Goldman Resurfaces, Takes on “Over the Top” Pro-Webb Bloggers

I’m late blogging this story because my Blogger interface wouldn’t cooperate yesterday. But better late than never…. Now that he’s no longer working for Richmond city hall and his talk radio show is on hold, Paul Goldman has resumed e-mailing his famous GoldmanGrams.

In the latest, Goldman wonders if the Democratic camp of the blogging community has shot itself in the foot by aggressively attacking Harris Miller and favoring Jim Webb for the Democratic party nomination for U.S. Senate. In effect, Goldman suggests, by positioning Miller as the victim early in the campaign, those attacks have inoculated him against charges of negativity in the late phases of the campaign. Says Goldman:

Without the bloggers’ over-the-top attacks on Miller, would this be a different campaign right now? We will never know. But we do know that in the new two weeks, Miller will be free to make an almost exclusive negative against Webb because the bloggers created the climate to do it.

From what I’ve seen personally, the “negative” campaigning has consisted mainly of mass-mailed material in which Miller questions Webb’s Democratic Party credentials. That’s pretty mild. If I were a Democrat, I would consider it a legitimate issue. But Bob Gibson with the Charlottesville Daily Progress cites details of aggressive robocall messages here.

You can read the text of the GoldmanGram here.

Read Slantblog’s take on the GoldmanGram here. And Conaway Haskins at South of the James.

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11 responses to “Goldman Resurfaces, Takes on “Over the Top” Pro-Webb Bloggers”

  1. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    What per cent of the Dem voters actually read the blogs? What per cent of the Dem voters heard the spin about the blogs – one way or the other?

  2. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Let’s assume that the number of Democratic blog readers in Virginia number only a few tens of thousands. You have to consider that those readers tend to be the activists — those who care most intensely about the issues, and those who are most likely to influence others. If the WaPo is right, and only two or three percent of the electorate is likely to turn out for the Democratic primary, the bloggers could constitute an important influence…. all the more so, given the relative lack of interest on the part of the MSM press in the race.

  3. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Jim, if 2% of 2.5 million voters – either Party’s ‘half’ is 50,000, then 10,000 blog readers is a significant 20%. Are there 10,000 Dem blog readers in Virginia? Just asking to get realistic ideas of the media.

  4. F.T. Rea Avatar
    F.T. Rea

    At this point we’re all guessing at how effective political blogs have been and will be tomorrow. Still, we sense there’s a potential worth exploring, or we wouldn’t be here now. In my view, trying to measure a ripple in the whir and buzz of Virginia’s political blogosphere using numbers is a reach.

    In this matter, it’s probably not so much a matter of how many voters are reading political blogs, this summer, as it is what vibe is being felt by most Democrats.

    My thinking is that by using bloggers as deniable attack dogs, as Webb’s camp obviously has, his strategists have obscured Webb’s resume and his story of a Reagan-Democrat who has come home.

    The shrill tone of the relentless characterizations of Webb’s opponent, Harris Miller, has fed on itself — the “echo chamber” effect. His bloggers have seemed, at times, to be playing a game of zingers to top one another, and Pavlov-dog us all into blind obedience, instead of thinking about how best to help Webb win in the real world.

    Not surprisingly, they say I’m wrong.

    If I’m right, it would hardly be the first instance of young campaign staffers/volunteers taking their eyes off the ball. A casual observer could easily gather from the vibe that Webb is yet another cynical, modern pol — another guy relying mostly on professional mudslingers to destroy his opponent.

    Meanwhile, we’ve seen and heard little evidence of the thinks-well-on-his-feet charm Webb’s ardent backers say is there. Since I’m a still a Webb supporter, I’m disappointed. That’s why I’ve squawked at SLANTblog.

    My hope is that Webb will wake up and show up.

    Webb should push away publicly from the worst of his angry bloggers’ tone. This primary could perhaps still be won by Webb, himself, with a strong kick and a sincere smile.

  5. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    No argument on spin, but ultimately it all comes down to numbers. Blog readers and voters. Numbers – who has good ones?

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    10,000 Dem blog readers? Try less than a thousand.

  7. R. Lawson Avatar
    R. Lawson

    Food for thought. If Webb wins the primaries, our angry talk goes away. If Miller wins, have just seen the tip of the iceberg. People in all parties hate Miller. If you want a Democrat to have a chance, vote for Webb.

    Miller will be crucified in this election ultimately. If Webb wins the primary and runs against Allen, things turn very nice on our end.

    What you don’t understand is that Harris Miller is a political lightning rod. Many of the people opposing him don’t vote party line.

    I usually vote Democrat because overall the party is closer to my views. But I would never hessitate to vote for a good Republican when against a bad Democrat. I don’t lose sleep over that stuff – I define myself as American before party.

    If you want to have a 50/50 chance of winning, vote Webb. If you want a 70/30 chance of winning vote Miller (Miller being 30).

    And some times when you “win” you really lose. You may get a warm body who is a registered Democrat like Miller, but in the end you will lose. His ability to vote and influence other Senators is scary. It was bad enough when he was lobbying them, not he wants to be one of “them”??? Absurd.

    The question is just what Democrats stand for. Is it OK to turn your backs on labor? Yes or no. Labor is awaiting the party’s decision.

  8. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Anonymous 9:55, I have no idea how many Democrats read Virginia blogs. 10,000 was a wild guess. But your number — 1,000 — strikes me as way too low. Just think of the number of elected officials in the state, state and local party officials, campaign managers and other hangers-on, and miscellaneous activists of all types. The number has got to be more than 1,000.

    Another indicator, on the national level at least, is the influence of left-wing bloggers of the Daily Kos website on the Demo Party apparatus. They’re a minority but an extremely vocal and articulate one.

  9. kingfish Avatar

    A Webb candidacy allows the Democratic Party to expand its base and reclaim some of the ground it lost in the late “80’s and 90’s. A Webb candidacy sends a clear message to the electorate that simply calling Democrats ” liberal” does not make it so; that the Democratic Party of Virginia is large enough to house peole of differing views and has sufficient good will to promote them all.
    A Miller candidacy, on the other hand, freezes the status quo in place for another cycle, leaving the Democrats having to rely on poor Republican campaigns as their best chance for victory. The only winners in this scenario are Republicans and the small cabal of liberal NoVa elite who prefer to control a minority party rather than participate in a majority one.
    If you want to promote genuine political competition in Virginia because you believe that is a good thing for the Commonwealth, regardless of how you plan to vote in November, a vote for Webb is in order.

  10. Virginia Centrist Avatar
    Virginia Centrist

    “Webb should push away publicly from the worst of his angry bloggers’ tone.”

    Actually, we plan to thrash allen after the primary.

  11. Anonymous Avatar

    I really don’t appreciate negative campaigning in the Democratic Primary. However, to see Goldman question it after some of the things he’s said about Democrats over the years is a real hoot!

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