With all due respect to Ms. Huffington, the netroots movement has been a great deal of sound and fury signifying-from a win-loss perspective-nothing. And the win-loss record is the only thing that counts in politics. The netroots are claiming their first victory with Ned Lamont's win in the Connecticut Democratic primary for senate. We'll let historians decide what put Mr. Lamont over the top, but we're certain that political campaigns aren't going to start dumping all their eggs in the blog basket.
And they shouldn't.
There are any number of small issues with the blogosphere, but the biggest is the matter of reach. Blog-reading influencers may build buzz about gadgets or movies, but when it comes to politics, bloggers are likely only influencing one another. A recent Pew Research Center for the People & the Press study found that only 4% of Americans say they regularly read blogs that discuss news events.
Motivating the base is a smart move, but swing voters have been the key to recent major elections. And just as a swing voter in Ohio isn't going to be moved by a radio ad on right-wing radio (because he isn't listening), he's not going to be moved by a 400-word screed on a left-wing website (because he isn't reading).
The best way to target average Americans is to get them where they live-in TV land.
That's not to say blogs don't deserve a place in the media mix. Bloggers may represent a small slice of the voting population, but that slice is loud and passionate. At the very least, they can point to areas of concern that should be addressed. And they're great at raising money. Just ask Howard Dean.
And while bloggers might rarely win the race, they shouldn't be ignored. Just ask Joe Lieberman.