Netroots AWOL? Huh?


    ( – promoted by lowkell)

    For those who don’t know, I am a Republican blogger.  But I think the denizens of the blogosphere should look out for each other, and when I saw this piece by Daniel Lyons I just had think, “well, that’s horses**t”.

    Lyons argues that the Netroots abandoned Obama.  From where I watched it was the other way around. Clearly the Netroots-when allowed-slugged away for progressive candidates of their choice.  A prime example is Blue Virginia, where every effort was made to re-elect Tom Perriello.

    I suspect this article reflects what will be an ongoing tendency in US politics. The Netroots/Rightroots operate at an emotional level, sharing information and motivating activists, who in turn motivate and turn out  voters. The MSM and internet savvy folks who don’t understand the need to motivate activists and the ability of The Roots to do so, will continually undersell their importance and give less than full credit to their activities and efforts.


    UPDATE by Lowell: Thanks to “rightosphere” blogger Bwana of Renaissance Ruminations for posting here. We don’t agree on a lot of things, but I’ve always admired him for his writing ability (superb) and his intelligence (also superb). His political judgment, on the other hand… 🙂  In all seriousness, though, Bwana’s a smart, sane conservative, and I’m always interested to hear what he has to say.  On this topic, I tend to agree with him. If you’re interested, see the comments section for my semi-long, semi-rambling response to his diary. Thanks.

    • I agree with you, statements like “those idealistic young folks have all dried up and blown away, while Tea Party people like Sarah Palin have used Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to lead a backlash” are wildly overstated and oversimplified.”  Really, that comment qualifies for your “horses***t” category.  I can name dozens of examples off the top of my head of progressive blogs and individual progressive bloggers who’ve fought hard for health care reform (with a public option, sure, but still…), for clean energy/climate legislation, for ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, for immigration reform, etc., etc.  Is it at the same intensity level as in 2008?  No, but that’s a silly comparison. Are progressives all united? No, but that’s an absurd standard to hold any large group of people to. Has “the pro-Obama Netroots movement… collapsed faster than the dotcom bubble,” as Daniel Lyons claims?  I agree with you: this is a prime example of how the “mainstream media” completely doesn’t understand how the netroots operate, doesn’t really understand the nature of social media – or social movements.

      Having said all that, I would agree with Daniel Lyons that the Obama folks didn’t transition particularly smoothly (to put it mildly) from campaign mode to governing mode when it comes to their “movement.” That might have been inevitable, but it was made even worse by an apparently conscious decision of Obama’s political advisors (including DNC chair Tim Kaine, who completely doesn’t “get” the netroots and the activists in general and who is clearly NOT a committed progressive) to ditch Howard Dean’s “50-state strategy,” and also to (apparently) keep bloggers and activists as far away from their administration as possible. Thus, few bloggers and activists were hired to jobs in the Obama Administration, few (if any) are asked for their advice or opinion, few (if any) are invited to speak with senior Administration officials, etc., etc.  Also, there DOES seem to have been a conscious attitude among at least some Obama folks of contempt and hostility towards progressive activists (e.g., Rahm Emanuel reportedly calling them “‘f**king retarded'”), and that certainly hasn’t helped matters.  

      Finally, there’s the issue of “overpromising and underdelivering” – promises made during the campaign made it appear to progressive activists that if we elected Obama and a Democratic Congress (with 60 votes in the Senate), we’d get everything we’d ever wanted, from “card check” to “cap and trade” to gay marriage to the public option to…you name it.  While it’s not surprising that things have gone a lot more slowly – and less progressively – than many of us wanted, that’s been exacerbated by the wildly raised expectations flowing out of the Obama campaign, as well as the hostile attitude from Emanuel, Kaine et al. as discussed above.

      OK, this comment’s gotten really long, probably should diary this…thanks for the idea! 🙂

    • The Richmonder

      This paragraph kind of struck a chord with me:

      Don Tapscott, an Internet pundit and author of a new book, Macro-wikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World, says that Obama “changed the way you get elected, but he didn’t change the way you govern. In the process he lost the support of the young people who powered him into office.” Research done by the Harvard Institute of Politics shows millennial voters (people ages 18 to 29) have become severely turned off over the past year. “They feel disconnected from the movement they helped create,” writes John Della Volpe, director of polling at the Harvard Institute of Politics and managing partner of SocialSphere, a strategy group that focuses on social media.

      I definitely feel that the Democratic Party and the DPVA in particular made a conscious decision to abandon bloggers, blogging, and New Media activists.

    • bruce roemmelt

      Bwana is a Libretarial in the classic mold.  these guys we can talk to, reason with etc.

      The litmus test is the VA Republican Convention.

      How far could a real “Bwana” candidate get?  Perhaps a parking place in the lot, but a seat at the table??

      I respect Bwana, and read his stuff.  

      AND he posted here!