Chris Bowers at MyDD has an excellant post comparing the right wing political blogosphere with the left wing political blogosphere. It is worth a study, not just a mere read, so do it.
The basic thrust is this:
- The left wing blogosphere gets more traffic
- The left wing blogosphere has been more influential in affecting actual political change (raising money for candidates, getting MSNBC to dump Luntz, affecting certain legislation, etc.)
- The right wing blogosphere enjoys the (misleading) public perception of being more effective, largely because of their success with Rathergate.
But the main thing that Bowers says . . . and I agree . . . is that the right wing blogosphere has an atmosphere and culture of independence. Even as they tend to support and defend Bush loyally, they see themselves as always outside the political system looking in. And despite their culture of independence, they act with a herd mentality on the issues, thereby setting the blogsphere agenda to a large extent.
By contrast (according to Bowers), the left wing blogosphere does not see itself as "independent", but rather, as an adjunct of the Democratic party. It is openly and admittedly and unashamedly partisan. This does not mean it cannot be critical of the Dem party, and indeed, the left blogosphere often engages in in-fighting much more than the right-wing blogosphere. But in the interest of what is best for the party and (by extension) the country, there is far less of a herd mentality with the left wing blogosphere. One guy can go off about social security, and others can gripe about electoral votes in Ohio, and another can harp on the Plame affair, or whatever. But despite the diversity of interest, there is a strong solidarity with and for the Democratic party.
As Instapundit says, that "sounds about right".
Bowers concludes that the left’s solidarity and the right’s independence spells good days for the left, and harder days for the right.
It is ironic that at the very moment when the right-wing blogosphere is being lauded for its influence, it is increasingly becoming clear that it has structural and institutional weaknesses that will prevent it from ever becoming more influential than it was during the Rather story. At the same time, our partisan nature makes us strong. As long as we think of the Democratic Party and the lefty-blogosphere both in terms of we rather than it, we will remain strong and continue to grow in influence. Wingers like to think of themselves as independents no matter how conservative they actually are, but that very independence is making them weak. Through our solidarity, we grow strong. Through our solidarity, we will continue to grow and change the Democratic party.
I’m not sure I share Bowers’ optimism there, but I hope he’s right!