Blogosphere: Dems vs. the G.O.P.

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I think that in the end it will be, much more than any partisan bickering, much more than any partisan triumphs, much more than anything political… the true virtue of [the blogs] is that more people get to participate, and more communities get to be built and more ideas get to be heard.

Ezra Klein

The YearlyKos bloggers’ convention just finished up in Las Vegas yesterday, drawing left-leaning bloggers from all over the country. Also in attendance were many national political figures from the Democratic party, hoping to catch the bloggers’ ears. About the conference the New York Times opined:

The blogosphere has become for the left what talk radio has been for the right: a way of organizing and communicating to supporters. Blogging is nowhere near the force among Republicans as it is among Democrats, and talk radio is a much more effective tool for Republicans.

Adam Nagourney in the New York Times, 6/10/06

For those of us who read blogs daily, this conclusion seems over-simplistic and way off. The online world has heady conversation from across the political spectrum, and all you have to do is look at Captain’s Quarters, Instapundit, Red State, or any number of other conservative blogs to see that conservatives have also figured out how to use the blogosphere to get their message across.

Our question is, *is* there a difference in the way that the Democratic and Republican parties use blogs to deliver messages, frame political issues, and reach voters in their base? And if so, what are those differences? Have Democrats, in their search for a national identity and platform, begun relying on bloggers to shape that conversation? (Michael Scherer said in Salon today that the Dems were courting bloggers as if they were a special interest group.) Have Republicans, with their history of successfully framing political conversation through think-tanks and talk radio, moved to use those same tactics through blogs?

Let us know what you think, and please, cite examples if you can find them!

George Lakoff

Professor of Linguistics, University of Berkeley

Ezra Klein

Writing Fellow, American Prospect

Blogger, Ezra Klein: Tomorrow’s Media Conspiracy Today

Mary Katharine Ham

Former Senior Writer and Associate Editor,

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