Monday, August 27, 2007

Bush Dogs

Chris Bowers ain't exactly the most beloved blogger among many independent bloggers, (largely because he considers us relics who should join the Kos Army and feed the "big players" hits), but I have to admit, I do like the Bush Dogs thing. Though not for the reasons you'd think.

I don't think it'll lead to a sea change in Democratic attitudes; blue dogs are blue dogs for a reason. I don't think it'll necessarily change policy, either. What it WILL do is erase the embarrassment of YearlyKos and the FISA vote. Some of you remember that a little while back I said that the biggest weakness of the bloggers vis a vis other groups is that nobody listens to them. I asked the question "who DO they listen to?" and speculated on a few reasons why they'd listen to some people, and not to others. I still don't have a firm answer on that, but one of my speculations was that they listen to those who can take their jobs away from them. Yes, you pander to those who can help you keep your jobs, but the guy you really pay attention to is the one that has the "oomph" to dump you back into the private sector. That's why AIPAC has so much clout, for example; while they don't have "conspiracy theorist" levels of power, they do have the ability to make it extraordinarily difficult for Congressmen and Senators to get elected. The religious right has even greater power for many Republicans; if you don't keep them happy, they'll nominate somebody in your district who will, and it won't matter how much money you have, you won't get that nomination.

This whole "Bush Dog" thing is a way for the bloggers to seize that kind of power. If Stollar, Bowers, Kos et al can prevent a few people from getting nominated, or even make it much more difficult than it would have been otherwise, they'll be a group that is listened to, instead of just pandered to. Yes, it might lose them a few districts, but that won't matter, because they'll have demonstrated that they'd rather lose a few districts than put up with candidates they can't stand. Sure, the Dems will screech at that, but it'll be just like with MAD: you have to demonstrate you're just irrational enough for them to take you seriously. Once they do take you seriously, they can rail about you all they want, they've still got to take you into account, and eventually learn to get along with you. The fact that the "centrists" are already complaining about it reveals the potential effectiveness of the move.

It's sad, because I think the Dems should listen to the "progressive netroots" because they have a good message. I don't think that's going to happen, though. I think this is going to come down to a credible threat, and it looks like the "Bush Dogs" are that credible threat. I still think Bowers is out to lunch on individual vs. group blogs, but I'll give him credit on this, anyway.

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