I recently visited an echo chamber in a client’s R&D center. It was quite fun, saying something and having it come back several times in sequence. A noise meter determined how loudly I said it. The louder I yelled, the more times it came back to me.
I felt like an amateur blogger, a Scott or Dan or whoever. I puffed my chest, put on my magic cloak of righteousness, and yelled some canard like, “the world is watching”, and it came back four times ever so slightly differently, once on Hoosier Pundit, once on Hoosier Access, once on Angry White Boy, once on Indy Conservative Hardball.
Echo chambers are fun. It’s fun to convince yourself you’re right simply by hearing your thoughts repeated. And with nothing coming in from the outside, there’s no possibility that you’re wrong.
It’s sad what passes for reasonable discussion in the echo chamber. Several so-called Republican or conservative blogs came out almost immediately and endorsed Greg Zoeller barely knowing the first thing about Jon Costas. Since then their pages have been attack after attack on Jon Costas, each echoing around in a flurry of cross-posts. No discussion of the merits of his candidacy or why Republicans ought to look before they leap onto the Zoeller cart. For example, there has been no discussion of the fact that every Republican statewide officeholder—the people who know Zoeller best and would actually have to work with him—have endorsed Costas.
Costas has had plenty of opportunities to go negative and point out the reasons why our state’s officeholders would rather not have a third term with mini-Carter. Fortunately, Jon continues to stick to his principles of positive campaigning and has resisted. Costas has also resisted the temptation to step into their trap of “denouncing” activities that were the result of a long-running personal feud that finally boiled-over recently. A smart candidate knows what fights to get involved in and which to let be resolved by other means.
I doubt that the attacks on Costas have seriously damaged his candidacy or helped Zoeller’s. Most have been so sensational and flimsily researched that a mature adult can see through them fairly easily. I’d be disappointed if Democrats came up with stuff so weak, and yet these people are supposedly members of my own party.
The conduct of Mr. Zoeller in the campaign hasn’t been particularly exemplary either. As far as I know, Zoeller has refused to say anything about the dogs doing his bidding by attacking Costas in whatever way possible, even when they’re blatantly wrong. The latest Zoeller-camp attack has been to harass party leaders who support Costas, trying to get them to withdraw their names from Costas’s list of supporters, with some limited success, duly hyped in the echo chamber. Too bad they have nothing better to talk about in the echo chamber. (Arguably there was one outright error, but only one.)
Whatever the outcome of the election, I’m quite disappointed with the conduct of the blogging community in Indiana Republican politics. The Eleventh Commandment means nothing to them. Their research has been incredibly weak. They have attempted to tear-down a good and upstanding member of our Party, a man who has successfully defended the Republican Party in one of the most hostile quarters of the state, using the most desperate of attacks and with almost zero attempt to understand why he might be an excellent candidate. Their stock-in-trade has been rumour and innuendo. They have held grudges against Mitch and used them against Jon Costas, in the process turning the AG nomination into a proxy war and a referendum on Mitch’s performance.
I hope that people wake up Tuesday morning and realize how ridiculous this has been. Until then, we’ll see if certain elements of our party have any shame.