Friday, October 19, 2007

Numbers and numbing nonsense

In politics, there are always new polling numbers to brag about, consider, or dismiss as meaningless. A recent Christopher Newport University poll revealed that 55 percent of its Virginia respondents had a positive view of the performance of Tim Kaine, their governor.

Some Republican-leaning bloggers reacted by calling Kaine, a Democrat, “Governor Timmy.”

The same CNU poll said that when it comes to the election next year to replace retiring Sen. John Warner, former-Governor Mark Warner, a Democrat, presently leads the two most often mentioned Republicans by a two-to-one margin.

The Red-faced blogosphere reacted by referring to the front-running Democrat as “Marky Mark.”

Mark this: Democrats have been gaining momentum steadily in the Old Dominion since Mark Warner’s victory in 2001. It was followed by Gov. Kaine’s win (in 2005) and that of Sen. Jim Webb (in 2006). Now the Democrats running for seats in Virginia’s General Assembly are actually raising more money than their Republican counterparts, who still hold the majority in that body.

Yet, over the last week, team-playing Republican bloggers have spent their energy heaving an avalanche of guff upon a 12-year-old boy, Graeme Frost, and his family. Despite the runaway spending of the Bush administration, lots of those same bloggers continue to try to cast Bush as a fiscal conservative when he vetoes a bill to help working families who can’t get insurance and can’t pay their medical bills.

Back to polls and ratings. There is a Richmond-based, rightwing blogger who loves to tout his “influence rating” at the statewide political blog aggregator Blognet News. (It beats me what an “influence rating” is supposed to be.) At his blog, his posts on politics consistently regurgitate hardcore extremist blatherings he has gleaned from such semi-reputable sources as the Drudge Report and Then, perhaps to up his bloggy influence, he dresses those twisted stories up with his own semi-clever touches, such as labeling all Democrats as “Democrat(icks).”

Other copycats imitate his imitations. Perhaps that’s influence.

What this particular snickering blogger doesn’t brag about is this: At the RVABlogs aggregator, which displays titles and excerpts of posts from 215 blogs in the Richmond area, his busy one-sided blog is rated dead last in popularity, No. 215!

In fact, there’s no other local blog even close to his negative rating.

Of course, RVABlogs is not a political-blogs-only aggregator. Most of the blogs displayed there are not political, but plenty of them are, at least in part. So, RVABlogs is more like a sampling of Richmond’s general population than what you might see at Blognet News.

Moreover, it’s representative of Richmonders who are engaged with what’s going on today, but politics is not something they dwell on to the exclusion of all else. Thus, I submit that they are the undecideds and independents most campaigns go after. They are Greens, or perhaps Libertarians. Some are apolitical.

Collectively, whatever they are they think the snickering blogger’s site is the worst of the worst.

While rightwing Republican politicians and their spin docs are still dwelling on opposing same-sex marriage and abortion, or defending a failed war policy that’s breaking the bank, most of us voters who think for ourselves want our government out of our bedrooms; we want America out of Iraq, pronto.

The GOP-leaning bloggers, who enjoy thinking they are annoying their opponents to no end, seem more interested in being part of a click of self-styled patriots than they are in influencing anyone beyond their own support group/blogging team.

Influence ratings, indeed.

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