Thursday, January 05, 2006

IL-06: Who's Got a Blog?

I'm a big believer in the potential of blogs. So I noticed the lack of a blog back when Duckworth's campaign launched her website. But I thought, it's just a quickie website to go along with her well orchestrated campaign roll out. Well, nearly a month later there's still no blog and I'm not the only one who's noticed:
The most interest in campaign blogging among Illinois candidates is in the 6th District, which has a competitive Democratic primary. Two of the three candidates, 2004 Democratic nominee Christine Cegelis and Lindy Scott, have blogs. Tammy Duckworth, who announced her candidacy just a day before the filing deadline, does not have a blog at her campaign site.

This is another reason why I am concerned about Duckworth's campaign, and the unprecidented backing of Rham Emanuel her campaign has recieved. DLCers and DC Democrats - like Emanuel - seem not to be the biggest fans of the Blogosphere. Since I believe the Blogosphere has the ability to level the playing field for Democrats, help organize local Democrats, communicate directly with Democratic voters, and build Democratic community both on-line and off, the lack of support for the Blogosphere, much beyond viewing it as a cash machine, is troubling. A blog would have required little effort by Duckworth's campaign to put in place. It would have been viewed as an attempt to interact with the local Democratic community and larger Blogosphere. Instead her campaign handlers have chosen not to engage the Blogosphere.

Cegelis, on the other hand, has reached out to bloggers. She's had a blog since early on in her campaign and has a record of posting on mainstay lefty blogs like dKos. She's reached out to local bloggers, inviting them to participate with conference calls with mainstream bloggers and participating in calls set up by local bloggers. Her campaign has a blog where she posts herself, and her campaign hopes to bring in staff to post regularly as well. She values the input of bloggers in the Democratic process, viewing their roll as being an important element for inclusion of citizens in their government:
Cegelis felt the beauty of blogs was to develop a clear idea of what needs to change. What direction do we need to go. What is politician's vision focus on. In DuPage she saw this as a key function as the Republican machine has been in place for 30-plus years. Every local Republican meeting gets 200-300 people in attendance. Democratic organization are just beginning to build, but they are decades behind. She felt blogs where a way to speed this process and help organize locally. She felt this was part of the importance of her run against Hyde in 2004 - the process. An Democratic organization needs to be built to beat the Republicans. This wasn't going to happen overnight, let alone one election cycle. Cegelis thought being a part of this process was one of the most important parts of her campaign.

Cegelis wants to engage the Blogosphere in discussion of issues important to the district and our country. Duckworth's campaign has chosen to communicate through a media blitz. I don't know which way is better, but I do know which I prefer. I can get a better idea of how a candidate will vote from a candidate who embraces the interaction of the Blogosphere than I can through a candidate who's talking points are just repeated over and over in the media. Cegelis may not post as often as we blog addicts might like, but she's at least supportive of the medium we've embraced and attempting to interacting with the on-line Democratic community. Her openness towards the Blogospher demonstrates her desire for an inclusive Democratic process in ways paid media never could.