Beyond the bounds

There’s a new blog in Virginia (and no, I’m not going to link to it) dedicated to defeating one of the candidates for statewide office. It seems to confirm some of the very worst ideas people have about blogs.

Whenever I talk with other elected officials about blogging, their reaction is always the same. “How can you take the risk? Don’t you get a lot of vituperation and profanity on your blog?”

And the answer is always the same. No. Readers of this blog (and frankly of most Virginia political blogs) are strong-minded and able to express their ideas clearly. I can’t count the number of comments that have begun, “You’re wrong about X.”

Sometimes, I’ve changed my mind after reading the comments. Sometimes, the commenter and I have engaged in a dialogue. Sometimes (e.g., Jim Hoeft) the commenter and I have become quite friendly, all the while agreeing to disagree.

But I have never felt that the disagreements we’ve engaged in were either nasty or personal. In two years, we have posted virtually every comment that has appeared here. (We don’t much go for anonymity, but other than that we’re pretty wide open.)

So my reaction to this new blog is sadness as much as anything else. The comments are beyond the bounds.

Blogs are a great way to engage in debate and discussion. Blogs like this will actually make other elected officials more reluctant to engage with bloggers. And that would be too bad.

2 thoughts on “Beyond the bounds”

  1. I’d like to hear more about this. I can’t understand why a blog dedicating to defeating someone the blogger sees as an unfit or bad candidate can be any different from pointing out someone’s shortfalls using campaign literature, robocalls, or any other communication means.

    If you feel strongly enough about a candidate to wish their defeat at all cost, you owe it to your fellow voters to explain why. Communicating via blog is simply one more way to get the word out.

    It’s been my experience, too, that most, though not all, politicians use their blogs as pulpits anyway, and that comments are pretty much ignored.

  2. The blog in question is really just nasty, very personal stuff (some of it related to things like personal appearance). I agree–if you think that Candidate X is wrong on the issues (or just wrong), that’s one thing. But this is only slightly beyond the “You’re ugly and your momma dresses you funny” stuff.

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