Now the circle of co-optation is complete

Way back in August 2004, Henry Farrell and I wrote the following: We predict that as blogs become a more established feature on the political landscape, politicians and other interested parties will become more adept at responding to them, and, where they believe it necessary, co-opting them. To the extent that blogs become more politically ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast.

Way back in August 2004, Henry Farrell and I wrote the following: We predict that as blogs become a more established feature on the political landscape, politicians and other interested parties will become more adept at responding to them, and, where they believe it necessary, co-opting them. To the extent that blogs become more politically influential, we may expect them to become more directly integrated into ?politics as usual,? losing some of their flavor of novelty and immediacy in the process. That pretty much sums up what's happening with the allegations of "blogola" -- excessive chumminess betweek Markos Moulitsas, Jerome Armstrong and whoever hires Armstrong as a political consultant. For links on what's happening, see Mickey Kaus, James Joyner, NRO's Jim Geraghty, Ann Althouse, and Jason Zengerle at TNR's The Plank (this post about Kos' marketing power is particularly interesting). UPDATE: Thanks to Bob McManus for providing links to the left half of the blogosphere -- Ezra Klein, Max Sawicky, Stirling Newberry, Duncan Black, and Kos himself (see this Kos post on Zengerle's Plank posts as well). Read all the links. What's going on is not illegal, or even out of the ordinary in Washington, DC. It's politics as usual. The only reason the story is noteworthy is because bloggers like Kos have persistently said that they and theirs -- a.k.a., the netroots -- are not about politics as usual. Over time, however, that claim looks less and less viable. The question is whether bloggers like Kos find that their legions of readers are turned off by these kind of revelations, or whether they comfortably adjust into being middleweight power brokers. UPDATE: Commenters seem to be very upset that I'm accusing Moulitsas and Armstrong of corruption. I find this puzzling since I specifically did not do that. All I'm saying is that as Armstrong and Moulitsas rub elbows with powerful Democrats on a repeated basis, it becomes tougher and tougher for them to play the role of independent outsiders without a stake in the system. As Markos himself points out: I have friends that work or are closely allied with every single 2008 candidate. I have friends working in every single high-profile Senate race this fall. And at the DCCC, DSCC and DNC. Fact is, in this biz, I've made a s***load of great friends. And I won't tell them to f*** off because they work for a campaign. In fact, I ENCOURAGE my friends to work for campaigns. It's -- gasp! -- a good thing. Garance Franke-Ruta makes this same point in Tapped. In other words, the gates have been crashed. This is pretty much what Henry and I predicted, and it's coming to fruition (and it's certainly not limited to the left half, either).

Way back in August 2004, Henry Farrell and I wrote the following:

We predict that as blogs become a more established feature on the political landscape, politicians and other interested parties will become more adept at responding to them, and, where they believe it necessary, co-opting them. To the extent that blogs become more politically influential, we may expect them to become more directly integrated into ?politics as usual,? losing some of their flavor of novelty and immediacy in the process.

That pretty much sums up what’s happening with the allegations of “blogola” — excessive chumminess betweek Markos Moulitsas, Jerome Armstrong and whoever hires Armstrong as a political consultant. For links on what’s happening, see Mickey Kaus, James Joyner, NRO’s Jim Geraghty, Ann Althouse, and Jason Zengerle at TNR’s The Plank (this post about Kos’ marketing power is particularly interesting). UPDATE: Thanks to Bob McManus for providing links to the left half of the blogosphere — Ezra Klein, Max Sawicky, Stirling Newberry, Duncan Black, and Kos himself (see this Kos post on Zengerle’s Plank posts as well). Read all the links. What’s going on is not illegal, or even out of the ordinary in Washington, DC. It’s politics as usual. The only reason the story is noteworthy is because bloggers like Kos have persistently said that they and theirs — a.k.a., the netroots — are not about politics as usual. Over time, however, that claim looks less and less viable. The question is whether bloggers like Kos find that their legions of readers are turned off by these kind of revelations, or whether they comfortably adjust into being middleweight power brokers. UPDATE: Commenters seem to be very upset that I’m accusing Moulitsas and Armstrong of corruption. I find this puzzling since I specifically did not do that. All I’m saying is that as Armstrong and Moulitsas rub elbows with powerful Democrats on a repeated basis, it becomes tougher and tougher for them to play the role of independent outsiders without a stake in the system. As Markos himself points out:

I have friends that work or are closely allied with every single 2008 candidate. I have friends working in every single high-profile Senate race this fall. And at the DCCC, DSCC and DNC. Fact is, in this biz, I’ve made a s***load of great friends. And I won’t tell them to f*** off because they work for a campaign. In fact, I ENCOURAGE my friends to work for campaigns. It’s — gasp! — a good thing.

Garance Franke-Ruta makes this same point in Tapped. In other words, the gates have been crashed. This is pretty much what Henry and I predicted, and it’s coming to fruition (and it’s certainly not limited to the left half, either).

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner

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