Al Gore's Internet may yet save us all:
But Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee suggests I have the wrong word for the Republican base. The word, she says, is not enraged, but "livid."
The three-term Republican deputy whip has been campaigning in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. We spoke by phone about what she is seeing, and she sounded like the exact opposite of exhausted.
There are two major developments, she says, that are new this year and insufficiently noted, but they're going to shape election outcomes in 2010 and beyond.
First, Washington is being revealed in a new way. The American people now know, "with real sophistication," everything that happens in the capital. "I find a much more knowledgeable electorate, and it is a real-time response," Ms. Blackburn says. "We hear about it even as the vote is taking place." Voters come to rallies carrying research—"things they pulled off the Internet, forwarded emails," copies of bills, roll-call votes. The Internet isn't just a tool for organization and fund-raising, it has given citizens access to information they never had before. "The more they know," Ms. Blackburn observes, "the less they like Washington."