Meet the New Boss…
There is a very good article on Richard Cohen by journalist Gene Lyons, whose work I respect a great deal. In it he notes:
The larger point is that Beltway courtiers like Cohen, Time’s Joe Klein and others currently succumbing to the vapors over critical e-mails from fans thrilled by Colbert’s gutsy performance are on their way out. The brief reign of the celebrity pundit began with cable TV and appears to be ending with the Internet. Washington socialites are quickly being replaced in public esteem by politically oriented bloggers like Josh Marshall, Kevin Drum, the inimitable Digby, Glenn Greenwald, Billmon, Atrios and many others. As Greg Sargent recently pointed out in The American Prospect, “Readers are choosing between the words on a screen offered by Klein and other commentators and the words on a screen offered by bloggers on the basis of one thing alone: The quality of the work.”
I mention this because I’ve seen this same list floated recently as reflecting some ideal future punditocracy. And if the people Lyons mentions were all to step into the roles of the principal political pundits in our culture, I’d be standing under a banner saying "Mission Accomplished" with my own codpiece. But much like my predecessor-in-photo-op it would not be time to declare victory. I agree with Lyons that every single one of the people named is fantastic and worthy of a public stage for their commentary, but to the best that their race and genders are publicly known (and I admit I do not know them all) these are all white men.
In 2000, 22 million unmarried eligible women voters didn’t vote. This is a group that favored John Kerry 2-1 over George Bush. (I don’t want to get into the "marriage gap" here, except to say that married women are much more likely to vote Republican than unmarried ones — hence they are being targeted by the GOP, and quite effectively.) If any sort of progressive majority is going to be built, it is simply going to have to include women. Women also tend to be concerned with the issues that progressives want to push. They are a natural constituency, and one that is worth enfranchising.
The most recent blogads survey found that most blog readers are 72% male, 28% female. No surprise. What was surprising is that amongst FDL readers, 45% were women. While there is no statistical way to back this up, it does seem to be an indicator that women like to hear other women talking to them, and are more likely to engage when that happens. Now I don’t think there is any big conspiracy to keep women out of the discourse; just the opposite in fact, I’ve found that liberal male bloggers actually bend over backwards to help us. I can assure you that nobody would probably be reading this blog today if TBogg hadn’t put us on the map by linking to us prominently 4 or 5 times a week until we got our sea legs. And I am just as guilty as everyone else of not linking to women bloggers enough; it’s just laziness. In a rush to feed a hungry blog every day I just don’t take the time to cruise around the blogosphere and listen to new voices the way I used to. That’s a problem.
So here are a list of my favorite women bloggers, it’s off the top of my head and by no means exhaustive so if I left someone out it was accidental:
Pam Spaulding at Pam’s House Blend
Watertiger at Dependable Renegade
Belle Waring at Crooked Timber
Laura Rozen at War and Piece
Barbara O’Brien at Mahablog
Avedon Carol at the Sideshow
Susie Mandrak at Suburban Guerilla
Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon
Sheri Zollinger at World ‘o Crap
Xan, Leah and Chicago Dyke at Corrente
Georgia10 and McJoan at Kos
Emptywheel at The Next Hurrah
Jeralyn at TalkLeft
Ellen Nagler at The Broad View
SusanG at Booman
MaryScott O’Connor at My Left Wing
Lindsey Beyerstein at Majikthise
Athenae at First Draft
Echide of the Snakes
Roxanne at Rox Populi
Julia at Sisypus Shrugged
Then there are women like Katrina VandenHeuvel and Katha Pollitt who don’t really blog (at least not that often) but should certainly be in acknowledged as people whose opinions matter. I’ve made my list, please feel free to chime in with comments as to women bloggers you think we should know about and check out, and with any luck the next person to sketch out the bright shining future of the left will stumble across it and have a bit of help with their prognostications.