(I am promoting this because Paul has this exactly right. – promoted by Dan Sullivan)
by Paul Goldman
Somewhere at Langley, there is the audio of the now famous phone call between Senate candidate Barbara Favola and Blue Virginia’s own Lowell Feld (we all know he is a subversive, an “Enemy of the State” thing right out of the movie). Of course, if the CIA released it, who would vouch for its authenticity? Which brings me to the main takeaway from the Washington post blog post covering the latest back and forth in what Anita Kumar calls the “state’s nastiest primary race[s]”: Lowell has taken political blogs to the next level.
His story has now become the story line of the senate race between Favola and Jaime Areizaga-Soto for what should be a Democratic Senate seat in Northern Virginia. The Post story – isn’t it amazing how quickly the mainstream media is moving out of the Dead Tree zone – discusses the “He Said She Said, She Said He Said Wrong” battle growing over “what they say are race-based remarks” attributed to Favola by Lowell.
The Post story points out, as it should, that Lowell “supports Areizaga-Soto.” In response, Favola denies the allegations saying her opponent and “his supporters have hurled outrageous allegations at me…but this take the cake.”
She calls it a “new low” in NOVA politics, saying it all rests on an “oral account” of her conversation with Lowell as reported by him on Blue Virginia.
Courts consider credible and admissible as evidence accounts of conversations when seen as a possible admission against interests. This is surely the case here.
Or as Jack McKoy would tell the Law and Order jury: What reason would Lowell have to lie?
But politics is as much if not more about perception as reality: and so this situation is instructive on three major fronts.
First, it shows the inherent weakness in Favola’s candidacy, although this doesn’t mean she can’t win. The normative case would have her getting the benefit of the doubt, not condemnation of major local office-holders not backing her. She has to face this reality: whatever the buzz has been out there on her over the years, it makes these charges seem credible at the gut level. That might not be fair, but it is what it is.
Second, Blue Virginia and more specifically Lowell, have achieved a certain level of journalistic respect for honest reporting despite a clear progressive bias in policy orientation. Otherwise, whatever Lowell said would have been written-off as politically motivated, at least to the extent of denying his story traction regardless of it’s factual correctness. This story is basically Lowell’s credibility vs Favola’s credibility. It will be interesting to discern the judgment rendered by the voters if possible.
Which leads to the third takeaway: Lowell has taken political blogging to the next level, at least as regards NOVA politics. Blue Virginia has the power to influence the narrative of a political campaign although it may still need the help of the Post. There is a reason Lowell’s site leads in views. The outcome of the primary will determine the next round of ramifications
But either way, this is the type of influence blog sites presumably want to have. However remember what the Chinese say: Don’t wish for something, you might just get it.