One of the questions I get asked most often as I do interviews about my new book, Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press, is why is it that conservatives trail so far behind liberals when it comes to building their side of the blogosphere into something important and influential. The simple answer is that so many right-wing bloggers aren't serious people and the nonsense they blog about revolves around loopy conspiracy theories that, aside for providing comic relief, aren't really good for anything.
Which bring me to the budding Obama scandal that's been hatched this week within the right-wing blogosphere, and which has all the hallmarks of previous failed Obama conspiracy theories that bloggers excitedly chased. The latest to be embraced is the idea that the Obama White House, as part of the restructuring that the auto maker has been forced to undergo, personally selected which Chrysler dealership would be closed. Not only that, but the Obama White House punished dealerships whose owners who gave campaign contributions to Republicans.
It's just like Nixon's Enemies' List!
Go here if you want to read the pained analysis, where bloggers excitedly claim that their research proves a massive conspiracy's afoot. What is the research? It's a laundry list of name of dealers who have indeed given money to the GOP and have indeed been closed down as part of the GM restructuring. So why doesn't that prove Obama has a hit list? First, because nearly 800 dealerships are being closed down, yet bloggers only detail campaign contributions for less than 10 percent of those dealership owners.
Second, all the bloggers actually prove is that lot of dealership owners are Republicans. Does that surprise anyone?
So rather than uncovering massive White House conspiracy to throw thousands of auto industry workers of work simply as a way to "punish" GOP donors, all the bloggers have proven--I'm repeating myself, I know--is that car dealership owners tend to write checks to Republicans. And all this time I had thought of dealerships as a bastion of progressive politics.
The only way GOP bloggers could get this whole soggy mess off the ground is if they can prove, definitively, that Chrysler dealers who survived the cut were all massive, across-the-board, Democratic donors. But bloggers don't and I suspect they cannot because local car dealership owners tend to give lots of money to Republicans.
Thanks for the news flash.
P.S. And no, bloggers don't even pretend to produce any evidence that the Obama White House somehow peered over GM's shoulders and picked which dealership got canned and which ones survived.
UPDATE: When Michelle Malkin of all people urges people not to get carried away with an anti-Obama conspiracy theory, you know the story's going nowhere.
UPDATE: Malkin's changed her mind and now thinks the Obama-closed-Chrysler-dealerships is a big, big story, which means more comedy is bound to ensue.
At first, Malkin urged caution on the story but apparently after Fox News producers invited her on to discuss the (pseudo) scandal, Malkin decided it was legit. Ah, right-wing bloggers....
UPDATE: Nate Silver demolishes the right-wing Dealergate with, y'know, actual research. He also notes this:
It shouldn't be any surprise, by the way, that car dealers tend to vote -- and donate -- Republican. They are usually male, they are usually older (you don't own an auto dealership in your 20s), and they have obvious reasons to be pro-business, pro-tax cut, anti-green energy and anti-labor. Car dealerships need quite a bit of space and will tend to be located in suburban or rural areas. I can't think of too many other occupations that are more natural fits for the Republican Party