniers, for Christ’s sake!

    Now THAT’S a great sentence, Puss.

  31. 31
    demimondian says:

    The lead blogger’s tag is sisyphus.

    I’m really afraid that he (she?) is just too stupid to know what the tag means. I could be wrong, but I think you’ve been spoiled by your commentariat — most Americans aren’t as clever as DougJ.

  32. 32
    cleek says:

    Always wondered why so few conservative blogs allow comments.

    these are people who equate political dissent with treason, literally. they have fucked-up ideas about the purpose and utility of discussion.

  33. 33
    Wilfred says:

    Here’s Sisyphus’ coda on Tim F.’s bete-noire, Paul Wolfowitz:

    Luckily, the White House is going to find a suitable replacement in short order. But really, who among us can replace such a man? America owes Wolfowitz a debt of honor and gratitude it can never hope to repay. He saved Iraq, he saved America, and he salvaged the World Bank’s miserable reputation. What can a nation such as ours reserve for such a hero? A ticker tape parade and a few airports named after him would hardly begin to cover it.

    If you posted that here, it would be spoof. If you posted it on Redstate you’d be banned for Mobying. I think it’s deadpan parody, the kind that never winks at the audience. Like the Bible.

  34. 34
    Pb says:

    I’m really afraid that he (she?) is just too stupid to know what the tag means.

    I’d go the other way on that–that he (or she) is so wacked out that ‘Sisyphus’ has some completely different, weird, twisted personal meaning in this context. I mean, it has had a lot of those to a lot of people. Given that context, I rather like this interpretation:

    The 1st-century BCE Epicurean philosopher Lucretius interprets the myth of Sisyphus as personifying politicians aspiring for political office who are constantly defeated, with the quest for power, in itself an “empty thing”, being likened to rolling the boulder up the hill. (De Rerum Natura III)

  35. 35
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    An InterTubal ligation?

    This? Brilliant.

    I have long found it funny that the majority of conservative blogs are one-way streets–no comments allowed. Even funnier is what happens on conservablogs that do allow comments: Either the commentariat makes the initial stupidity of the blog posting even stupider (think of the race to the bottom that is the LGF comments), or non-wingnuts will swing through and routinely hand out rhetorical ass-kickings to the bloggers.

  36. 36
    les says:

    Speaking of which, somebody please reassure me that blogs4brownback is a spoof.

    Huh. The question of the week–here, Sadly No!, even Pharyngula. No consensus–but form Ks., I find it scarily believeable.

  37. 37
    Pb says:

    If you posted it on Redstate

    …then you’re probably be one of their front-page posters. Have you been to Red State lately? Obviously everyone was out to get poor lil’ innocent ol’ Wolfie!

    you’d be banned for Mobying

    Besides, it’d be a shame if Red State banned Hugh Hewitt or something…

  38. 38
    John Cole says:

    Look- I have been second to no one when criticizing Red State here. And there were some times of outright subservience that they showed periodically.

    But I will attest that the marked difference between the Hugh Hewitt/Dean barnett power worshippers and the Red State folks is that the former worship power for power’s sake.

    The folks at Red State actually believe things, and desire the power to enact their policies.

    You can kvetch and bitch and moan that some ofthe thingsthey want to enact are pretty awful, but at LEAST they believe in something other than the party.

  39. 39
    Punchy says:

    So when Calvert finally stopped for the police officer and told him he and the lady (with her head buried in his lap) were just talking, it must be the truth.

    I need to get me some talking, Republican-style. If this is really true, then I guess I can see how can actually watch–in real time–Antartica melt and deny global warming.

    As for this:

    You can kvetch and bitch and moan that some ofthe thingsthey want to enact are pretty awful, but at LEAST they believe in something other than the party.

    Sorry, Mr. Cole, you’re going to have to do better than this. Name some things. Link to them. Show me the posts about how un-conservative it really is to drive up huge deficeits. Show me all the concern about state’s rights when Terri Shiavo (sp?) was going dehydro, or our country’s meddling in foreign affairs, or government snooping on its citizens.

    Truth is, you cannot. They simply parrot the Party line, “conservative” be dammed.

  40. 40
    Mike S says:

    You can kvetch and bitch and moan that some ofthe thingsthey want to enact are pretty awful, but at LEAST they believe in something other than the party.

    That’s why they have been signing up to serve in Iraq at an astounding rate.

    Oh wait… It wasn’t about serving, it was about “reporting the good news” that the rest of the media won’t.

