Thursday, October 20, 2005

Unprecedented: House Republicans Invite Bloggers

Before this week's holiday began, I found it interesting that the Republican National Committee had sought out the thoughts and opinions of a number of conservative bloggers regarding the Harriet Miers nomination. The idea of bringing bloggers in is important as it is neccessary to
show what the blogosphere is made of. Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, RedState, PoliPundit... These are people - constituents - who are seriously debating and questioning the decisions of their leaders. Sometimes, they agree; sometimes, they don't. But they have reasons, logic, and facts at their fingertips that factor into their decisions.

It will be interesting to see if this type of activity continues, and to what extent. If this begins to become a trend (we've seen a small number of politicians pay attention to PorkBusters - but only after receiving notice), we may see a re-shaping of the political world as we know it. I think that whichever party truly latches on to the idea - not through paying lip service, but by truly paying attention to the blogosphere - will become far stronger, and fast.
As mentioned there,
the logical reasoning of bloggers, their analyses, and their sometimes ingenius ideas should not be ignored.

The Republican National Committee has taken the first step. Will more follow?

We can only hope.
It appears more steps are following - and big ones, at that. A number of bloggers from larger blogs were invited to Washington to participate in "an exclusive interview opportunity." The invitation reads:
The House Republican Conference Invites Bloggers to the Capitol this Thursday for an Exclusive Interview Opportunity With House Republicans.

For the first time ever, Bloggers are invited to meet directly with House Members and blog from the Capitol. Members will be stopping in throughout the day to meet with bloggers and discuss the House Republican record of successful economic policies, their commitment to fiscal responsibility, and the details of the historic proposed budget amendment that is expected to reach the floor later this week.
The Political Teen (Ian Schwartz) is planning on attending, as are Matt Margolis of Blogs for Bush and Eric Pfeiffer from The Buzz. Many cannot make it, as it is on very short notice - including Instapundit, Polipundit, La Shawn, and it seems Michelle Malkin.

The hope is that this will include far more discussion and not become a simple meet-and-greet where Congressmen try to wow or fool bloggers with simple rhetoric. Considering they invited somewhat 'heavyweight' bloggers, this would seem to be the case. It is hard to imagine they would invite quality bloggers who are sure to post every detail within minutes unless they actually are planning on listening to what they have to say.

While it is a shame neither Instapundit nor N.Z. Bear will be on hand, as it likely will discuss PorkBusters and issues similar, the Bear has set up a page for bloggers who are there to update everyone on what is going on. The RNC was even open to an ongoing conference call for people to speak with/listen to representatives, but ultimately deemed it impractical for this event.

This small meeting could turn into a landmark event. While it is extremely important that the bloggers clearly state the issues with the pork, the concerns with the transportation bill, and the problems with the plans for rebuilding after Katrina, it is equally important that they impress upon the respresentatives just how quickly any issue is understood, interperted, commented on, and read by thousands of constituents. Within minutes, any idea or opinion - or the lack of either - is known by the public; and if they like what they're hearing, that will reflect very positively on the representative. But if the bloggers disagree with the answer, with reasons, proofs, and statistics to back them up; or worse, become impatient with the stalling - the representative is sure to hear about it.

Representatives, as mentioned earlier, should not just follow anything the blogosphere says - they only must recognize how important it is to listen to their voices. The RNC is taking incredible steps toward realizing this neccessity, and should be praised for it.

Now, let's see if they listen.

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