Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Analyzing The Visceral Reaction We Have Received

Not the reaction Thomas and I have had, though we do enjoy our "fan mail" each day. While a decent amount is critique, it is not the unhinged sort we used to deal with.) The reaction I am speaking is that of Minority Whip trent Lott, President Bush, Michael Chertoff, and a host of others that have decided that we in the blogosphere are a part of the problem in this nation.

See, we dislike this bill greatly, and we have written extensively on the subject. Not just us, mind you, but a vast majority of center-right blogs. Ace @ Ace of Spades has some thoughts regarding why we should be listened to:

As I've said before, it's not that bloggers should be read and heeded because we're all so damn smart. No, not at all. Some of us are certifiable morons.

It's that blogs actually do, somewhat accurately, reflect public opinion. And better than polls, too, at least in this respect: While a poll might tell you that sixty-nine percent of the public is against this amnesty-without-security bill and only 20% in favor, that piece of information is, by itself, not terribly meaningful politically. Why? Because the public is against a lot of things, but doesn't really care about them. On many issues -- like bankruptcy reform -- you can probably afford to defy public preferences and give a sop to banks and creditors, because while the public may not support such "reform," neither is it politically animated about it. You can ignore public opinion because public opinion simply isn't very strong. No one's losing votes over the bankruptcy bill.

But sometimes citizens are so incensed about an issue they are actually animated to change their voting (and donating, volunteering, etc.) behavior based on a politician's position on that issue. It's not just numbers, it's intensity; and while some polls do indeed query about intensity, blogs and comments left by voting citizens are important gauge of such intensity.
Anecdotal evidence, merely? They say that the plural of "anecdote" is not "data." But when the number of anecdotes becomes sufficiently high, the plural of anecdote is indeed high. There are hundreds of thousands of blog readers on the right, by far the dominant position on amensty-without-security is opposition, and, further -- you can tell just by skimming comments -- almost all of the passion and intensity and likelihood of changing voter behavior based on the issue is there too.

There are supporters of the Grand Bargain on the right -- but they're not terribly passionate about it. They favor it, but then, they're not really reaching for pitchforks and torches if it fails.

There's little doubt that those opposed to amensty-without-security are, in fact, preparing to storm the castle.

Indeed. Go to the comments section of immigration posts on sites like Ed Morrissey's, Hugh Hewitt's, or even Ace's site. (I would include our own, but small fish rarely get comments, let alone heavy traffic.) The debate is right there for all to see. It is the voting populace that is discussing this bill, venting their frustration at the bill, at the politicians, and at those that are taking unfair swipes at those that are opposed to this bill.

We are not the problem. We are not the solution, either. Rather the blogosphere should serve as a fairly accurate barometer of the voting populace that is Internet savvy, and the sort of "demographic" that goes in searhc of real news and real analysis that they cannot get anywhere else. Furthermore, Ace continues, because this is not a Right-Left issue:

Want more data? Listen to the ankle-biting dog who never yapped. The left of the blogosphere is radio silent on this issue. Even those one would expect to support it do not, apparently, support it quite enough to bother writing a single paragraph about it. Maybe they support, maybe they don't, who knows? Most likely they're just ultrapartisans who only care about the issue to the extent it tears up the Republican Party, but, whatever their reasons, they're not actually animated over the issue to even bother taking a public position on it.
(And, in fact, many on the left are actually against the bill too -- and those folks actually do write long, scathing critiques of the bill. So, once again, all the actual intensity is against the bill.)

Yes, we sit on diametrically opposed on our ideology, but what excuse do the talking heads have with regard to the visceral opposition to this bill on both sides? They offer none up. Louts like Trent Lott go out and smear talk radio and the blogosphere because people like him look at both mediums as helpful only when they want something addressed that is important to THEM. The moment with think for ourselves, or question something they are prepared to do, we become the scapegoat and the focus of all their ire. We are politically-convenient for them when it comes to supporting the war, but we become inconvenient when we question their wayward spending or an immigration bill that is a catastrophe for the nation.

(Thomas has often said that gratitude from a politician comes in small doses, and is never serious. Now I can see his point.)

I was personally very upset to see how we were being villified by the administration. We did not receive such vitriol on the past mistakes of this president, like Harriet Miers or the Dubai Ports deal. No, they saved it up for this, and that general attitude from them speaks a great deal of the disdain they have for us when we get in their way. Right now they look at us as an impediment. Why? Because not only are we addressing the flagrant flaws in this bill, but we are urging voters to deluge the Senate with phone calls and e-mails. We are, in essence, stirring the pot.

And while we may seem insignificant to a great deal of America (roughly half of the nation has access to the Internet, and less than a quarter of those people admit to reading blogs) the power the blogosphere wields is significant. We carry on the debate. We keep people informed. Word of mouth, and grass-roots style movements have been born out of the blogosphere.

When it came to Harriet Miers, we were the ones leading the charge against her as much as we were the ones leading the defense of John Roberts and Samuel Alito. We spearheaded the movement to terminate the Dubai Ports deal. For those that think we joined forces -- linked arm-in-arm in solidarity -- think again. The swords were drawn on both of the aforementioned issues on our side. Both times the Left sat back and watched us debate the issues, content we were tearing ourselves apart. Hardly the case. The old adage still applies -- "That which does not kill you only makes you stronger." The party and ideology were strengthened in the dissent we had with one another.

(Readers will recall that in the Harriet Miers issue both Sabrina and I were accepting of her nomination while Thomas was firmly opposed. It was only after his extended explanations to us was he able to persuade us. And in the end, all three of us agreed that if she did not withdraw her nomination, she was owed her chance before the Judiciary Committee.)

See, we compromised. Our side can do that. But it is becoming increasingly apparent that those in the Beltway refuse to listen. That is what they are doing right now when they draw the long knives out for bloggers, talk radio hosts, and others in opposition to this bill. They do not wish to listen to us, or even bother reading those commenting. They do not listen to the callers to talk shows expressing sincere outrage over the bill. That is because, sadly, they simply do not care. They feel they know what is best for us, and damn it, we will take it and like it. Au contraire. Ace sums up their mistake quite nicely:

We are collectively pleading with you: Do not do this, or we will be forced to vote against you or sit out the next election, and yes, indeed, we are quite serious about this. This is the Rubicon, the last straw, the ultimate insult, the final nerve.

But they're not listening. Useless humps like Trent Lott are so used to legislating in secret and without public scrutiny that they've come to believe that doing so is their actual right, and that democratic pressure from the public is some sort of usurpation of the Divine Right of Legislators.

I will say it again: Do. Not. Do. This. If You Value. Your Political Lives. Don't consider it a threat; consider it an intervention.

Indeed. It is an intervention. the problem is that one has to admit they have a problem to address before they can address it. Those in the Beltway are not getting the message. Hopefully they will very soon, lest they reap what they sow.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home