I see an amazing phenomenon on political websites. McCain supporters are ignoring or dismissing his missteps, while Obama supporters are reacting as if his are unforgivable transgressions.
This is the first presidential election where the term “netroots” has become part of the political landscape and lexicon because politicians are actually paying attention to the opinions and criticisms expressed by online commentators and bloggers. Why can’t those who consider George W. Bush about as patriotic an American as King George III, and John McCain not much better, realize that Obama probably is actually paying attention to their criticism?
The negative emotional responses to Obama’s stepping back from, altering, or reversing previous positions is understandable.
Feeling and expressing outrage online is justified and healthy. I have no doubt that Obama has staffers that monitor the netroots and very possibly Capitol Hill Blue. If they are, my hunch is that the emotion laden diatribes against him simply get counted, possibly rated by some criteria, but not paid attention to except in the aggregate.
I want to believe that constructive criticism from columnists and posters on the smaller websites like Capitol Hill Blue, with readership in the thousands as compared to the hundreds of thousands drawn to sites like Huffington Post and Daily Kos, actually get taken seriously.
The many of us offering well meaning, often well thought out, advice, criticism and reaction on political websites are all potential consultants without portfolios. We function outside of the traditional paid and unpaid official and semi-official campaign advisers.
My impression is that between McCain and Obama, the later is far more likely to consider us a resource.
I am not saying that there’s anything wrong with venting your spleen on a political website.
However, if do nothing but express frustration and anger, you’ll probably be counted but not much more. I think you need to need to put on your thinking caps and rather than catalog your complaints and only say “I’m mad”, say “I’m mad and here’s what I think you should do.”
Everyone knows how life sometimes throws lesser of two evil choices at you. Sometimes feeling betrayed by your candidate, Obama in this case, can lead you to respond more with emotion than intellect.
I find it hard to believe that if you do this you will realize that the “evil” which will come from electing McCain is far greater than the “evil” of electing Obama.
Addendum: Exercise in Algebra
Write down what you consider to be the five major transgressions of
George W. Bush* John McCain. This is A.
Write down the five major transgressions which you attribute to Barack Obama. This is B.
Ask yourself the following:
Does A = B?
You can do the same with the Republican and Democratic congressional record.