Digby, one of the first “well known” progressive bloggers:
There’s a lot of talk about MSNBC ratings being down accompanied by the usual gleeful triumphalism over on the right. I don’t pretend to fully understand the reason for this, but I must point out that it’s not just MSNBC. The online left has seen a steep decline in traffic since the election as well, which indicates to me that our audience in general is simply not interested in following politics at the moment…
We’ve been through a number of elections, crises, other ups and downs over the past decade but I’ve not seen anything like the drop in interest over the past few months. If it was just me I’d attribute it to my little project having run its course but it’s happening across the liberal media spectrum. I don’t now what the answer is, but it isn’t that there isn’t a permanent audience. There was until very recently. It’s that the liberal audience is tuning out and one can only assume it’s because they don’t like what they see in our politics….
I’m gonna sound like Abe Simpson here, but what the current moment feels like to me is that a lot of Good Liberal Progressives expected things to “change, change utterly“ once Barack Obama was elected — or, at the very least, re-elected. But I’ve been a Democrat for more than fifty years (one of my earliest dateable memories was falling asleep on the couch, the week before my fifth birthday, because neither of my committed Democratic parents could tear themselves away from the television slowly unspooling the 1960 election results). I grew up in New York City during the Mayor Lindsay/Governor Rockefeller years, and watched the “nice” centrists run the Democratic Party into the ditch in 1968, and then the Watergate circus when I was in high school. And I read history, too — including Finley Peter Dunne and Mark Twain on the first Gilded Age, and also the long sad history of poetic dreamers and failed rebellions that eventually led to the Republic of Ireland, but not before sending all four of my grandparents’ families fleeing to the New World after one or another disaster. I was alive when JFK and MLK and RFK were murdered, and when Reagan was almost killed as well. I don’t expect political change to happen swiftly, or efficiently, or to “progress” in a straight line. There is, alas, no Moore’s Law for politics — we have, slowly and painfully, moved towards far better lives for a far greater number of people than could be predicted in 1955, but it has never been a clean or a painless progression.
“We” spent money and time and energy we could barely afford to elect President Obama, not once but twice, and thereby avoided the disasters of Presidents McCain and Romney. President Obama has not been an unmitigated blessing to the Democratic Party, nor has the Democratic Party always been a loyal servant to President Obama. And the Republicans are variously liars, thieves, grifters, ratfckers, self-satisfied morons and generally crazy people. Also, there is no cure for the common cold and no pill that will allow us to eat whatever we want and still loose weight. Welcome to the human condition, aka “politics”.