Thursday, October 06, 2005

What can be done?

Professor Bainbridge, no fan of the Miers nomination, asks a good question:

I have the distinct impression that the Democratic Party sees the liberal blogosphere as being inside the tent, while the Republican Party views the conservative blogosphere as being somewhere between an irrelevance and a minor nuisance. Maybe this is true, at least in part, because many prominent "conservative" bloggers (Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Reynolds, Stephen Green, and Eugene Volokh spring to mind) are not exactly stalwart Republican party loyalists but rather libertarians (or whatever) who put routinely put their principles ahead of party interests. Alternatively, maybe the Democrats have just decided to follow Lyndon Johnson's advice about keeping your critics inside the tent peeing out rather than outside the tent peeing in.

In any event, all of this raises the question of how those of us in the conservative blogosphere can elevate ourselves into the category of genuine problem as opposed to mere nuisances. I'm open to suggestions.

Although the liberal blogosphere readily identifies with Communists, Anarchists, and other loser parties, the discussion never centers around third parties when it comes time to vote. They ONLY vote Democrat. The Professor rightly notes that many prominent non-left bloggers are libertarian (he should not identify this universe as the "conservative" blogosphere, since frankly many of them are not conservative. I'll call it the right-leaning blogosphere). It is not uncommon for the discussion in the right-leaning blogosphere to often note the vote for a third party. Also, many prominent libetarian bloggers do not share the same interests as conservatives and so don't blog often about conservative issues like being pro-life. The right-leaning blogosphere includes many Warbloggers who support President Bush in the War on Terror, but who couldn't care less about abortion, the size of government, gun control, and other conservative issues. So the right-leaning blogosphere is split, while the liberal blogosphere is, well, liberal.

Even more importantly than that, however, the liberal blogosphere has been very focused on party-building activities like donating to specific liberal Democrats, which has the effect of moving the Democratic party left. Many of the and the Daily Kos people were involved in fundraising efforts for specific liberal candidates. No comparable effort in the right-leaning blogosphere existed (President Bush was the only candidate, and no Senate or House races faced recognition). Therefore, there was no comparable effect of the right-leaning blogosphere pulling the Republican Party to the conservative side. Also, given the libertarian or single-issue nature of many in the right-leaning blogosphere, there is no party-building efforts across the board. To suggest that the right-leaning blogosphere is mainly Republican is absurd. And even though prominent liberal bloggers wanted to wage war on the Democratic National Committee, they were going to do it AS DEMOCRATS, meaning they were doing it to move the party to the left.

So, to answer Professor Bainbridge's question - how do we become a problem? First, as I did, tell the RNC and Ken Mehlman to quit asking for $$$$$. They're not getting a dime from me until they get the message loud and clear. Every piece of mail I get from them has gone in the trash for months. Second, I'll be more than happy to donate to any conservative involved in a primary fight against an incumbent Republican. Third, I would encourage conservatives to quit listening to certain people telling us that we have to shut up and toe the Republican Party line, and instead listen to committed conservatives who are devoted to victory.

It's easy to become a problem to the Republicans when you also remember that by agitating on the political end you'll also be helping in other areas also.

UPDATE: Professor Volokh, a libertarian, sympathizes.

FURTHER UPDATE: As I mentioned on Prof. Bainbridge's blog, with regards to money, it's not enough that conservatives give in general. It's WHO you give it to. Give it to conservative primary candidates taking on incumbent Republicans. Don't give to the RNC. Don't give to Republican PACs. Those things are incumbent protection rackets that don't give a crap about conservatives, and only care about Republicans. There's a difference. Using money in politics is like going fishing. You gotta lead with the bait.

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