Monday, November 27, 2006

Shrinking McCain; bloggers and primaries

It's time to start taking a hard look at all the 2008 presidential candidates. I think McCain needs to get a lot of skeptical scrutiny. Atrios has taken to calling him "St. McCain" because of the laudatory treatment he gets from the press. He points to this LA Times opinion column that emphasizes McCain's unsettling preoccupation with national prestige:
McCain, it turns out, wants to restore your faith in the U.S. government by any means necessary, even if that requires thousands of more military deaths, national service for civilians and federal micromanaging of innumerable private transactions. He'll kick down the doors of boardroom and bedroom, mixing Democrats' nanny-state regulations with the GOP's red-meat paternalism in a dangerous brew of government activism. And he's trying to accomplish this, in part, for reasons of self-realization.
[...]
If his issues line up with yours, and if you're not overly concerned by an activist federal government, McCain can be a great and sympathetic ally. But chances are he will eventually see a grave national threat in what you consider harmless, or he'll prescribe a remedy that you consider unconscionable. Nowhere is that more evident than in his ideas about the Iraq war.
One thing to note: right wing bloggers don't like him. See the 11/17 Blogometer for a summary:
Just in case we haven't made this clear enough, we'll do so now: righty bloggers don't like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (and for many of them, that's putting it mildly). Some people fail to understand why McCain's support for campaign finance reform so irks conservatives but as Team McCain's interaction with right blogger stalwart Captain's Quarters illustrates, it simply does.
It will be interesting to see if the right wing blogosphere starts coming into conflict with the Republican establishment more. They haven't been considered as influential, though they were a huge part of Dan Rather's ouster at CBS. I remember someone saying that the right wing blogosphere isn't as influential because it tends to echo what goes on in other parts of the right wing noise machine, rather than stake out its own positions. But on many recent issues (McCain, immigration, Harriet Meiers, and Senator Martinez as head of the RNC), it seems the right wing netizens did not or will not swallow what the Republican establishment is putting forward.

One place where the lefty netroots has been influential has been in primaries: because there's less interest in general, a small group of enthusiasts can have a great deal of influence. Various 2008 Dem presidential hopefuls have paid courtesy calls at Daily Kos, and offending the netroots is something they would be loathe to do. It will be interesting to see if the righties get to exert similar influence on the Republican choice.

UPDATE: More good discussion of the LA Times column here.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Aidan Firewalker said...

I've responded to this indepth at my blog, if you're interested. I was going to respond in your comments, but my response was just too long I thought.

7:49 AM, November 27, 2006  
Blogger Zachary Drake said...

Thanks for responding, Aidan Firewalker. I've posted a response over on your blog.

9:21 AM, November 27, 2006  

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