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BTs: Not Your “Average Conservative”

Scott was kind enough to extend an invitation to guest blog recently if the mood took me, so I’m going to take him up on his offer in order to share with you a completely obvious insight that was brought to my attention a couple of days ago. Although it may seem self-evident, perhaps it’s timely reminder for many of us to consider when taking stock of the opinions expressed by that voluble group of bloggers inhabiting the far reaches of Jupiter known as “The Blogging Tories” or simply “BTs” for short. Some of us, of course, have other, rather more colourful and derogatory names for the group, but in deference to Scott, I’ll save those for another time and place.

We’re often given to believe that the folks who constitute the BTs are a fairly representative cross-section of so-called “conservative” or at least right-wing viewpoints that generally reflect the broad diversity of opinion amongst supporters of the Conservative Party of Canada and that taken together it may be possible to form some idea of what the “average” Conservative voter might think. Indeed, simple logic would seem to dictate that to be the case given the sheer number of people involved. After all, the site is comprised of approximately 300 blogs and is claimed to be viewed by over 30,000 people every day. According to Wikipedia (for whatever that’s worth), it is “the most popular non-MSM Internet group in Canada.” Goody for them. Although those numbers can seem daunting, at least within the realm of domestic political “blogosphere” (yes, I too loathe that word, but we’re stuck with it for the time being), it’s important to remember what an infinitesimal number of people this actually is in the broad scheme of things. In reality, 30,000 readers is approximately the circulation of a small city dog trainer, so let’s keep things in perspective. Of course, on the other hand, it’s twice the number currently watching Fox Business Channel, so there is a certain amount of relativity involved. It’s tempting to digress into speculation regarding the presumed influence of blogs, but let’s save that for another day and concentrate on this, I believe, quite fallacious notion that the BTs fairly represent a cross-section of mainstream “conservative” opinion.

Of the estimated 300 bloggers who form the BT aggregate, from my own investigations I would estimate that at least fifty or more of them are completely inactive, or consist of just a limited number of posts by people whose enthusiasm for the pastime quickly waned, or who simply lost interest gradually over time for one reason or another. Who knows, some may even have joined the choir invisible for all we know. Without question however, it can be said from experience that only about ten percent of the total number of member bloggers are active on what could be called a regular basis and of those 25-30, an even smaller group of highly popular blogs account for the majority of the BT’s overall readership. So now the idea of a “representative cross-section” or any possible concept of “average” becomes a much more dubious proposition because in reality what we have is a very tiny number of self-appointed pundits tendentiously preaching to a relatively small audience of readers that for the most part has a predisposed, if not rigidly hardened ideological bias. “So what? That’s just stating the obvious,” you might say. And that may well be so, but all too often it seems many people seem to mistake the viewpoints expressed by the BTs as being somehow typical of mainstream “conservative” thought and opinion. This is especially so when regarding the aggregate as a whole, perhaps because of the remarkable “sameness” and lockstep congruity of their opinions, for the most part. However, it’s often referred to quite justifiably as “echo-chamber” for not altogether illegitimate reasons. There’s another expression involving a circle and a certain agitated motion that comes to mind as well, but again, we’ll leave that aside whilst in Scott’s more genteel digs…

As an example of the above, rarely is heard a discouraging word about the present government or any of its policies, or indeed anything that might not venerate the magisterial leadership qualities and absolutely brilliant political stratagems of the Prime Minister. Flip-flops, broken promises, half-baked ideas, missed opportunities and such are all uniformly met in most instances with an eerie silence across the board, pierced only by the sound of crickets chirping. Well, that’s understandable, given that most bloggers are fierce, partially blind partisans and nobody expects them to necessarily present anything resembling a “fair and balanced” view of things. I could list a number of other issues on which BTs generally seem to agree such as the perilous menace of radical Islamofascism threatening our very existence (and our society’s creeping “dhimmitude” leading inexorably to our collective servitude), or the notion that anthropogenic climate change is a vast global wealth transfer scheme cooked up by a nefarious conspiracy of liberal scientists and socialist utopians to destroy western civilization and force us back into the Stone Age or some such rubbish. But are these really ideas held by your mainstream, garden-variety Conservative voter? Methinks not.

