Today's announcement by Lowell Feld that he and Eric Grim will be shutting down Raising Kaine, or RK as it became known more recently, raises an important question: is it time for a Democratic blog summit?
The Virginia Democratic blogosphere has always has a significant "edge" over its Republican competitor. Raising Kaine was always a big part of that edge, becoming the "flagship blog" of the Democratic blogosphere. It's a tribute to Lowell and Eric's success that the managed not only to build a "community forum," as they intended, but an actual online community of surprising vibrance.
Our Republican rivals understand how important our success has been to the wider Democratic success in recent years. The Republican Party has made new media a major theme at their statewide annual "Advance" meeting next weekend. With the Republican Party gearing up for a major online effort during next year's elections, Democratic and Progressive bloggers need to consider how they will respond. Raising Kaine can never be replaced, but a new community will need to be built to help supply the same sense of shared purpose that RK provided.
To that end I am proposing a Virginia Democratic bloggers summit, to be held in Richmond, Virginia some time after the New Year. By meeting in Richmond, we can take advantage of the central location of the state capital, the meeting facilities of the Democratic Party of Virginia, access to Democratic elected officials in Richmond for the General Assembly, and, if possible, we could coordinate our meeting with the annual training of the DPVA, providing us with more opportunities to network and recruit.
I can't offer any details at this point, all of this will need to be figured out. I think the next steps are to ask whether there is an interest in such an event and to solicit volunteers to help organize the details.
With some luck, the Highly Secretive Virginia Democratic Bloggers' Association could finally meet in public.