Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Texas Tiptoes Into The 21st Century

Some namedropping pixelparazzi spent last weekend in Las Vegas (no doubt chosen because it was the capitol of the forces of darkness in The Stand), guzzling up seventy grand worth of patronization from Mark Warner at the YearlyKOS. Feted with largesse, they got to hear that paymaster of some of their self-appointed leaders spread his meme: "Democratic imperialism sells much better with a white male Southerner". Set on the pinacle of the casino, tempted by the Adversary's words, they may well cast themselves down at his feet, expecting Armstrong and Zuniga to bear them up to a Democratic victory -- as though it really matters which party label is worn by the next President if he writes to young folk of draft age:

Meanwhile in the Lone Star State, portside web rangers not hobnobbing with the Consultants' Choice had real work to do: covering the 2006 Texas Democratic Party State Convention, held in the much less neon-lit blue collar city of Fort Worth. Those who showed up were in luck. This year the state party jumped upon the blogger bandwagon with both hands outstretched. The writers of the web sites were given not just Press credentials (with access to a media room with free soft drinks, snacks, and phones), but chances to talk to speakers behind stage, and, best of all, free wireless internet access right on the convention floor at two rows of tables.

More than that: the bloggers were put on the very front, ahead of the Dead Tree Deadline Typers and Squawkbox Solons. One of their blogs gleefully reported that Dallas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater had to lean forward to ask them whether the impeachment resolution just proposed had included the term "War Crimes" (it had). Take that, you traditional media fogies! Turn green with envy at this picture of some of the amateurs who displaced you:

This image of the Blogger's Tables was put up by Annatopia. Second from the right, smiling at the camera, is, I'm told, Damon McCullar, one of several posters from Burnt Orange Report. The woman in the white pants suit next to him seems to be the nameless blogger of Musings. The greybeard in sneakers looking to his right is Bill Howell of StoutDemBlog. Next to him the dark-haired man with a moustache and no beard looks like Vince Leibowitz of Capitol Annex. Peering between his head and the next, and barely visible at this resolution, the puffy hair and large glasses appear to be those of Greg Wythe of Greg's Opinion. I think the man typing at the keyboard to his left is Marc Gault of Marc's Miscellany. Leaning over the table at left, using a camera-equipped laptop to take a picture with, is Charlie Lindahl of PAA. UPDATE: In the comments Nate Nance of Common Sense reveals that he is the one sitting at the far right in the picture; sorry I missed that one.

There had been some diversity from the Texas mainstream among our web contingent on Presidential candidates. Anna was very active as a Dean supporter. Charlie had backed Kucinich. Greg was (and still is, in the Connecticut primary) the token Lieberman fan among the Texans. But there was not much difference on the only non-issue choice facing this convention.

By better than two-to-one, the bloggers backed the challenger to the incumbent in the race for state party Chair. He had his own campaign blog, and was seen as being more internet-friendly than the good old boy in place. Awareness of this may have been the reason the state party reached out so much to the bloggers: to grab support away from the outsider, or at least to tone down opposition to the existing regime. If so, it worked: the general response to their guy losing seems to have been one of knuckling down and supporting the winner for unity's sake.

As for the rest of the convention, it was routine enough to be dull, if upbeat and recharging to the activists. The only other real dispute was over that resolution to impeach Bush. After Annatopia reported (on the web, of course), from the seat she won on the Resolutions Committee, that some folk, timid of voter wrath in the home of The Man Who Defies Exit Polls, were digging in against it, a peitition was circulated to bring the issue up from the floor directly. Over a thousand delegates signed on, and the same kind of arguments were made against it on the floor about hurting our candidates this November.

A former state Attorney General tried to kill the call for impeachment by objecting that no quorum was present. He was probably correct, as this was late after a long day. In a triumph of old-fashioned Sam Rayburn-style discretionary presiding, the convention chair declined to stop the proceedings, because the spotlights in his eyes were so bright that he was "unable to see that there is not a quorum". However, the Axis of Good on the floor was unable to prevail, losing narrowly on both a voice and a standing division vote. (Of course, one of the arguments against was that it would have left the even more evil Cheney in charge, so the vote was not an unalloyed triumph for our modern monarchists.)

Many of the bloggers doing their live-blogging were part of the Blogger's Caucus, whose site listed thirteen of their blogs on its sidebar. Another eight non-members who were present were also included in the list ending the convention wrap-up at StoutDemBlog. With the taste of free food and perks from the party, will they all be back in two years? With the pro-web candidate for state Chair defeated (though not by much), will the Texas party be as accomodating next time? Tune in for the next episode of "Bloggers in the Belly of the Beast" in 2008.

(Cross-posted to American Street.)


Blogger Nate said...

That's me all the way on the right in that picture!

5:43 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Now it's seventy thousand? Salon said fifty grand. (Please remember that I believe everything I read on the internet-- hence my confusion.) Elucidate, sil voo play.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Bride Of Acheron said...

That is indeed Nate Nance of Common Sense at -- sorry I missed that.

As for the bounty for the big bash in LV, I've seen 70 and 75 guessed at, but not 50. I suspect whoever has the real figures won't fess up, but if it's only 50, or 20, well ... we know what the one writing the checks thinks the bloggers are; this is only a quibble over what he thought was their price.

9:55 AM  

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