Some compelling evidence of the contention that they’re most certainly not might be found in a recent news story that prompted this observation in the first place. Yesterday, the Canadian Press reported on a CP/Harris Decima survey that “suggests Canadians so overwhelmingly favour the Democrats, it barely matters whether Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton win Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.” Respondents said they felt closer to the Democrats by a 4-to-1 margin with 49 per cent of Canadians expressing “a fondness” for the Democrats while only 12 per cent did the same for Republicans. In itself that may not seem terribly significant, until you look at the breakdown of the numbers showing that even “self-described Conservatives” favoured the Democrats by a 47 per cent to 23 per cent margin! Now compare that to the BTs, each of whom, almost without exception has declared open and even sometimes quite enthusiastic support for one Republican candidate or another in the American presidential race, or has at one time or another expressed a predictable degree of outright hostility to the Democratic field. Even where an open endorsement may not be present, there’s certainly no shortage of scathing commentary on offer, together with a steady diet of articles about Hillary Clinton (or “Billary” as she’s most often referred to — gosh, those BTs are soooo witty!), John Edwards (Will we never stop hearing about his expensive haircuts and big house? Oh, and did you know he’s a trial lawyer!), and now Barrack Obama (you know, the black guy with the fishy, Muslim-sounding name) being routinely served up on a daily basis as warmed-over dishes lifted from the tables of RedState, Little Green Footballs, Michelle Malkin, and so on. It’s almost inconceivable to imagine any BT stating an open preference for a Democrat — any Democrat — as opposed to whichever impending GOP trainwreck might be barreling down the track. One other interesting figure of note from that CP article was the remark of pollster Bruce Anderson who said: “…the number of Canadians who characterize themselves as right-wing voters is just above 15 per cent, while a similar number are self-described left-wingers and the big majority say they’re in the middle.”

So, not only are the BTs outside of the mainstream of political thought in general, but so too are they outside of the mainstream even of self-described Conservative voters. In other words, they’re nothing but hyper-partisan, ideological extremists. Perhaps we should be mindful of that when presuming what so-called “conservatives” think about a given issue or characterizing them this way or that by way of sloppy generalizations simply because of distortions spawned by the dyspeptic bloviations of a few outspoken individuals narrowcasting on blogs. The truth of it is that no matter how they may be aggregated to give the artificial impression of widespread consensus amongst “average Conservatives” the BTs are anything but that. All they actually can be said to represent is their own usually quite extreme opinions and perhaps those of a relatively small number of likeminded hard right kooks. Well, it’s a theory…

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49 comments to BTs: Not Your “Average Conservative”

  • Walkswithcoffee

    Raphael,

    I should give you an example of barking that gets Sandra and the PMO concerned:

    http://www.hilltimes.com/html/cover_index.php?display=story&full_path=/2008/january/7/letter3/&c=1

    The above was published across Canada. The PMO gets concerned when onese like it are published in Cabinet set ridings… as they frequently are. I’ve been published maybe 400 times in the last three years. I know I have their attention!

    Cheers,

    Coffee

  • Walkswithcoffee

    Raphael,

    I’ve been to you site more than a couple of times and less than a half dozen.

    Sandra Buckler will not care about what you are writing… one way or the other. You serve the purpose just fine.

    Cheers,

    Walks

  • Walkswithcoffee, if you think that, it’s clear neither you nor the "power structure" has read my blog.

  • Walkswithcoffee

    Raphael complains, "[FYI – I never got the memo from the BT overlords that I had to be partisan, and shill for the party, but I’ll keep my eyes open WalksWithCoffee.]"

    That says a lot about what the power structure thinks of your place in their sceme of things. I.e. they get you to bark for them for free so they don’t have to feed you. You don’t bark against them so they don’t have to eat you. And they don’t value you enough  to build you up. Your efforts are free lunch to them. You are exactly where they want you.

    Cheers,

    Coffee

  • ALW — Nope, I think we’re all good on this front.

     RA — I never said he was. I think I only picked on Aaron a couple of times over at the old place. Once it was for putting imaginary words/thoughts in head of an academic from the U of T to demonstrate that he was a supposedly “liberal elitist” (I think it had something to do with NASCAR as I recall because this guy had made some offhand remarks about chewing tobacco, or something) and when I took him to task over that, first by showing that the remark wasn’t out of place given the prominent sponsorship of companies like Skol and that it was a total fabrication on his part, the reaction I got was “Who cares?” That kind of diminished his “credibility” a little in my book.

  • I told you Aaron wasn’t one drinking the blue kool-aid…

    The only thing missing from this finale is the sound of a six-pack being cracked open.

    [FYI – I never got the memo from the BT overlords that I had to be partisan, and shill for the party, but I’ll keep my eyes open WalksWithCoffee.]

  • ALW

    Martin: I don’t think there’s much on this front we don’t agree on then!

    Cheers!

  • And cheers to you as well. I have to admit that it felt damn good to write that!

  • Walkswithcoffee

    " Having indulged in the same type of malicious activity for quite some time, I came eventually to realize what a complete and utter waste of time it was. So maybe in a sense this is my small way of putting a nail in that coffin, at least for me, because I honestly do not believe that most of the people who populate that board are worth paying the slightest bit of attention to. In a perverse sense, their harshest critics may even be encouraging them by providing the attention they so desperately crave and in doing so perpetuating their maddening idiocy as part of some dreadfully haywire symbiosis. "

    Bang on Martin…

    Peace and good health to you.

