December 9, 2005


'NY Times' Sunday Preview: Conservative Blogs Rock! (E&P Staff, December 09, 2005, Editor & Publisher)

In an argument sure to be challenged in certain sectors of the blogosphere, a story in The New York Times magazine coming up this Sunday declares that conservative blogs continue to best liberal blogs in political and electoral influence.

The title of the piece by Michael Crowley in the magazine’s 5th Annual Year in Ideas cover package says it all: “Conservative Blogs Are More Effective.” [...]

In fact, Crowley admits that his argument for conservative blog supremacy may seem “counterintuitive,” noting the Howard Dean phenomenon in early 2004 and heavy Web traffic numbers for liberal blogs such as DailyKos. (He does not mention that studies of online traffic show that, overall, there are more highly-popular liberal blogs than conservative ones.) But he explains that “Democrats say there’s a key difference between liberals and conservatives online. Liberals use the Web to air ideas and vent grievances with one another, often ripping into Democratic leaders….Conservatives, by contrast, skillfully use the Web to provide maximum benefit for their issues and candidates.”

It's not that the Left wing blogs are less effective than the Right, -- which are actually just libertarian blogs not conservative -- but that where they are effective in advancing their views and causes it's deadly for the Democratic Party. Howard Dean's rise is the most obvious example, but the rising tide of anti-American anti-war fervor in the caucus seems to be mostly fed by the very margins of the Left, like Cindy Sheehan and the blogs. Following the lead of the Left blogs is a sure-fire recipe for permanent minority status and the Democrats, amazingly enough, seem inclined to follow. The two major "blog victories" on the Right have been equally counterproductive -- replacing the experienced Trent Lott with the neophyte Bill Frist and Harriet Miers with Samuel Alito -- but they're rather minor seeming with the party firmly controlling the entire government and the public agenda.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 9, 2005 4:09 PM

Wait, wait, wait. You can't talk about the "two major blog victories on the Right" and then leave out Rathergate. It's convenient to your argument, but that don't make it right.

Posted by: Timothy at December 9, 2005 4:30 PM

That was Karl Rove from start to finish and just a matter of settling scores for the Old Man. What's it matter which liberal anchors CBS News?

Posted by: oj at December 9, 2005 4:36 PM

I still have no idea why you think replacing Miers with Alito was a bad thing. Alito is miles and miles better than Miers in every possible measure. And this is a lifetime appointment.

Posted by: rds at December 9, 2005 4:39 PM

The President knew Miers and how she'd vote. Do you know Alito? What benefit has there been in the intraparty war and the delay in seating a new justice?

Posted by: oj at December 9, 2005 4:46 PM

Where blogs are most effective is fact-finding, in bringing expertise in from every angle on a given subject.

Posted by: Gideon at December 9, 2005 5:07 PM

I think its more that (as someone whose name I don't recall famously said) the Left is looking to burn heretics, while conservatives are looking to win converts. All that moonbattery over at Kos and Z-Mag is very energetic, but thoroughly unpersuasive to those who are not already true believers of the moonbat faith. On the other hand, folks like OJ and Hewitt and Den Beste (when he's writing) and Lileks and the NRO gang are effective persuaders.

Posted by: Mike Morley at December 9, 2005 5:27 PM

What benefit? Aside from getting your knickers in a twist I can't think of one. Then again that's benefit enough.

Posted by: joe shropshire at December 9, 2005 5:28 PM

Getting rid of Trent Lott was good no matter who came next. Lott is a back-room deal, goodies for the district kind of pol who kept getting rolled by Daschle. Whether or not he was "experienced" he never actually achieved anything.

Frist isn't great, but he has been better, although hamstrung by the moderates.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 9, 2005 5:29 PM

OJ is right about Miers-- I know people in Texas who know her and say she is, in private, a white Janet Rogers Brown. An intellectual giant? No. A good choic for the S. Ct.? Absolutely.

Posted by: Dan at December 9, 2005 5:31 PM

and we care what the NYT says because ....

Posted by: erp at December 9, 2005 7:25 PM


Yes, backroom deals pass legislation.

Posted by: oj at December 9, 2005 8:19 PM

I think you have to consider the Swift Vets as a major blog victory of the right--there's no way they would have gotten their story past the embargo the MSM had built up around them. And all those blogs linking to their ads were a huge force multiplier to a comparatively tiny media budget.

Posted by: Ed Driscoll at December 9, 2005 8:53 PM


"I think its more that (as someone whose name I don't recall famously said) the Left is looking to burn heretics, while conservatives are looking to win converts."

I first heard that phrase from Glenn Reynolds, back in August of 2002:

As the old saying has it, the left looks for heretics and the right looks for converts, and both find what they're looking for. The effect is no doubt subliminal, but people who treat you like crap are, over time, less persuasive than people who don't. If people on the Left are so unhappy about how many former allies are changing their views, perhaps they should examine how those allies are treated.