  41. 41
    ThymeZone says:

    The folks at Red State actually believe things, and desire the power to enact their policies.

    You can kvetch and bitch and moan that some ofthe thingsthey want to enact are pretty awful, but at LEAST they believe in something other than the party.

    All that’s necessary to prove that RedState is a steaming pile of nonsense is to quote them and let their own words speak for themselves:

    Open Thread Discussion For A Monday Afternoon
    By Erick

    Were the Bush administration as zealous in its advocacy of the surge in Iraq as it is in its advocacy of the immigration reform, we might not now be in the mess we’re in with a Congress intent on surrender of the war.

    Discuss

    Unbelievable than any sentient person would defend such material. Whether you were or weren’t, I’m not sure, and not asking. I’m just going to quote their material whenever the subject comes up, and let it speak for itself.

  42. 42
    Pb says:

    The folks at Red State actually believe things

    Right, like so:

    Now President Bush has an opportunity here to replace Dr. Wolfowitz with someone who can drive through the hole he made in the Bank’s culture. Such a progression would be, after all, the best legacy for a reformer such as Paul Wolfowitz.

    They believe that the World Bank needs another reformer to fill the shoes of Paul Wolfowitz, and continue the legacy, much like…

    I wonder how long Dr. Wolfowitz expected to last at the World Bank. Like Dr. Summers, Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Bolton, he hardly could have anticipated a long, untroubled appointment. After all, these are hardly babes in the woods that we’re dealing with here. Each had to know that from the get-go, the long knives would be out for them. By energetically and uncompromisingly pursuing reform, they were in a sense setting a limit to their tenures as they would inevitably provoke the wrath of the very systems they proposed to overhaul.

    Summers, Rumsfeld, and Bolton, bold reformers all!

    and desire the power to enact their policies

    I don’t even want to think about that–could it look worse than the past six years? I think it could…

  43. 43
    cleek says:

    gotta love the final lines of that FDL post:

    but I’d much rather be considered an effective barbarian than a useless tool nobody bothers to read. Especially for those accustomed to slavering like a bichon frise at the feet of their leadership, that’s gotta hurt.

  44. 44
    louisms says:

    Glad to see Tim linked to Bob Altemeyer’s book in the post. That really is must-read stuff for anyone wanting to understand how these folks tick.

    Yeah, I never really understood what makes cons tick until I read Altemeyer. I’ve recommended The Authoritarians to all my buds.

  45. 45
    Fledermaus says:

    You can kvetch and bitch and moan that some ofthe thingsthey want to enact are pretty awful, but at LEAST they believe in something other than the party.

    Shorter John Cole: Say what you will about the tenants of National Socialism, at least it’s an ethos. :p

  46. 46
    zzedar says:

    I think a big part of the general socially liberal orientation of the internet is due to its origins. When the internet was first getting started, most users were programmers, followed shortly by geeks of other sorts. When other groups started using it regularly, they took their tonal and organizational cues from the social structures that had already been set up by the programmers. The political culture of hackerdom has been described as “Vaguely liberal-moderate, except for the strong libertarian contingent”. This is replicated on the web, partially because it was imprinted into the culture from a very early stage.

  47. 47
    Tsulagi says:

    Pb says,

    They believe that the World Bank needs another reformer to fill the shoes of Paul Wolfowitz, and continue the legacy

    They got that right. Not only is Wolfie an HR reformer coming up with novel ways to get a girlfriend paid for by taxpayers, he brings a keen, banker’s dollars-and-cents mind to the table. A visionary really…

    “We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.”
    Paul Wolfowitz, 3/27/03, Congressional testimony

    Yep, that level of competence will be sorely missed. But let’s not forget another of those “reformer” victims identified by that RedState poster. Who can forget Rummy when authoritatively speaking about WMDs the admin confidently knew were in Iraq…

    “We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”
    Rumsfeld 3/30/03

    Hmmm…So Rummy knew about the WMDs and where they were located before he didn’t? Does that qualify as a flip-flop? Maybe a Mitt Romney reverse conversion? Hard to tell with all the similar visionary reformers that completely populate this administration.

    Good to see that RedState poster astutely fathoms that rather than just writing total bullshit for the good of the party.

  48. 48
    Zifnab says:

    Say what you will about the tenants of National Socialism, at least it’s an ethos.

    I agree. It would have been worse if we’d killed the Jews tortured the Muslims for no reason at all.