    Cheers,

    Coffee

  • ALW — That’s actually very perceptive of you, and yes, I suppose in a sense that is what I’m doing, although it wasn’t actually my intial intent. Having indulged in the same type of malicious activity for quite some time, I came eventually to realize what a complete and utter waste of time it was. So maybe in a sense this is my small way of putting a nail in that coffin, at least for me, because I honestly do not believe that most of the people who populate that board are worth paying the slightest bit of attention to. In a perverse sense, their harshest critics may even be encouraging them by providing the attention they so desperately crave and in doing so perpetuating their maddening idiocy as part of some dreadfully haywire symbiosis.  

  • ALW

    RedTory – point taken. There are indeed a lot of wackos (or at least, what they write is crazy) on the BT blogroll. But I find it interesting that you would want to point that out, especially since many of your fellow-travellers – including Scott Tribe, CC and the entire crew over at his blog etc – have essentially built a cottage blog industry on the premise that the crazy ramblings of a few Blogging Tories are somehow reflective of the beliefs and principles held by Stephen Harper, his government, and the overwhelming majority of people who actually vote Conservative. In other words, by admitting – no, insisting – that the BTs are an unrepresentative lot, you’re actually calling out your peers and saying: you’re beating up on a straw man. (I know that I care about this personally since I’ve never been one to leap to the defence of another BT strictly on the grounds that we’re on the same blogroll.)

  • Geez, I wish this stupid thing had a "preview" function. When I said "it seems even they’ve lost their bearings" I meant to refer to the sane, rational people, not the crackpots. There should be a paragraph break in there too.

  • ALW — I wouldn’t disagree with that, but it’s more than simply a matter of there being a lot of “deadwood” as you put it on the BT blogroll. Rather, it’s more the fact that many of the most frequent and strident posters are, quite frankly, nuts (for lack of a better word). So while there may be a few sane, rational, thoughtful voices out there, it’s often the crackpots and loons that tend to be the defining voices and not infrequently, it seems even they’ve lost their bearings. As CC quite rightly points out this morning, when Sandy (“Crux of the Matter”) purports to be “non-partisan” whilst carrying out a fruitless witch-hunt to uncover “anti-conservative bias in the liberal media” and relentlessly tooting her horn in praise of Stephen Harper’s “accomplishments” over his term in office and there are still those who with a straight face can remark that she’s “non-partisan” well, we’ve definitely gone down the rabbit hole and have arrived in Wonderland.  Anyway, there’s no point in belabouring this part of the argument. I think we can all agree that the BTs are not representative of “average Conservatives” which was, after all, the self-evident, quite obvious point I was making at this stage. Like I said, it was something that was brought home and reinforced by that CP/Decima poll about the U.S. elections. However, because the BTs do receive a certain amount of “official” acknowledgement and support from the party establishment, both tacit and overt, I just wanted to offer this up as a reminder not to start imagining that they’re anything but anomalies to the mainstream of so-called “conservative” opinion in this country, which as is confirmed in the next post, many believe to be decidedly left of centre.

  • ALW

    I’m not sure how much I have to add to all this – I don’t actually disagree with Red Tory’s basic point.  Bottom line is, there are a lot of shitty, inarticulate and or absurdly partisan Blogging Tories (he might even think I’m one of them!)  Still, when I peruse the Liblog roll, I soon come across the Liberal equivalents of BT nutters.

    I believe that the relative position of the party that a blogger supports – i.e. if their partisan team is in government or opposition – is actually the biggest factor in shaping a blogger’s style.  Bloggers "in government" tend to gloss over the bad news, since bad news is more often than not directed at their party; bloggers "in opposition" tend to focus on the missteps of the government, real or imagined.  None of this is rocket science.

    I think the most interesting dilemma any partisan blogger faces is the tension between supporting the team and criticizing your own side.  I think failure to ever criticize your own leads to a serious credibility problem. On the other hand, too much criticism might make other partisans feel you aren’t being a team player. Even worse, this shouldn’t be a conscious calculation (i.e. am I criticizing or cheerleading too much or too little?) but inevitably it is.  I know, for example, I have glossed over stories that I would have pounced on if I were a Liberal (although sometimes this is due to disinterest rather than deliberately trying to minimize something’s significance).  Some might say that’s a credibility issue.  But I might argue it’s not my "job" to talk about that stuff, just as I don’t think it’s a Liblogger’s job to discuss stories that are bad for Liberals.
    Bloggers are in uncharted waters: they aren’t journalists, but they aren’t official partisans. They are basically gossip columnists. And the thing about gossip columnists is that some have better and more reliable sources than others, so over time we can come to realize whose commentary is informed by official partisan information (or propaganda), and who is musing independently.
    Anyways, bottom line is that yes there’s a lot of deadwood on the BT blogroll. It’s just that there’s a lot of deadwood on any partisan blogroll: that’s the just what you get when you combine an interest in partisan politics with a soapbox forum like blogging.

