Battlepanda: Lindsay lays it out


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lindsay lays it out

Lindsay's insider view is the best take on the Edwards campaign bloggers mess I've read. She was tapped to blog for Edwards but turned down the opportunity. There but for the grace of the-god-she-does-not-believe-in goes she.

The article answers some questions I've had about the campaign's thinking process behind hiring Amanda (incidentally my favorite feminist blogger). Yes, they knew what they were getting, but perhaps they didn't understand what they were getting into. I think future campaigns would do well to heed Lindsay's advice:
In my opinion, though, the real lesson of the Webb campaign is how effective bloggers can be when they're outside the campaign. I think the candidates who benefit the most from the netroots are the ones who can inspire bloggers to do their work for free. They create unpaid, unofficial surrogates.

Webb is a netroots success story because his team captured the imagination of independent bloggers and online activists. It was always clear that the netroots adopted Webb, not the other way around. His people figured out a way to make the relationship work. Throughout the race, besides hiring Feld and Chernila, his staffers also diligently cultivated relationships with bloggers outside the campaign. The Webb team started taking the pulse of the larger blogosphere before the Democratic primary -- and their candidate's primary victory was due, in part, to intense Internet support.

When Webb's videographer captured George Allen's "'macaca' moment," therefore, the campaign had a ready-made, receptive audience. All the campaign had to do was upload the video to YouTube and send out some well-targeted e-mails to bloggers and other supporters and wait.
I think she's exactly right. Hiring a blogger for a campaign reduces the blogger's independence, and therefore his or her credibility, and it also lays the campaign open to being attacked through the blogger.