University of Maryland professor Peter Levine has some interesting things to say about the liberal blogosphere in response to bloggers Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zúniga’s new book, Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics:
I should also note that 2006 is the perfect year for the Kos approach. The main issue really will be incompetence and corruption in one-party Washington, and people (some people) really will vote Democratic simply in order to check and oversee the Republicans. This is one year when it may work simply to attack the incumbent party and promote an alternative set of players.
But that approach didn’t succeed in ’04, and it won’t work in ’08. The reason, in my opinion, is a basic imbalance between liberals and conservatives. For a long time, there have been more of the latter than the former. […]
To be sure, what “conservatives” believe has changed over time. Today, most self-described conservative voters favor Social Security, Medicare, the right to interracial marriage, and free-speech rights for gays–all positions that conservatives opposed forty years ago. Liberals have won many struggles.
But there is not a majority in favor of ambitious change in a liberal direction, whereas there is a majority in favor of the kinds of policies that Republicans favor (which include Social Security and Medicare, along with tax cuts, school prayer, and government surveillance of communications). Real social change requires either new policies or new arguments, not just more aggressive competition.
Go take a look at the graph that accompanies his post on his blog showing that there are more self-identified conservatives than liberals. There’s plenty of folks here in DC who believe that shift is due either to the Right Wing Noise Machine or the Conservative Infrastructure, pouring their energy into new, liberal, think tanks, PACs, leadership programs. However it occurs to me a lot of other things have changed in our society since the 70s … not simply the rise of an identifiable conservative political machine.