If We Want To Win, Let's Start Working Together Now
You can always tell when the traditional corporate conservative media and the Beltway Democrats start feeling a little heat from an energized and well-informed pushback by the center-left blogosphere. In the case of the media, and especially the GOP water-carrying Washington Post of late, their clueless ombudsperson Deborah Howell whined that the center-left bloggers were mean to her for pointing out her careless dismissal of easily-verifiable facts about the Abramoff/GOP connection. And today, we got to see Jim VandeHei, whose wife used to work for Tom DeLay and who for some reason, given that connection, is still allowed by the Post editors to cover the Abramoff case, wrote a hit piece that could have been written by both the RNC and Beltway Democrats against the mean center-left bloggers, in which VandeHei made the case that the Beltway Democrats were trying to stay moderate while their energized and loony base in the blogosphere were pulling them left. Read Scott Shields’ piece from MyDD.com for a good run-down also.
Steve Elmendorf, who has done much good for the party, is one of those Beltway Democrats who is now spewing the “use the bloggers but be careful” meme. Note that the common thread in both cases is that the center-left blogosphere is demanding accountability and accuracy from the media, and accountability and a spine from our Beltway Democrats who have steered this party into a ditch while the Bush tractor bore down on them. The common word there is “accountability.”
The moment the center-left blogosphere came together recently to push both the media and the Beltway Democrats at the same time, we now see the “smear the bloggers as loons” storyline emerge, again as I said, as if it could have been written by either Karl Rove or Len Downie as Digby also notes. And we supposedly have a liberal media. Yeah, right.
The pressure needs to be kept on the media, and the suggestions I made earlier this week about a Democratic War Room to deal with media accountability and accuracy are even more relevant as the week progressed and we saw more pathetic examples of NBC and others parroting the RNC and White House talking points on a variety of subjects.
But I also suggested in that post that the party emulate what Grover Norquist did years ago by bringing together various entities every week to determine the common talking points and issues of relevance to the broadest possible base in the party, and then focus the message all along those discussion points for the rest of the week and especially for the weekend chat fests. As I said, there is no reason the Democrats cannot do this now as well, and it would be in this environment that Beltway wise men like Elmendorf, Steve Clemons, and others who have been around (and are all working towards the same things the center-left blogosphere want), can work with the DNC, DSCC, DCCC, Reid and Pelosi's offices, the Center for American Progress, and center-left bloggers on developing the common message for a disciplined attack that can keep both the media and the White House in defense mode the whole week.
Again, we all want accountability and accuracy from the media, and we all want to push the RNC and the White House back on its heels like they were during our Social Security pushback last year. It should be noted that the Truth Squad approach came from the center-left blogosphere. It can be done again, and done as part of a permanent pushback during all of 2006, but the first step is to get the Beltway types and the bloggers in the same room and get over the internal mud wrestling that I have been guilty of from time to time myself.
It is far better to force the beginnings of this internal communication and exchange of ideas now, rather than have the center-left blogosphere spend another election cycle angry and befuddled at what the Beltway Democrats have cooked up in a vacuum as our election strategy. The Beltway types need to clue the blogs in on their thinking, and have that thinking stand up to the scrutiny of those who are well-informed, outside the Beltway, and hear from people every day.
Let’s get on with it.