Republicans on HuffPo

Politico’s Mike Calderone has noticed quite a few Republicans blogging at the left-leaning Huffington Post lately. While its namesake founder posits that” is a reflection of our traffic, our brand, and the fact that we are increasingly seen … as an Internet newspaper, not positioned ideologically in terms of how we cover the news,” a more practical explanation is more plausible:

Just as Democrats learned to love — or at least understand — the Drudge Report, Republicans flock to The Huffington Post largely because of the site’s broad reach. In April, The Huffington Post brought in a record 8.8 million unique visitors, according to Nielsen — a number that includes quite a few mainstream media journalists and cable news producers.

“With The Huffington Post, particularly, we see a lot of value in engaging with people who wouldn’t necessarily be inclined to agree with our point of view,” said Coburn press secretary John Hart, who added that it’s one of a handful of sites that can have an instant impact on the national debate.

“HuffPo and [Talking Points Memo] really are the assignment editors for many in the Washington press corps — particularly the cables,” said Brian Rogers, who was a spokesman for Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign. “That’s not just a Republican hack saying it — that’s speaking as a press guy fielding calls and e-mails daily from the MSM that start with, ‘Did you see this thing on Huffington Post?’ They were effective and they wasted a lot of our time.”

Just as Willie Sutton robbed banks because “that’s where the money is,” those trying to influence political opinion will go wherever they can get the most buzz for their buck.  It’s the same reason, incidentally, so many Republicans are willing to go on The Daily Show or The Colbert Report.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Eric Florack says:

    Well, I notice you say “Republican’ not ‘conservative’. Seems to me that this trend you mention is part and parcel of the left co-opting the Republican party, as I noted the day John McCain was nominated, and several times since.

    Call me when they get an actual conservative blogging there… that’ll be news.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Call me when they get an actual conservative blogging there… that’ll be news.

    Tom Coburn isn’t a conservative now? If we’re going to define the term that narrowly, there are about 15 in the country.

  3. Jim Henley says:

    Well of course Tom Coburn isn’t a conservative, James. He blogs at the Huffington Post! What more proof do you need?

  4. Winston Smith says:

    HuffPo is oldthink doubleplusungood. Goodthink at Powerline. Gooderthink at Pajamas Media. Goodestthink at Michelle Malkin. Upsub Cheney!

  5. Eric Florack says:

    Tom Coburn isn’t a conservative now? If we’re going to define the term that narrowly, there are about 15 in the country.

    Tell me, on what issues does Coburn disagree with Ron Paul?

  6. […] the opportunity for impact is irresistible. James Joyner: Just as Willie Sutton robbed banks because “that’s where the money is,” those trying to […]

  7. sam says:

    Bit mails it in from the Delta Quadrant:

    Well, I notice you say “Republican’ not ‘conservative’. Seems to me that this trend you mention is part and parcel of the left co-opting the Republican party, as I noted the day John McCain was nominated, and several times since.

    Can you give us a list of folks in the Republican party whom you do consider “conservative” so we can know what the hell you’re talking about?

  8. An Interested Party says:

    Wow…so now Tom Coburn isn’t conservative enough? Oh I do so hope that people with that mindset take charge of the GOP…

  9. Herb says:

    I’m curious, Eric, what leads you to believe that the left is co-opting the Republican party? Perhaps I’m missing something, but the party that has trouble tolerating moderates in their midst has been “co-opted” by the left? Really?

    Where? When? Who?

    Also…I can understand how someone can be underwhelmed by McCain, but the senator from Arizona is anything but a leftist…

  10. Eric Florack says:

    Can you give us a list of folks in the Republican party whom you do consider “conservative” so we can know what the hell you’re talking about?

    Well, Fred Thompson would be a start.

    I’m curious, Eric, what leads you to believe that the left is co-opting the Republican party? Perhaps I’m missing something, but the party that has trouble tolerating moderates in their midst has been “co-opted” by the left? Really?

    If you thikn the Republicans until now, at least have problems tolerating moderates, how does one explain George Bush and John McCain?

    Bush, I have been saying since the 80’s is at best a moderate… and McCain has become laughable.

  11. An Interested Party says:

    …and McCain has become laughable.

    Please, as if the same can’t be said of the GOP as a whole…

  12. G.A.Phillips says:

    that’s where the money is

    And HuffPoop is were more idiot liberals is.

