I have often wondered how someone could write about the general lack of importance of most political blogs while running a blog that touches on politics themselves like one of our more popular bloggers David Newquist does from time to time on his blog. Being someone that blogs about political news but in no way considers myself politically important nor do I think this blog is anything more than a personal indulgence, I never really paid attention to these posts other than in passing. So imagine my surprise when recent events in the South Dakota blogosphere had me thinking very similar thoughts as our esteemed blogging professor.
What really got me thinking about this subject was the recent release of a book by former blogger, John Thune henchman, and lawyer with a questionable history, Jon Lauck. When his book was released, several blogs began wondering out loud why South Dakota's largest newspaper, the Argus Leader, was basically ignoring the book by not reviewing it. As other media outlets began printing reviews the calls of bias aimed at the Argus grew louder to the point that Patrick Lalley finally addressed these concerns on the Argus blog. He pointed out that they didn't feel it would be journalistically prudent to review a book by someone that made a living ripping the paper. Fair enough...
Of course that explanation just made the calls louder and last month the paper relented and printed a review by a 3rd party. Game, set match as far as some in the blogosphere were concerned. The hated Argus had broken under the pressure from the blogs and printed a review, of course it was from someone not associated with the Argus but what the heck it was a review. As a side note on this book, even after the state's largest newspaper reviewed this book which some are calling the best South Dakota political book ever written (exactly how many are there in the category?), it still hasn't done much to increase it's sales. It currently ranks as the 11th most popular book on Amazon for books about South Dakota, ranking behind ever popular books about the James River among others.
Now lets rewind to earlier this year when it was revealed that popular Liberal blogger and employee of South Dakota's most well know political consulting firm, Hildebrand-Tewes was fired for embezzling money from the firm. Hildygate as it was dubbed by South Dakota's most popular blog was earth shattering in the blogosphere and among the several thousand in our state that read the blogs but barely caused more than a whisper in the MSM, even with Hildebrand -Tewes' association with Presidential candidate Barack Obama. Another blogging tempest in a teapot.
Now move forward to the latest news in our fine blogging community. South Dakota's self proclaimed most popular blogger is in the midst of a feud with our most intolerate and far right blogger. "Blog wars" are nothing new and in fact Sibson seems to be at war with someone just about constantly, either spewing slurs at what he believes to be our religious shortcomings or at least our lack of any religious beliefs at all. Most of the time he is pretty much ignored as he should be but this time he must of hit a nerve and that is when the sparks flew along with a realization on my part as to just how self important and delusional some of us have gotten over our true importance.
South Dakota probably has under 500,000 registered voters of which only a fraction, probably several thousand, regularly read any of our political blogs but yet some are starting to believe that they speak for a large number of these voters or for the particular party they are a member of. We (South Dakota bloggers), as a group are very diverse, we have former political operatives that now work as lawyers and real estate agents, college professors, even accountants for toner manufacturers. But last time I checked, none of us are in a position to tell anyone else what their beliefs are or should be nor can we dictate what their importance is in their party of choice based on the amount of time they have been a member.
Most South Dakotan's don't know the difference between A South Dakota Moderate and South Dakota Watch and when we as a group start to think that we speak for more than the few that choose to read our political discourse, the sooner we become more irrelevant than we already are in the overall scheme of things. When one of our blogs gets the type of readership that a Daily Kos or Michelle Malkin receives, then we can get into a discussion as to the importance or influence of our blogs.