Thursday, September 29, 2005

Close the DeLay Triangle

I, as I wrote last night, think that corruption and Republican self-dealing is one hell of an issue for Democrats to run on. The overwhelming majority of the progressive and liberal blogosphere think that this is one hell of an issue. The DLC (via Ed Kilgore at TPMCafe) in slightly florid language [a good thing] is looking for the biggest damn anvil they can throw at DeLay

this self-appointed moral arbiter of the nation could soon be strolling the halls not of Congress but of a Texas correctional facility, we urge Democrats to keep focused on a much bigger issue: the systemic pattern of corruption, cronyism, influence-peddling, and partisan intimidation in Washington.

"DeLay is clearly a major ink-spot in that pattern; even if he evades imprisonment on the Texas charges, let's remember that the object of the fundraising effort in question was The Hammer's obsessive campaign to launch a re-redistricting of U.S. House seats to buttress his power in the Capitol. And that broader determination to ruthlessly hold and use power by the GOP is what has given us a vast array of ethical lapses and bad policies, from Jack Abramoff's enormous roulette wheel of shakedowns and wirepullings, to a long series of fiscally ruinous special-interest raids on the U.S. Treasury, and even down to the staffing of FEMA with Republican campaign operatives."

And yet, as Oliver Willis passes on this tip from the Hill Congressional Democrats don't want to make this an issue, or at least they want to let the media follow the damn bouncing ball into the middle of the street where they get hit and runned by the Wurlitzer by tomorrow afternoon, and then partake in "he said, she said" battle of the blast faxes. This Congressional strategy is a strategy of losing.

I had not commented on the Peter Daou analysis of the political influence of the blogosphere, as I had nothing new or interesting to add. The most important take away is the following two paragraphs:

blog power on both the right and left is a function of the relationship of the netroots to the media and the political establishment. Forming a triangle of blogs, media, and the political establishment is an essential step in creating the kind of sea change we've seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Simply put, without the participation of the media and the political establishment, the netroots alone cannot generate the critical mass necessary to alter or create conventional wisdom.......

seem reasonable to conclude, then, that the best strategy for the progressive netroots is to go after the media and Democratic Party leaders and spend less time and energy attacking the Bush administration. If the netroots alone can't change the political landscape without the participation of the media and Democratic establishment, then there's no point wasting precious online space blasting away at Republicans while the other sides of the triangle stand idly by. Indeed, blog powerhouses like Kos and Josh Marshall have taken an aggressive stance toward Democratic politicians they see as selling out core Democratic Party principles. Kos's willingness to attack the DLC is mocked on the right, but it is precisely the right's fear that Kos will "close the triangle" that causes them to protest so loudly. Similarly, when Atrios, Digby, Oliver Willis, and so many other progressive bloggers attack the media, they are leveraging whatever power they have to compel the media to assume a role as the third side of their triangle. (taken from MyDD

Right now the left bloggers, who are some of the opinion leaders and formers in the political world as well as a significant component of the political junkie base of the country are ready to play significant hardball. Right now one of the favorite targets of blogger ire (the DLC) is on board and looking for their torches and pitchforks also, and the media has a good narrative to go with. The problem is that the Congressional Democrats and other nationally recognized Democrats do not want to close the triangle and make CORRUPTION a synonym for the Republican Party.

This is one of the best opportunities for the Democratic Party and its allies to create a generic v. specific comparison that will allow the 2006 elections to be a nationalized election on topics that are favorable for Democrats (no we will not win in 2006 talking about healthcare, education and family leave time). But Democrats can only get ahead of the story and gain political benefit from this opportunity if the triangle of bloggers, press and establishment is closed. We already have the bloggers and the press on board, and parts of the establishment, but the rest of the Congressional leadership needs to get on board by the end of work Friday if we want to win a significant victory instead of a spin fed draw on DeLay.

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