  • Duh, indeed. That’s part of the reason why I said the conclusion was perfectly obvious. It’s all the more reason why their opinions should be heavily discounted and regarded with a deep amount of skepticism. Goodness knows, even the Conservative Party doesn’t take them seriously, so why on earth should anyone else? But tomorrow (well later today, actually), we have a somewhat more interesting question that follows this train of thought.

  • Everyone knows that party activists tend to be more stridently ideological than non-activists who vote for the party. If you think of bloggers as party activists, then it’s commonsensical that they would not be representative of the views of CPC voters as a whole. Official response: Duh.

  • Okay, I am so not going to argue this particular matter to death. It’s really not my place to do so anyhow.

    At the end of the day (which is rapidly approaching, I might add), it still doesn’t affect my point, which is, that paid or unpaid, stooges and dupes or not, this group is NOT representative of the opinions held by the "average conservative" in Canada, which tend to be quite far left of this group for the most part and therefore, we should be mindful of that and not start imagining that they’re some kind of bellweather of mainstream Conservative attitudes and viewpoints.  

  • Walkswithcoffee

    Red Tory asked the obvious question, "do they pay" x,y, or z yadda yadda person?

    The obvious answer is "yes"; their payment is "attention"… saying "good doggie" is the reward. 

    The way they "pay" is for the core to keep them feeling "appreciated" or "listened to" and the rest of the stooges keep the echo chamber going.

    All Monti Solberg had to do once was say he liked Kate MacMillan  and that was enough to get the stooges hooting with her.

    All that Buckler had to do was give Taylor a few real points and everyone then follows Taylor (as Taylor follows Buckler).

    These scams are easy when people crave attention.

    Cheers,

    Coffee

  •  WWC — And so they pay Frank Hilliard at Mesopotamia West to set up a blog, make a number of kooky posts defending the rights of people to drive while thoroughly intoxicated provided they don’t kill or maim anyone and worry about Halal-approved stickers on lamb products being the thin edge of the wedge when it comes to impending Sharia Law in Canada, before he trashes his blog and starts all over again with some new kookiness? Do they pay “Neo-Conservative” at the Halls of Macademia to be a completely moronic retard, blustering and fuming about some new politically correct leftie outrage? Do they pay Paul at Celestial Junk to retail Ann Coulterisms and furiously deny that climate change is in any affected by way man-made pollutants and carbon emissions  (you can throw a whole pile in with that group). Do they pay Kate McMillian to post pictures of temperature gauges to “prove” that AGW isn’t “settled science”? Do they pay Dr. Roy to condemn stem cell research as unethical, marijuana as psychosis-inducing and powerfully addictive, while venerating the Queen and the sixth Earl of Colchester or whomever as divinely-blessed beings of a higher order of mankind? Do they pay the Journeying Joanne to wring her hands in despair at the decline of morality in our wicked, polymorphic society, or prattle on about how Dalton McGuinty stole her shoe? Are they funding the catastrophically stunned, illiterate rantings of Baron Johnnytard at “The Right is Where it’s At !!!”  Are they underwriting Adam Daifallah’s insufferably vacuous inanities and Jonathan Strong’s stenography? &etc. It’s quite the stellar team they’ve assembled. Certainly the front-men and women I’d want out on the rhetorical sales floor making my pitch to people online.  

  • Walkswithcoffee

    " I’d suggest you show some proof that the BT’ers were paid to put out their stories.  I don’t see anywhere in Tom Flanagan’s stuff where he claims that is what happenned. "

    Red tory, you are out of the loop… you missed the release of privy council records showing the CPoC paying BTs to blog. You also miss the point that the OLO  (confirmed by Flannagan) and now the PMO  (proven by privy council records) is directing the core of the BTs.

    It’s a scam… always has been.

    Cheers,

    Coffee

  • [quote comment="12032"]Scott, it’s not because I think you’re a partisan liberal. It’s because I think you’re a partisan. You never have anything positive to say about the Conservatives [/quote]

    That’s because I oppose everything they stand for ideologically, Raphael, and have almost from the moment the Alliance Party swallowed up the Progressive Conservatives and have virtually erased all vestiges of Red Tory’ism from the new party. If I dislike everything they stand for, I won’t have much good to say about them, now will I?

    [quote]and in light of the fact he holds on to tenuous power in Canada by ruling in ways which have appealed to both right and centrist voters, it shows that you seem to have a blind spot in your political analysis to refuse to address this. Your only defense is to say, "But I’ve always been partisan"[/quote]

    Popularity in the low to mid 30’s is signs of being appealing? Come now Raphael, who’s being the partisan now? As for my "defense", if it is to be called that, I’ve always made it clear since BlogsCanada that I’m anti-Harper and anti-this Conservative Party in this form it’s taken. I’ve never denied that.

  • WWC:

    I’d suggest you show some proof that the BT’ers were paid to put out their stories.  I don’t see anywhere in Tom Flanagan’s stuff where he claims that is what happenned.

