Virginia blogosphere flap
Meanwhile, back in the Old Dominion... I haven't been paying much attention to the Virginia blogosphere lately, which is why it was not until yesterday that I learned of an odd controversy with a local twist. It seems that Charlottesville blogger Waldo Jaquith *, who maintains a list of Virginia political blogs, drew some heat for de-listing a right-wing graphical blog called General Grievous' Dog because of what he deemed to be inappropriate content. Frankly, I can't blame him. Each of us have our own standards of what constitutes good taste; to each his own. In response, a guy I know who does the Spank That Donkey blog (out of respect, I'll omit his name on this occasion) asked Waldo to remove his link in protest, and the polemical sparks really started flying. In response, conservative bloggers Shaun Kenney and Chad Dotson (who had "closed up shop" after the election) took time to make blog posts in support of Waldo, on principle. Kenney wrote, "Waldo Jaquith's prime metaconcern has always been with the tone of the blogosphere." Finally, Slantblog cited Daily Progress columnist Bob Gibson with regard to the recent Virgil Goode controversy and this silly tempest, asking if there is "something strange in Staunton's water supply?" Ho, ho, ho. Slantblog goes on:
It seems the Boycott Waldo movement was mostly centered in the Staunton area. I don't know how many different people it really involved, but I'm left to wonder why Republicans in that part of Virginia seem so different than others?
Methinks he doth generalize too much. Or perhaps it is just a case of selective attention. After all, the City of Staunton (where I live) is a separate political entity from Augusta County, as was made painfully clear by what recently happened to the old swacgop.org Web site. What a shame... Is it any wonder I have such a hard time taking Virginia politics seriously? Anyone who reads this blog knows that I emphatically share the concern of Waldo and Shaun about the increasingly coarse tone of political discourse these days. Those who know me personally can attest that I have taken more than my share of criticism from political colleagues for refusing to put up with nastiness and polarization. Maybe this even temperament stems from my Midwestern roots, like Gerald Ford. One lesson I have been drawing from post-election developments such as this incident is that there isn't nearly as much difference in terms of anger and bitter resentment between Right and Left as there used to be. Another lesson is that the blogosphere is becoming more and more crowded with pushy rank amateur newcomers, to the detriment of all. I have often marveled at how obsessed some bloggers are with drawing attention to themselves, as if blogging were an exercise in pure vanity. I prefer dignified modesty, thank you. In any case, I've updated my blogroll and look forward to following a broader range of commentary on Virginia politics, as time permits.
* I remember hearing Waldo on WINA radio in Charlottesville several times during the 1990s when he was a precocious teenage globe trotter of sorts. As in, "Where's Waldo?"
"Blue Dogs" mark their turf
After the second day back in power, the Democrats seem to be reasonably well organized. For me, it's a good sign that the conservative "Blue Dog Coalition" is exerting a lot of influence, resisting the demands of the Democrat left wing. In a press conference today, co-chairs Mike Ross (AR) and Allen Boyd (FL) outlined their budget deficit reduction plans, and made it clear that they support the effort of our armed forces in Iraq. Rep. Stephanie Herseth (SD!) serves as the caucus Whip, and is a very impressive rising star in the Democratic Party. Other key members include Jane Harman (CA), who is still peeved at Speaker Nancy Pelosi for passing her over for the post of intelligence committee chair. One of the newest members is former Redskins quarterback Heath Shuler (NC). Oddly, however, there is not a single member from Virginia! In terms of national politics, nonetheless, the center is where the action is these days. I hope enough Republican leaders remember their "traditional value" of fiscal responsibility before the political tides shift decisively in the Democrats' favor.