This Is Why I’m Not One Of The Bigs

OpinionJournal: Politicians Go Online: They can run, but can they blog?
I’ve finally figured it out: I’m not snarky enough. I’m sarcastic on occasion, but not nearly enough. I’ll have to work on that and quit being so mild-mannered. From now on I’m going to use the word “peckerwoods” in every post as well. [Ed. — Maybe not.]

I’ve been following Howard Dean’s blog for a couple of weeks now and he seems to be doing a pretty good job. He’s still not pinging, a sure sign of a neophyte since he’s using MT, but other than that his posts get dozens, sometimes hundreds, of comments. Not bad at all.

Howard Dean, who’s Internet-savvy enough to make Al Gore look like a Flat Earther, has made a centerpiece of his campaign. Dr. Dean himself posts only occasionally–his supporters write most of the entries–but he was more prolific when he showed up last month as a “guest blogger” filling in for a vacationing Stanford law professor. Gary Hart, erstwhile senator and presidential candidate, is also blogging (, and others are sure to follow.

But do politicians have what it takes to succeed in the cutthroat world of blogging? Not likely. The best political bloggers–Mickey Kaus (, Glenn Reynolds ( and Andrew Sullivan (–all have a contrarian outlook and irreverent humor. Best of the Web Today, my own bloglike daily column on, is filled with snarky references to such favorite targets as Our Friends the Saudis, former Enron adviser Paul Krugman, and Sen. John Kerry, the haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat, who by the way served in Vietnam.

Blogging, in short, thrives on sarcasm. Politics doesn’t. So it’s hardly surprising that Dr. Dean’s blog is earnest to the point of sanctimony, all we-can-make-a-difference and let’s-build-a-better-America. Last week it featured one Erica Derr of Greensboro, N.C., who was so appalled to get a tax rebate that she donated it to the Dean campaign. “I could have spent this money on material things,” she wrote. “What would those things mean 15 or 20 years from now when my daughter is paying for the debt we accrued?”

Stop, mom, this is embarrassing!

I am going to have to up the sarcasm quotient. I’m pretty sarcastic in real life and my blog should reflect that. And the peckerwoods thing, gotta work on that as well.

UPDATE: Jack Rich over at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has some thoughts on this as well.

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