  13. Eric Florack says:

    Please, as if the same can’t be said of the GOP as a whole…

    Only to the exact extent it’s leaned left in the last several years.

  14. anjin-san says:

    Well, Fred Thompson would be a start.

    Well, he has a trophy wife, so maybe he is the real deal.

  15. anjin-san says:

    and McCain has become laughable.

    Kinda takes one to know one skippy…

  16. Eric Florack says:

    Kinda takes one to know one skippy…

    My first instinct was actually to be quite dismissive… to the effect of… “You had all those millions of bits of information at your disposal, and that’s what you come up with?”… but in thinking on it, I must say, you’re improving over time, Anjin. Why, eventually, with hard work, you might make it to the level of Shakespeare’s monkeys.

  17. An Interested Party says:

    Only to the exact extent it’s leaned left in the last several years.

    Does anyone truly believe that the way out of the wilderness for the GOP is to go hard right? To shove out people like Colin Powell? Would even Ronald Reagan himself be conservative enough for how the true believers want the Republican Party to be? As I wrote, I do so hope people who think this way run the GOP…that will guarantee the party permanent minority status…

  18. anjin-san says:

    I dunno bit, you ran like the wind when I called you out to debate military strategy and tactics, and that is not the first time you have displayed a flash of yellow when I challege you on your BS. (ever figure out who the hero of Atlas Shrugeed is? You have had plenty of time to google around 🙂

    So if I am one of Shakespear’s monkey’s where does that leave you? Probably aspiring to be one of Darwin’s monkeys. Ardipithicus ramidus anyone?

  19. anjin-san says:

    I dunno bit, you ran like the wind when I called you out to debate military strategy and tactics, and that is not the first time you have displayed a flash of yellow when I challege you on your BS. (ever figure out who the hero of Atlas Shrugeed is? You have had plenty of time to google around 🙂

    So if I am one of Shakespear’s monkey’s where does that leave you? Probably aspiring to be one of Darwin’s monkeys. Ardipithicus ramidus anyone?

  20. Eric Florack says:

    Does anyone truly believe that the way out of the wilderness for the GOP is to go hard right?

    Well, if you’ll look, We just had 8 years of a centrist and ran someone who came down to the left of even THAT…. How’d that work out?

  21. An Interested Party says:

    Well, if you’ll look, We just had 8 years of a centrist and ran someone who came down to the left of even THAT…. How’d that work out?

    Umm, not quite…we had 8 years of someone who tried to move to the middle on things like education and Medicare in an attempt to co-opt moderate voters and create that mythical GOP majority that Rove had delusions about…I’m sure most people wouldn’t judge ideology to be Bush’s greatest sin, but rather, his rank incompetence…as for McCain, although “moderate” by your standards, he probably got as many votes as he did because of that…someone to the right of him would have gotten trounced far more than he did…do tell, what hard-right candidate could possibly defeat the president in 2012…

  22. Eric Florack says:

    mm, not quite…we had 8 years of someone who tried to move to the middle on things like education and Medicare in an attempt to co-opt moderate voters and create that mythical GOP majority that Rove had delusions about..

    There is a Republican/conservative majority out there. And being able to idetntify it is the one failing I’ll pin on Rove.

    As for Bush, let’s recall, please, that his father was no different… he too was a moderate. Remember for example he was picked to be Reagan’s VP because he came down tot he left of Reagan.

    And as for…

    although “moderate” by your standards, he probably got as many votes as he did because of that.

    Yeah. My point exactly. He’d have done far better was he an actual conservative.

  23. An Interested Party says:

    There is a Republican/conservative majority out there.

    Ah yes, that mythical Silent Majority that we’ve heard about before…when will these people rise up and finally vote for their interests, rather than staying quiet and allowing those evil socialists to run everything…once again, who is the hard-right candidate who can defeat our president in 2012…

  24. Eric Florack says:

    Ah yes, that mythical Silent Majority that we’ve heard about before…when will these people rise up and finally vote for their interests, rather than staying quiet and allowing those evil socialists to run everything…once again, who is the hard-right candidate who can defeat our president in 2012…

    Hardly silent. They simply sat on their hands, to the degree that the Republicans have turned left. You may recall that wasn’t the case when Reagan ran.

