Blogging in the Obama era

CNN asks the question: Whither the liberal blogosphere in the Age of Obama? Mark Preston asks Markos Moulitsas and Jane Hamsher how having a Democratic shutout in Washington DC will affect their blogging (via The College Politico):

Liberal bloggers were the cyber cheerleaders for Barack Obama in the 2008 race for the White House. But now that he has won, these “netroots” activists face a major challenge: criticizing the new president and his administration. …

Liberal bloggers spoke early and often about holding the Bush administration accountable, but will they do the same to the Obama White House?

“I think our challenge is that line from destructive criticism to constructive criticism, because there is going to be criticism,” Markos Moulitsas, founder of, said in a recent interview. “The issue is how we manage that and it’s a fine line and it’s very tough sometimes.”

Moulitsas and Jane Hamsher, founder of, stopped by to talk about liberal blogging in the Obama era as well as their new political venture to help fund primary opponents against Democrats who they believe are not representing their constituents’ views.

“We want to be responsive to people, to what constituents want,” Hamsher said. “Not what the corporations want.”

Yeah, they’re off to a great start — ignoring Obama and attacking Rush Limbaugh.  One would think in perusing the Leftosphere that Rush got himself elected Speaker of the House in November.  Now that George Bush (their Great Uniter) has left the political stage, they’re scrambling for villains.

They’re going to find the next two years tough sledding.  They can’t blame Republicans if the economy continues to flop.  Obama and the Democrats now have to lead rather than criticize from the sidelines, and liberal bloggers will spend a lot more time issuing press-release defenses of bad policy as a means of avoiding electoral defeats down the road.  Republicans did the same thing 2001-06, offering attacks of Democratic arguments more than actual Republican policies.  It’s the nature of partisan politics, and the blogosphere is no different than water coolers in that regard.

I think the more interesting question is Whither the Rightosphere?  I’d expect better organizing efforts over the next couple of years, as the passion will switch sides as conservatives and Republicans go on offense.  That doesn’t necessarily translate to immediate electoral success — the Democrats lost ground in 2002 and 2004, remember — but the same market forces that shaped the Left will do the same for the Right.

The Rightosphere will probably get a lot healthier, in terms of traffic.  Our traffic here at Hot Air has reached November 2008 levels.  Other conservative blogs have seen similar increase in traffic and interest.  Frankly, I’m surprised that traffic didn’t tail off like it did after elections in 2004 and 2006 — happily surprised, of course.  It’s an indicator of energy and enthusiasm that I believe will pervade the conservative activist base and portend interesting things for 2010 and beyond.

CNN promises at the end of the piece to discuss the impact on conservative bloggers.  I’ll look forward to that segment.

Update: Jonah Goldberg says, “Independent?”  They’re deeply connected to the Democratic Party, especially Kos himself.  That’s by intent, but the political editor at CNN appears confused.  Read it all.

Update II: I have to admit that I missed the significance of the “I think our challenge is that line from destructive criticism to constructive criticism, because there is going to be criticism” line from Markos.  That’s an interesting admission, considering the Left’s vapors over Rush Limbaugh the past few weeks.  Can we use that admission as a confession to the new “treason” that the Left has suddenly discovered?