    Furthermore, I don’t see anything that sinister about a political party wanting to advocate a position and seeing if their allies in the blogosphere will help them out. I suspect it’s the same everywhere: if bloggers are interested, they’ll write about it – if they aren’t, they won’t.

  • Walkswithcoffee

    There were/are the ring leaders: Flanagan, Buckler, Ablonczy, Taylor and the rest of the MPs on the blogroll… then there are the stooges “paid” to bark for the price of “attention” and a few "claps".

    Like they said in writing… they mimicked bloggers for bush.

    The way scams work:. a few people create the scam and then find a team of stooges that will believe  and spread the scam by making them feel "in the loop" … then keep them going with the sense of approval for saying the right thing… bolster the sense of "being on the inside"… then suck more in and repeat.

    Cheers,

    Coffee

  • Walkswithcoffee

    "Yes, you’ve made it abundantly clear that it’s nothing but "a scam" but for the time being it’s the subject of our discussion. Perhaps you should quiz Mr. Alexander as to whether he’s in on this fraudulent hoax… did he get the memo from party central? What did he know and when did he know it? ;)"There are the ring leaders: Flanagan, Buckler, Ablonczy, Taylor and the rest of the MPs on the blogroll… then there are the stooges “paid” to bark for the price of “attention” and a few "claps".

    Like they said in writing… they mimicked bloggers for bush.
    The way scams work:. get a few people to create the scam and then find a team of stooges that will believe  the scam by making them feel "in the loop" … then keep them going with the sense of approval for saying the right thing and "being on the inside"… then suck more in.

    Cheers,

    Coffee

  • WWC — Yes, you’ve made it abundantly clear that it’s nothing but “a scam” but for the time being it’s the subject of our discussion. Perhaps you should quiz Mr. Alexander as to whether he’s in on this fraudulent hoax… did he get the memo from party central? What did he know and when did he know it? 😉

  • Walkswithcoffee

    There is nothing worth seeing at the BTs; you are expected invest lots into it and get nothing of merit in return (that is the point of the scam).  The BTs is a scam. Move on to topics of merit rather than playing in someone else’s dirt.  

    There are plenty of topics of merit to contribute to.  Put your talents to better use.
    Cheers,

    Coffee

  • By the way, kind of off topic, but in case anyone is interested, our old friend “Dark Blue Tory” (aka Chris) is alive and well and doing just fine. Some folks had wondered and expressed some concern after he abruptly pulled the plug on his DBT v.2 BT website. I think like me he just got kind of fed up and needed a break. He got his hero’s autobiography for Xmas and is deeply immersed in that (big surprise) and he and the wife are headed off to Mexico shortly for a vacation. Just thought I’d mention that as some folks had wondered and had asked me as we correspond when not slagging one another online in our blogging personas.

  • RA — Ah, I see. I wish that I could find the link, but someone once had a very good explanation for the “common root of the problem” as you put it, from a blogger named The Slacktavist. Essentially, in his opinion, it all boils down to a “presumption of good faith” at the outset of a discussion.

  • Listening to Canadian Cynic use what he believes to be witty aphorisms of extremely profane verbiage to describe what he feels to be mismanaged affairs of the government is, quite honestly, a lot of so much carbon emissions.

    That’s an amazing indictment coming from someone who spends a fair amount of time at CC’s joint opining on just about everything we write.  Thank you sooooo much for lowering yourself to our level, RA.  It’s very big of you … really. 

  • Scott, it’s not because I think you’re a partisan liberal. It’s because I think you’re a partisan. You never have anything positive to say about the Conservatives, and in light of the fact he holds on to tenuous power in Canada by ruling in ways which have appealed to both right and centrist voters, it shows that you seem to have a blind spot in your political analysis to refuse to address this. Your only defense is to say, "But I’ve always been partisan"

  • Raphael said:

    [quote comment="12021"]Naturally I should like to say that Liberals are not entirely disposed to understanding these principles either, but for the blogs located somewhere left of the centre line, I find few which are as partisan as those which I mention above. Ironically, I find Scott Tribe’s blog here to be among the more anti-conservative partisan sites, compared to some of the Liberal bloggers like Steve at Far and Wide, or Darren at Apply Liberally. [/quote]

    Your mistake Raphael, has always been to equate my anti-Conservative rhetoric with my fairly new association with the Liberal Party. Long before I was associated with them, you would see that my diary posts at Prog Blog and before that at BlogsCanada E-Group are just as vehement in opposing what I perceive to be a neo-conservative agenda from Harper and the Conservative Party and their policies I do not support. Yet, as soon as I join the main enemy of the Conservative Party, I immediately get dismissed by the BT flock as a “Liberal shill”, which shows they either weren’t reading beforehand, or else it was just an easy way to dismiss someone’s opinion with a convenient label.

  • What exactly is “the common root of the problem”? It sounds like it should mean something, but I’ll be darned if I can make sense of that expression in this context.

