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Comments by YACCS
Friday, May 26, 2006

Don't ask me


RSPCA handout
We only endorse kibble and pints of lager,mate

Atrios makes this point

The Coming Blogwars

Those of you who have been with me since the dawn of time know that I basically sat out the 2004 primaries and didn't officially take a stand on who the candidate should be. More than that I did my best to not let my discussion of the primary coverage be influenced by my personal preferences. I'm not claiming that I was perfect on that last part, or that I even tried to be (and lacking the Mullet of Objectivity possessed by our Tabloid Press Corps I lack the skills), but still it was something I sorta aimed for.

At the time the reasons were fairly simple. First, I didn't think that the all important Eschaton Endorsement was really going to make a damn bit of difference anyway, so why bother. Second, I didn't want to alienate readers (not because I was worried about traffic for business reasons, at that time the blog was providing beer money if that). Third, I didn't want to spend months fighting with other bloggers. Fourth, while I certainly had my personal preferences about who I'd prefer for president I didn't have any strong sense of who would make the best candidate.

Overall the lefty blogosphere managed to get through 2003 and early 2004 without too much rancor. I think I cried when The Editors got mad at me about something I said about Wes Clark because I was as big an Editors fanboy as he was a Clark fanboy, but aside from that it seemed blogland got through.

Still I worry that it's going to get a wee bit nasty this time. People are going to be understandably passionate about these things and there are certainly those out there who think it's unfair that the "big bloggers" have undue influence. I'm sure I'll be "on the take" of 5 different campaigns (I wish!) as will plenty of others. I'm sure various big bloggers will end up supporting different candidate, so we'll probably end up fighting with each other too. The various blog factions - wonks, netroots - will imagine the other faction is working out of ignorance and bad faith. And on and on.

So, do I pick a team?
This is as good a place as any to remind people that we, being Jen and I, do not endorse candidates. Sending me e-mail hoping for our endorsement is a lost cause. Because, as I said, this is the News Blog, not the politics blog. We have different philosophies towards charity, she's good for events and cash, I will give to campaigns in need.

I give money to the people we support as a site, Jen gives to causes. We don't as a rule, endorse people. You won't see us telling you to send money to Lamont or Menendez until that money is given to their campaigns by me. Why? Because we don't endorse candidates.

Why?

Because I want the right to criticize them when I don't agree with them. Once you start acting like a booster, you lose that ability.

Last year, someone wanted me to host something for a local candidate and I turned them down flat for two reasons. One, I personally supported someone else. Two, I don't endorse candidates.

So what is the big deal?

Well, I think a lot of people don't step back from politics and make it personal. Personally, I admire how Hillary Clinton has managed to step out of the shadow of her husband and make her own career without making it a public crusade against him. But that is way different than wanting her to be commander in chief. A lot of people see her uncritically, and I think that is a mistake.

Also, I think too many campaigns take us for granted. They want to see us as the unlimited bank, as some DC consultants have said as much. Uh, no. You want to order someone around, go hire staff. We are not a money tree. Candidates get money who need and deserve it. Not just because you ask for it.

The same thing with William Jefferson. Personally, I think he is entitled to his paranoia. But as we live in a world of hard decisions, he's gonna be left on the mountainside. You wanna argue about the FBI, fine, we can have that argument, as long as he's not an issue hurting the Democratic party. We can't afford him no more.

My goal here is not to be at the beck and call of consultants and campaigns. My editorial content isn't going to shift to make you happy. You're just buying space. When Tim Kaine yanked his ads from this site, that was his right. But as a response to the right? I don't work for him, I don't have to stand for his or any other camapign's insult. You want to respond to pressure from the right, well, there's gonna be pressure from the left.

It's the same thing with the telco ads. Send me money if you want. but that doesn't mean I'm going to change my opinions.

One other point: anyone can do a Kos diary, anyone can write a blog. Don't expect anyone else to represent how you feel or what you think. Maybe you aren't a brilliant writer, so what. This isn't TV, you can and should participate if you have something to say. Anyone worrying about big bloggers vs small is wasting their time and energy. I love running other people's writing,and I always find something worth running. If I were an egomaniac, Jen and I could write everything and that would be that. But that isn't fun.

Other people write well, other people have ideas that I don't. Sharing them makes sense.

posted by Steve @ 3:05:00 PM

3:05:00 PM

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