Skip to main content

View Diary: Time for the DLC to die (281 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Blogosphere is not a discernable constituency (4.00)
    Methinks there's a lot of ideological hair-splitting going on here.  The crux of Kos' affinity for the NDN and his dislike for the DLC isn't ideological, but this:

    ...the DLC worked to discredit the blogosphere and the Netroots, Rosenberg has worked to give them institutional legitimacy.

    Now, Simon Rosenberg deserves immense credit for, among other things, organizing online.  But for the most part, when we praise Simon for acknowledging the blogosphere, we're praising his strategic and tactical prowess, not his ideological goals.

    If the Netroots are about ideology, please tell me what our legislative agenda is.  What goals do we advocate, not merely because we are Democrats (whether new or old), but because we are bloggers?  If we can identify "senior citizens' issues" or "labor issues," for instance, then what are the corresponding "Netroots issues"?  Greater deployment of broadband?  An expanded role for DARPA in the commercialization of technology?  More emphasis on bridging the digital divide?  

    It's difficult to articulate a list of "Netroots issues" beyond these.  And even these limited issues command almost no special attention on the Daily Kos.  Instead, debates on the Daily Kos mirror those that occur everywhere else: job creation, the war in Iraq, and so forth.  This pattern strongly suggests that "Netroots isses" don't exist - and, consequently, that the Netroots are not a real constituency.  In fact, ideologically, the Netroots are all over the place.  

    Thus, when we debate the Netroots and the blogosphere, we're engaging in a strategic or tactical debate, not a debate over goals.  The blogosphere is no more a constituency within the Democratic Party any more than "television viewers" were a Democratic constituency in the early 1960s.  Sure, John F. Kennedy figured out how to appeal to television viewers long before Richard Nixon did; arguably, Nixon's makeup artists cost him the 1960 election.  And the Democrats' anti-Goldwater ads were perhaps the first political advertising masterpieces.  But none of these tactical victories meant that television viewers became a discernable constituency, because television viewers lack a coherent, unifying agenda.  The Netroots are no different.  Hey, there are right-wing blogs, too.

    This brings me back to the NDN conference.  Kos likes Simon Rosenberg because Rosenberg knows how to organize online, which, uncoincidentally, is also Kos' forte.  He dislikes From not because of any ideological dispute - like I say, to distinguish between the DLC and NDN is to split hairs - but because tactically From is the new millennium's equivalent of Richard Nixon's makeup artist.   From is a product of the old media, not the new media, and Kos is the new media.  But until you can demonstrate that the new media means new ideology, From's ideological outlook remains valid - and basically identical to that of the vaunted NDN.

    This was also the whole problem with the Dean campaign.  Like Clark, Dean knew a lot about organizing online, but unlike Clark or Kerry, Dean confused organization with goals.  In fact, Dean wanted to make organization the goal -"vote for me because I've got a lot of orange-hatted volunteers in Iowa."  (Or better yet, "I am blogger - hear me roar!")  Trouble is, everyone else remained properly focused on issues, and they saw an angry candidate who opposed free trade, advocated retrenchment in foreign policy, and so forth.  To everyone else, the orange-hatted volunteers in Iowa seemed callow and best, scary at worst.  That is why despite the fact that I enjoy blogging, I have absolutely love for Dean.  Politics is about goals, not makeup artists.

    •  Preview is your friend (none)
      Though I personally have a warm spot in my heart for Dean (and gave him a big chunk of money besides) I suspect you really meant to put a "no" between "absolutely" and "love".  Which doesn't pain me because otherwise your critique of the Dean campaign is spot on.

      I got on the Dean bandwagon because he was taking it to Bush head-on.  I liked his health care for kids while balancing the budget message but fundamentally my issue was and remains ABB.  Which is why I am a lukewarm on the transformed DFA.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site