Z, your party still loves you. With a little help from you, Kirk can change it.
Bloggers and Parties
Can the netroots reshape American democracy?
8 The â€śnetrootsâ€ťâ€”an Internet grass roots that has set out to change the Democratic Partyâ€”are often maligned. These progressive bloggers and their readers, who emerged as an influential group during Howard Deanâ€™s presidential campaign, are increasingly depicted as a sinister movement under the dictatorial control of Markos â€śKosâ€ť Moulitsas ZĂşniga, the founder of the prominent political blog Daily Kos. The New York Times columnist David Brooks writes that Kos â€śfires 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.â€ť The New Republic senior editor Lee Siegel (now suspended) warns portentously of the dangers of â€śblogofascism,â€ť a movement bearing worrying similarities to the Fascist forces that transformed postâ€“World War I Europe into a â€śmadhouse of deracinated ambition.â€ť When the netroots arenâ€™t Nazis, theyâ€™re proto-Stalinists: Jonathan Chait sees them as heirs of the â€śMcGovernite New Left,â€ť possessed of the same â€śparanoid, Manichean worldviewâ€ť and â€śhumorless rageâ€ť as extreme-left radicalism.
These claims are hysterical to the point of near-incoherence. Theyâ€™re also wrong. The netroots are becoming a power in the Democratic Party, but they arenâ€™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 arenâ€™t committed to any program of fundamental political and economic reform. As Benjamin Wallace-Wells and Bill McKibben have both documented, the netroots arenâ€™t complaining that the Democratic Party isnâ€™t radical enough; theyâ€™re complaining that itâ€™s losing elections. Netroots bloggers donâ€™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 Partyâ€™s failures, and their rough analysis of how it could do better.
Although the netroots donâ€™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 publicâ€™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