    Simply put, unless individuals set aside disagreement to believe in a fundamental common ground [respect for instance], no dialogue can be entered into. Just shouting matches, and "The Right is Where It’s At". The common root of the problem is based on the inability to show mutual respect. If you and I agree to be civil, we can disagree all day long and still walk away with our heads held high.

    Not to mention the fact that in “delivering” on that promise, the Conservatives scrapped the accountability provisions of the committee overseeing transfers to the provinces — something that I simply cannot get any Conservative to pay the slightest bit of attention to, despite repeated attempts.

    It’s been floating around on my radar, but I fear what such an article might produce. Of course, there are similarly frustrating omissions from leftist blogs, particularly the rather odd spin on how well Liberal leader Stephane Dion is doing, despite idiotically ousting Centrist David Orchard in order to appease the aboriginal vote from a person who doesn’t know which of the five political parties she’s been invited to, to stay with.

    it’s important that the two things not be confused in our rush to generalize about what “average conservatives” think about any given topic.

    I think many serious political aspirants would scarcely make their opinions known on the Blogging Tories anyway, as it could have political ramifications down the road. I think you’d also find that while few would openly admit it, each aggregate has it’s share of kool-aid drinkers. If only Paul could stop quoting Ann Coulter, it would be a nice start.

  • RA — few individuals having the patience to quell his often hyperbolic political angst, and get down to the common root of the problem.

    What exactly is “the common root of the problem”? It sounds like it should mean something, but I’ll be darned if I can make sense of that expression in this context.

    I usually find good commentary from many bloggers on the Blogging Tories aggregate, such as the eloquent Bruce Stewart, or the journalistic Joanne, and Scott Tribe’s greatest fisker Aaron Lee Wudrick. There are plenty of conservative pundits with good sense, if you look for them.

    Well, you’ve named one there. The other two are questionable at best and I’d suggest that “good commentary” is pretty thin on the ground for the most part, especially when you filter out the raving lunacy and addlepated blather of Sentinel and the others you named.

    …where appropriate censure of the Conservative party should be appropriate, and yet none are forthcoming.

    Quite frankly, I don’t expect to see actual “censure” but it sure would be nice to see a little more critical analysis and at least some attempt at objectivity. I mean, if I have to listen to Sandy Crock cheerily say one more time that Harper delivered on his promise of guaranteed wait-times, I think my head is going to explode. A simple review of the facts clearly demonstrates that such a claim strains credulity, to say the least. Not to mention the fact that in “delivering” on that promise, the Conservatives scrapped the accountability provisions of the committee overseeing transfers to the provinces — something that I simply cannot get any Conservative to pay the slightest bit of attention to, despite repeated attempts. And yet they have the temerity to rattle on about “accountability.” That sort of thing, my friend, is where much of my “hyperbolic political angst” stems from!

    By the way, I don’t imagine any “groupthink” is the result of collusion or conspiracy. It’s more like a herd instinct, if anything.

    But whatever… That’s all somewhat beside the point, which is simply that there’s a yawning gulf between the opinions expressed by the members of the BT fraternity (and women’s auxiliary) and those of your average, garden variety Conservative and therefore, it’s important that the two things not be confused in our rush to generalize about what “average conservatives” think about any given topic. In many cases, it’s certainly NOT what one might think from having scanned the apparent consensus of the BTs.

  • I suppose that as a blogger from the outside looking in, you may perceive the aggregate as a rather hostile environment. It certainly can be, particularly when one takes a very adversarial stance to the opinions being expressed. And if anyone is known to be opinionated to an nth degree, it is Mr.Rayner. His views are well-known and publicized across the aggregate, with few individuals having the patience to quell his often hyperbolic political angst, and get down to the common root of the problem. For this reason, dialogue is usually extinguished before it is even started.

    Within Martin Rayner’s statements contain, however, a kernel of truth. The Blogging Tories are hyper-partisan, and often blind to the open and disturbing moves of the Conservative political party, or the supposed ideological counterparts across the border, the Republicans. Many Blogging Tories believe so utterly in what they espouse, that to speak against them incurs an almost wrath-like venom. I don’t think this is conducive to the purposeful meaning of a "so-called" blogosphere. But I am not going to speak for fellow members of the aggregate, not knowing their personal feelings on the matter.

    What I do know, is that several bloggers, like Halls of Macadamia, Celestial Junk, and Canadian Sentinel seem immune to whatever it is which seems like a rational view of Canadian politics, and what constitutes the principles behind "peace, order, and good government". Naturally I should like to say that Liberals are not entirely disposed to understanding these principles either, but for the blogs located somewhere left of the centre line, I find few which are as partisan as those which I mention above. Ironically, I find Scott Tribe’s blog here to be among the more anti-conservative partisan sites, compared to some of the Liberal bloggers like Steve at Far and Wide, or Darren at Apply Liberally.

