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September 23, 2005

Politics on Internet Time

It occurs to me that the progressive blogs at the national level are driving politics at a speed unheard of in our history.  Collectively we do the research, share the results, prod the MSM and the Democratic politicians, urge people to become involved, and hold people accountable for their actions.  Do you think Tim Russert doesn’t feel the hot breathe of Arianna Huffington breathing down his neck?  Or the Republicans and wayward Democrats in Congress don’t feel the wrath of their constituents when Josh Marshall pesters them about their stand on Social Security or their votes on the bankruptcy bill or the new Democratic-sponsored bill to roll back the Gulf Coast Wage Cut? Do you think the MSM media would have noticed that Judy Miller may well be hiding in jail to protect herself rather than standing up for a principle if bloggers hadn’t consistently pointed this out?  Or kept up the drumbeat of information on the amazing amount of corruption of Republican leaders at the national and state levels without sustained information coming out of the blogs?

Today, the netroots finds itself in a place similar to Apple or Google or one of the other more nimble, innovative companies in relationship to both the Democrats and the Republicans, in different ways.  The Democrats are the old IBM or one of those old regulated phone companies.  They are lucky to have Dean in there trying to make a turnaround.  The Republicans are the Enron, flying high on buzz and deception, imploding on itself when it is seen as being hollow to the core, having nothing of substance to sell. 

The progressive blogosphere is a culture that knows how to communicate and to take in information from everyone who has it to give and to self-correct when it goes wrong. Over time, and rather quickly, we have used this amazing technology to help us formulate how we want to deal with the jokers who have been running this country and behaving so badly – in the government, in the media and in the Unions and in our Party.  We are having this amazing conversation in front of the world.  And we are testing the reach of our influence and power. 

Can we help get Paul Hackett, a total newcomer on the national scene, elected to a seat in a Congressional District which is deep red?  Almost.  Can we keep John Bolton from being confirmed as ambassador to the U.N. by the U.S. Senate. Yes.  Can we get the people in the good state of Washington to realize that it is in their best interests to defeat Initiative 912?  Maybe.

It looks like the world likes this conversation and finds our ideas both appealing and compelling.  At least our world of blues and blue-leaners likes it.  Chris Bowers of mydd, gleaning information from a recent Pew poll, comments on how much Democrats and Independents are thinking a lot like the writers of the progressive blogs.  He is beginning to think our reach is enormous:

People often accuse me of overstating the power of the netroots and the blogosphere, but perhaps even I have been dramatically understating it. I mean, if the blogosphere plays a central role in the political life of over two million of the most politically active progressives, and those people tend to be the influentials in their family and social circles, how could we not be basically driving the progressive zeitgeist nationwide?

This conversation that we are constantly having on the blogs is one that people like to pay attention to – whether by reading, commenting, writing or discussing what they’ve read with friends or family.  Especially now, in the aftermath of the shock of having the myths of our country and our country’s leadership momentarily revealed, we are having an impact.

And that impact will only become more pronounced.  We have, even more than cable TV perhaps, pushed politics into Internet time.  And we know how to operate in that time.  Others don’t, haven’t learned how to be nimble or collaborative. 

In the process we are rapidly competing with the old Democrats for the heart and the soul of our people.  A few politicians get it and jump aboard.  Others don’t quite know how to come on over.  Some still don’t get it.  With luck the ones who do get it will serve as a bridge to the ones who don’t, pulling them along, with us nudging them all along the way.   

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 23, 2005 at 11:14 AM in Media | Permalink


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