Do we blog because we can? Because we like to see our work all over the Internet? Or do we feel we should take the opportunity provided by platforms like TAC to offer our own voices to the national discussion — in hope that what we write makes an impact with either policy and or opinion movers and shakers?
Hopefully it’s the latter, because I could stop right here, press the Return key, and I would accomplish the former. One might say we are in the business of changing minds — or at least offering our two cents to those minds — along with everything else in the media. And maybe the fact that many bloggers can reach the “Powers that Be” from outside the Beltway or the coasts to offer an opinion or argument different from “establishment think” provides more depth and context in the making of opinion or policy. Not to mention a gulp of fresh air.
It may well be, according to a recent poll of Republican members of Congress, that there’s hardly a non-interventionist caucus to speak of. So if we wish to make a difference, we have to change minds with strong arguments in favor of what we believe in. Nothing is static in politics. People change their minds all the time, and so do politicians who are, supposedly, representatives drawn from “the people.” Once upon a time, polls showed a strong majority of persons against having homosexuals openly serving in the Armed Forces. Today, those numbers have reversed themselves. This means a non-interventionist caucus within the GOP can grow to be a majority position over time.
This will be done using the same arguments many of the members used to get themselves elected. They wish to see a smaller government. But how can you have a smaller government with 17 agencies dealing with intelligence? You wish to cut spending and reduce the deficit. How can you do so with so many military bases in foreign countries, or have defense spending well over what the nation needs to protect itself — let alone operate two overseas wars? You wish to remove the heavy hand of government from the economy. But how can you do this when your party’s own study group in the House of Representatives gave a detailed budget plan that included no reduction of government in the one area of the economy, agriculture, which sorely needs it?
Tea Partiers hoped to make a more accountable Congress — but the only way this will happen is for the bloggers themselves to point out the inconsistencies, flaws, and politics behind policy making and counter them, making sure the members are held accountable. This wasn’t done in the three great “conservative” political waves over the last 50 years (1964, 1980 and 1994). There really wasn’t a mechanism to do so, especially from those in the corridors of power looking to protect their status by looking the other way. Now a new wave has washed ashore, as it seems to do every 14 to 16 years. It will be up to the bloggers to make sure the politicians stay true to what got them elected. Otherwise it will be the same libertarian rhetoric a bunch of Right-wingers use so they can become a part of the political class. And they will fail in changing anything — and fail the people who elected them once again. But this time at least, their failure will not be inevitable.