    I usually find good commentary from many bloggers on the Blogging Tories aggregate, such as the eloquent Bruce Stewart, or the journalistic Joanne, and Scott Tribe’s greatest fisker Aaron Lee Wudrick. There are plenty of conservative pundits with good sense, if you look for them. Having said that, I will allow that Martin Rayner has a point when he says that there are moments, and some are awkward silences, where appropriate censure of the Conservative party should be appropriate, and yet none are forthcoming.

    Things which come to mind would be the Conservative censoring and crackdowns on governmental agencies which are allowed to talk to media. The increasing control of media by Stephen Harper is a sore point for me, and has caused some degree of discomfort lately. Another more recent issue is the Linda Keen affair, which I think is entirely inappropriate for political partisanship, and echoes of the Marc Mayrand incident. The dismissal of candidates from grassroots campaigns like Mark Warner and Brent Barr because of "not being on message" garnered little public outrage from the  BT camp. Nor did it seem disappointing that red Tories like Bill Casey were not able to find a way back into the fold after the Atlantic Accord disagreement.

    I must admit, I am also confused as to certain sentiment on issues like the Iraq war and the American politics. I think it’s widely known that the Democrats as a political entity remain more conservatively aligned than our own conservative party in Canada, which upholds socially liberal and fiscally liberal policies and programs which would never be imagined in the United States. I openly castigate George W Bush, whom I feel has been a reckless leader and poor communicator. I feel no conflict in this, since I feel my views are Canadian in perspective anyway, and my support lies for Stephen Harper and the positive movements I have seen from his right-of-centre governing party.

    The problem is that there are many writers on the Blogging Tories who are simply there to make some noise, receive some reciprocal rhetoric, and call it a night. For each of them, there are at least two members of the Liberals and NDP out there writing the same tripe. Listening to Canadian Cynic use what he believes to be witty aphorisms of extremely profane verbiage to describe what he feels to be mismanaged affairs of the government is, quite honestly, a lot of so much carbon emissions. It is therefore disappointing that each time one might find an opponent in disagreement, that one must be so disagreeable that one feels dialogue is simply not an option. Vulgar, profane, and grammatically-frustrating articles involving the hatred of Stephen Harper speaks more to an inability to calmly express one’s views, than anything else.

    So if one finds it frustrating that so few conservatives seem to be open to more moderate dialogue with the left, or that they seem to be wallowing in ideals which are not open for debate, perhaps it is because you have given rise to too much hope from too small a demographic. I think that, to a certain extent, there is a common fault of "group think" among members, although I tend not to think of it in conspiratorial tones. As I said, with patience and work one can find several good writers of cogent and articulate positions. And after sifting through the miles of outraged ranters of the Progressive Bloggers, the same can be said for the left.

  • Hey RT good to see you!  Thanks for hosting him, Scott.

    Alrighty then, if the BT  are a small group of hyper partisan extremists what is the SoCon webring?  

  • Hi RT, glad to see you out and blogging about.  Baby steps, right? 

  • Unfortunately, not too many of the manly BT men and strident Amazons venture out of their little hidey holes that often. Except of course with a virtual bag over their head when they comment in Anonymous sock-puppet form.

  • Walkswithcoffee

    Martin gets to the point (sort of), " Well, I’ll have to let the BTs speak for themselves on that one."

    That is the real point, they should:

    A. speak for themselves
    B. own their words
    C. not pass their words and propaganda as someone else’s story

    Until they do, it’s still a scam.

    Cheers,

    Coffee

  • Well, I’ll have to let the BTs speak for themselves on that one.

  • Walkswithcoffee

    Martin wrote: "It’s no secret that a number of them such as Taylor and Janke have connections to the party. However, that’s not much different from Liblogs where I know the LPC has tried to tap different bloggers to advocate strongly on behalf of the party and push whatever memes they’re trying to get around."

    The entire point of the BTs was to float stories guided by the CPoC that they did  not want to be directly tied to but nonetheless started.

    I and others were asked by the CPoC and their members of parliament to actualize Flannagan’s plan to mimic "Bloggers for Bush" (Confirmed by Flannagan, confirmed by Taylor, confirmed by Ablonczy).

    Is that different than the other parties?  Other parties float stories via the MSM and little of anything (usually nothing at all) on their affiliate blogging sites.

    The BTs is a scam to fool the MSM into listening to stories they would otherwise vet away…. and that still is the BTs mandate.

    Documented, confirmed, written about.

    Cheers,

    Coffee

  •   WWC — First of all, I’m not sure that I really accept the premise of the “scam” as you put it, notwithstanding what Flanagan wrote in his book. Perhaps it was used to float some trial balloons and they may have funneled some party propaganda via the rumour mill using bloggers to spread the word. It’s no secret that a number of them such as Taylor and Janke have connections to the party. However, that’s not much different from Liblogs where I know the LPC has tried to tap different bloggers to advocate strongly on behalf of the party and push whatever memes they’re trying to get around. I would presume the Dippers are much the same relative to the NDP. That said, most bloggers just go their own way and have those affiliations not because they want to be tools of the party (well, some do) just because it’s where their political bias or loyalties happen to be most at home.   My point was simply that the BTs aren’t representative of “average Conservatives” in their opinions and  with respect to what NBCD said about that being typical of the other parties, I’d beg to differ on that one. I think the disparity between where the party is, where the “average” voter for that party is and where the bloggers are, when it comes to the NDP, Liberals and Greens and their respective aggregators, it’s not that great. I think the gaps on the Conservative side with respect to the BTs are gaping and quite significant.

