s skippy the bush kangaroo: when someone asks if you're a god, you say "yes"

skippy the bush kangaroo

Friday, July 21, 2006

when someone asks if you're a god, you say "yes"

readers of this space will remember our interview w/prof. richard hanley of quinnipiac u's school of communications about the lamont/lieberman race. in a nutshell, prof. hanley opined that blogs merely gave voice to a huge anti-joe sentiment simmering just below the surface of connecticut politics:

it’s important to note, though, that the audience was ready to accept and learn more about an anti-lieberman candidate, as the dissatisfaction with the senator and his relationship with the president are significant in the state. the convention showed that to be the case.

the dump joe bumper stickers have been around for a few years now, so the blogs fulfilled two roles: creating a specific demand for a specific challenge and reflecting a larger desire for the same thing. that’s a very effective combination, and it illustrates the tremendous functionality of blogs to both drive and reflect emerging political sensibilities among the electorate.
prof. hanley is one of the smart ones. he realizes that blogs, however new and loud they are, actually aren't providing the motivation, merely the megaphone.

but the multi-millionaire media doesn't look at it that way. the conventional wisdown is that "angry" "liberal" blogs on the "internets" are trying to destroy lieberman, and by extension, the very process of democracy.

of course we all know the irony of this point of view is that blogs are merely helping to engage in, not destroy, the democratic process...a process we we believe to include primaries, voting, and constituencies picking their own representatives.

but the mmm and cw aren't buying it...they have a meme! and they'll give up their storyline when we pry it from their cold, dead hands. the nytimes (registration required!) shows us how much the politicos are buying into the accepted narrative:

to mr. lieberman’s camp, the bloggers embody what his longtime friend lanny davis calls “the demonizing, hating, virulent, character-assassinating left of the democratic party"...

mr. lieberman’s allies discuss him these days with a tinge of sadness, as if mourning a kindly gentleman who has wandered into a bad neighborhood. “he’s being subjected to the hate machine like bill clinton and george bush have,” said mr. davis, a former special counsel to mr. clinton. “joe lieberman has never been subjected to this before.”

senator john mccain, republican of arizona and one of mr. lieberman’s closest friends in the senate, called him “one of the most decent men i have ever known” and simply shook his head when asked about his friend’s situation. “i hesitate to say anything nice about him, for fear that it would be used against him,” mr. mccain said. “and that’s a terrible commentary on the state of politics and the political climate today.”
after the lamont/lieberman debate, john dickerson wrote in slate (yes! it rhymes!) in a piece titled "the negativity trap":

since political observers have come to see this race as a test of the power and limitations of the blogging class, this new political force faces as much a challenge as lamont does. there's sensitivity among online activist to the charge that they're merely angry. their critics use this claim to characterize them as an unthinking horde. but it has always been easier in politics to tear down an opponent than to inspire. so, which will the bloggers do now? will they limit their role to delivering repeated blows to lieberman, as they did after the debate thursday night? or will they be able to transfer all of their passion into making the case for lamont in a way that is convincing and doesn't sound like mindless boosterism?
you can read it if you want to (to his credit, dickerson did mention that lieberman's aggressiveness looked like a lack of confidence), but if you don't, let us summarize for you: in 880 words about a primary race, dickerson mentions the words "blogs" or "bloggers" 8 times, and the word "voters" only 3.

[ed. note: if we include the word "vote," the total comes up to 7 times, because dickerson quoted lamont, who used the word 4 times. but we think that only proves our point.]

even worse, morton kondracke (wait, wasn't the the name of the monster in pirates of the caribbean?) wrote in rollcall (registration required, and man, it's hard to get!):

this is no exaggeration: the soul of the democratic party — and possibly the future of civility in american politics — is on the line in the aug. 8 senate primary in connecticut.

sen. joe lieberman (conn.), one of the last “liberal hawks” in the democratic party and a leader in efforts to find bipartisan solutions to america’s problems, is being targeted for defeat by an emergent new left that’s using savage, internet-based attacks to push moderation out of politics.
morton meankracken is half of the beltway boys on faux news and a major player in the conventional wisdom dissemination industry in dc. from his top down, there is only one reason that lieberman is being challenged: hatred, pure and simple. "savage" internet attacks from a "new left" that wants to destroy civility and the democratic party (and probably life) as well know it.

and we remember david brooks' "liberal inquisition" piece, which cried out in terror:

what's happening to lieberman can only be described as a liberal inquisition," writes brooks. "whether you agree with him or not, he is transparently the most kind-hearted and well-intentioned of men. but over the past few years he has been subjected to a vituperation campaign that only experts in moral manias and mob psychology are really fit to explain."

"i can't reproduce the typical assaults that have been directed at him over the internet, because they are so laced with profanity and ugliness, but they are ginned up by ideological masseurs who salve their followers' psychic wounds by arousing their rage at objects of mutual hate," brooks adds.
oooh, scary, keeds! terrible, disgusting things on the internets, like this and this. apparently civility can't survive sarcasm. who knew it was so fragile?

yes, these same points have been eloquently made in the last few days by other bloggers with far more traffic than us. but something that hasn't been brought to the table is the idea of accepting, however undeservedly, that coventional wisdeom cloak of power.

as winston told ray after gozer ripped them to shreds with lightning bolts, "when someone asks if you're a god, you say, 'yes'."

sure, you know and we know that blogs aren't the engine driving the anti-lieberman sentiment; they're merely helping with the roadmap. they ain't nothing but a new way of getting voices heard.

but because it's been so long since the establishment has heard any voices other than their own, they think that the actual "hearing of voices" is the problem, as if dc has suddenly gotten a collective case of schizophrenia. it's obviously the symptoms that are the trouble, dr. lieberman! get rid of ze voices und ve'll be cured! cured, ve say, cured! muh-wa-ha-ha-haaaa!

so, if morton meankracken and david brooks and joe lieberman and leslie blitzer think that we have the kind of power to break the balls bones of politicians with a mere keystroke and a few choice expletives, then fine. let them quiver in their beds, those poopy-pantsers, fearing the all-mighty blogs.

let's write op-ed pieces in the latimes. let's go on meet the press. let's publish books.

let's crash this party, as long as they're afraid to throw us out.

it might be a few years before they catch on and realize that we're not that powerful.

before they realize that blogs only reflect the real power: the citizens of the united states.

now, that's scary, keeds! ooooooo-ooohh!
posted by skippy at 7:35 PM |


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