by David Safier
Huppenthal went down in his primary, big time, to an unknown challenger, Diane Douglas. He might have lost anyway — Douglas has the right wing of the party sewn up, and they're dependable primary voters — but there's no question the size of his defeat can be attributed to Falcon 9 and Thucydides, Huppenthal's online aliases — or, as he liked to call them, his "sway-do-nyms."
Give the blogs, specifically Blog for Arizona, the credit. My old stomping ground did the research, wrote the stories and gave it to the mainstream media, which gobbled it up with more gusto than any of us who were involved in the story expected. Whenever Huppenthal's name was mentioned after his aliases were unmasked, Falcon 9, Thucydides and the Greatest Hits from their Comments List were never far behind. Give the major chunk of the credit to Bob Lord, whose perseverance led to uncovering Huppenthal as the phantom commenter, pulling all the pieces together and putting it out in the public eye. If he hadn't led the effort, it likely wouldn't have happened, and today we might have a strong candidate Huppenthal moving into the generals.
It doesn't happen very often that a blog, especially one unaffiliated with a larger media outlet, creates news. But it goes to show that a good story is a good story no matter where it originates, and other outlets will pick it up, expand on it and make it their own if they can. Usually when that happens, they like to leave the name of the blog that created the story in the shadows, but in this case, that was impossible, since the blogs themselves were at the center of the story.
Also unusual is that as the story developed, it became a bipartisan blogging effort. Blogs on the right, Seeing AZ Red, Sonoran Alliance and Espresso Pundit, joined in the fun, pulling out comments Huppenthal wrote on their blogs, as did Three Sonorans on the left. Both sides share a dislike for Huppenthal, which created a rare kumbaya moment for blogs which are usually on opposite sides of every issue. Now the group hug is over, of course, and things will return to normal. The blogs on the right will attack Democratic candidate David Garcia and those on the left will go after Republican candidate Diane Douglas, with blogs swapping occasional snipes and insults at one another.
The Huppenthal story put Blog for Arizona on more people's radar, which is a good thing. Its ten contributors, some regular, some occasional, add to the general social and political discussion of issues local, state and national and, as is typical of good blogs including this one, bring up subjects which the mainstream media gloss over or miss completely. And it gave a good name to us bloggers scribbling in semi-obscurity, often purely for the pleasure of getting our ideas and our words out there and finding an audience which takes the time to read what we have to say. We're always happy to be acknowledged and become part of the general conversation.