    Seriously, though, I mean I guess its cool to have an ethos and not just be along for the ride as a loyal Bushie. But at some point you have to take stock in what your beliefs are. There is a reason Catholics and Wiccans garner different degrees of respect – and its not just because of the funny hats. Why baseball took off but shuffle-board remains more a hobbie than a sport. Why flat-earthers aren’t more populous.

    Sometimes what you believe in isn’t true, but fits your needs. Other times its just flat out crazy or stupid. The guys at RedState passed crazy and stupid a few pitstops back. Simply having “the strength of their convictions” behind their diatribes against people who hate Christians and suspicions that lesbian tree-huggers from the ACLU want to take their guns doesn’t make them more noble. It just makes them a different purer flavor of ignorant.

    I don’t see the need to praise them for it.

  49. 49
    Krista says:

    The lead blogger’s tag is sisyphus. Let’s ask Krista what she thinks about giving the game away by choosing too cute a handle.

    Well, I am pretty goddamned cute, so why wouldn’t I choose a cute handle? No spoofing for me lately, though — I’ve barely had time to even comment here.

  50. 50
    Jake says:

    Yeah, I never really understood what makes cons tick until I read Altemeyer.

    The sacrud holy blud of the lowered is what I heard.

  51. 51

    Well, I am pretty goddamned cute, so why wouldn’t I choose a cute handle? No spoofing for me lately, though—I’ve barely had time to even comment here.

    Plus, she’s cuter than an ugly old handle like Sisyphus. What makes you call that one “cute?” When I hear it, I envision Camus getting squashed by boulders over and over and over again. For some reason.

    (No, I can’t get therapy! I’m dead, you fuckers!)

  52. 52
    Tsulagi says:

    I gotta stop going to RedState for the comedy value. It’s taking too much time even though they deliver the laughs.

    This one is a classic. A youtube put together by the NRCC on Murtha’s ethics. The really funny thing is the soundtrack. The RedState poster calls it “chilling.” Obviously the NRCC knows its target audience; hearing the soundtrack probably half of them will spit out their Cheetos getting ready to fight while the other half wets their Depends.

  53. 53
    empty says:

    Great post Tim. You really outdid yourself. I have often wondered why even reasonably intelligent conservatives like Andrew Sullivan are afraid to open up their blogs for comments. I used to find more conservatives I respected than liberals. But looking back on it it was their libertarian tendencies that were the attraction. With the “conservative”* bloggers of today it is the authoritarian tendencies that come to fore.

    * I put conservative in quotes because there are many people, like John Cole, who I think of as a conservative though never in the same group as Malkin et al.

  54. 54
    The Other Steve says:

    You can kvetch and bitch and moan that some ofthe thingsthey want to enact are pretty awful, but at LEAST they believe in something other than the party.

    That is pretty damning praise.

  55. 55
    The Other Steve says:

    I used to find more conservatives I respected than liberals. But looking back on it it was their libertarian tendencies that were the attraction. With the “conservative”* bloggers of today it is the authoritarian tendencies that come to fore.

    What I find so interesting… You look at all the so-called libertarian Republicans, and they are the most authoritarian.

    As you noted, they don’t allow comments. But most notably, all of their writings are about how stupid everybody else is, and if only we could purge them all from the discussion, the proletariat would prosper! Interesting, no?

  56. 56
    The Other Steve says:

    This one is a classic. A youtube put together by the NRCC on Murtha’s ethics. The really funny thing is the soundtrack. The RedState poster calls it “chilling.” Obviously the NRCC knows its target audience; hearing the soundtrack probably half of them will spit out their Cheetos getting ready to fight while the other half wets their Depends.

    It would have been better if they’d used a 24 theme. Maybe had Jack Bauer chasing after Jack Murtha hoping to stop him before he planted another earmark in a bill.

  57. 57
    grumpy realist says:

    Why does that comment by John remind me of the typical praise of Mussolini?

    “After all, he made the trains run on time….”

  58. 58
    Dave says:

    Clue me in, where is the “chilling soundtrack” from?

  59. 59
    Pooh says:

    The lead blogger’s tag is sisyphus. Let’s ask Krista what she thinks about giving the game away by choosing too cute a handle.

    Well, I am pretty goddamned cute, so why wouldn’t I choose a cute handle? No spoofing for me lately, though—I’ve barely had time to even comment here.

    But what’s the exchange rate on Canadan Cuteness, eh?

    (speaking of barely having time to comment here…)

  60. 60
    srv says:

    POTQ (Quarter), Tim.

