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Saturday, January 7, 2006

Bloggers Advise Democrats

Posted by on January 7 at 16:35 PM

Yesterday afternoon, the Friday afternoon before the 2006 legislative session was set to begin (it starts on Monday), a gang of Democratic bloggers, including blogging BMOC David Goldstein of HorsesAss, held a symposium in Olympia to school Democrats about the local lefty blogosphere and how to use it.

The conference—organized by 18-year-old blogger Andrew Villeneuve, chair of his own grassroots project, the Northwest Progressive Institute, and Lynn Allen from Evergreen Politics blog —was held in a hearing room in the Capitol building and drew about 30 folks.

Two Democratic Reps —Zach Hudgins from the 11th (South Seattle, Burien, SeaTac, Renton) and Deb Wallace from the 17th (Vancouver) showed up—as did Gov. Gregoire’s new communications director, Holly Armstrong. Also on hand: lots of staffers for Democratic legislators. Mostly, though, the room was packed with bloggers.

It was a pretty self-congratulatory session, with, for example, Goldstein explaining how his “David Irons Hits His Mom” story provided a devestating left hook to the suddenly surging Irons. (Our own SLOG got props from Washblog’s Ray Minchew, who credited us for the Lori Sotelo voter challenge story.)

Basically, though, the bloggers’ advice to the Democratic Party was simple: Leak your stories to the bloggers first. The partisan bloggers will run with your speaking points, create a buzz, and force the media to pick up on it.

Ironically, I thought the best advice of the day concerned a comparatively archaic technology: Radio. Michael Hood, whose blog,Blatherwatch, monitors the right-wing talk radio shows, advised Democratic politicians to go on right-wing radio every chance they get. Democrats, Hood explained, make the mistake of blowing off right-wing radio because they think either, they won’t get a fair shake or that the audience won’t be receptive to their message. Hood said that while the callers will be hostile, the hosts are courteous, and there are tons of independent voters tuning in. The producers put the combative callers on the air because it makes for better radio, but ultimately, it’s another chance to get your message out. When Ds make the mistake of not going on, Hood said, the Dems just look like sissies. And bottom line: The Democratic POV just gets bashed. Hood’s advice: Get on and bash back.