Republican learning curve on the new reality of bottom-up video

The front page of the San Francisco Chronicle has a column on the recent run of Republican gaffes now brought to the nation via user-generated video. The New Politics Institute’s Theo Yedinsky is quoted above the fold on the paper edition. The story recounts how Senator George Allen, Senator Conrad Burns, and Florida Congressional Candidate Tramm Hudson have blundered their way into the national spotlight by being caught on video saying dumb things that ordinarily would have gone unnoticed.

I do not think it is a coincidence that this is happening more to Republicans. It’s not because Democrats don’t (occasionally) say dumb things. It’s more that the phenomenon of bottom-up video is playing to progressive strengths. The progressive blogosphere is much more active, innovative and powerful than the conservative one. The Millennial generation, those young people who are most into video-blogging, etc., are also trending much more progressive. And progressive politicos are more attuned to the sensitivities of different groups because diversity and tolerance have been hallmarks of progressive politics for decades. I also think progressives, for better or worse, are more used to the rough and tumble of more open forums and debates.

So I think these early stages of the development of bottom-up video in politics will largely benefit progressives. The conservatives, as they tend to do, will be relatively fast followers and adapt to the new realities, probably by trying to maintain more control and throwing money at the problem. But for a while, the conservatives are going to be knocked around a lot. It will be interesting to watch.

Peter Leyden