March 14, 2007
Today's Richmond Times Dispatch (hat tip to VB Dems) surveyed the growing impact of various Internet on political races in Virginia. From issue monitoring to constituent feedback to fundraising, the possibilities are multiplying continually, and so are the dangers. When word of George Allen's "macaca" gaffe spread like wildfire thanks to YouTube last August, he didn't seem to know what hit him. As Shaun Kenney, former blogger and newly appointed communications director for the Republican Party of Virginia, said: "Ignore the blogs at your own peril." Being old-fashioned and quite pressed for time as it is, I steer clear of trendy networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube, but who knows, maybe I'll cave in some day.
It's nice that Republicans in the Old Dominion are finally getting up to speed with the blogosphere, just as I am setting aside trepidations and getting up to speed with the blogosphere in Virginia. I spent a good two years or more trying to push local Republicans into grasping the potential for blogs (e.g., Rathergate, in 2004) and Internet technology (e.g., swacgop.org, and last year the message finally started to spread. Better late than never. Of course, many older folks (and even some young ones) still think the Internet is an amusing novelty or trivial diversion, but the smart ones know otherwise. The big question for the future is how will the blogosphere "police" itself so that disreputable or slanderous blogs don't get as much exposure as the ones with higher standards.
A letter from Bea Morris in today's News Leader expressed appreciation to State Sen. Emmett Hanger for his support for retired teachers in Virginia. He sponsored a bill that raised the health insurance credit for retired teachers, bringing them up to par with retired state employees. Most people will never know the sacrifices in life that teachers have to endure so that the next generation will receive a good education. Fortunately, some of our legislators do know.