Rob Bluey's Misguided Attack on Dean Barnett

Matt Lewis
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Posted: May 16, 2007 8:40 AM

My good friend Rob Bluey has gone after Dean Barnett over at RedState. While I understand Rob's point of view, I'd like to take a moment just to point out why I think he is making too much of this ...

Rob specifically notes that, "After days of making no mention of RedState's effort to oust embattled Rep. Ken Calvert..." yada, yada, yada. The implication is that Townhall should have been all over the RedState vs. Calvert story (because, obviously, if RedState does something, it's huge news!). While we frequently link to other blogs, etc., I don't think there's any obligation for one conservative blog to write about another. Second, while Dean disagreed with RedState's new direction, I believe he did so in a cordial way. The last time I checked, disagreement was allowed.

It should also be noted that other RedState bloggers have, themselves, questioned RedState's new direction. Streiff, for example, recently posted a blog with the title: "Are We Becoming Them?" So it's not as if Dean's observation is from out in left field. Clearly, RedState is repositioning itself as a blog that focuses more on activism and less on commentary. Essentially, they are taking a page from the DailyKos. It's a business decision, and I believe that it will ultimately help the movement. 

Rob has always had a bias toward using blogs for activism. My only argument would be that I think we all bring different things to the conservative movement -- and that the movement is big enough for different kinds of bloggers.  In terms of the hypocrisy argument, it is entirely possible that, in the past, Dean felt it was appropriate to send a message to the NRSC.  He may now feel (I'm only guessing here) that it is entirely another thing to launch a series of attacks on GOP Legislators.  Whether or not he's right or wrong on that is not the point ...

There is a lot of distance between, say Jerry Falwell to George Will, yet both have helped advance the conservative movement.  There's a lot of distance between William F. Buckley and Pat Robertson, yet both have played their part in the movement.  Should Robertson criticize Buckley for "being too much of an academic?"  Of course not!  We need intellectuals and activists, alike.  If the movement is big enough for Falwell, Will, Robertson, and Bucklye -- then certainly the blogosphere has room for Rob Bluey and Dean Barnett.

For four years, I ran the Leadership Institute's Grassroots Activist School.  I've also managed races ranging from School Board to U.S. Congress, and worked for a Grassroots Lobbying firm.  So don't get me wrong -- I believe in activism.  But I'm also a fusionist.  I think we need to do both activism and punditry.

We need pundits, opinion leaders, and, yes, activists. The movement benefits when we have diversity.