Spitzer to Embrace the Net (Even Tighter)

Eliot Spitzer, who recently started blogging on Daily Kos and other liberal web sites, will soon host his on-line conversation with readers, complete with live video streaming.

The move was supposed to start late last month and was originally conceived of as a way for Spitzer to communicate with directly with his constituents without a media filter, but was delayed after the Bruno affair exploded into the news. The goal of reestablishing direct contact with New Yorkers, given the current state of Spitzer’s relationship with the press, seems more relevant than ever.

“I don't know if this was specifically correlated with the recent Joe Bruno stuff,” said Matt Stoller of OpenLeft.com. “Just generically, if you pick a fight alongside someone, that tends to create a good coalition.”

He added, “You know the coalition – we’re just waiting for him to lead on our issues and we want to follow him.”

Phil Anderson, founder of the Kos-like blog, The Albany Project, said he has been working on this project with Spitzer’s aides for months.

“We were set to have the governor blog on our site later in the week, the week that Cuomo released his report. We were actually testing the video, a live video stream, the Monday morning that Cuomo released his report. He was actually going to be on our site, live via video, and interacting through his computer the Thursday after the Monday the report was released.”

Jack Downey, a marketing officer in Spitzer’s office, said the governor still plans to host some type of online discussion, but downplayed the notion it was in any way connected with coverage of the state trooper stuff. Some issues, like health insurance, “transcend state boundaries.” And right now, blogs like Daily Kos and Huffington Post have the large audiences politicians are trying to reach.

“It’s like giving a speech to thousands of people rather than a conversation in a coffee shop. It’s kind of both things at once,” he said.

On August 6, Spitzer wrote on the Daily Kos, congratulating them on the annual convention they had just held.

“I would also urge you to be aware of some of the important developments that are occurring in statehouses across the country,” Spitzer wrote. He got 420 comments.

The next day, Spitzer posted his “humility” speech on two other major liberal web sites: Huffington Post, (87 comments) and Think Progress (126 comments).

On August 29, Spitzer posted his second blog item on Huffington Post, where he reiterated his threat to sue the White House over health insurance changes.

“Eliot Spitzer was the biggest, most well known, and I think most genuine progressive elected anywhere in the country today,” said Anderson. “It’s been a topic of discussion with people engaged in such communities for quite some time. When is Eliot going to come around and engage?”