Two posts from MyDD and one from Kaus; the first from Matt Stoller:
The RNC cannot afford to embrace their netroots as an audience because of the increasingly extreme and racist nature of their base. It’s not Redstate specifically, it is, as Glenn Greenwald notes, their entire pundit class. Actually, it goes beyond that, to their leadership. For instance, it’s not just James Dobson embarrassing Republicans anymore; Senator Jeff Sessions, Senator Sam Brownback, and Senate candidate Michael Steele have all compared stem cell research to the holocaust.
But the right-wing blogosphere is where racist and extreme sentiment is most obvious and trackable, it is a veritable steady diet of the stuff. No matter how persuasive Patrick Ruffini might be, and he seems like a smart fellow, the RNC cannot afford to be tagged with their base sentiment, whether it’s Little Green Footballs calling for nuclear attacks on Muslims (or ‘constitutionally protected hate speech’ as advertisers who don’t want to be associated with the site see it), right-wing and neo-Nazi embraces of extremist groups like the Minutemen, voxday calling rape victims ‘stupid’, or front-pager Blanton at Redstate calling Coretta Scott King’s funeral which President Bush spoke at a ‘Def Comedy Jam spectacle’ with ‘demands for handouts’.
Later yesterday, I wrote a post arguing that what the progressive netroots wants in Democratic candidates is also what the general public wants. Now, I would like to point out that the topics and issues the netroots focuses on are the same issues on which the general public and / or the Democratic Party is focused.
Mainstream issues, mainstream candidates, and mainstream ideology. For all our carping about the “MSM” (and I really hope we can all dump that term), it turns out that within the world of politics, we, the progressive netroots are as mainstream as any institution comes.
Mickey Kaus perfectly explains why I shake my hands in the air in frustration when I read things like this:
2. The Heartland Breakout Meme seems like B.S. of the sort that consistently hurts Democrats (and others who believe it): B.S. is B.S.. Bloggers are allowed to point it out (he says defensively)–especially if it’s B.S. the mainstream press has no particular interest in pointing out (because it kills the story, or because they’ll seem homophobic).** But this B.S. falls into a special category: the sort of gratifying myth that in the past has helped lull liberals (and gay rights activists who may or may not be liberals) into wild overconfidence. Remember when Democrats actually believed that Fahrenheit would help push Bush out of office? It didn’t work out that way. Moore’s film didn’t change many minds in part because, as York puts it, it “never reached audiences that had the power to defeat the president at the polls.” Despite all the “heartland” hype, it was a blue-state movie. York notes that Mel Gibson’s Passion of Christ–a mirror-image “red state” movie that did well where Fahrenheit did badly, badly where Fahrenheit did well–prefigured the 2004 results, in that it attracted an audience roughly three times the size of Fahrenheit‘s (or four times Brokeback‘s!).
Much of Democratic politics seems to now consist of embracing and fanning similarly comforting, but ultimately deceptive, liberal memes. Enron has fatally damaged Bush, Abu Ghraib has fatally damaged Bush, Katrina has fatally damaged Bush, Abramoff has fatally damaged Bush, the Plame investigation will fatally damage Bush–you can catch the latest allegedly devastating issue every day on Huffington Post or Daily Kos (and frequently in the NYT). If you believe the hype–if you don’t compare Michael Moore’s box office with Mel Gibson’s box office, in effect–you’ll believe that Democrats don’t need to change to win. They just need to push all these hot memes forcefully. If you don’t believe the hype–if you think that netroots Dems are too often like the Iraqi Sunnis who think they’re a majority–you’ll look for a Bill Clinton-like alternative with greater red-state appeal.
I don’t like a lot of what the Republican party has to offer; that’s OK, I think we need a national dialog to make good policies. It takes two.
But given that, it may be puzzling to some (hey, JC, how’ re you?) why it is that I bash the media for their blind partisanship toward establishment liberalism, instead of cheering them as an ally.
It’s because I find myself in a risky place surrounded by people who have lost the ability to tell bullshit from reality. Our party is wounded, leaking ideologically and demographically, and we sit here drinking quack nostrums made from apricot pits and listening to fake spirit mediums tell us everything will be OK because our dead ancestors FDR, JFK, and LBJ are looking over us.