Of bloggers and buses
Well, there's the future of journalism for you! The "bitter, cling" story was originally buried (per Boehlert's paraphrase: "I'm not going to tell you, it's going to hurt the campaign") by HuffPo blogger and maxed-out Obama contributor, Mayhill Fowler... and then deliberately news-dumped on a Friday. (Hats off, though, to the unnamed HuffPo editor who pushed for the story to come out. You never know where you're going to find an oasis of integrity.)
Interesting to note, in retrospect, that in addition to the dismissive talk about those ignorant Pennsylvanians who preferred that other Democrat (you know, the "big fucking whore," a term approvingly heard by attendees of another uplifting California Obama event), he's once again cementing the Reagan frame: "they feel so betrayed by government, and when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn't buy it." While he's presenting himself as the antidote to such cynicism, he doesn't -- perhaps because it would run afoul of his Kumbaya spiel -- confront what's behind that cynicism.
For the life of me, I don't know what he'd claim was behind that cynicism. Whatever it is, those people are racists: "it's true that when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama (laugh[t]er), then that adds another layer of skepticism (laughter)." In classic Obama fashion, this came seconds after he directly denied that race was a big factor in his rust-belt relative unpopularity.
But there is a hopey ending to the story: members of the noble Obama movement sent hate mail to Fowler and her daughter. It must be gratifying to compromise your integrity for such a cohort!
Also, on hearing this interview, I'd have to agree with Anglachel that Somerby is getting short-shrift in this narrative, which times the birth of lefty blogging to 2002. No doubt, the run-up to the Iraq War was a flashpoint in the prog-blog phenomenon, but I can't see leaving Somerby or other pre-2000 bloggers out of any origin story.
Finally, Boehlert strikes me here as a little naïve about the relationship between A-list bloggers and Obama, both the general need and sometimes reticence for timely, unstinting criticism and the meet-the-new-press, same-as-the-old-press potential, all of which his HuffPo anecdote illustrates rather well.