Politics & Media
Jul 22, 2008, 08:26AM

Netroots Eroding

The age of liberal blogger influence has been predicted ever since they helped Howard Dean leap-frog mainstream Democractic candidates in the 2004 primaries. But one of their own wonders whether the principles they advocated (strong contrast with the right and creating negative perceptions about the Republican party) have been lost in their embrace of a candidate who aspires to be 'post-partisan.' Have the netroots blown their chance to be relevant?

I have been critiquing Obama for many years now because the political rhetoric and style he has practiced is, in my view, not a force for real substantive change. I have long been (at one time my view was pretty universally held in the Netroots) an advocate of a politics of contrast and definition and for negative branding of the Republican Party. Obama's Post Partisan Unity Schtick utterly rejects these approaches.

Personally, I do not see how the Netroots regains its previous focus. No doubt that many bloggers will transition into the Media and do quite well for themselves. They may even win a substantive argument or two. But the idea of Fighting Dems, of politics of contrast, of negative branding - that is over. And not a shot was fired by the Netroots in the battle.

I do not think it is possible to go back to arguing for a contrast approach after you have unquestioningly cheered on the candidate who stood for the exact opposite of it. The Netroots has been coopted. It is now an effective cheering section for the Democratic Party. But little else. Sure there will be small victories - a Donna Edwards here, A Ned Lamont there, but the idea of what the Netroots once was no longer exists. Obama has swept it away.


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