    Boy, remember when they were going to leverage all those indigineous Republican Arabic skills and translate all those Iraqi documents that would prove once and for all the WMDs went to Michael Moore?

    I once made the suggestion that each Wingnut blog should adopt a terror-pet at Gitmo. You could have a live web camera for each, and an array of virtual inquisition implements the Party of Torture crowd could vote on to use that day.

    But then I realized defusing all those ticking time bombs would be like some Abbott and Costello skit. There’d be so much intercine screaming in that wankfest that their victims would be as frustrated and unsatisfied as their wives are.

  61. 61
    caustics says:

    Barnett argues that a party member like Erick should know his place and stop making so much noise.

    “Shut up and carry the water”. Could be that Erick’s arms got tired and he finally snapped. Could be that a whole bunch of folks in that tribe have had it in general, but the current immigration “Outrage!” overshadows everything at the moment.

    In any case I can’t feel sorry him. For months before this he seemed determined to drive RedState straight off a cliff with increasingly lurid and stupid “feast on this red meat and foam” front page hit-pieces, just like the big boys.

    It’s a bitch growing up in public.

  62. 62
    Joe1347 says:

    Interesting comment about the conservative blogs not allowing comments. Maybe the comment should be appended to not allowing ‘non-conforming to the ultra-right wind party line’ comments. It only took me two fairly benign posts to get banned on Redstate – but I guess it was immediately clear that I wasn’t an ultra-right wing type. So I received yet another hard push to the left – which still for some reason continues to surprise me since I thought that I was a fairly conservative Republican. You know, limited and less intrusive Federal Government, Fiscal Responsibility, not playing at Nation Building, and all of that other left-wing ‘Democratic Party’ propaganda. BTW, try registering to post comments on LGF. Can’t – can you :)

  63. 63
    Krista says:

    BTW, try registering to post comments on LGF. Can’t – can you

    No, you can’t. In a bit of a spoofing fit, I once considered registering there. In retrospect, I’m very glad I was not able to. They seem like a rather frightening bunch.

    Oh, and Pooh…the exchange rate is actually getting close to being even. Just like the dollar.

  64. 64
    Tim F. says:

    Oh, and Pooh…the exchange rate is actually getting close to being even. Just like the dollar.

    Baloney. I just checked Celine Dion – it’s still two-to-one at best.

  65. 65
    Krista says:

    She’s been in Vegas long enough that she’s now officially yours. See section 5, subsection D of NAFTA.

  66. 66
    Tulkinghorn says:

    If you ever listen to Dion’s singing when she was a teen sensation it becomes clear that tossed away a considerable talent in order to American middlebrow taste and megadollars.

    She is like Iraq: we ruined her, now we own her.

    Can we send Shatner back yet? Please?

  67. 67
    Tim F. says:

    She’s been in Vegas long enough that she’s now officially yours.

    What fur trapper slipped that in? It sounds suspiciously like dumping to me.

  68. 68
    Krista says:

    Meh…you’ve got to take the bad with the good. You also now have Evangeline Lily and Elisha Cuthbert, so quitchyer whining.

  69. 69
    leefranke says:

    Re: Comments

    I have been a reader of The Agitator for quite some time. It is a libertarian blog.

    It had comments for quite some time, he had to remove them because during the run up to the war it got invaded by a bunch of Republican true believers that ruined any honest discussion.

  70. 70
    Digital Amish says:

    Forget Scrutator, Blogs4Brownback, et.al. I give you the longest running spoof of all.

    President Bush said on Monday that any effort by Congress to hold a no-confidence vote on Alberto R. Gonzales, his embattled attorney general, amounted to the “kind of political theater that has caused the American people to lose confidence in how Washington operates.”

    Although here he is coming dangerously close to jumping the shark.

  71. 71
    Noel "Anonymus" Coward says:

    Always wondered why so few conservative blogs allow comments. Now, it makes sense. They don’t want to know the truth…they don’t want to be reminded of reality, the 28%, the quagmire, the budget deficiet, the corruption, etc. Much easier to maintain a clear echo chamber when new sounds are never allowed in…

    So it should be

    Linder brushed off the online critics.

    “I really don’t pay much attention to blogs,” he said. “You can say anything on those conservative blogs without any attribution and get away with it.”

    In reality your Interwebs is the place where you can’t get away with anything, because you are immediately subject to massive peer reviews. I’m always being torn apart by reality based, intelligent people who bombard me with facts and point out my fallacies.

