The Magazine

The Lopsided Netroots

Why there's no conservative Kos.

Sep 10, 2007, Vol. 12, No. 48 • By DEAN BARNETT
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Johnson, as usual, is 100 percent correct. Most prominent conservative bloggers are middle-aged. None has shown any interest in developing a political movement. There are younger conservative bloggers who share Moulitsas's ambition, but none of them has amassed a fraction of his audience.

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, the most widely read center-right blogger, amplifies Johnson's point. "Different needs produce different approaches," he says. "People on the right think their political machine works, but that the media is out to get them. Hence rightish blogging is more about punditry and reporting, and they've succeeded--note the paucity of lefty bloggers embedding in Iraq, while the number on the right is extensive enough that I can no longer name them all. People on the left, on the other hand, know the media is basically on their side, but feel that their political machine stinks, so they've focused on building a new one. And they've succeeded, too."

Let's conclude with a further note of consolation for conservatives, who might be panicked over their missile gap in the virtual arms race: Markos Moulitsas has frequently said his biggest asset isn't the size of his audience or the amount of money he can raise, but rather the soapbox that his prominence has granted him and likeminded lefty bloggers. Conservative bloggers have the same kind of soapbox available to them, but use it differently. Nevertheless, when the Republican party power-structure tag-teamed with Ted Kennedy to shove an atrocious immigration bill down Congress's throat, the "RightRoots" as personified by the conservative blogosphere and talk radio played a major role in killing it.

In other words, if the Republican party's "political machine" continues to misfire, the conservative blogosphere will be well positioned to help insist on a tune-up.

Dean Barnett blogs at