Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Zombie Myths Never Die!Posted by DavidNYC
Chris Cillizza, who ought to know better, repeats the zombie myth about the netroots that just won't die:
But no candidate backed by the netroots has actually won....
Five words: Ben Chandler and Stephanie Herseth. Do you know what we call those two today?
Congressman and Congresswoman.
In Chandler's race in particular, the netroots - which were a lot smaller back then, and weren't even called the netroots - played a crucial role. Mark Nicholas (publisher of the BluegrassReport and Chandler's campaign manager), turned a $2,000 investment into $80,000 practically overnight. That cash provided a vital boost to the Chandler campaign in its final weeks.
And if you want a truly legit piece of evidence that netroots folks really cared about this race, check out this cached blast from the past from Chandler's old site:
Calpundit add $.15
Daily Kos add $.01
EdCone.com add $.13
Eschaton add $.18
The Hamster add $.04
Instapundit add $.03
pandagon.net add $.07
Political Wire add $.09
Seeing the Forest add $.02
Talk Left add $.11
Talking Points Memo add $.22
Yellow Dog Blog add $.36
You'd be forgiven if the above list doesn't make any sense to you. But in the old, pre-ActBlue days, the easiest way to make sure your blog got "credit" for driving donations was to have your readers append a certain amount of cents to every donation. $20.01, you know it's from Kos. $20.22, it's from Talking Points Memo, and so on. The campaign started paying attention to these extra cents because bloggers asked them to - in other words, bloggers (and donors) cared about this race. They felt invested in it. They cared about the outcome. They wanted Chandler to win, and were extremely excited when he did.
The blogosphere did not single-handedly elect Ben Chandler - no one is making such grandiose claims. But Cillizza talks about candidates "backed by the netroots" (emphasis added). "Backed" is the key word there. There's no question at all that the netroots backed Ben Chandler - many, many blogs did. Some 1,600 contributors gave during that stretch run. We most certainly - and rightly - claim Ben Chandler as one of our own.
I expect right-wing blogs to mock "0 for 19" Kos - they have no respect for the truth. But I was disappointed when William Beutler fell for the same myth. And I'm unhappy that Chris Cillizza decided to repeat it as well. Ordinarily, I might send a short e-mail pointing out a mistake like this to the author. But the problem here is that this myth has been repeated so damn often it's acquired the same level of truthiness that "Gore invented the Internet" has - hence I felt the need to do some very public myth-busting.
UPDATE: Chris Cillizza just posted a piece acknowledging the netroots' role in the Herseth and Chandler victories. I'm very glad that he did. Again I say, while I did take a bit of a dig at Cillizza, I wrote this post to correct the "public record" on this issue. Blog posts tend to rank higher in Google, and the SSP is also carried by Google News. In other words, I wanted to make sure this information would be easily accessible to those looking for it. Hopefully the addition of Cillizza's newest post will help stamp out this zombie myth once and for all.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
The point is that we usually don't get involved in easy races.
Hackett, Mongiardo, Rodriguez, Lamont, Young, Busby, etc. these are all tough races that nobody expected us to do nearly as well as we did.
It'd be easy to support Pelosi, Schumer, Clinton, etc. but what's the point?
Now we just need a better gound game (a machine if you will) to turn out the troops and we'll finish off these near misses.
What about Tim Kaine? I'd say he was Netroots backed, and HE won.