“The elites are trying to crash the gates of the blogosphere”

After negotiating McCormick Place’s various parking options, I’m here for day 2 of Yearly Kos. (Day 1 thoughts here.) The day’s first panel is Blog Foreign Policy and Networked Public Diplomacy. (Each panel I’ve been at has had lots of smart folk, but I only seem able to focus on one speaker per session.)


Suzanne Nossel of Democracy Arsenal spoke of the attempts by think tanks and policy journals to embrace interactive media: “the elites are trying to crash the gates of the blogosphere.” DA often debates whether it should adopt a more bloggy style and voice, but”we come back to our sweet spot: a measured, analytical approach” to foreign policy issues. She also noted that blogs have demonstrated effects in politics, particularly in hot button campaigns like Lieberman-Lamont [at least in Round 1]– but they have yet to impact policy. She answers a question about Democratic think tanks– Democrats have been out of power, and thus have had time to think and blog. When thought leaders enter government they are unlikely to continue as bloggers. Later, an audience member asked a related question: “Some of you guys are going to be insiders, when that happens …how do you envision working with us out here, the progressive edge of the dem party?” Nossel responded that there will of course be pressure, as there is with the new Congress. ” There will inevitably be compromises and not everyone will be happy.”

I pursued the exhibition hall last night and noticed the loneliness of the Hillary table. (Obama’s and Edwards had lots of folks milling about, and Richardson’s folks had some visitors, though the cookies may have been partly responsible.) But, as Jose Antonio Vargas notes in today’s Post, Obama is the house’s favorite, even given the criticisms that his Pakistan speech has engendered. Yet, the latest NBC/WSJ poll shows Hillary widening her (albeit early) lead and makes manifest the notion that the YK community is a niche one. As Vargas observes, HRC’s presence here

underscores two seemingly contradictory realities: blogs’ growing influence as powerful backroom players in Democratic circles and the fact that they don’t reflect the views of most Democrats, much less the general public.






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