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The Blogger as Politician

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, March 4 2010

The New York Times' Ross Douthat riffs off of Mickey Kaus's plan to challenge Barbara Boxer in California's Democratic Senate primary to consider why more bloggers don't run for office:

There’s a reason for this, of course: American politics is much more of a retail business than politics in Canada or the U.K., and the kind of people who write about policy for a living aren’t usually the kind of people who excel at (or have any interest in) glad-handing and fundraising. But the past exceptions to this rule have included some of our most interesting politicians — think of the ex-historian Newt Gingrich, or the ex-sociologist Daniel Patrick Moynihan. What’s more, many of today’s brightest lawmakers, from Ron Wyden on the left to Paul Ryan on the right, are people who seem like they could have been bloggers, journalists, or professors of public policy in another lifetime.

"Retail politics" isn't necessarily what it once was, at least it doesn't necessarily need to be. Online fundraising can, a la Barack Obama, potentially free candidates from some of these glad-handing events. And developing useful online relationships (as well as advocating for, say, public funding laws) is the sort of thing that bloggers might be particularly well-suited to do, what with their mastery of the web environment. Either way, Douthat is a fan of the idea of more blogger-candidates, writing, "let’s have more of it!"