Matt Drudge defines the debate

The blunt truth is, Matt Drudge has probably had more influence deciding the political narrative in Washington than any individual in America, except President Obama in 2008 with his "hope and change" agenda that has largely disappeared.

When I refer to the power of Drudge, I refer to the power to determine and define the political story line that dominates our national debate. It is more than Drudge. Just as the Obama campaign dominated the story line in 2008, the Tea Party movement dominated the story line in 2010 and (for better or worse) the Tea Party story line still rules our debate today.

Drudge has what liberals and Democrats lack: a coherent and consistent narrarative about American politics, the ability to drive that narrative through multiple media and the staying power to drive the narrative year after year, relentlessly and successfully.

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Who is the liberal or Democratic Drudge? There is none. Even when Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress and had a huge fundraising advantage, the idea of creating a competitor to Drudge and building their own media networks and lasting narrative never occurred to Democrats.

Today there is no Democratic narrative about the urgency of creating jobs. The Tea Party narrative about cutting the deficit has overwhelmed all other topics of debate.

When certain White House aides attack "the professional left," they are virtually parroting the Drudge line. Campaigns of hope and change come and go, while the consistency of Drudge powers on.

The media machine of Drudge and his conservative colleagues grows more powerful by the day. Liberals are under attack not merely from Drudge and the right, but from some Democrats who perpetually run for cover or distance themselves from or overtly attack their base, which Ronald Reagan and the Kennedys would never do.

I get it. But many Democrats do not. And that is the story of politics in 2011. Deplore what Drudge does if you will, but give the devil his due: He is light-years ahead of any and all Democrats in defining the battle of ideas, and the battle of ideas is what politics and elections are all about.