A True Sister Toldjah Moment
National Summary had the opportunity to interview Sister Toldjah to ask her about the web site she runs and about her insight to politics. She actually started off in the media before she set up a web site to articulate her viewpoints and opinions. Below are her responses to our interview questions.
Web Site: Sister Toldjah
Q. Please give us a little bit of personal background about yourself.
I was born and raised and continue to live in North Carolina. I graduated from a community college here with an associate’s degree in radio and TV broadcasting and worked for about a year and a half at an AM talk radio station that would make WKRP look like a well-oiled machine!
I didn’t start out wanting to work in talk radio, but that’s how things worked out. It was around that same time I was making the change from Democrat to Republican.
Q. And also give us a background about your interest in politics.
I started my political life as a Democrat. About the only issue I felt the same about then as I do now is the death penalty. Even as a Democrat, I was staunchly pro-capital punishment and still am as a Republican.
I was two months shy of my 18th birthday when the first President Bush was elected. Had I been old enough to vote at that time, I would have voted for Mike Dukakis. My opinions around that time were shaped largely by the news I heard, read, and watched in the mainstream media. I worked for the local DNC here in 1991 and shook Bill Clinton’s hand at a rally he had here just a few days before he was elected the first time.
Over the course of about a year or so while I was in college (in my early 20s) I began to have a change of heart. I can’t really credit one thing exclusively for the change – it was any number of things, including a friend in college who I would have discussions with. He’d ask me why I felt a certain way about an issue and when I really couldn’t explain it, I realized my views at that time weren’t really based on anything concrete outside of what I’d heard in the MSM about how ‘evil’ Republicans were.
Q. What inspired you to create your web site?
I first got interested in blogging after reading Andrew Sullivan’s blog back in 2003. I started blogging in October of that same year and the catalyst for me actually starting one was the Rush Limbaugh/Donovan McNabb ‘controversy’ – or, I should say, the non-issue that turned into one thanks to the knee-jerk reactions of the usual suspects in the mainstream press.
I know first hand how much the MSM can influence people, and one of the reasons I started the blog was to counteract the misleading news accounts we hear and read everyday in the news by showing that things weren’t always as they portrayed them.
Q. What have been the biggest challenges to maintaining your web site?
Spam in the comments and trackbacks. I still haven’t found an effective way of dealing with it that gives me 99.99999% accuracy in weeding out the bad stuff. So I maintain comments and trackbacks manually at this point.
Q. What has been the greatest satisfaction you have gotten from your web site?
There’s been so much; it’s hard to know where to start. I think the biggest satisfaction is reader support. The first year or so I had my blog, I probably had like 100 visitors for the year – because I didn’t have any idea how to promote my blog.
When I got the domain name and new site design, as well as started blogging consistently, things started picking up – especially this year. My readership has grown a great deal in the last six or so months. I enjoy the interaction with readers and the feedback I get (unless it’s from someone who is obviously a troll – thankfully those types are few and far in between).
Also, I’ve gotten some nice comments from fellow bloggers at both the site and via email. The blogging community is like a family in some respects, and there are no shortages of bloggers out there who don’t mind helping you out with advice on how to be a successful blogger.
A few have graciously given me advice, which has helped me a great deal. I am very grateful to those bloggers for taking the time to give me some guidance on blogging.
Q. The 2004 presidential election has been one of the most polarized elections in recent memory. Do you think that today people are more politicized than ever before?
Absolutely. You know it’s getting bad when partisans from the other side of the aisle complain about things like the alleged “fake turkey” that Bush carried in one of the photos we saw from his visit to US troops in Iraq at Thanksgiving in 2003. I remember for several months prior the same crowd were saying “why doesn’t Bush visit the troops?!” – and it was said in a rather disgusted tone, as in “he was a chicken during Vietnam, and it looks like he is now.”
But when he did visit, the first things we heard once the film footage started rolling in were “it was a fake turkey!” and “photo op!” It just never stops.
Q. Do you think the bitterness and divisiveness in politics will recede or are things just getting ready for something bigger in 2008?
I hope it does. But I’m not optimistic. It all depends on who runs. If Hillary Clinton or Al Gore decide to make a run for it, things could get really nasty because Gore is still incredibly bitter about his loss in 2000 and he’s not the only one.
A lot of Democrats are still very angry about how things went down and they’ve held it against this President ever since on every single issue. Gore could use that to his advantage and we could see an even bigger opening of the huge divisions that happened after the 2000 elections if he played that for what it’s worth.
Hillary is divisive for many reasons, chief of which is that Republicans remember how she was during the Clinton years and that opinion has not changed since she was elected Senator. If we have some fresh faces from both sides, the bitterness may recede a bit because those candidates wouldn’t carry the baggage of a Clinton or Gore or Bush, but not much.
Q. The president’s approval ratings are dismal. In your honest opinion, do you think that the media has been unfairly biased against the George W. Bush?
Is the Pope Catholic? 🙂
Q. If so (to the above question), do you think that the Democrats have gotten a free ride from the press?
They always do, especially on matters of race relations.
Q. What has been your overall impression of the Bush administration?
Very impressed with how they have conducted the war on terror, pushed for tax cuts, how they’ve handled some social issues here at home (such as partial birth abortion, parental consent on abortion), and pushed for medical liability reform. Not impressed with the lack of fiscal responsibility and lack of a push for smaller gov’t, nor the immigration policies advocated by this administration.
Q. Who do you see as being the major contenders for the 2008 Republican nomination for president?
I think Sen. McCain will make a go of it. And Sen. Frist, if his legal troubles this year turn out to be much ado over nothing. Former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani will likely be a contender as well. MS Governor Haley Barbour has been discussed in conservative circles as one conservatives would like to see run. Perhaps MA Governor Mitt Romney. Maybe Newt Gingrich?
Q. Who do you think will be the 2008 Republican nominee?
No idea! But I hope it’s a genuine conservative a la Reagan.
Q. Who do you think would be the worst 2008 Republican nominee?
Rick Santorum, if he chose to run.
Q. Who do you think are today’s most influential conservative female authors, columnists, or bloggers?
Mona Charen, Michelle Malkin, Tammy Bruce, Claudia Rosett, Ann Coulter, La Shawn Barber, and Ann Althouse.
Q. Is there a female author or politician that has greatly inspired you?
Tammy Bruce. That woman knows what she is talking about! She’s a must-read on all things as they relate to our culture wars, which I think is the second biggest battle we are fighting right now next to the War on Terror.
Q. There are so few women in the blogosphere. What is your opinion on why there are so few?
I’m not sure, but I do know that bloggers like Michelle Malkin, La Shawn Barber, and Ann Althouse are helping change that dynamic, though, by inspiring other thoughtful and insightful women to blog as well.
Q. Many segments of the media have all but declared Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee. What kind of impact do you think she will have on undecided female voters?
Huge. Her hubby was slick, but she’s even smoother. I think the trouble with Hillary will come in from mainstream Democrats who know a lot about her – you’d be surprised at the number of Dems I’ve talked to who hope and pray Hillary will not run.