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Ahoy, righty! Ackerman on Captain’s Quarters

Hey Melissa, Have you ever read Captain's Quarter's? I haven't either. But, perhaps unlike you, I have seen it referenced a million times by the brighter lights — and I mean this purely figuratively — of the conservative blogosphere, like … Read More

By / November 20, 2006

Hey Melissa,

Have you ever read Captain's Quarter's? I haven't either. But, perhaps unlike you, I have seen it referenced a million times by the brighter lights — and I mean this purely figuratively — of the conservative blogosphere, like The Corner or Hugh Hewitt. As far as I've been aware, the big gimmick of the blog is the snappy rightist cartoon at the top of the page. In today's installment, our hipster GOPers — one a white midriff-baring sexy-secretary with an impressive display of décolletage, the other one of those black men that liberals associate with — lament the unchanging of the Republican guard and suggest that Nancy Pelosi will neuter all the conservative Democrats recently elected to Congress. Comedy! I don't think "Captain Ed," master and commander of the Quarters, drew the strip, either.

So, what's this blog about? Today, at least, the first post up is an adorable recitation of Captain Ed-and-wife's trip to Los Angeles. There's a picture up of the two of them (he calls his wife his "First Mate," or "FM," which I don't think means Female-to-Male in this context) that is rapidly draining me of my powers of scorn. In this photo, the Captain reveals himself to be large man of the briny big-box deep: he's got his Minnesota t-shirt, his man-shorts and his baseball cap. I've been known to dress like that myself when hung over, but I'm half the Captain's age and I would never describe myself as seaworthy. The Captain's wife, however, is heart-meltingly adorable in her sunglasses and mom-jeans. I think I'm favorably inclined to this blog right now, Melissa.

The next post shakes the favor straight out of me. Captain Ed seconds a friend's observation that Jim Webb's victory over George Allen in the Virginia Senate race demonstrates the success of the liberal blogosphere, and observes, "I think many of us felt more comfortable in providing analysis rather than engaging in a more participatory fashion." In my experience, it's generally true that the liberal blogs do way, way more to encourage readers to donate to Democratic candidates and get involved in tight races. But to view the Democratic congressional victory through the prism of which political blogosphere is regnant strikes me as the blogger version of the Pundit's Fallacy — the view that what I think is good policy is also the best politics.

What do I mean by that? Bloggers can't really recruit candidates, although they can give longshots momentum, like with Ned Lamont. Nor can they control the backroom machinations of party leaders. They can raise a ton of money and bite the press in the tuchis for negative coverage, and that's a big deal. But they also can't control an opponent's maneuvers or mistakes, nor buy paid-media spots to counter or highlight them, nor conduct focus groups to test a candidate's message, nor orchestrate a Get-Out-The-Vote operation. In short, it's rather flattering to bloggers to suggest that their impact on a race is decisive, and I submit that it's no accident that the only ones you see making this case are the bloggers themselves.

Now, if Captain Ed had sent his goodly lady-wife to campaign for George Allen, Virginians would have been like, Macaca-who? Macaca-what?

Spencer

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