Thursday, October 1, 2009

When Liberals Attack (Each Other): A Report From The Front

Posted By on Thu, Oct 1, 2009 at 10:56 AM

What do you think happens when conservatives have blog wars? I have to admit, I imagine they
click to enlarge Sure, he doesn't look like a guy who could tear the liberal blogosphere apart...
  • Sure, he doesn't look like a guy who could tear the liberal blogosphere apart...
just send rotted meat to each others' children, and the first guy who gets the other guy's kid to cry wins.

Not so with us liberals. When we have blog fights, there's patronizing name-calling, banishment from various progressive movements, whining, conservative meddling, and earnest appeals to outsiders to remember that, unlike those losers who can't get with the program, "we" are some of the cool ones.

And our fights never end; they just die down, only to flame up again in some new context.

Such was the case, earlier this week, with the Jim Cooper affair -- um, Coopergate, the Cooper d'etat?

The facts are simple enough. Some national bloggers created a PAC to raise money and work to ouster Cooper. Some local bloggers (myself included) were all, "You're just going to march in here and start bossing people around? WTF?" and then it was on.

Round One

Accountability Now! (the aforementioned PAC) launches the blog Cooper Uncovered. Southern Beale sees these newcomers to the Nashville blogosphere and welcomes them with a hearty "fuck you."

She lays out her concerns. 1. If you're going to primary Cooper, you'd better have a heck of a plan and come armed with more than just a survey. 2. Don't be acting like you know Nashville better than people who live here. 3. Don't misquote Cooper or write misleading things about him. If you're going to take him on, take him on ethically.

I weigh in with a "Well, this is strange," post while Gilgamark hits his pro-Cooper stride (and note in the comments poor Ben Vos trying to remind people that, if we paid attention to him, this wouldn't have been the first time we heard about this.)

Round Two

Kleinheider shoots off his mouth, and the national bloggers fire back. Kos declares that Kleinheider is wrong (though not by name), that Kos has a poll, and that "maybe those THREE people who think Cooper is peachy have no problem with him." And if you can't guess who those three people are, I invite you to reread the preceding two paragraphs.

The national blogs firmly establish their rhetoric of refusing to use proper nouns.

Round Three

People try to be reasonable. Goldni is thoughtful. Sean Braisted is too. Ditto Newscoma. But Ben Tribbett gets on Liberadio! and, by speaking almost entirely in vague generalities, raises to new heights the Kossian refusal to actually name potential challengers -- or any concrete information about this so-called primary movement, etc. In fact, the interview is so utterly dominated by obfuscation and euphemisms that when he finally uses the congressman's name, it's actually jarring.

Round Four

Who even remembers what the hell we're fighting about anymore? Egalia just wants to remind people that she's still a part of the progressive blogosphere even after threatening to vote for John McCain. PeskyFly wants to discuss the state of my underwear (and really, after reading how fascinated state Rep. Campfield is with what's in my drawers, who can blame him?).

And Kos takes his feud with Kleinheider to The Hill, though, weirdly enough, he again doesn't mention Kleinheider by name. Does foregoing specific nouns make a blogger more influential?

In all this mess, has a viable Cooper challenger emerged? Rumors are swirling, but nothing concrete. And, let's face it, if a primary opponent did magically materialize, he or she would have to wrestle word-duty away from the Nationals for any of us to know it.

Meanwhile, as always, the best insights wind up coming not from bloggers, but from commenters like Eleanor A, nm and Andy Axel here.

The war seemed to be building to a pinnacle of ridiculousness when Jeff Yarbro gave everyone something new and shiny to talk about.

So, though the fighting is now less roiling boil and more of a slow simmer, there's been no decisive victory. And when it comes to these things, a decisive victory is hardly the point.

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