  • Walkswithcoffee

    "I suspect many of the BTs might resent Flanagan’s characterization of them as a witless bunch of dupes that could be exploited for purposes of dissemination the CPC’s "not ready for MSM" propaganda."

    So? That was the plan and it worked… for a time… now the scam is up.

    Cheers,

    Coffee (aka Walks)

  • WWC — I suspect many of the BTs might resent Flanagan’s characterization of them as a witless bunch of dupes that could be exploited for purposes of dissemination the CPC’s “not ready for MSM” propaganda. Or maybe not.

  • Skinny Dipper

    Apoligies for not blogging lately.  After the Ontario referendum, I have taken some time off until I can refocus what I wish to write about.

    One thing I like about Progressive Bloggers is that there are many viewpoints from bloggers who support different political parties.  Not everyone is supporting the NDP’s "Taliban" Jack or Elizabeth May "Day" of the Green Party.  Some bloggers support the Liberals and even a few have probably voted for the Conservatives as one time or another.  I do appreciate that many Progressive Bloggers do not resort to name-calling such as Prime Minister "Harpo" while he reads the National "Puke."

    I do give credit to Prime Minister Harper if he does something good.  I don’t think that the GST should have stayed at 7% in perpetuity.  It’s down to 5% now.  It may go up to 9% some day in the future.  I’m not going to disagree with Harper just because he is Harper and is a Conservative prime minister.  He does have some weaknesses such as he like to run a one man show when he does have good talent in his caucus.

    Stéphane Dion likes to thinks of himself as an environmental leader.  That’s great, but I don’t think that alone will help him become prime minister.

    In the United States, Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, is a great orator.  Does he have the policy substance to get himself elected the Democratic presidential candidate and eventually the president of the US of A?  Obama reminds me of Brian Mulroney in his early days.  Mulroney was a well-spoken candidate and well liked in the beginning.  Not as many people liked him at the end of his political career.  Could the same happen to Obama?

    Let’s have everyone keep writing quality blogs Progressive Bloggers.  I do hope that we can read more quality and less tabloid blogs on Blogging Tories.

  • Walkswithcoffee

    "All they actually can be said to represent is their own usually quite extreme opinions and perhaps those of a relatively small number of likeminded hard right kooks. Well, it’s a theory…"  That is a *stupid* theory. Flannagan told you in his book what the BTs are in no uncertain terms. The BTs is the CPoC venue for "not ready form MSM" propaganda  i.e. The BS and confuse outlet for the CPoC. That is the BTs offical task as set up by the CPoC. It’s in writing by the cheif campaign strategist himself.  doh.  The drop off in participation is due to the current time not being an election period and some of the BTs figuring out that the deal is a CPoC scam. What’s the point of the BTs if there is no election and everyone now officially knows (from the CPoC) that the BTs is a scam? Cheers, Coffee (aka walks)

  • RP.

    I can’t be the only one who thinks "bottle toke" when I see initials BT.

  • I’ll agree with NBCD, but I still think that as a whole, the BT have a larger proportion of outrageous nutters than the Prog blogs or the Blogging Dippers.

    Pretty why I pick my conservative blogs by hand, rather than use an aggregator – and with Andrew Anderson and Greg Staples gone,  Chris Selley posting infrequently and Raphael Alexander on the bubble, that is getting tougher and tougher to do…

  • Well, the question is: how representative are any blogrolls out there?

    I’d argue that political blogrolls are composed not of a representative cross-section of society, but of those that select themselves.  When one selects themselves, they tend to have some sort of reason behind it, possibly promotion of their views.  Furthermore, political blogrolls tend to be limited to those that have easy access to the internet and those who  are politically obsessed.

    But in defense of the Blogging Tories for a minute,  I do find that between themselves, they vary in political outlooks.  They also vary in quality: some are very good at getting their point across, while others resort to insults all the time ("Taliban Jack", "Citoyen Dion"). Just like any other blogroll, I’d say.

  • Jay

    This is what conservatives are using now to claim they are "moderate".

    ‘A Canadian conservative is similar to a moderate Democrat here. There is no true conservative party in Canada, as we know conservatism. Bill Clinton paraphrased’

    So now they are american liberals instead of repackaged Republicans. Jeez they are getting desperate. Even jumping on the Democrat bandwagon in the US to help themselves fix their image.

    Why not try being Canadian for once?

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