Bloggers, like any other media outlet, sometimes overestimate our influence. The lefty blogs seem to be doing just that when it comes to the 2008 presidential race where their preferred candidate, John Edwards, is falling further and further behind Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
That's not a problem for most Democrats but for left-wing bloggers it is a problem because Clinton and Obama have built up their popularity without the help of blogs.
This situation is making liberal bloggers uncomfortable as Paul Mirengoff reports. He begins by quoting from Jerome Armstrong, a political consultant blogger:
[Obama's] campaign really doesn't know what a movement is made up of and are fumbling in the dark amidst their media-created momentum (which is getting primed to turn on its creation). And who's got Obama's back when the media does turns on its creation? The netroots doesn't; he's never aligned with the existing movement that began with Dean in '02, swelled for Wesley Clark in '03, led Dean to the DNC Chair and propelled the Hackett and Lamont candidacies, leading to the surge of activists voting for Democrats in '06...
...[Obama's campaign] looks like a better-than-ordinary campaign for a candidate that's personally compelling, and not much more. It is not a movement, but a candidate. It's about Obama, and nothing more. He's got numbers in the same way that Coke or Pepsi have consumers; supporters in the same way that Bono and the Dixie Chicks have fans. But this is partisan politics, and Obama will not survive the rightwing machine's onslaught without a strategy that includes internet partisanship...
Edwards could still win the nomination, but it looks like a real longshot now, and the fading in the polls nationally is not a good omen. He needed to run a perfect campaign, with no self-induced mistakes, and it's not been that way at all. The haircut, hedgefund, and house as a trifecta of rightwing ammo has hurt his credibility on the signature issue of poverty.
Notice how Armstrong blames Edwards' failure (at least to-date) on his having supplied the "right wing" with "ammo." This, of course, is ludicrous. Conservatives exert essentially zero influence in the Democratic party. Edwards isn't at 13 percent (or thereabouts) in Democratic polls because of "right wing ammo." He's at 13 percent because he's a lightweight and because left-wing bloggers (like conservative bloggers) aren't very influential when it comes to presidential politics.
Read the rest. Paul is right on the money.