  72. 72

    I think there was a “This Modern World” comic about 4 years ago about how Bush, Cheney et al were actually closet liberals out to ruin the GOP forever.

    Maybe when they retire, they can reveal themselves and take a bow.

  73. 73
    RSA says:

    Can we send Shatner back yet?

    We could try shooting him into space, but that hasn’t worked so well from what I read in the news.

  74. 74
    Bombadil says:

    Shorter John Cole: Say what you will about the tenants of National Socialism, at least it’s an ethos. :p

    I trust the tenants of National Socialism have kept up their rent payments.

  75. 75
    The Other Steve says:

    It only took me two fairly benign posts to get banned on Redstate – but I guess it was immediately clear that I wasn’t an ultra-right wing type.

    It does not take much to get banned there. If you aren’t a insane lunatic, you get th eboot.

  76. 76
    Zifnab says:

    Can we send Shatner back yet? Please?

    William Shatner kicks ass. You shut your god damn face.

  77. 77
    Larry says:

    President Bush said on Monday that any effort by Congress to hold a no-confidence vote on Alberto R. Gonzales, his embattled attorney general, amounted to the “kind of political theater that has caused the American people to lose confidence in how Washington operates.”

    With that, irony is not just dead, all traces of it have been removed from the planet forever. Future generations will not know that such a thing as irony ever existed.

  78. 78
    Wilfred says:

    , and more than that, this subservient position in the political discourse is exactly where he thinks they belong.

    I’ve always thought that some blogs belonged on (virtual) lampposts, like those para-schizo rants you’d see pasted up in big cities, a thousand words crammed on a single sheet of paper in microscopic scrawl. What sane Republican politician would want to be associated with the crypto-racist drivel put up on Redstate, or LGF, or Free Republic?

    They exposed themselves a long time ago and are now running around trying to tear down all the bile they posted up before. Mr. Furious already said it best: Fuck ’em.

  79. 79
    Punchy says:

    William Shatner kicks ass. You shut your god damn face.

    Oh, no you dih’ent. Billy Shats is a old, played-out phony shell of a once mightier shell of a phony young man. Let’s give back Billy and Shrek Myers in exchange for permenant residency (in my bedroom) of Avril Lavigne.

  80. 80
    Zifnab says:

    President Bush said on Monday that any effort by Congress to hold a no-confidence vote on Alberto R. Gonzales, his embattled attorney general, amounted to the “kind of political theater that has caused the American people to lose confidence in how Washington operates.”

    SPOOF! I call spoof! There’s no way he’s that full of shit. I disbelieve.

    Billy Shats is a old, played-out phony shell of a once mightier shell of a phony young man. Let’s give back Billy and Shrek Myers in exchange for permenant residency (in my bedroom) of Avril Lavigne.

    Will S. was a brilliant actor. He played part of a cheesy, over-hyped, mildly incompetant Star Fleet Captain exactly as it was ment to be played. The performance of Mr. Shatner in every even-numbered Star Trek movie was rivaled only by the brilliant dialogue and witty comic stylings of one Wayne Campbell and one Garth Algar in the defining movie of generation X in the 90s. On par with Waterworld and Spice World in its genius – Wayne’s World will live on in my heart forever.

  81. 81
    Bombadil says:

    Shatner is following in the grand tradition of Leslie Neilsen — a B-grade actor known for chewing scenery, turning into a caricature of himself, thereby not only prolonging his career, but redefining how he’s to be remembered.

    Just as relatively few folks remember “Forbidden Planet”, but everyone remembers, “…and don’t call me Shirley”, Shatner will be remembered as much for his priceline.com ads and his over-the-top performance on “Boston Legal” (slow dancing with James Spader!) as he will for Star Trek or The Twilight Zone.

    Not bad for a fat Canadian with a bad hairpiece.

  82. 82
    Pooh says:

    Meh…you’ve got to take the bad with the good. You also now have Evangeline Lily and Elisha Cuthbert, so quitchyer whining.

    Yeah, but they shacked up with a hobbit and a hockey player respectively. Is it something in the water up/over there?

  83. 83
    Krista says:

    Well, Hobbits do have rather oversized feet…

  84. 84
    Pooh says:

    In retrospect, not spelling it “shaqued” was a severe oversight on my part. Won’t happen again.

  85. 85
    Krista says:

    It better not, or I’ll come over and kick in your igloo.

  86. 86
    Digital Amish says:

    SPOOF! I call spoof! There’s no way he’s that full of shit. I disbelieve.

