Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dance Dance Revolution

...and not my co-blogger, either. I mean that Joe - and how and why he won rather fascinates me.

Today via Metafilter, two perspectives on the Lamont loss from campaign insiders Tim Tagaris and David Sirota.

Tagaris has the tone of a campaign staffer - I've been there, and I know the bar talk on E-day +1. The fascinating thing is that via Tagaris, it all finally comes out. It's too long to really excerpt, but here's the people and groups he calls out:
The Democratic Party writ large (for failing to properly talk Joe out of running an "indie" (Tagaris's word, not mine) campaign).
Barak Obama.
Bill Clinton.
(Snarky aside: wait, he can do wrong in the eyes of a Democrat? Mostly confused aside: what's with calling him President Clinton?)
Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer.
Senator Edwards.

I think this says two things, both important for Dems to hear. First, it says that lefty bloggers alone cannot win an election. It's effectively the final plot point in the Dean-Kerry-Lamont graph. Tagaris goes on at length about Lamont's inability to get prominent Dems to help him raise money and volunteers; that, by implication, means that blogs were left to pick up the slack - which they were obviously unable to do.

I also what it implies about Dean's "50-State Strategy," and how much that influenced funding. I haven't seen much dissection of the vaunted program post-election, unfortunately.

But Sirota vehemently disagrees with my first conclusion:
Finally, there is the myth circulating that Lamont’s loss means the Internet is not a potent political weapon. Again, this is utterly silly. With the help of top Internet political strategist Tim Tagaris, we raised millions of dollars online, created the revolutionary Family, Friends and Neighbors tool, and brought in thousands of volunteers through the Internet. Sure, it wasn’t enough to overcome the aforementioned structural challenges we faced—but without the netroots and Internet activism, the Lamont candidacy never would have gotten off the ground in the first place.

I'm not sure that's entirely convincing - especially considering it's been said after every candidate strongly supported by the far-left blogosphere has quite failed. That isn't to say, of course, that the Internet is irrelevant - I'll have another post shortly about the right side of the Internet. But Sirota is off-base if he thinks that simple "blogger-power" is going to single-handedly turn the Democratic Party around. The Party, as both Sirota and Tagaris make clear, had no particular interest in Lamont - and that hamstringed him.

Sirota's other interesting point is that the Dems may get something out of Lieberman's victory after all:
He can never again purport to speak for the Democratic Party, because he no longer even has a nominal claim to actually being a Democrat. He officially left the Democratic Party when he ran under his own party in the general election, and his candidacy relied primarily on Republican votes, money and institutional support. That means while he can still be a gadfly and still draw attention to himself, his days of being able to fundamentally damage the image of the national Democratic Party are over.

Except that the point of much of both rants was that, you know, the Democratic Party still more or less supported Lieberman. If they continue to do so once things get back in session, it will indeed present an interesting situation.

To close, in the style we seem to have adopted: Exodus Damage, by John Vanderslice, from whence the title of this post derives.


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