I'm noticing a bit of bewilderment over on the Internet right. These folks made life miserable for Dan Rather, Eason Jordan, Ward Churchill, and others, and after that they thought a revolution was taking place -- they thought the old media/political order was crumbling, and in its place would emerge a brave new world in which real power was in the hands of blogs (meaning their blogs).
Now -- perhaps surprisingly -- a lot of these right-wingers don't like the bankruptcy bill, and they know lefties don't like it either. They are the mighty giant-killers, and we have (bafflingly to them) a fair number of readers; surely this should have added up to a formidable force. And yet the bankruptcy bill's going to pass.
A post at righty blog Just One Minute notes the extent of the opposition and offers some theories about what's gone wrong. Theory #1: Opponents reacted too late. (But isn't that the power of the mighty blogosphere -- that it goes from zero to blogswarm in an eyeblink?) Theory #2: Those stinky old liberals screwed everything up by opposing the bill with incorrect thinking. (Too silly a theory to addresss -- and besides, if our side's ideas are so off base, isn't the awe-inspiring power of the blogosphere to correct its own errors, and everybody else's as well, supposed to contain that kind of problem?)
Theory #3: "money talks."
We don't do blog triumphalism over on the left. We know that the media -- yup, the "liberal media" -- pays very little attention to us. The two stories that reached the mainstream through the work of lefty blogs -- Trent Lott's favorable comments on Strom Thurmond's presidential bid and the strange career of propagandist/rent boy Jeff Gannon -- were exceptions to the media's neglect of us because they involved (a) race and (b) sex. When it comes to policy, we're shut out -- we challenge the consensus, and the mainstream press isn't interested in that.
Righties have been thinking lately that they're genuinely powerful, but they only seem to wield power when they do what established interests want them to do -- namely, hunt left/liberal pelts. The established interests -- the conservative press and the Republican establishment -- are delighted when right-wing bloggers take down a major "liberal" media figure or a provocateur lefty college professor, because telling the hoi polloi yet again that leftists/liberals/Democrats are treasonous and sinister makes it all the more likely that Republicans will continue to triumph at the polls and be free to do what vested corporate interests want them to do.
That's the limit of right-wing bloggers' power. And the clueless bastards really don't get it.
Or maybe I'm wrong: Some on the right are linking to Politology's campaign to fight the bankruptcy bill in the House. I'd be delighted if this bears fruit -- hell, I think it would be terrific to beat this bill even if right-wingers got the credit. Maybe we should all link arms and see what happens.
By the way, I really think the righties are sincere in their opposition, and a bit appalled at what their elected heroes are doing. Check out this from RedState ("Collaborative Republicanism for the Masses"). Money quote:
The bankruptcy bill before the Congress is bad law, bad practice, and an example of bad faith with the common people whom elected officials presumably serve. When it passes -- and it will -- it will be thanks purely to the Republican Party.
You got that right.
(I was led down this trail by Alicublog.)