RUSSERT: We have seen the Democratic candidates nurturing the blogosphere and the bloggers. Some would say pandering to them. And yet after one of them wins the nomination and begins to try to turn to the center and run across the country in a general election, will the progressive bloggers be outraged by that potential behavior?
BAI: I don’t think so, and I’ll tell you why. You mentioned the pandering, and, as you may know, I helped moderate the debate at the blogger convention in Chicago, and there was an awful lot of pandering going on out there. [laugh from both Bai and Russert] But I don’t think that will be a problem, and here is why.
This is a very tactical movement. This is a movement based almost entirely around winning or losing, about how you get the blue team to beat the red team. This is not a movement based on any vision of government. And that’s really, you know, a large part of what I talk about and sort of reveal…uh… in the book.
And so, uh, I think these folks want to win and whatever they need to do to help a nominee win, they are going to do. And if that means understanding that a…that a nominee has to take certain positions or concentrate on certain areas during a general campaign that may not thrill the folks on the blogs, or the people at Move-On or the donors, I don’t think they are gonna have a big issue with that.
Beltway dismissive cynicism aside, there is a vast difference between being a realist and an idealist. And folks who write on blogs and who read them are both realistic about what they are likely to get in a candidate, and idealistic about what they prefer. And they are willing to work their butts off for to get the latter because that is how politics works. It’s called life, and we all try to balance these two competing sides as best we can in any given political discussion. Tactics is absolutely an aspect of this, but it is tactics used in the cause of better government: more openness and sunshine, more balance, more accountability.
What Matt Bai sees is his own jaded view of the world through a glossy coating of media veneer. What we see is the potential of what could be, and we are willing to do the work to get something better than what we have now. I’ll take my view of the world over his and Russert’s any day — I live in the real world of having to deal with the every day consequences of the political decisions ostensibly made on my behalf as a citizen, and I understand and accept that it is my job, as a citizen, to hold the elected officials to account for their actions. All of them — this is an American responsibility, red and blue team malarky be damned.
Would that the members of the vaunted media talking head club would hold themselves to the same standards instead of worrying so much about whether they are being supplanted by bloggers and trying to marginalize us. Instead of trying to cling to your jobs, how about you just start doing them?
(Photo via Ben McLeod.)