Speak For Yourself, Jerome

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I'm afraid all this talk about being the "blogfather" is going to Jerome Armstrong's head. He seems to feel entitled to speak for all the blogosphere when he makes statements like these:

"The blog world is not really ideological," Armstrong contended, between bites of curried tofu. "We are pragmatic. It's not about grandstanding, and saying this is the ideal way to go."

This statement reveals far more about Jerome's bias against principled writing than it does about the blogosphere. That Jerome and his cohort Markos Moulitsas Zuniga are strangely bereft of any political ideology has been well established by their own statements. But some of us do have principles, values, and ideals and do not consider it "grandstanding" to articulate them.

What Jerome calls "pragmatic" I call craven. His association with the milquetoast Warner -- who rejects calls to bring Bush to account for his crimes, supports parental notification for abortion (otherwise known as a death sentence for many teenage girls), and refuses to take a stand on Iraq -- is all the more reason to jettison him as any kind of symbol for the lefty blogosphere.

Jerome is not the spokesperson for the left, right, or center blogosphere, whatever his pretensions. Jerome is not so much a blogger as political operative. He even said so.

I'm not going to be posting or blogging here any longer while working campaigns. There's no upside and the downside of posting personal opinions, where it's easy to mark it as a political ploy by the opposition, is plenty. If you do see me blogging, it will be with the campaigns or committees sites or blogs I'm working.

Not that he stuck by that declaration. But then that's why he attempted to retire his keyboard in the first place. Blogging gives people ample opportunity to resurrect his own words to demonstrate his hypocrisy.

And if you continue to harrass people by taking up past comments and trying to attack them for it, you'll be hiking.

The Salon piece on Armstrong is worth reading but more for what is between the lines. It glosses over the deeply divisive behavior of Jerome and Markos when they abruptly pulled their support of Paul Hackett in favor of Sherrod Brown, at a time when it was well known that Armstrong was in Brown's employ. And it does not begin to illuminate the character of people so debased that they would use terms like "Hackett Fedayeen" to malign and intimidate supporters of a US Marine who fought in Iraq.

The problem with Michael Scherer's profile of Armstrong is the same as with any writing that attempts to label the blogosphere or designate it's "leaders." The blogosphere is extremely diverse and not easily categorized. That's the beauty of it. That's why people like Armstrong are never as relevant or iconic as they are portrayed to be. And thank God.