    You misunderestimate the man.

  87. 87

    […] Conservative/Liberal Digital Divide By Doug Tim F. at Balloon Juice has an interesting take on the “digital divide” between Conservatives and Liberals on the Internet. Generally speaking, it seems that Democratic candidates have thriving online operations and liberal netizens have some degree of influence on Democratic politicians. Meanwhile, Republican candidates don’t seem to be having nearly the online success of their Democratic counterparts and conservative netizens don’t have the same degree of influence on their preferred politicians. Says former Republican Congressional aide David All: “For the most part Republicans are stuck in Internet circa 2000.” […]

  88. 88

    […] Conservative/Liberal Digital Divide By Doug Tim F. at Balloon Juice has an interesting take on the “digital divide” between Conservatives and Liberals on the Internet. Generally speaking, it seems that Democratic candidates have thriving online operations and liberal netizens have some degree of influence on Democratic politicians. Meanwhile, Republican candidates don’t seem to be having nearly the online success of their Democratic counterparts and conservative netizens don’t have the same degree of influence on their preferred politicians. Says former Republican Congressional aide David All: “For the most part Republicans are stuck in Internet circa 2000.” […]

  89. 89

    […] This has been a fun little trip through obvious land, but it gives me an opportinity to revisit my favorite criticism of the rightwing civility meme. Amazingly no leftie has put it as well as Dean Barnett. […]

  90. 90

    […] Even so the insurgent advantage only gets us partway there. An equal component of the leftosphere’s success clearly comes from the distinct attitudes that Democrats and Republicans have towards us noisy, undisciplined hordes in the netroots. Practically every day now a Democratic politician stops by Kos to ask for support or forgiveness on whatever issue of the day, and half the time they don’t get it. Instead they get abuse, sometimes to a comical degree, yet they keep coming back. The leadership treats internet leaders like allies. The story on the right is a bit different. From that post I mentioned at the outset: […]

  91. 91

    […] Damn you, John, for blogging that Dan Bartlett quote before I could. Revealing slips like that offer a golden opportunity to revisit one of my favorite takedowns of the rightwing blogosphere ever. […]

  92. 92

    […] see, some time back I posted some thoughts about Erick Erickson’s amusing and mostly futile efforts to carve a bottom-up niche […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] see, some time back I posted some thoughts about Erick Erickson’s amusing and mostly futile efforts to carve a bottom-up niche […]

  2. […] Damn you, John, for blogging that Dan Bartlett quote before I could. Revealing slips like that offer a golden opportunity to revisit one of my favorite takedowns of the rightwing blogosphere ever. […]

  3. […] Even so the insurgent advantage only gets us partway there. An equal component of the leftosphere’s success clearly comes from the distinct attitudes that Democrats and Republicans have towards us noisy, undisciplined hordes in the netroots. Practically every day now a Democratic politician stops by Kos to ask for support or forgiveness on whatever issue of the day, and half the time they don’t get it. Instead they get abuse, sometimes to a comical degree, yet they keep coming back. The leadership treats internet leaders like allies. The story on the right is a bit different. From that post I mentioned at the outset: […]

  4. […] This has been a fun little trip through obvious land, but it gives me an opportinity to revisit my favorite criticism of the rightwing civility meme. Amazingly no leftie has put it as well as Dean Barnett. […]

  5. […] Conservative/Liberal Digital Divide By Doug Tim F. at Balloon Juice has an interesting take on the “digital divide” between Conservatives and Liberals on the Internet. Generally speaking, it seems that Democratic candidates have thriving online operations and liberal netizens have some degree of influence on Democratic politicians. Meanwhile, Republican candidates don’t seem to be having nearly the online success of their Democratic counterparts and conservative netizens don’t have the same degree of influence on their preferred politicians. Says former Republican Congressional aide David All: “For the most part Republicans are stuck in Internet circa 2000.” […]

  6. […] Conservative/Liberal Digital Divide By Doug Tim F. at Balloon Juice has an interesting take on the “digital divide” between Conservatives and Liberals on the Internet. Generally speaking, it seems that Democratic candidates have thriving online operations and liberal netizens have some degree of influence on Democratic politicians. Meanwhile, Republican candidates don’t seem to be having nearly the online success of their Democratic counterparts and conservative netizens don’t have the same degree of influence on their preferred politicians. Says former Republican Congressional aide David All: “For the most part Republicans are stuck in Internet circa 2000.” […]

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