Posted by: Ed Driscoll at December 9, 2005 9:05 PM


What did it do? Kerry ran as well as any Democrat can nationwide.

Posted by: oj at December 9, 2005 9:16 PM

"The two major "blog victories" on the Right have been equally counterproductive -- replacing the experienced Trent Lott with the neophyte Bill Frist and Harriet Miers with Samuel Alito."

Welcome to oj's alternate reality. As others have noted, neither of these are even among the major "blog victories." This is the first time in years I've heard anyone bemoaning Lott's demotion; when he was ubiquitous he made most Republicans cringe. The Meirs takedown wasn't even a blog victory - I'm quite sure oj was blaming those nasty neocons with their bully pulpits in the MSM, not the bloggers. Lacking a crystal ball, it is fantasy to label the trade of Meirs for Alito "counterproductive." And it is illogical to bemoan the "neophyte" Frist in the same sentence whining about the loss of the neophyte Meirs.

Posted by: curt at December 9, 2005 10:41 PM

The problem with judges in general is Specter's fault entirely. Alito should have been confirmed by Dec. 15 - the fact that he was not is evidence of Frist's lack of control of the Senate and his inability to force Specter to keep his promises.

Howard Baker or Bob Dole would have made Specter toe the line, or else. Certainly no Democratic Committee Chairman would have gummed up the works like he has.

Remember, it isn't just the SCOTUS opening; there are three open seats on the D.C. District Court, with at least one nominee stalled since 2003 (Kavanaugh), and numerous other openings (3rd and 6th Districts, I think) that are stalled. But, according to Jon Kyl, Specter has been very busy with 'other things'.

Specter has been in the Senate since 1980 and has no real connection to the Republican party of today. Were Hatch, Kyl, or Sessions in charge, Bush could nominate pretty much whomever he wanted. But if Snarlin' Arlen votes no, it gives the Dems cover to filibuster because the committee vote will be 9-9. That forces the rules change question, which should be an easy win (with 55 Republican votes), but then the sob sisters from ME, Voinovich, Warner, Chafee, and McCain enter the picture. Including Specter, that makes 7 potential Republican votes against. The filibuster stays.

Of those listed, I suspect only Warner, Voinovich, and McCain would vote to change the rules, but who knows? If Frist knew that Weepy George was a solid vote, and if he had the guts to force McCain to actually vote, then Warner would be irrelevant.

Meirs would not have gone through as the stealth Janice Rogers Brown - the Dems would have turned on her in a heartbeat, forcing the GOP to support a weak candidate. Too many Republicans had already drifted.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 9, 2005 11:07 PM


You are a rascal, aren't you? I wish others on our side had your relentlessness.

Lott was an embarrasment. I could care less if he was a more effective leader than the dishrag Frist. His statements were impossible to reconcile for a party attempting to court the black vote honestly.

Lott's craven and supine pandering on TV 2 days later were all we needed to prove we were right in stampeding him from leadership. What a putz!

Score 1 for Conservative bloggers!

Miers? We'll never really know whether you are more right than wrong, but I'm sure that the risk was worth too great to let her pass.

Score 2...

You forget Rathergate, sustaining Swift Vets through the initial media drought and various smaller examples of the MSM tail being wagged by the conservative blog.

You give yourself too little credit. The 10-20 regular posters here offer Western Civilization more than 3rd rate toadies like Lott & Miers.

Sometimes, humility is the worst form of conceit.

Posted by: Bruno at December 9, 2005 11:27 PM


I forgot to compliment on your far more accurate insight as to how each side uses blogs.

The right DOES use them to inform, moderate, and integrate information and ideas into an effective "framing of the debate."

The left follows their bloggers off the cliff.

I missed your "good call". It was obfuscated by all that Lott-Miers nonsense.

Posted by: Bruno at December 9, 2005 11:30 PM


The conservative Senate was perfectly happy with Lott--it was neocons and libertarians who were embarrassed by having a Southern Evangelical in leadership, the same reason they hate W and Miers.

The leader of the Senate shouldn't be a neophyte follower, the most junior Justice should be. We want someone who'll vote with Scalia and shut up.

Posted by: oj at December 10, 2005 7:24 AM


This "Lott was an embarrasment. I could care less if he was a more effective" makes my point. Y'all would rather be ineffective so long as you get the personnel who you want.

Posted by: oj at December 10, 2005 7:34 AM

oj --

Lott is an evangelical? Who knew? When people looked at Lott they saw a standard issue professional pol, but lacking the charm. The all-purpose prism through which you interpret the world (evangelical or not) doesn't work for most of us, including Southern Baptists like me.

