The Corner

Blog Wars

I don’t follow leftwing blogs nearly closely enough to score this stuff with any precision or passion. But one point I think leftwing bloggers might take a moment to think about is that most of them will implode or lose their impact and influence the moment they achieve their dream of “winning.”

It seems a lot of people have forgotten how much of the conversation about the web in the 1990s was all about how conservatives had the decisive advantage. And, it’s true: the rightwing embryonic blogosphere seized the commanding heights of the web first and only in recent years has the left achieved something like parity or even superiority. There are simple and complicated reasons for all this. But one very relevant one is that, simply, Democrats are out of power. Conservative magazines, radio shows and websites did great under Bill Clinton and liberals magazines and websites have thrived under Bush (radio, it seems, is still a big problem for the left). Being out of power fires up the base and frees up activists and pundits to swing for the bleachers. Being in power is much more boring for the base. Rather than pounding the table with rage at imagined outrages, you have to defend the real-world policies of specific people. Rather than talk, as Kos does, about how winning is the only thing, once you’ve won, you still need to talk about…something. And the buzz that comes with defending this or that tax hike is just a lot less of a rush than the rhetorical self-esteem stroking the lefties seem obsessed with now.  If the Democrats take back the Congress and the White House in 2008, the impact and relevance of the leftwing blogosphere will plummet, I guarantee you.  The ones with staying power will be those that actually have something interesting to say beyond mere “winning.” 

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