Campaign '08: The Year of the Blog

John McCain personally conducts regular blogger calls, sometimes sending out alerts only an hour or so before the call when he wants to discuss a hot topic. (I’ve missed a couple because of this.) At first these calls could be criticized as “preaching to the choir,” but McCain has done something that is, as far as I know, unique for a politician at his level. He has invited bloggers from the left side of the blogosphere to the calls, even though not very many of the lefties seem to want to come. Nevertheless, some environmental blogs were on the phone for a recent McCain blogger call concerning global warming. I have been told by sources inside the campaign that the candidate has every intention of continuing this open policy.

The Obama Campaign, however, has adopted a more traditional online approach -- if the word “traditional” can be used for something so new -- tearing a leaf from the Howard Dean playbook. Obama’s huge success at online fund-raising is well known, but he seems to take a more aloof stance when it comes to blogger calls or direct interaction with bloggers, preferring to make his presence felt online in careful written form. (He did this at the Huffington Post with his first response to the Wright controversy.) And, although the candidate preaches bi-partisanship, there has been no outreach, to my knowledge, to the right side of the blogosphere by Obama’s campaign.

Early indications are that this “split personality” regarding online media will continue at the conventions. Both sides are now credentialing blogs with an announcement already online of those selected at this juncture by the Democrats. The list shows representation from groups as disparate as the AFL-CIO NOW Blog and Bitch Ph.D., but not one that could be construed as right-of-center.

Sources within the Republican Party have informed me that they will credential left-leaning blogs for their convention, if those bloggers wish to attend.

Pajamas Media has applied for credentials to the Democratic Convention. No response so far.