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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Bad Night for Bloggers?

by folkbum

Almost worse than writing prediction posts, and certainly worse than writing endorsement posts, is the dreaded morning-after post. Everybody else is gonna be all "winner!" this and "significance!" that and if I want to stand out and keep my reputation as original and thoughtful, I have to come up with something clever and otherwise un-beat-to-death on a morning like this one.

The pressure to make WisOpinion sometimes is enormous.

So here's my spin: Last night was a bad night for bloggers.

Now, a constant theme of mine is that blogs don't vote. I think the blogs play an important role in the public discourse, of course, and we are slowly weaseling our way into polite society. Nothing pleases me quite so much as seeing my blog on the first page of google results for some particular candidate or issue. But blog fervor does not, cannot, will not replace actual voters, who more often than not end up doing what they want anyway.

And last night was a case study of that in several ways.

For starters, two bloggers lost their primaries for Milwaukee County Board. Okay, technically Jason Haas isn't really blogging any more, and he didn't really try in his race, but he finished dead last of four in my district. Dan Cody, who does blog, also finished last--albeit much closer--in his race in the 15th Supervisory District.

Sam McGovern-Rowen, son-of-a-blogger, finished third in his race for alderman in a crowded field here in Milwaukee. (On the upside, both Dan and Sam got more votes in their races than Republican hero Rudy Giuliani did statewide--and almost as many as Republican savior Fred Thompson.)

The liberal side of the Cheddarsphere is not the only side that suffered last night. Conservative blogger enemy number one Michael McGee, Jr., took first in his primary from behind bars. (Not that I'm happy about that, either, but it's a particular blow to them and their complaints about the "alderthug.") All their plans to crossover and vote for Hillary Clinton to torpedo Barack Obama got them nothing but a total Republican turnout that was less than either Clinton's or Obama's vote totals individually. If I were Kathy Carpenter, the one blogger who survived the night, I'd be worried.

I'm sure that someone else, somewhere, is putting up a more interesting collection of pithy observations about last night's primary. The fact that some of the biggest coming contests--state supreme court, Milwaukee county Executive--lacked a primary kind of means there just weren't many fireworks to be had, and the to-do list doesn't really kick in until today: The real work starts in earnest now in both of those big races. Clinton needs to seriously consider suspending her campaign at this point. And bloggers need to keep rethinking their oft-inflated view of themselves.

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