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Monday, August 27, 2007

Baird top story in Oregonian

Sometimes the lede in a newspaper article captures the flavor of an event in a few short words. Take this one from this morning's front page, above the fold story in The Oregonian. From Oregon Live:
Rep. Brian Baird's star is rising rapidly in the Republican Party.

Unfortunately for Baird, he's a Democrat.
Yep, that about sums it up.

It's a somewhat lengthy article, so readers can certainly click through if they wish. But here's a little nugget:
Republicans are attempting to use Baird's comments as evidence of a countertrend.

In a news release Tuesday, Boehner's office declared that "as rank-and-file Democrats return from Iraq, more and more of them are acknowledging the clear success of the troop surge in defeating al-Qaida in Iraq and improving security for Iraqi citizens." But Baird was the only Democrat named in the release as changing his position.

Ed Cote, a member of the Democratic National Committee who lives in Vancouver, said he's not concerned about Baird being used as a poster boy for the war.

"I think he's a loner on this," Cote said. "This does not represent the thinking of House Democrats."
Baird is definitely out on a limb on this one, that's for sure. And while many folks here in the 3rd District continue to scratch their collective heads, I don't have any reason to think Baird is being duplicitous, and that he really does think his view is correct. And that's fine, as far as it goes.

But I do think there is a subterranean misunderstanding at work here on the part of Baird when it comes to public reaction. Here's somthing he is quoted as saying in the article:
"It took a bit of political courage to oppose the war when it was 75 percent popular," Baird says. "If I was willing to do that then, I hope people would say, 'He must have good reason to do this now, and he must have thought pretty carefully about it.' "

Spending 13 days in the region in the past four months "gives you some insights that folks may not have just from reading newspapers*," he says.
*I have changed one word in the above quote to make a point. The word "newspapers" should read "blogs," which is what Baird actually said.

People have always had various reactions to the stances politicians take. If this was 1991, the typical outlet for your average citizen was to vent to some friends and maybe write a letter to the editor. Assuming the letter got published, you had a few hundred words to get your point across.

What has happened is the internet tubes have created a forum for all those views, good, bad, smart, stupid and everything in between, to be hurled into cyberspace.

So I'm not so certain it helps Baird, other than perhaps with certain politicians from Connecticut, to single out blogs.

Blogs are people, as Atrios most likely would say.

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