Friday, March 10, 2006

Volunteering to Fight the Police State

Got my coffee, got my music, got some rain on our glass dome roof, got my blog. It’s time for some Early Morning Blues and Greens and writing.

Instapundit links today to a well-researched Marc Cooper column on Hillary’s latest campaign speech. She claims some border control proposal or other will create a “police state”. Marc compares Clinton and Bush administration policies to make his point. I think he overanalyzes the situation. Zimbabwe is a police state. The US is not. Hillary’s assertion is self-evidently stupid. She might as well write campaign commercials for the Republicans with speeches like this.

Anyway, Marc takes up the gauntlet and manfully thwacks Hillary about the head and shoulders, but misses a broader point.

Hillary is a politician. She may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but she’s reasonably professional. She wants votes. She gets votes by talking. She thinks this speech will get her more votes. Why? In short, Hillary needs campaign volunteers. Because of the blogosphere, those who might volunteer for her campaign want to hear this.

Those of you growing bored are encouraged to go look at pictures of KT and Jacob. My next post won’t be so serious, I promise. I’ll get this windbaggery out of my system and go back to animals and humor shortly.

In Michael Medved’s autobiography, Right Turns, he discusses his experience as a volunteer on various political campaigns. What struck me as I read it was the mechanics of getting elected. While wealthy corporations and individuals can bankroll campaigns and grant advantages over campaigns with less funding, to be consistently successful you need a cadre of dedicated volunteers.

In general, volunteering for a political campaign is the act of a political fanatic. With the advent of the blogosphere, political fanatics now have a place to gather and encourage one another.

Howard Dean rose to contend for the presidency because of such volunteers. That lesson was not lost on everyone else. In addition to courting the fatcats like George Soros, politicians like Hillary are courting the pools of volunteers. The blogosphere helps politicians like Hillary tune in to what these people want. There’s no need for focus groups because the fanatics are publishing mini-manifestos on a daily basis.

More than that, these echo chambers create peer pressure among the volunteers. The Daily Kos is savaging Joe Lieberman on a daily basis. It’s kind of hard to volunteer to work for the guy if your ideological comrades will beat you senseless for doing so. It’s a high school locker room for political junkies.

I was going to list some posts from Kos to give you some examples of the locker room chatter, but after paging through 60 of their headlines I found them so relentlessly boring that I couldn’t bring myself to inflict more than one of them on you. Here’s a sample. Pretend you're Hillary and you want to court these people. Why wouldn’t you say America was becoming a police state?

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