BLOGGING AND BACKTRACKING….Here’s a thought about how blogging (and the web in general) have changed politics. In times past, everyone would have had at least a few hours to compose themselves before producing an opinion about Harriet Miers’s fitness to be a Supreme Court justice. That’s a few hours spent on the phone, around the water cooler, and just generally thinking about how your comments are going to sound once they become public.

No longer. This time, conservative cries of dismay were littering the internet within minutes of the announcement, and there’s not much doubt that these were genuine reactions. The disappointment was real, and despite the apparent efforts of at least one conservative to erase his first impression, that just won’t work. Once it’s up on the web, it’s up forever.

I have little doubt that the conservative brain trust will quickly take a deep collective breath and decide that they really ought to support George Bush’s nominee. But instead of this deep breath being taken in private, it’s going to have to be taken very, very publicly. All that stuff I wrote a few hours ago? I was just kidding. Hasn’t everyone contributed money to Al Gore at one time or another? We shouldn’t make such a big deal out of that.

If nothing else, the internet is likely to usher in a golden age of backtracking. Either that or people are eventually going to learn to think for a few minutes before they blog.

I’ll put my money on backtracking.

UPDATE: Then again, maybe not. Go scroll though The Corner and you’d almost think you were reading Democratic Underground. They’re not going to have an easy time backing off some of that stuff.

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