Once again you fail to understand the S.Ct. and the environment in which it operates. It is at least as political as the U.S. Senate; neophytes like Meirs are routinely eaten alive.

Posted by: curt at December 10, 2005 8:43 AM

If Lott were a Doctor and Frist from Mississippi neocons wouldn't have attacked. Yes, the point is you want the next justice to be a follower, not another Thomas who writes separate opinions even when he agrees with Scalia. The vote is all that matters.

Posted by: oj at December 10, 2005 8:47 AM

No one knew who might follow Lott - it was never Lott vs. Frist. Now we are back to the "neocons," I see. I thought it was a blogger victory, who "are actually just libertarians" according to your post. You throw labels around just like every Lefty I have known.

You really have weird notions about the court and Meirs. What makes you think she would not write opinions, and would be a "follower"?

Posted by: curt at December 10, 2005 9:15 AM


I suppose I would buy your argument re: Lott IF you could show me he was "effective."

I don't think he was, and the comments that cost him his position certainly made him less effective. His pandering on BET was the icing on the cake.

Whatever value he had was toast after that appearance.

I'm with you on "effectiveness" and I said so during the Miers debate. In these situations I change my view if and when I'm convinced that the "effectiveness" is either gone OR the "effectiveness" is mere operational clout that won't move forward the agenda I voted for.

Is Spectre more effective than Toomey. Yeah, but to what purpose? Not my purposes, nor yours, I would imagine. (and yes, an R there is better than a D - so I'll balance that as well)

There is a gray area between power and principle. I just argue that we should do what we can to advance principles.

Posted by: Bruno at December 10, 2005 9:47 AM

Lott was a vote and a certain vote, but he was not a very good leader. Frist is worse. And if Lott were less of a pol (and more of an evangelical), he wouldn't have written his book until he left the Senate.

But, who is there in the Senate to really run the place and lead the GOP? I can't think of anyone. McConnell may be the best choice, but he looks too much like Steve Forbes. The old bulls (Stevens, Domenici, Grassley) are just that. I like Cornyn, but he has only been there for half a term. Likewise for Norm Coleman.

Some of the possibilities (Sessions, Brownback, Santorum, etc.) are probably too polarizing. What we are really looking for is the GOP version of the 1950s LBJ. But I don't think we'll find him.

BTW, having a Majority Leader who is essentially a lame duck is a dumb idea. If Frist wants to run for President, then quit now and get out of the way.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 10, 2005 9:54 AM


Yes, it was the Corner and Weekly Standard that were most exercised and blogs joined in. It was just anti-Evangelical animus.

Posted by: oj at December 10, 2005 10:14 AM

Yes, mine. Specter gets our judges and bills through the committee. Nothing else matters.

Posted by: oj at December 10, 2005 10:15 AM


Lott will replace Frist.

Posted by: oj at December 10, 2005 10:31 AM

If that happens, I'll shave your back (as a gift to the Wife).

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 10, 2005 4:54 PM

Sen. Lott, well-known evangelical, regarding the Meirs nomination:

Lott said while Miers may be qualified, she is "clearly" not the most qualified person for the job.

"There are a lot more people - men, women and minorities - that are more qualified in my opinion by their experience than she is," he said.

With all that in mind, Lott said he isn't ready to take President Bush's suggestion that she has the same judicial philosophy as he does.

"I have a lot of confidence in this president. I do think he has picked some really good nominees and like all of us, we make mistakes now and then, and it's our responsibility under the constitution in the Senate to review this nominee," Lott said.

"He's not the nominee, and it's not enough to just say 'Trust me.'"

Upon her withdrawal:

Sen. Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, said Miers' withdrawal was probably for the best.

"I think she made the right decision, and I think she deserves a lot of credit for realizing that this was going to be very difficult, particularly in view of her position as White House counsel," Lott said.

"I just was concerned that she was not strong enough, dynamic enough and had enough experience in the constitutional area to be on the Supreme Court. It was not a philosophical, regional, religious thing with me."

Speaking after the withdrawal of the nomination, Senator Trent Lott said, "Lets move on. In a month, who will remember the name of Harriet Meirs?"

Posted by: curt at December 10, 2005 5:56 PM

He owed Bush/Rove one and it must have tasted sweet.

Posted by: oj at December 10, 2005 6:04 PM

Ah W, anther Evangelical...with all of the "anti-Evangelical animus" between and among the Evangelicals, the offerings of the neocons, libertarians, etc seem rather superfluous.

Posted by: curt at December 10, 2005 11:34 PM


Yes, in elections the conservatives thump the neocon/libertarian crew.

Posted by: oj at December 11, 2005 7:45 AM

non sequitur

Posted by: curt at December 11, 2005 8:01 AM

Not to Trent Lott it wasn't. The personal always trumps the political.

Posted by: oj at December 11, 2005 8:10 AM
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