Not much time to blog today – my latest project is demo-ing today at the Inc 500 Conference in Chicago – but I didn’t want this post by Steve Smith to go unremarked. I know my opinion of the Netroots doesn’t matter because I’m a turncoat warmonger and all that. But here’s what unabashed leftie Smith has to say:
Huh? Well, feel free to rant away, Mr. Stoller, but it wouldn’t hurt to get a f**king clue. Lefty bloggers are great at raising money for causes, for garnering attention to worthy causes, and for publicizing dark horse challengers, but on a tactical level, they have all the sense of a cage of spastic ferrets being harassed by a deranged hive of wasps. Bloggers can get a Ned Lamont nominated, but actually electing him, or avoiding doing really airheadish things that rile up the opposition, is another thing entirely.
Stoller’s notion that blogs doesn’t have “top-down” organizational control is technically correct (for one thing, traffic-wise, political writing is a relatively insignificant part of the blogosphere), but it still obscures the very negative role the Queen Beez play in determining what the agenda is for the rest of the non-MSM. If anything, it’s “pretty stupid” for Stoller to pretend that within the lefty blogosphere, there aren’t about a dozen bloggers who link almost exclusively to each other, who generate 99% of the press coverage, and thereby set the agenda for the rest of us.
Like it or not, that exclusivity can be a strength, since it keeps us on message and magnifies our influence, but it also backfires on occasion, as Mr. Drum points out in the post referenced above. Depending on the season, we are told by the Queen Beez that we have to elect more Democrats to Congress, no matter what position they take, or we are told that we have to purge the “Bush Dog” Demos at the first chance, or we just sit back and make snarky quips about “Friedman Units” and post photoshopped pics of Joe Lieberman. With that sort of de facto leadership, it’s no wonder we feel like we get snookered at every turn.
I pretty much agree; I think the influence of the netroots is vastly overstated (see: Snakes on A Plane) by the central position they have in the Big Media lens.
It doesn’t mean they (we) have no influence, and it doesn’t mean these tools aren’t useful or moving to change politics. But as long as bloggers are for sale, the reality of a ‘movement’ is tantalizing but just out of reach.