Don’t know about the rest of the world, but this Democratic chest-thumping in Virginia (and subsequent doom-and-gloom amongst conservatives) has gotten old.
Why did Jim Webb win? One word: MACACA.
And how did it get out? Not through an incompetent Jim Webb campaign, but through blogs willing to stake their reputation and draw the story out. F.T. Rea ponders:
Was Webb’s remarkable win, owing much to blogs, a fluke? Or, is Virginia’s churning blogosphere, flying by the seat of its pants, the avant-garde of American politics?
Did blogs magnify the “macaca” incident? Of course they did. Was Jim Webb’s victory a fluke? You bet.
Consider the alternative: If George Allen had not uttered “macaca”, or had it not gone on YouTube for the blogs to promote, Allen conceivably would have cruised to a double-digit victory over paleocon-turned-progressive Jim Webb. Allen would be the shoo-in for the GOP presidential nod, there would be no upheaval at RPV, nor would there be a discussion as to what kind of Virginia Republican Party we want to see for 2007-08.
Instead, the Democrats managed to turn a collection of syllables into a racial epithet. I don’t think we’ll ever properly know what Allen meant by the word (though like it or not, macaca isn’t a nice thing to say and has a meaning), but that single incident in August turned a 20+ lead into a 3- deficit from which the GOP never recovered.
As for the Virginia blogosphere, it’s true the Dems did a masterful job of laying out the narrative before the MSM picked up on the story. Ironically, the paid boys at Raising Kaine had little to do with it, but rather Ben Tribbet at Not Larry Sabato was the pin in the grenade. Likewise on the right, we fumbled for a response and relied on dubious opinions from the Allen campaign (mohawk, anyone?) that ultimately panned out to be false.
Thus when Sidharth’s video clip was YouTube-d and broadcasted to the world, the Dems had the narrative built, whilst we on the right were still wandering in the weeds of misinformation.
Hence the importance of good netroots co-ordinators to political campaigns and operations.
Quo vadis? Republicans need to wake up after Christmas and realize the sky is not falling down. Yes there are thing we can do to make RPV more responsive, efficient, etc. Yes, we need to start taking blogs and podcasts seriously.
No, Virginia is not turning blue, “purpling”, or any sort of nonsense like that. Republicans need to get back to the fusionism of old that made the Reagan Revolution great in the 1980’s. Figure out the long pole of the big tent, disagree on the peripherals, but understand that in the end we can disagree so long as we continue to focus on what brings us together.
I could go on my tangent about good government being no substitute for self-government, but that would make this a longer post than I intend this to be (and it’s long enough).
Your bottom line? Webb didn’t win, Allen lost. And blogs helped.