Don't tell the Left, but all those new communication platforms are empowering the return of conservatism to power and the country to its first principles.
The mainstream media isn't even aware of the sea change. But a couple dozen talk show hosts and online commentators have bent the opinion curve, again. Twitter empowered the smart, the funny and the quick, and talk radio provided the venue for the new influencers to build then double and triple their reach. Podcasting has allowed that audience to pick its time for listening and learning.
New and powerful networks have developed, deeply interconnected with traditional conservative brands, but extending far beyond the horizon visible to the Manhattan-Beltway media elites.
My producer Duane Patterson has, for example, 500,000 followers on Twitter (@radioblogger), and our show's Twitter hashtag #hhrs is a virtual Methuselah in Twitter years. The program's app has put the content in the hands of everyone, regardless of how close they are to the radio. Television, dependent on the visual, is far behind in the iPhone world of ear plugs, but the spoken word is thriving, energized by online communities of interest.
When guests are scheduled to appear it is vital that we tweet their comings and goings, so that online followers know that @JonahNRO, @ConnCarroll, @JPodhoretz, @MKHammer, @Freddoso, @RobertCostaNRO or @GuyPBenson, to name just a few of the scores of conservative influencers, is about to hold forth in the virtual commons.
The conservative commentariat followed the talkers online, but the conservative institutions have followed. My friends and show sponsors at the Alliance Defense Fund, ActRight and Hillsdale College have all brought their institutions online in new and innovative ways. The Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Ethics and Public Policy Center are bursting with scholars and solutions.
Not much of this existed five years ago, not on the Right at least. The Left, angry and in opposition to President Bush, innovated first, and MoveOn built the model, to which Team Obama added. That edge is gone. The Left is now behind, as is the president.
Peggy Noonan sensed this as well. "[Obama] raised a lot of money, or so we keep reading," she wrote in Saturday's Wall Street Journal.
"He has a sophisticated, wired, brilliant computer operation -- they know how to mine Internet data and get the addresses of people who've never been reached by a campaign before, and how to approach them in a friendly and personal way," she continued.
This is thought to be a secret weapon," she concluded. "I'm not so sure."
Noonan's instinct is right. While no one in MSM was watching, the Right's activists and intellectuals moved out from their base camps in talk radio and think tanks and established new brands like this paper and Townhall.com, and pushed forward an incredible young generation of influencers.
The old platforms evolved in extraordinarily rapid fashion, so that NationalReview.com, to name just one, became far more than the amazing magazine that it was and remains. Commentary and The Weekly Standard, always of extraordinary value, became everywhere available. Bennett, Gallagher, Prager, Medved and I are all available 24/7 as are most of our colleagues on the dial.
The blogging revolutionaries like Powerline and Instapundit have used continual improvement to spread sophisticated critiques of the president and crucial links to overlooked stories.
Conservative publishing is flourishing again, with Arthur Brooks' "The Road to Freedom," Jonah Goldberg's "The Tyranny of Cliches" and Dennis Prager's "Still the Best Hope" just three of the new advance of titles to hit shelves in May. More are coming.
All of this has been obscured by the woes of the country and the Manhattan-Beltway media elite's swoon over the failed president. But the renaissance in conservative thought and influence is already upon us, and just in time.
Examiner Columnist Hugh Hewitt is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at HughHewitt.com.