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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 05:05 AM Thread Starter
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Bloggers reform Democrat Party

Z, your party still loves you. With a little help from you, Kirk can change it.

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Bloggers and Parties
Can the netroots reshape American democracy?

Henry Farrell

8 The “netroots”—an Internet grass roots that has set out to change the Democratic Party—are often maligned. These progressive bloggers and their readers, who emerged as an influential group during Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, are increasingly depicted as a sinister movement under the dictatorial control of Markos “Kos” Moulitsas Zúniga, the founder of the prominent political blog Daily Kos. The New York Times columnist David Brooks writes that Kos “fires up his Web site . . . and commands his followers, who come across like squadrons of rabid lambs, to unleash their venom on those who stand in the way.” The New Republic senior editor Lee Siegel (now suspended) warns portentously of the dangers of “blogofascism,” a movement bearing worrying similarities to the Fascist forces that transformed post–World War I Europe into a “madhouse of deracinated ambition.” When the netroots aren’t Nazis, they’re proto-Stalinists: Jonathan Chait sees them as heirs of the “McGovernite New Left,” possessed of the same “paranoid, Manichean worldview” and “humorless rage” as extreme-left radicalism.

These claims are hysterical to the point of near-incoherence. They’re also wrong. The netroots are becoming a power in the Democratic Party, but they aren’t under the control of any one person or clique. And while many netroots bloggers describe themselves as progressive, they are generally not leftists in the conventional sense. Certainly they aren’t committed to any program of fundamental political and economic reform. As Benjamin Wallace-Wells and Bill McKibben have both documented, the netroots aren’t complaining that the Democratic Party isn’t radical enough; they’re complaining that it’s losing elections. Netroots bloggers don’t share a common ideology. If they are united by anything, it is their harsh criticism of the Republican Party, their shared anger at the Democratic Party’s failures, and their rough analysis of how it could do better.

Although the netroots don’t necessarily subscribe to left-wing views, they do have the potential to reshape the terrain of American democracy. For the last 20 years, intellectuals have been bemoaning the American public’s lack of engagement with political life. They have advocated different forms of direct engagement and public deliberation as means to revitalize democracy.

More at: http://bostonreview.net/BR31.5/farrell.html
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 06:57 AM
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The Democratic presence on the Internet is beginning to be a counter balance to the AM Radio Hate Machine. And for one reason: the Internet allows for a deeper look at things than the AM Radio Soundbite thinking typical of American conservatives. Conservative posters tend to post like they are talking to some talk radio host, blurting out a message consistent with The Party Line or The Dominant Religion or The White Race in a few minutes. Any challenge to ideas are met with Talk Show Host sloganeering, stupid cliches that carry no intellectual heft that add nothing to the argument. "Drudge Report" is their blog -simple minded crap mixed with outright lies. As a result, the ratings of AM Radio fascists, Drudge and their fellow travelers at Fox News are beginning to drop, while Kos and DU are attracting millions of new followers. The Swift Boat has sunk.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 09:23 AM
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FeelTheLove
The Democratic presence on the Internet is beginning to be a counter balance to the AM Radio Hate Machine. And for one reason: the Internet allows for a deeper look at things than the AM Radio Soundbite thinking typical of American conservatives. Conservative posters tend to post like they are talking to some talk radio host, blurting out a message consistent with The Party Line or The Dominant Religion or The White Race in a few minutes. Any challenge to ideas are met with Talk Show Host sloganeering, stupid cliches that carry no intellectual heft that add nothing to the argument. "Drudge Report" is their blog -simple minded crap mixed with outright lies. As a result, the ratings of AM Radio fascists, Drudge and their fellow travelers at Fox News are beginning to drop, while Kos and DU are attracting millions of new followers. The Swift Boat has sunk.
Yes, it's a wonderful thing that it is counterbalancing the hatemongers on the right. Fine.

What is it doing to the Democrat Party apparatus?

In one way it is forcing the apparatus to be responsive to a large number of lower-level people that it previously had ignored--the $5 - $100 donor and the active talkers. For example, back in the 1950's the upper echelons could essentially ignore everybody except for monied interests and labor union leadership -- hence the "smoke-filled room" paradigm. This started breaking down in the 1960's especially with the McGovern insurgency, but also with civil rights to a lesser degree. That period was followed by a 30-year evolutionary change which diversified the heirarchy to some degree but mainly shifted the pwoer to several tiers lower on the food chain.

This new phenomenon is unexpected and the party is slow in responding. The status quo lost control of the Leiberman re-election because they just didn't understand the power first tapped by Trippy for the Dean campaign. I don't think that either Dean or Trippy understand the power of the beasts that they unlocked--it threatens to make them obsolete--why maintain party bosses when the demos can voice itself and finance itself directly? That is what defeated Lieberman.

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