I’ve been withholding comment on RedState’s crusade against Ken Calvert. I’ve done so not because I disagree with Erick, but primarily because I seem to be constantly bitching about the party. Frankly, it’s gotten kind of old and I really would rather have something positive to say.
However, I’ve argued that the state of the GOP online was going to remain largely stagnant until a) we had a common boogey man to work against, or b) we followed the path of the lefty blogoshpere and focused our attention on problems at home.
The RedState effort indicates to me that the former is starting to happen.
The Democratic Party apparatus didn’t spontaneously embrace bloggers. For those who argue that the left is far ahead, you really need to parse your terms and argue that the online activists on the left are far ahead, while the party machinery is barely ahead of the GOP. The reason is fairly simple, the party activists seized the power. As an activist bloc, the bloggers and their readers began to demand changes in the way the party works, who it supports, and who it cuts loose.
Those changes have been slow to arrive. Pelosi and her crew are still doling out favors to corrupt Democrats and turning a blind eye to the promises of reform they made only a few months ago. Their online base seems to have accepted this hypocrisy as long as they continue the pressure on Bush to exit Iraq. It really is a poor strategy. The Kos/Stoller/Atrios/Armstrong contingent really should have kept the pressure on their leaders to actually enact the ideas on which they campaigned. The fact that the lefty blogosphere has caved threatens to marginalize them.
On the right, however, the blogs appear to be picking up steam. We have the same dynamic at work (the ideologically corrupt rewarding the morally corrupt) and the base has finally had enough. Regardless of leadership claims that they learned the lesson of 2006, it is clear they haven’t. The base must now hold them accountable.
In doing so, I think we are beginning to see the rise of the online community. By keeping the heat on this issue, even if it runs the risk of more bad press for the GOP, the party’s activist wing can stake their claim.
We cannot advance the conservative ideology of smaller, effective, responsible government if we condone the actions of Republicans who grow government at every turn, waste our tax dollars on frivolous projects to reward themselves and their donors, and run roughshod over the laws they enact. It is hypocrisy of the worst form.