Conference Call with Joe HoeffelLast night, I participated in a blogger conference call with former Congressman Joe Hoeffel. Sometime in the next week or so, Congressman Hoeffel plans to launch a blog for Pennsylvania progressives, called Joe Hoeffel and Friends. Also in on the call were Albert from Dragonballyee, Jane from Above Avg Jane, Ray Murphy, Maria, from 2 Political Junkies, and Hilary, from Joe's team at Advocacy, Inc.
My impressions? Let's see....
I think because of his stature, Congressman Hoeffel can be a really important addition to the Pennsylvania blogosphere. He intends the site to sort of be a central place for PA progressives, to highlight and debate issues, to network, and to spotlight progressive candidates around the State. If this site works, it could really give some desperately needed oxygen to the "Democratic wing of the Democratic party." Because, while Philly has a hell of a lot of national, progressive bloggers, we do not have any statewide blogs that organize progressives around state issues. I hope that in the future, Young Philly Politics can fill some of the role for SE PA, but for the state as a whole, we are really lacking in any counterbalance to the conservative network successfully engineered by Chris Lillik of Grassroots PA, and his band of Young Conservative Turks.
Hoeffel also said that he will be intimately involved with the site, regularly updating it. Posting material himself multiple times a week, responding to comments daily, etc. He said that he also intends to have an issue of the week, which I think is really important.... This again, can be a way to unite progressives all over the state; ie, I can learn about what is happening to organized labor in Allegheny County, or people can learn abut what is relevant in Scranton, Philly, etc. We can grow our statewide awareness in an interactive forum... I like it.
In hindsight, I also want to say that I am damn sorry that Congressman Hoeffel did not beat Sen. Specter. Maybe because I was out of the state for much of the early part of the primary, and was sort of re-gaining my PA political bearings, or that I was just so damn worried about beating Dubya, but I don't think I had a handle on just how powerful having someone like Hoeffel as a Senator would have been. He really strikes me as a good guy; the kind of grounded progressive that should be representing Pennsylvania. I think though, that if this website takes off, we will see him run again in the future, and this time with a huge head start on organizing a groundswell of progressives.