Almost anyone who bothers to actually read Daily Kos or any of the most prominent liberal "netroots" blogs is taken aback by the vicious tone, use of the f-word more frequently than a comma, insults, scathing all-out hatred of dissent from the party line, conspiracy theories, accusations of the New York Times being a tool of the Republican National Committee. The tone is way out of the American political mainstream, and not what one expects from a political movement serious about persuading voters and winning.Their successes so far are Ned Lamont's victory in the Connecticut primary and Jon Tester's victory in the Montana primary. Tester is doing well because Conrad Burns is doing so poorly, having been damaged by his ties to Jack Abramoff. Lieberman is ahead in Connecticut. If he wins, what will they have achieved? Defeating Burns is no real achievement for the netroots - he probably would have been doing well without their help. And if Lieberman is elected as an independent with the election having exposed the extreme tendencies among the netroots, that could be viewed as a wound dealt the Democratic Party by the netroots. Not an impressive victory at all.
Yet the mainstream media has largely treated the netroots with kid gloves. After Mr. Lamont's primary win, the Philadelphia Daily News wrote, "it is clear that the netroots played an indispensable role in turning a quixotic, symbolic challenge into a decisive victory." Tim O'Brien gushed in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: "Ned Lamont's upset of Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic primary is actual, tangible proof of the claim that the liberal blogosphere has been making to the mainstream media and the Republican and Democratic party establishments for a couple of years now: It has real clout." Time magazine declared, "the Netroots' moment has finally arrived."
But in more skeptical corners of the blogosphere, the debate is about just how bad the record of netroots-endorsed candidates is. In 2004, the Daily Kos site backed 15 candidates for local or state office — Tony Miller, Ben Konop, Dan Mongiardo, Richard Romero, Samara Barend, Jeff Seemann, Nancy Farmer, Ginny Schrader, Jan Schneider, Lois Murphy, Jim Newberry, Brad Carson, Tony Knowles, Stan Matsunaka, and Richard Morrison. At the presidential level, Kos backed Howard Dean, Wes Clark and John Kerry. In 2005, the site backed Democrat Paul Hackett in the Ohio special congressional election, and more recently, Ciro Rodriguez in his Democratic primary challenge to Rep. Henry Cuellar, and Francine Busby earlier this year in the special election for Duke Cunningham's seat.
All of these candidates lost.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Jim Geraghty looks at the record of the netroots in elections. He's not that impressed.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 6:45 PM