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There are differences. Just as the evangelicals eventually noticed, if only a little, that the corporatists were using them as voting machine fodder while laughing at them, the netroots are loud and connected and semi-organised, and I think there's a very real sense of shock that Obama really might just be another guy in a cheap suit who will promise anything and everything but really just wants their cash.

The problem for Obama is that he has let the mask slip too early. People are going to be watching his speeches and at least some of them are going to be feeling cognitive dissonance when he makes some of his special kiss-it-better promises about something or other.

If dKos stopped being a website where the rabble mouth off and started turning itself into a formal voting and funding bloc, that would give it some real leverage.

Cats can't be herded so that's no likely to happen soon. But unless the 'roots can find themselves a big stick, the pols are going to continue treating them like big fluffy piles of cute who can be placated with a a doggy treat and a bit of stroking when they start getting too yappy.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 01:51:52 PM EST
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The big advantage of the "netroots" is that there are lots of players, so you get get lots of money from them. Example: Obama versus Clinton fundraising...
by asdf on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 02:00:34 PM EST
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The internet is a communication and organizing tool.

It is not an organization.  

Obama and Clinton campaigns were active organizations that used the internet as a communication tool to tap into the money and energy of the netroots.  They played the netroots like a $2 banjo when they needed to and ignored it the rest of the time.

 

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 02:21:44 PM EST
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Whoops.  

Sorry asdf.  That unintentionally reads as being directed at you.  I meant to direct the comment to the situation.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 02:28:26 PM EST
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What is a $2 banjo? Never heard that saying before...
by asdf on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 02:53:07 PM EST
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Have you heard of a €1.50 banjo, maybe?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 02:56:05 PM EST
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€1.50? Are you using out of date exchange rates, or is the extra €0.22 due to VAT?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 03:06:43 PM EST
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American idiom meaning "was easily and successfully manipulated."  


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 02:58:55 PM EST
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ATinNM:
The internet is a communication and organizing tool.

It is not an organization.  

No, but there's no reason - apart from practicality, media pressure and common sense - why interest groups can't be turned into organisations.

What's the alternative?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 03:19:40 PM EST
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Communication precedes and is necessary for organization.  Communication can never replace organization.   And certainly the internet can never replace local organizations in the field, factories, workshops, offices, and precincts.

That was my point.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 03:56:25 PM EST
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Well, that was my point too. But I disagree about the scope. I think the media are loosely equivalent to the old fields, factories, offices and precincts.

The model used to be that personal contact led naturally to personal solidarity.

That doesn't happen any more, because oppression is mediated and indirect. A gang of thugs won't turn up to beat up the union leader, because the union leader's job will have been outsourced, so the thugs are no longer necessary. Because of that it's much harder for people to make a connection between their personal experience and the bigger picture, and to understand why they might want to work others to do something about it.

The Internet has the potential to fill in that gap for them, and to create virtual meeting points which can kick start personal solidarity. dKos has made a start on this, but it's going to have to be taken much further to create a real push-back.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 06:33:32 PM EST
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Cats can't be herded so that's no likely to happen soon.

I'd argue that categorizing it as "not likely" is too generous.  There's too much diversity of opinion in the blogosphere for it to act in unison the way (say) the traditional press can with a meme.  It also can't become a voting/funding bloc outside of primaries, because it's not a swing group between the two parties.  What it can do is primary the shitty politicians in an effort to get less-shitty politicians.

This will ultimately prove a good lesson for them, though.  Sitting around dreaming of politicians who are going to do whatever they want is laughably stupid.  They need to figure out how to hold Obama's feet to the fire.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 02:01:59 PM EST
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It's not a mask. It's reality. An adult has ideals, beliefs, emotions, etc. Some adults become very cynical and checkout of big decisions and are easily swayed here and there. Others stay wide-eyed and easily cheated. I think Obama is the rare breed that keeps his ideals, but can make pragmatic decisions knowing they may violate some of his ideals (locally) but help in the long term. All the while I think he is not cynical or strives not to be. He seems to truly see (or tries to) the best in everything and where things could go without losing sight of reality.

A few weeks ago I wouldn't have written the above, but I was sick at home and decided to read Dreams from My Father. If he could write that right out of law school (and with everything else he had seen and done before law school) and maintain some belief in the future and the possibility for improvement, then I think we can drop the cynicism and take him at his word.

Cynicism is for small minds anyway.

The problem with a lot of the outraged dkos types is they think they are realists while really they are sort of the wild-eyed idealist mixed with heavy cynicism. They expect perfection, consistency and idealism from their politicians (while themselves having these qualities in only small amounts, like most people -- and cynicism in great amounts). All the while, many don't seem to be realistic and able to realize there are trade-offs to be made and that must be made if any goals are to be achieved.

All this is to say -- I'm upset by the FISA bill (American, wrote my rep), but I realize there are bigger, more structural and more cultural issues that cause these things to happen and the "discourse" can't change over night. Anyone who demands this, and then when they don't get it, throw their hands up cynically, isn't being fair or realistic.

And while Obama's position on the bill disappoints me, I realize he is an adult, with his own ideas of what the trade-offs and risks are, and has judged this to be a workable and useful position. He still inspires me that democracy and civil society can work, for all its current flaws. Dragging the campaign down into in-fighting that disrupts the possibility of Obama winning is just as absurd as the Hillary Clinton supporters who said they would vote McCain.

As a side note, this labelling of the "netroots" as if they are a monolithic and ideologically uniform group is a bit silly. There are many different groups and many different reasons and even on dkos there isn't just one. The internet is though a great organizing force for those groups .. and also great for temporary alliances.

by R343L (reverse qw/ten.cinos@l343r/) on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 09:31:44 PM EST
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I have to disagree here, and I say that as someone who'll defend Obama quite a bit.  This was bullshit.  Now, as a practical matter, Obama's support or opposition to the bill probably makes no difference, but that's not the point: Someone has to stand up and say, "No, assholes, you're all a bunch of fucking traitors."  That's what leaders do.  They don't send statements out spending three paragraphs bullshitting about this and that, leaving just a line or two to bullshit about fighting immunity.  No, they say, "No, assholes, you're all a bunch of fucking traitors."

He's led on other issues.  He was right on the gas tax, and, despite public support for McCain's position, he's stuck to the right position on the offshore drilling.  (And thank you, Jim Webb, for fucking us on the latter, by the way.  Did anybody not sell us out on something this week?)  Why couldn't he lead on this?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jun 22nd, 2008 at 12:20:56 AM EST
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