Anonymous Blogger Syndrome has claimed another victim: this time it's a Democrat.
Anonymous Blogger Syndrome is the bizarre power trip brought on by the ability to strike a perceived enemy anonymously and without suffering any adverse consequences to one's own reputation. The syndrome frequently afflicts political bloggers and people who read and comment on political blogs.
The free exchange of political views online generates heat and, not infrequently, anger. Sometimes someone feels they cannot win a face to face exchange with another writer or believe they would suffer negative consequences were they to enter into political discourse under their own name. For these people, the ability to hurt someone anonymously without suffering themselves is an amazingly seductive proposition. By and large these people are moral cowards of the first order.
But, like the serpent in the garden, the seductive apple offered by blogging anonymously is illusory. This is because nearly any blogger worth his or her salt can track IP addresses or knows someone who can. In the case of really abusive behavior, internet service providers have been known to cooperate in investigations.
A savvy blogger who discovers the identity of a particularly pernicious anonymous poster may not "out" the miscreant right away: they may choose to delay the embarrassing revelation until a time and place of their choosing. Food for thought.
This week George Burke, the chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia's 11th congressional district committee made the classic anonymous blogger mistake of posting a high-faluting condemnation of Lowell Feld over his own name using an IP address he had previously used to post a string of highly abusive anonymous posts under the screen name "Thomas Paine Patriot." One of Burke's favorite line of attacks is to accuse Jewish bloggers of anti-semitism and fascism. Many of the things George Burke wrote are truly vile. He did so under the belief he would never be called to account for his actions.
Unfortunately for Burke, Lowell Feld of "Raising Kaine" and Ben Tribbett of "Not Larry Sabato," frequent targets of Burke's abuse, kept track of his comments and his IP address. When Burke decided to taunt Feld and Tribbett on the primary losses of candidates they supported he unwittingly outed himself.
I suspect this incident will force Burke's resignation, or at the very least an apology and explanation of some sort.