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Blue Blogging Soapbox
...rambling rants, thoughts and musings on mostly political topics - from your late night blogger.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Blogs and the Liberal Leadership Race 
(en francais)

The ongoing Liberal Leadership race is creating some interesting opportunities for the Canadian Blogging Community.

Most of the candidates are blogging in some degree or form. Several interviews have been granted to bloggers and indications are, more are to come.

For my own part, I have been running a series of reviews on the Leadership Websites. This was not intended as a partisan hack job, but as serious a critique as I could provide based on some of the best practices for political websites. I have to say at the outset that I have received cooperation from various Liberal bloggers (Cerberus, Calgary Grit) as well as from individuals on various campaign teams. Marc, Michael Iganatieff's webmaster had arranged for me to attend Michael's recent Windsor event as a blogger. Unfortunately, due to last minutes business related issues, I was unable to attend.

The reason for this post is an initiative Calgary Grit started this week, inviting the Leadership Candidates to Guest Blog on his blog. Carolyn Bennett posted a blog and the war was on. Various conservative bloggers jumped in like there was blood in the water and they were hungry sharks.

Some of the comments:
"Especially with the condescending, arrogant attitude you people constantly allow to creep out on the national stage.

Good luck on your race... you really need it."
"Hey Dr. Chickeepoo! Tell me, this democracy binge and purge you're on. Did you ever bring it up with David Herle, Mike Robinson and Tim Murphy when you were begging for a cabinet seat? Did you bring it up after you got to the Privy Council? Or was it just all about you at that point?"
"Everyone is looking forward to the left wing signing up for the mission in Sudan. We're going to miss Layton and Keith Martin. And you might want to lay off the "Chicken Hawk" phrase condidering Bill Graham's preferences."
Flame wars amongst various blogs are accepted by some and tolerated as part of the game by most. That's not to say it's desired or even necessary.

Many people from all political stripes are watching this process and formulating future strategies based on the results. If one of our goals is to encourage politicians to engage people on the internet, dragging out the howitzers every time they appear doesn't seem to be an encouraging trait.

Elections are one thing, but this is purely a Liberal party race. We cry that the Liberal party has no real policy other than the polls, but when attempts are made to have discussions, out come the large size monkey wrenches. The result:
"As expected, the Tory trolls come marching out of the woodwork."
If this initiative is going to live or die, I'd rather it do so on it's own merits, not because we can't exercise some restraint. Put yourself in Calgary Grit's shoes. What would the reaction be if this was being attempted in a Conservative Party Leadership race?

The internet offers boundless opportunities to engage everyone. Videocasting, podcasting, live webstreams, blogs, discussion forums, live chats and video conferencing are just some of the tools available today, with more being developed all the time. Garth Turner is ready to launch his new MPTV on the 1st of June. Would it be possible to see the Prime Minister or Cabinet Ministers participating in a blog or chat event in the near future? Not likely, given current trends.

In a country with sinking voter turnouts and rising political cynicism, we do ourselves no favours engaging in partisan warfare at EVERY given opportunity. The various blogrolls and their members crave recognition and respect from media and other sources but often exhibit behaviour that produces the exact opposite results.

The majority of people have their own blogs. If you really feel the need to jump on various candidates and their positions, blog away. Lord knows I certainly do.

Thanks to the efforts of Stephen Taylor, Craig Smith and numerous other conservative bloggers, we have established a strong and leading presence on the internet. The way forward is to continue building on that strength. Instead of engaging in useless partisan attacks on Liberal Leadership candidate's online initiatives why not start some of your own.

Invite a local Conservative MP to guest blog on your blog. Start a podcast or videocast. Interview an MP as a blogger and post the results on your blog. Create a round-table discussion involving various bloggers. Better yet - create something totally new and be the leader.

Hopefully this post can generate some lively discussion and encourage people to look forward not back. Let's continue to build a strong conservative presence online instead of wasting time on the Liberal Leadership Follies.

Update: From Political Staples - Kudos to Calgary Grit

Paul Synnott at 8:00 p.m.    | en francais | Go to Top|


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