Posted on | September 30, 2010 | 11 Comments
I spent the past year telling Republicans they would lose seats on the margins from attacks channeled through a network of progressive blogs spanning all fifty states. But they were too busy gloating about their alleged dominance in new media thanks to Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and expensive new media consultants without a clue as to what’s actually happening on the ground.
Singling out the GOP’s reliance on New Media consultants — as opposed to actually supporting New Media — is crucial to understanding what Dan is driving at here.
In general, there has been a misallocation of resources by the people who write the checks and hold the purse-strings in Republican politics. Nothing illustrates the disconnect between money and brains in the GOP than a fact highlighted by Jimmie Bise: Charlie Crist raised $4.3 million in a single three-month period of 2009.
The more I think about that, the angrier I get. Who were these more-money-than-brains people who wrote those checks for Crist? Did they just take the word of John Cornyn and Jim Greer that Crist was the man to beat in the Florida GOP Senate primary?
A fool and his money are soon parted, and there are times when the Republican Party resembles nothing so much as a scam for separating rich fools from their money.
For $4.3 million, you could have paid 86 bloggers $50,000 a year.
To date, during the 2009-10 election cycle, GOP national committees (RNC, NRSC and NRCC) have raised a combined total of $440.5 million.
Do the math, and you see that a mere 1% of that total would go a hell of a long way toward permitting the conservative blogosphere to do more actual political news reporting of the sort that would help balance what the MSM are doing.
I’m not saying that I want to be on the GOP payroll. What I am saying is that giving money to the GOP is not going to fix this problem, because the people who run the GOP don’t even understand the problem.
Evidently, the regnant theory at GOP-HQ is that the way to deal with New Media is to hire consultants to send out e-mail press releases to bloggers. The consultants get paid — and paid very well — while the bloggers get nothing. And the bloggers can’t help but ask themselves, “Exactly why should I be publishing this press release?”
This problem I call “consultantitis” plagues Republican operations at every level of the game, and I’m not saying that consultants are bad people. (If you’ll check my bio, you’ll see that I attach “consultant” to my list of job descriptions, basically to say, “Hey, I’m available.” Also, “consultant” sounds a lot more impressive than “seriously underemployed.”) But there seems to be an attitude among Republicans that journalism is something that liberals do, whereas the job of conservative bloggers is to do the bidding of GOP poobahs who think they are infinitely more important than we are.
If I like a candidate, I can be a hell of lot more helpful to that candidate than some numbnuts sending out press releases. Just in the past couple of days, I did a widely-praised profile of MD-5 challenger Charles Lollar, broke an exclusive on the O’Donnell campaign’s first major attack on Chris Coons’ record, and reported on the Pelosi “Wicked Witch” video getting pulled off YouTube.
A sort of Atlas Shrugs scenario occurs to my mind: What if conservative bloggers were to start ignoring Republican talking points? What if we were to sit out this election, refusing to write a word that might help the GOP win on Nov. 2?
“Hey, you hired your consultants. Let them publish your crap. We ain’t pickin’ your cotton no more, Mister Boss Man.”
Of course, we’re not actually going to do that. But a lot of conservative bloggers have long since become sick and tired of Republicans treating us like Meg Whitman’s domestic help, and when Dan Riehl smacks you upside the head, he’s trying to get your attention.
Anyway, I could write a book about this kind of stuff and it wouldn’t make any difference, because the guys at GOP-HQ think they’re so much smarter than me — or Dan, or anybody else — that I might as well be blogging about the Tiger Woods sex tape.
If reading this makes you depressed, imagines how depressing it is to write it. Hit the freaking tip jar. That’ll make us both feel better.