Sunday, January 16, 2005
Our NetrootsPosted by Tim Tagaris
Great piece by Matt Stoller over at Personal Democracy Forum. As a party, we have managed to compile a world wide web of communicators that fail miserably at communicating with eachother.
1.) Traditional Democratic institutions fail to communicate with the netroots.
It seems that the powers-that-be have yet to find a useful purpose for millions of on-line activists short of asking them for money or an occassional letter to the editor. Until they open channels of communication from the bottom - up, they will never understand our potential for contribution far greater than a $20 donation. The "right" is already way ahead of us on this account.
2.) Many opinion leaders within the netroots fail to communicate effectively with eachother.
This was evidenced by the Kos v. Exley debate that unfolded over the holidays. Matt thoroughly documents this in his piece at PDF.
The funny thing is , I have seen firsthand what a wealth of communicative, technical, and organizational talent we have within the netroots. I don't know as much about the right-wing Internet infrastructure, but I would have a hard time believing that it is anywhere near as talented as ours. If we were able to get our shit together and act in concert with the traditional power structure within the Democratic party, what we could accomplish would be limitless.
But that involves a give and take.
As we saw last election cycle with the DCCC v. Kos, and Exley's lack of a seat at the table on the Kerry campaign, I am not sure we are quite there yet. So, the netroots operates in large part independent of the party, and the party fails to harness the limitless potential of the netroots. Everyone loses.
3.) Meanwhile, Republicans are finding a place within their vast noise machine for bloggers to amplify their message.
Look no further than "Rathergate" and the Daschle v. Thune blog.
Let me give the latest best example that just popped into my head. When Harry Reid announced the formation of his "war room," I immediately asked myself what role bloggers would play? I even called his Senate office earlier this week to ask the question and share some ideas.
I am still looking for the answer if anyone can help.
I think it is critical to get Democrats more coordinated on the Internet. Here in Ohio, we have several targets of opportunity in the 12 GOP held congressional districts (1st, 4th, 14th and my own 15th) where Democrats have shaved 5% to 9.5% of the GOP's margins from 2002 to 2004 and each incumbant ranges from 58.6% to 62.75%.
What would be nice is if the DCCC would at least coordinate somewhat with those Ohio based blogs such as mine and others I know out there to get out the message via the Internet. I don't have much hope, but with Rahm Emanuel's background, who knows.
A friend of mine and I plan to start a chain of blogs dedicated to each of the 18 Ohio districts just to push all the races, especially those where we stand a decent chance. Some of us are also working on "getting inside" the structure to see what can be done to marry blogging with actual party entities. I was horrified to learn that of the 88 counties here in Ohio, only 38 have any sort of rudimentary web page. And some of those are woefully out of date.
We have a lot of work to do.