Saturday, August 4, 2007

Democrats Court Liberal Bloggers

New York Times:
CHICAGO (AP) -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton refused Saturday to forsake campaign donations from lobbyists, turning aside challenges from her two main rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination with a rare defense of the special interest industry.

''A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans, they actually do,'' Clinton said, drawing boos and hisses from liberal bloggers at the second Yearly Kos convention....

Plunging headlong into the Internet era, all seven candidates fought for the support of the powerful and polarizing liberal blogosphere by promising universal health care, aggressive government spending and dramatic change from the Bush era.

Edwards received the loudest applause when he suggested his rivals were tinkering around the edges -- ''I just heard some discussion about negotiation, compromise'' -- rather than overhauling government. He said the nation needs ''big change, not small change.'' ...

The Kos convention is a sign of the times.

Gone are the days when candidates and political parties could talk to passive voters through mass media, largely controlling what messages were distributed, how the messages went out and who heard them. The Internet has help create millions of media outlets and given anyone the power to express an opinion or disseminate information in a global forum, and connect with others who have similar interests.

One thing most bloggers have in common -- regardless of their political leanings -- is an intense frustration with the political establishment, particularly in Washington. And so it was a convention dripping in irony when liberal bloggers welcomed the living symbols of the Democratic status quo -- seven presidential candidates.

An audience member asked the candidates whether they would hire an official White House blogger. Edwards said yes, ''and her name will be Elizabeth Edwards,'' his wife.

Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel said the next president shouldn't hire somebody to blog. ''Do it yourself.''

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