A friend of mine forwarded me the following interview with his holiness, sir Newton Gingrich. It seems that he is trying to elevate the level of discussion in American politics, attempting to introduce "big ideas," and formulating a vision for "a better future that people believe is real."
But, of course, Newt being Newt, he has to take time to articulate the deficiencies of those wacky, zany democrats. You see, they have been seized by the mania of left-wing, academic bloggers.
Are the Democrats squandering their opportunity?
Somebody from the [Washington] Post called me today and said they were very struck that the Democrats had just lost the language war over this debate on Iraq. He said, "What would your advice be?" I said, "Change policies." This is a core problem they have. ... I don't think you can write a Contract with Vermont and San Francisco. I think the problem the Democrats have right now—you see it in the most important primary this year, the Joe Lieberman election. Al Gore has refused to endorse his vice presidential running mate. A party which is so driven by its left that—I don't know if you saw the blogger meeting in Las Vegas? From the standpoint of an average American, some of that stuff was weird. Candidates out there run a risk of resembling the people they're trying to appeal to. Normal people I think become distanced by that stuff. I think the Republican Party has few allies more effective than the Daily Kos. It puts them into an echo chamber of listening to each other. There was a reason [2004 Democratic presidential nominee John] Kerry looked normal—because Howard Dean looked so strange. So you have Dean as national chair, you have Gore coming back as a true left winger to Hillary's left, you have Lieberman unacceptably pro-national security, you have Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco... Let's drop Nancy Pelosi into a typical exurban swing district and see how she does. You listen to her talk and it's all about the counterculture, unilateral disarmament type of babble.
We see Newt referencing the classic tropes of the right wing: the democrats are "weird," strange individuals who embrace the "counterculture" and do not believe in the need for a strong military. He goes on to talk about why there is no "successful left wing radio." (I guess he has never heard of Air America). It seems that it is the fault of left leaning academic bloggers:
Back to bloggers. You like technology. I'd think you'd be a blog kind of guy. Do you have a problem with the medium?
Conservative talk radio mobilized an entire country. And you really can't explain the Contract with America and the rise of conservatism without thinking about Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and all the different people....it's an interesting and understudied phenomenon that there is no successful left wing radio. It's partly because the coalition of the left is a genuine coalition of different groups of people who actually don't want to listen to each other. So it's much less homogenous than the right. The bloggers are on the one hand helpful to the left because it gives them a voice with each other and the left is overwhelmingly represented in the academic world and therefore writing and reading blogs makes perfect sense to that faction. The problem they have is that it almost is carrying them back to the McGovern era where the very intensity of the anti-war Democrats in 1972 took them off a cliff. You get on these blogs and you talk to each other and you build up your intensity and you begin to think it's the real world. And then these candidates now want to be liked by these bloggers who after all spend all day writing to each other. And that can create an impossibly high standard. If you do what the bloggers want in the end, you're going to be so far to the left.
Now I do not think there is anything so unusual about his comments. In many respects, they reflect "conventional wisdom." But I still find it strange that left leaning academic bloggers, or "dailyKos" activists, would present such a pernicious influence. Isn't the Republican party dominated by the religious right? And don't they have their own set of Bloggers who spend all day talking to each other? (The drudge report, Jeff Gannon, etc...) Are the lefty bloggers any weirder than the righty ones? And is their echo chamber any more down to earth than the ravenous freaks of the left?