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The early start to the 2008 Presidential campaign has presented many bloggers with a challenge, especially the bloggers that identify with the GOP. Based on some reading of blogs, links back to my posts, and a slew of e-mails already hitting the In box, it appears that some people have felt the pressure to start endorsing candidates a full year before the first primary -- a move that I believe to be a mistake, both for independent bloggers and for the blogosphere as a whole.
Center-right and conservative bloggers have not had any experience with a wide-open primary season. In 2000, the blogosphere hardly existed, and by 2004 we knew that George Bush would have no serious competition for his renomination. The 2008 campaign is tabula rasa for Republican bloggers, more so since we have no incumbent Vice-President vying for the nomination. As I wrote over the weekend, that situation is so unusual that it has been 80 years since the last time neither party had an incumbent President or VP in the race.
This is nothing new for the center-left and liberal bloggers, of course. In 2003, no clear front-runner emerged for the 2004 Democratic nomination, which resulted in a chaotic but educational run-up to the first primaries. And even when a front-runner emerged -- with more than a little boost from the blogosphere -- he crashed and burned in Iowa. This year, ironically, they have a more defined race, since Hillary Clinton has groomed herself since before she left the White House to return under her own steam.
My advice, for those who want it, would be for bloggers to refrain from identifying with any one candidate until we get much closer to the primaries. For one thing, we have not necessarily seen all of the candidates yet. More importantly, we have not really seen their campaigning style and effort. 2007 should be considered a test for this wide-open field to make the best case and to hone their craft. Thanks to an early advent of the campaign, we have almost twelve months to consider each candidate, and we should take full advantage of that.
Perhaps the greatest reason for restraint is to make sure that our voices are heard on the issues rather than the candidates. Affiliated blogs will find themselves with less influence among other candidates, and for me, I'm more interested in the policies than I am in the personalities. If I endorse one candidate over all the rest, my opinions will have considerably less impact on other campaigns (for as much impact as I have anyway). I'd rather wait until we have to make choices to decide on my preferred candidate after giving everyone a chance to convince me that they will support my policy preferences.
Until we get to December, I do not plan on issuing any endorsements. I hope that all of the campaigns come to CQ to speak to the community here, and I will gladly invite any of the candidates to do so. In fact, I'd be happy to speak to the Democratic candidates, if they wanted to engage with the CQ community. I'm interested in having our candidates work for us, rather than the other way around, until we know as much about them, their policies, and their skills on the stump as we possibly can garner.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Tracked on January 29, 2007 6:38 AM
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