What We Missed

Upon reflection, my “decision”:http://www.polytropos.org/archives/000589.html to scale back on blogreading is fueled somewhat by resentment — certainly not at specific authors, but at the general fact that, after all the reading and analysis, _none_ of the blogs I read, at any point on the political spectrum, correctly identified the driving force behind the election result beforehand. Jim, not surprisingly, “puts it well”:http://www.highclearing.com/archivesuo/week_2004_10_31.html#005613:

[We] followed the campaign on TV and – blogs! Plus the internet sites of major metropolitan newspapers . . . And meanwhile, unknown to Alex and me and Glenn Reynolds and Kevin Drum and most operatives of the Democratic Party, the important campaign was the one we were barely watching at all. This one was taking place in “low church” pews and the basements of Catholic Churches; on Christian radio and among prayer groups. It was a ground-level meatspace operation that may have left cybernetic traces, but not where we, the vaunted blogosphere, were looking. Very occasionally it appeared before us, but as an oddity . . . The whole operation aiming to physically convey bodies to discrete spots in public buildings, full of an enthusiasm opaque to Technorati.

It’s ironic that in the election that brought us Howard Dean, Internet donations, and the campaign blog, the decisive factor was relatively low-tech GOTV efforts of the right people in the right places. There was media coverage of this, to be sure, but not with prominence or depth proportional to its significance. And the blogosphere missed it pretty much completely.

One thing’s for sure: in four years I’m getting out there. The whole “Virginia’s not in play, so it doesn’t really matter” schtick is seeming pretty lame now, especially since it’s clear that _the popular vote matters_. Bush is tossing around the word “mandate” like he won by thirty percentage points, not three. I wish I had spent less time reading these past few months, and more time _doing_.