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The media, politicians, and academics do NOT understand who bloggers, and what blogs, are

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Markos goes off, rightly on, on an article that talks about bloggers being "extreme" and "activists." The idea that liberal bloggers are mostly far-left blood-throwing loons has been a common misconception that's been repeated by the media, politicians, and pundits.

First problem, you're mixing up the conservative blogs with the liberal blogs, and lumping them all together, when in fact both sides are quite different.

The top conservative blogs are very conservative, and do represent the far-right of the Republican party.

But on the liberal side of the blogosphere, things are completely different. On average, I'd say, the top liberal blogs are not far-left, nor are they conservative Democrats. The top bloggers tend to be middle of the road Democrats (or liberals) who occasionally veer left and right of Democratic center depending on the issue (I for example am very pro gay rights, but I also tend to be more hawkish on foreign and defense policy - though I don't appreciate being lied to and tricked into unnecessary wars costing $300 billion and thousands of American lives).

The problem the media, politicians and pundits make when calling the left side of the blogosphere "extreme" or "far left" is that they confuse anger and activism with a particular wing of politics. They're not the same thing. And in today's Democratic party, or rather, in today's America, to be angry at the way the country is heading, to think President Bush is a failure as a president, is not the same thing as having a particular political affiliation, let alone one to the "extreme."

Those who would call us "extreme" confuse our extreme anger with extreme politics. And they're two entirely different things.

Markos, for example, was a Ronald Reagan Republican as a kid. So was I. Markos is former military, and I even worked for a Republican Senator. Sure, we've both strayed from our political upbringing, but still, it's a bit difficult to pigeonhole us as per se "extreme" far lefties. I'm sure if you go through the bona fides of other "top" bloggers on the left, you'll run the gamut of those with far-left, center left, and perhaps even "right" left (i.e., conservative dems).

And in fact, if you look at many of the top folks on the online left nowadays - Markos, me, David Brock, and Arianna, for example - the one thing many of us share in common isn't our far left politics, but rather our being former Republicans who grew fed up with far-right politics. And that fed-up-ness, I think, we share with a growing segment of America, left and center.

Once upon a time, to be a liberal activist was, perhaps, to be per se a VERY liberal activist. That just isn't the case any more. Certainly there are many VERY liberal activists, and more power to them, and many of them are bloggers. But today's Democratic/liberal/independent activist is, I believe, less motivated by a particular ideology as he/she is by a growing horror as to the direction our country is heading. If anything, rather than being "extreme" ourselves, we have become activists and bloggers as a RESULT of the extreme turn that Republican politics has taken over the past few decades, and the extreme direction it has taken our country.

I'm jet lagging massively, so I may not be enunciating this as clearly as I'd like, but journalists, politicians and pundits are naive and old-thinking if they believe that liberal bloggers are per se "liberal," meaning to the far-left extreme of the Democratic party. I do believe that only a few of us, if any, are to the far right of the Democratic party, and thank God for that - but only because conservative Democrats aren't Democrats at all. Conservative Democrats are pretty much akin to far-right Republicans. The mainstream of Democratic activists is (are?) politically mainstream and lefty Democrats (i.e, a mix). Whereas the mainstream of Republican party activists are far-right and Christian-right (no mix at all).

Thus, please don't confuse the current make-up of the Republican party and its activists, and its polarization of power to the far-right extreme, with the current make-up of the Democratic and Independent parties and its activists, with its polarization to the very very very angry of all political stripes.

And somewhere down the line, I'm going to write a second piece about how "angry" does not equal "crazy."

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