Burning Dog Poo: Not a Canvasser's Best Friend

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jul 17, 2006 10:03 AM
I wrote a column today on how, if the Democrats start treating political moderates and swing voters the way the Left blogosphere treats moderate bloggers, they're gonna be in trouble:

On the contrary, instead of seeing folks like Goldstein or Reynolds
as possible allies on certain issues, the Left blogosphere doesn’t just
avoid engaging or wooing these guys—it actively attacks them.

In the run-up to the ’04 election and in the time since, many
of these politically hybrid bloggers—who I can only assume speak for
and speak to an audience of many, many more similarly-minded folks,
also known by the term “swing voter”—have positively advertised the fact that they are up for grabs when it comes to party affiliation.

Give us a Democrat who’s serious about national security and
I’ll go there, they say. Give us a Democrat who doesn’t race-bait and
play identity politics, and I’d come on over. I’m with you guys on
social issues, so work on some of these other important issues and win
me over, they write…in public…on blogs…for everyone to see.

The Left reads these messages and sends them Deborah Frisch
and DOS attacks. The Right reads these messages and sends them links
and invites to appear on conservative talk radio shows.

Both sides want to claim the Big Tent and accuse the other side of incivility. The claims bounce from one side of the blogosphere to the other so often it's like a racquetball game up in here. There is indeed incivility on both sides. I'm not saying there isn't.

I'm saying that, despite the command-and-control label the Left likes to slap upon us, the Right blogosphere is more likely to view moderates and political hybrids as allies on certain issues than opponents to be attacked. Some of the Right blogosphere's biggest names are political hybrids-- Glenn Reynolds, Ann Althouse, and Jeff Goldstein, for instance.

Those folks make it pretty clear that they would vote Democrat if the Democrats would convince them to do so. They agree with Dems on many issues, but the Left blogs respond by attacking these folks, not encouraging them to vote based on their social views or assuaging their concerns about national security.

It seems counter-productive, especially when the influence of blogs is growing, and the influence of bloggers who speak to audiences of like-minded swingy, moderate, hybrid voters would be just the kind you want to reach out to, electorally speaking.

If politically hybrid bloggers can be seen as the swing voters of
the blogosphere—if a Jeff Goldstein is a guy who could conceivably be
convinced to vote the other way if the Dems would assuage his doubts on
certain issues—who do you think is more convincing showing up on his
virtual doorstep?

Deborah Frisch, the liberal who threatens his child, or Right-Wing Sparkle, the conservative who has read his site for years and comes to his defense upon Frisch’s attack?

When you’re knocking on doors at election time, burning dog poo has never been known to get out the vote.