Here's how Republicans in DC could have anticipated voter rage

The principal poobahs of the Republican Party and the pundits to whom they turn for the pulse of their party are perplexed that people they have so long believed to be passive are coming out of their primary voting places and informing exit pollsters that they are seeking payback.  "What's that?" the poobahs say.  "The voters are angry?  What on Earth could be going on?"

Yep, that's precisely how out of touch with their voter base Republican Party leadership and far too many Republican members of Congress have become.  It's as if elevation to the lofty environs of Rome on the Potomac somehow pressurizes their ear canals in such a way as to render them incapable of hearing the distant pleadings of the plebeians who sent one there.  A less kind and more cynical explanation for our elected representatives' inability to hear our voices possibly could be attributed to the simple but ugly fact that once they have achieved their goal, election, they don't give a plebeian's patootie about our goals.

But let's be generous and assume that those who convocate under that great marble dome simply are out of touch because they are just too busy doing the work of the people.  Of course, that raises the question: what people?  But I'll not be snarky and instead offer our currently shocked Republican leaders a means by which they perhaps could keep a sharper ear to the wind or an ear on the rail or an ear wherever.

While the more doddering of these imperial pachyderms may be unfamiliar with the workings of the internet except perhaps for their smartphones, Al Gore's ingenious invention could well be the way to prevent future surprises such as the one occurring now.  This is not simply watching the many political websites and deducing from their daily parades of reporting and opinion what is going on in the hearts and minds of the people. Survey all that on a daily basis, and all you're likely to glean is the thinking of the political class of pundits and players, movers and shakers, those who operate on the periphery of political power.

My response: read the commenters if you want to have your finger on the pulse of the voters.  As a fairly frequent writer of blog posts, I make a point of always reading the comments on every piece of mine that gets published.  Moreover, I frequently read the comments on others' articles, sometimes finding them more interesting and informative than the original tract.  Not infrequently, I find nuggets I can incorporate into my own writings.  Yes, you sometimes must sort through personal bilge and back-and-forth, even occasional rabid intolerance, but there is something valuable there that can be mined and refined by those in power truly interested in knowing the mood of the people.

Any political organization with a program designed to monitor and distill comments on conservative political news websites would have long ago been able to provide Republican leaders with ongoing status reports on how anger was building to a critical level in those people who care enough about the political situation to read and comment on those sites.  Even with no supportive data, common sense tells you there's a strong corollary between those who read and comment on the current political environment and those who vote.  Also, an aspect of comments that makes them a more accurate barometer of building political weather fronts than the phone polls currently used is that the anonymity of the internet permits commenters to have their say without any possible attribution if they choose to hide behind a username.  It's a given that any pollster who calls us nowadays likely knows all our basic identification data, perhaps down to what we eat for breakfast, while we don't know beans about who he may be.  Thus, our answers to such pollsters may be significantly more guarded than if hammered out forcefully on a keyboard.

And yes, I'm aware of the Big Brother implications here.  I'll be reading your comments.

The principal poobahs of the Republican Party and the pundits to whom they turn for the pulse of their party are perplexed that people they have so long believed to be passive are coming out of their primary voting places and informing exit pollsters that they are seeking payback.  "What's that?" the poobahs say.  "The voters are angry?  What on Earth could be going on?"

Yep, that's precisely how out of touch with their voter base Republican Party leadership and far too many Republican members of Congress have become.  It's as if elevation to the lofty environs of Rome on the Potomac somehow pressurizes their ear canals in such a way as to render them incapable of hearing the distant pleadings of the plebeians who sent one there.  A less kind and more cynical explanation for our elected representatives' inability to hear our voices possibly could be attributed to the simple but ugly fact that once they have achieved their goal, election, they don't give a plebeian's patootie about our goals.

But let's be generous and assume that those who convocate under that great marble dome simply are out of touch because they are just too busy doing the work of the people.  Of course, that raises the question: what people?  But I'll not be snarky and instead offer our currently shocked Republican leaders a means by which they perhaps could keep a sharper ear to the wind or an ear on the rail or an ear wherever.

While the more doddering of these imperial pachyderms may be unfamiliar with the workings of the internet except perhaps for their smartphones, Al Gore's ingenious invention could well be the way to prevent future surprises such as the one occurring now.  This is not simply watching the many political websites and deducing from their daily parades of reporting and opinion what is going on in the hearts and minds of the people. Survey all that on a daily basis, and all you're likely to glean is the thinking of the political class of pundits and players, movers and shakers, those who operate on the periphery of political power.

My response: read the commenters if you want to have your finger on the pulse of the voters.  As a fairly frequent writer of blog posts, I make a point of always reading the comments on every piece of mine that gets published.  Moreover, I frequently read the comments on others' articles, sometimes finding them more interesting and informative than the original tract.  Not infrequently, I find nuggets I can incorporate into my own writings.  Yes, you sometimes must sort through personal bilge and back-and-forth, even occasional rabid intolerance, but there is something valuable there that can be mined and refined by those in power truly interested in knowing the mood of the people.

Any political organization with a program designed to monitor and distill comments on conservative political news websites would have long ago been able to provide Republican leaders with ongoing status reports on how anger was building to a critical level in those people who care enough about the political situation to read and comment on those sites.  Even with no supportive data, common sense tells you there's a strong corollary between those who read and comment on the current political environment and those who vote.  Also, an aspect of comments that makes them a more accurate barometer of building political weather fronts than the phone polls currently used is that the anonymity of the internet permits commenters to have their say without any possible attribution if they choose to hide behind a username.  It's a given that any pollster who calls us nowadays likely knows all our basic identification data, perhaps down to what we eat for breakfast, while we don't know beans about who he may be.  Thus, our answers to such pollsters may be significantly more guarded than if hammered out forcefully on a keyboard.

And yes, I'm aware of the Big Brother implications here.  I'll be reading your comments.