We’re fairly critical of Senator Claire McCaskill around here, but I’ve definitely got her back on this one.

NY Times reporter Matt Bai thinks Twitter is banal and completely superficial, highlighting one of McCaskill’s tweets to prove the point. And Claire resorts to Tumblr for a lengthier response.

Key quote:

[…] I use Twitter because no one can edit me. In a media world driven by an edited sound bite, and a Capitol Hill culture that parses, obfuscates, and works hard at saying nothing, we shouldn’t look down our noses at a few short declarative sentences. While this method of direct communication makes my staff nervous – they think it makes me look less “senatorial” – it is me.  I’m a Midwesterner, and this short simple way of speaking is my native tongue.

As they say, read the rest.

…Adding that in the old media world, the game was played differently. As McCaskill writes in her post, her staff isn’t always by her newfound ability to speak unfiltered and therefore possibly off-key for a senator. I’m sure reporters also find it frustrating to no longer be the sole oracles with direct access to the powerful, interpreting their utterances and putting them into context. Now the average citizen has a much greater ability to access and interpret those same utterances without the middleman. And that’s a good thing!

And Matt Bai should know better. He’s covered the online world for some time now, having moderated a YearlyKos presidential forum in 2007 and written a book on politics and bloggers about the same time. But then again, he’s been skeptical of online activism the entire time, and with all due respect to Claire McCaskill, non-famous Twitter users are changing politics with tweets just as much as famous ones.