I'm working this week in a place where the hotel's Internet access system is not in good shape. It's a struggle to get to any web page, or to send information out, so I'm finding that I have to exercise some economy in the amount of work that I'm doing online. As a result, my appreciation for the Internet has grown quite a bit in over the last couple of days.
So, I've been mulling over the importance of blogs to a congressional campaign - and to a member of Congress. Someone left a message here last night questioning why people who leave comments here would believe that Michael Arcuri would pay attention to what they have to say. The truth is, I don't know whether the Arcuri for Congress campaign and the Meier for Congress have people who go out online to see what people are saying about the candidates, and make a periodical report back to the campaign committee. If they don't have anyone doing that job, they're making a mistake.
I'm not saying that a blog like this one has much influence in a traditional sense. However, an intelligent candidate will use resources like blogs, and the comments that are written on them, as check on the slanted vision of reality that can be created inside a campaign. An intelligent candidate would want to know how other people perceive the campaign.
When I look at the blogs covering the 24th district, I see a wave of turmoil hitting the Democrats in Oneida County, right in the middle of the campaign.
I see Democratic bloggers suddenly quitting. I see blogs disappearing. I see Democrats writing messages indicating a schism in the county's party, talking about Democrats who are loyal, and those who are not.
I see that, not long after Bob Hyde, fanatic supporter of Michael Arcuri, announces he won't be writing about the Arcuri-Meier contest anymore, the pro-Arcuri blog written under the pseudonym YouGoMike is grinding to a halt. The blog writer suggests that threats of some kind have something to do with it.
Over at http://michaelarcuri.wordpress.com/, the blog has been deleted.
The National Journal recently increased the ranking of our congressional contest here in New York's 24th District. We were the 16th hottest race in the nation. Now, we're reported to be the 11th hottest.
Democratic bloggers ought to be flocking to write about Michael Arcuri, against Ray Meier. They're not. Those blogs that have been around are stumbling apart, shutting down, or being taken out.
Something about this smells.