Friday, July 30, 2004

Political blog watch

Getting all blogged down in Boston

It had to happen. One Web log writer at the Democratic National Convention in Boston apparently got a little too freewheeling for convention organizers. The National Journal (www.nationaljournal.com) reported that blogger Matt Stoller, who had been posting on the official Democratic National Convention Committee blog (blog01.kintera.com/dnccblog) which as of Thursday night was still saying "There are 3 days until the 2004 Democratic National Convention"), had been canned for expressing an inconvenient opinion. Stoller wrote that he was underwhelmed with Illinois senatorial candidate Barack Obama, whose speech Tuesday wowed the nation: "(Obama) seems very charismatic, but I have yet to cross that bridge with him where I feel like he's saying anything really interesting or useful. He's a lot like (John) Edwards - charismatic and demographically useful for the Democrats. But is there there there?" Soon, Stoller wasn't there, having been dismissed by the Dems' official blog boss, Eric Schnure, to clarify that "he wasn't speaking on behalf of the DNCC."

Stoller's reply, on his Blogging of the President site (www.bopnews.com) , was basically you can't fire me, 'cause I'm a volunteer. But he vowed that he really was OK with the idea of keeping his distance from the DNCC. Whatever.

Also, the National Journal says it has discovered John Kerry's Secret Service code name: It's "Minuteman" - a nod to colonial Boston, right? Edwards' code name reportedly is "Speedway" (North Carolina ... NASCAR country ... Get it?).

• Curb your enthusiasm: Yes, that "spontaneous" wild applause on the convention floor is carefully crafted for TV. Blogger D.L. Rock on Wild Democracy Ride (wilddemride.blogspot.com) quotes a delegate: "We are told a lot. We are given signs and told exactly when to raise them and stand." When Edwards gave his speech Wednesday, she added, they were told they might have to applaud less so he could end in prime time, but Edwards finished five minutes early, leaving time for an ovation brimming with rational exuberance.

• Why weren't we told?: The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto, who has crafted a must-read quasi-blog called Best of the Web (www.opinionjournal.com/best/) for four years, has been hanging out with the protesters for his material. That's where he gleaned such stop-the-presses scoops as the "facts" that 93 percent of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's budget is devoted to keeping the World War II detention camps ready for future use, and that Gov. Jeb Bush declared martial law in Florida three days before the 9/11 attacks. No word if Jeb has sent Elvis to live in one of those camps.

• Not-so-sweet-16: The American Amnesia blog (www.usamnesia.com) landed a long interview in Boston with former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, whose claim that President Bush committed a falsehood with his 16-word State of the Union sentence about Saddam's nuclear ambitions has been shaken by recent intelligence reports that Bush's claim may have been well-founded. Wilson, it seems, is sticking with his story. "The 16 words have no basis in fact," he told American Amnesia. Maybe it's his rancor over the administration's leak about wife Valerie Plame's CIA career speaking, but Wilson has trouble getting his arguments straight: "I don't believe that either party has a monopoly on wisdom," he said, but added, "It will be a cold day in hell before I vote for a Republican in the future." Sounds like a monopoly to us.

If you see convention- or campaign-related blogs we should check out, let us know. Send suggestions to Ray Cooklis at rcooklis@enquirer.com.

Fix I-471 traffic backups for region's sake
Form Muslim security force for Iraq
Getting all blogged down in Boston
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