  25. Grewgills says:

    Hardly silent. They simply sat on their hands, to the degree that the Republicans have turned left. You may recall that wasn’t the case when Reagan ran.

    That may be the way you see it but it doesn’t seem to mesh with the numbers.
    YEAR…..population…..R votes…..D votes…..Winner % of ToT
    1984…..~225 mill……~44 mil…..~35.5 mil…..19.6%
    1988…..~236 mill……~54.5 mil…~37.5 mil…..23%
    2008…..~305 mill……~60 mil…..~69.5 mil…….22.8%

    1984 ~147 mill eligible voters ~30% to winner
    1988 ~166 mill eligible voters ~33%
    2008 ~208 mill eligible voters ~33.5% to winner

    Both the 1980 and 1984 had ~55% turn-out as opposed to ~63% turnout in 2008. Meaning that more people sat on their hands for both of Reagan’s victories than in our most recent election.

    You are quite simply wrong by every available measure. You have no evidence aside from your gut feeling that there is a conservative/republican majority in this country. That assertion is even less true if one is to use your exceedingly narrow definition of conservative.

  26. anjin-san says:

    Hardly silent.

    Silent? No. Its a few hundred people sitting in a darkened room muttering to each other.

  27. Dantheman says:

    bithead is once again claiming there is a conservative (by bithead’s standards) majority when history consistently disagrees. If bithead’s idea of conservatives actually were ever in the majority, then one would expect both parties would nominate bitheadian conservatives for President on a regular basis. Instead only one party has nominated any, and it nominated a grand total of 3 of them (Goldwater and Reagan twice), in the last 18 elections.

  28. Eric Florack says:

    That may be the way you see it but it doesn’t seem to mesh with the numbers

    I think we may be talking past each other here based on charm analogy. I think this can be explained by importing a concept; there is a major difference between republican and conservative.

  29. Grewgills says:

    I think this can be explained by importing a concept; there is a major difference between republican and conservative.

    Yet you have in no way shown that there is either a conservative or republican majority in the US.
    Honestly I think what data there is shows that there is not a consistent majority in support of either party or either ideology (in the liberal conservative dichotomy). I have never seen a poll that showed self ID with either party at even 40%. As far as ideology I don’t know that it is possible to pin down. The closest estimate I see as possible to gather would be polling on various issues. What issues do you see as defining conservatism?

  30. Grewgills says:

    Back to the silent majority.
    If there were this conservative majority sitting on there hands waiting for a real conservative, wouldn’t one expect polling without likely voter screens to skew to the right? Polling sans screen actually skews to the left. How can you explain this seeming contradiction?

  31. An Interested Party says:

    As others have stated, this mythical conservative majority exists only in the minds of people like Bithead…there is absolutely no proof to back up his silly claims…and still no one can come up with the answer…who is the “true conservative” that can defeat President Obama in 2012…since Goldwater and Reagan are dead, I guess we can forget about them running…

  32. anjin-san says:

    AIP we have already seen the embodiment of the modern “conservative” in Sarah Palin. The woman could not respond coherently when asked what newspaper she read. (but she really could accessorize, at least when someone else was footing the bill)

  33. G.A.Phillips says:

    Silent? No. Its a few hundred people sitting in a darkened room muttering to each other.

    About you, lol.

    AIP we have already seen the embodiment of the modern “conservative” in Sarah Palin. The woman could not respond coherently when asked what newspaper she read.

    her teleprompter was on the fritz.

  34. Eric Florack says:

    Yet you have in no way shown that there is either a conservative or republican majority in the US

    Let’s just say you have substantial capacity for denial.

    How can you explain this seeming contradiction?

    Who runs the polls?

    As others have stated, this mythical conservative majority exists only in the minds of people like Bithead…

    Explain the election of Reagan, then.

  35. Grewgills says:

    Let’s just say you have substantial capacity for denial.

    Provide the evidence. Reagan was elected is not evidence of a conservative majority. It is not even evidence of a conservative majority in the 80s. It is evidence that Reagan was very charismatic.

    Who runs the polls?

    The secret liberal cabal that has frozen out all other pollsters?

    Explain the election of Reagan, then.

    He was a charismatic politician who came on the heals of an ineffectual leader.

    Come on Bit. What issues do you think define conservatism?
    Make a list and let’s check the polling. Don’t run and hide behind the skirts of some liberal polling conspiracy nonsense.