Mickey Kaus responds to a previous PolicyByBlog post on HC, the grassroots and blogging:

Hillary’s Secret Challenger; Now he can be revealed. By Mickey Kaus/Updated Monday, Jan. 2, 2006, at 4:57 AM ET

Hillary vs. the Blogs, cont.: From David Perlmutter–

Politicians have always needed to balance the base and the middle. Blogs make this tension, if not more difficult, more public.

Emphasis not added, but appropriate. Perlmutter writes seriously and smartly about Hillary Clinton’s dilemma in this regard, though:

a) He takes Kos rather too seriously, calling him “a political kingmaker.” (Oh yeah? Name the king);

b) He underemphasizes the extent to which Hillary’s character–specifically her innate and exaggerated caution, calculation, and need for control–makes her a particularly bad match for the blog age, maybe as bad a match as Nixon or LBJ were for the TV age in 1960. Perlmutter notes that blogs and blog readers reward risk-taking passion and honesty. That he then actually mulls over the question of whether Clinton herself should blog–treating her dilemma as the same dilemma faced by any frontrunner, as if there were any hope that her blog would ever be worthwhile–shows that he doesn’t fully appreciate Hillary’s characterological inhospitability to the blogger virtues. …

Kausfiles is one of my daily reads, and my students have twice in a row voted it “Most Literate Blog” (and yes, college students do know what that means!) So any response, even mixed with negative criticism is happily accepted. But….

In point of fact I did say about Kos that “one day I think he will also be appreciated as a political kingmaker.” As I mention in my book, BLOGWARS, if one of the dangers of the blog form is that you print and publish before you think and consider, one of the many virtues about blogging is that you can revise, extend and even retract your comments.

(I am an expert, by the way, in making mistakes! I wrote an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education–“TO ERR IS HUMAN; IT’S ALSO A TEACHING TOOL”–on how a teacher should fess up to students when s/he get facts wrong. And, you guessed it, I got a fact wrong in the article…)

What I think I meant in my original post was that Kos is or will be seen as a sort of political boss, with his own constituency–though bloggers cannot ever be counted on as a loyal Tammany Hall herd that will do whatever some elite–even a blog elite–tells them to do. So “kingmaker” was indeed dead wrong.

I think I was more on target to say that Kos is “King of the leftbloglands.” Those are two different characterizations. The metrics for his primacy that are: his monthly site visitors exceed the population of Iowa and New Hampshire combined; (b) he is blogrolled more than any left blog according to Technorati; and (c) he is among the top of the “most influential” blogs according to Blogstreet. So perhaps “King” is hyperbolic (and undemocratic!) but he is the top leftblogger on the planet by several measure. What effect he will have on who is next president–none or some–I have no idea. That why I created this blog” to start that conversation.

Writing about political blogs in 2005-2006 is a lot like writing about television and politics in 1954…Stay tuned!

Originally posted January 2, 2006 at PolicyByBlog

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