August 17, 2007

Sauce, Goose, Gander

Kimberly Strassel decides to take on the netroots in a puzzling Wall Street Journal editorial today. She castigates them for using primary challenges to intimidate moderate Democrats, and also points out that they have been almost entirely unsuccessful in this effort. On one hand, she chides them for their impotence, and then concludes by warning about their growing influence.

At Heading Right, I point out these basic inconsistencies in Strassel's article. I also posit that primary challenges serve a useful purpose for accountability -- and these days may be the only mechanism for responsibility to voters. (via Memeorandum)


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Comments (8)

Posted by Lightwave | August 17, 2007 1:33 PM

It's not puzzling at all Ed when you take into account the difference between perception and reality.

The perception is that the Dems have to continue to kiss Kos' ring, after all this group is the only constituency the Dems have that are even remotely excited about the party right now. Yes, the nutroots can affect perceptions through their blogs and conferences as well as astroturf activism.

But the reality is that the nutroots have been relgated to the dustbin of history. As Kimberly Strassel points out, the Kos Kids have largely failed so far and seem to think the problem is they aren't leftist enough. You have but to look no further than the triangulating of the Democrat leadership away from that little idea. Their actions speak louder than words, and their actions are that they continue to have a large moderate-to-conservative bloc in the Blue Dogs and the Lieberman wing that realize that the only way to even remotely have a chance to save the party is to cooperate with the GOP and the President on Iraq. They know that the moderate swing voters won't be going after Republican heads should we give into the defeatist crowd, but they will indeed eviscerate the Democrats.

In effect, Kimberly Strassel is saying that the Kos wing of the party doesn't know the difference between perception and reality, and that by giving in to the elitist liberals' perceptions, the reality will crush the Democrats in 2008.

The bottom line? Strassel seems to think the Dem leadership is smarter than the nutroots. That's a bit like saying gravel tastes better than broken glass, but there you have it.

I guess having a viable second party is good for the nation, if it's the Harold Fords and Joe Liebermans of the world.

Posted by bulbasaur | August 17, 2007 1:39 PM

I celebrate the McGovernization of the democrat party.

Posted by unclesmrgol | August 17, 2007 1:45 PM

No inconsistancies here. Her point -- if you throw enough mud long enough, sooner or later your aim will improve to the point that some will stick.

Posted by athingortwo | August 17, 2007 2:08 PM

Cap'n, I think you mis-interpreted Ms. Strassel's piece. For one, it was not an editorial - it was a news analysis article. I didn't see that it advocated for or against anyone, including the netroots or their targets in the Dem Party. The article simply analyzed the netroots' attempts to bludgeon conservative/moderate members of the Democratic caucus, focusing primarily on Rep Cuellar of Texas. She reviews the netroots' tactics, and then the response of Cuellar and some of his "blue dog" compatriots, and how the Blue Dogs are doing in actual elections since the purge began.

I don't read any "castigating" of the netroots in Strassel's article at all. There is nothing puzzling about her analysis, and she does not conclude that the netroots are either growing in influence, as you say, nor the opposite either. I think the point one can take away from Ms. STrassel's analysis is that the netroots aren't as effective in ridding the Democratic Party of blue dogs as they'd like to be, but the long term effects of the netroots campaign are not yet clear.

Posted by Carol Herman | August 17, 2007 3:19 PM

The powers are ebbing. To both the right and left wing "factions." Over in the extremes, in the past, they've affected how some presidents get nominated.

Yet, while some things change. (And, they do.) Another thing can hold firm. So, I think 1860; Lincoln's nomination, at such a critical juncture in our history; will bare out, again, in 2008.

By now Iowa's been marginalized. And, Florida? Oh, that's an interesting one to come. Because Floridians may wake up to delegates being "apportioned," instead of what you have now: The winner takes all. (Lots of money has gone into the bet that ALL the delegates makes Florida a "worthy gamble.")

Then? If you add up all the campaign promises made to factions, you'd end up with a score card high on bullshit. Since you're not getting very much back for your votes. And, the more pressures that are put on parties just alienates the mainstream.

To the point? I'm willing to gamble that if Guiliani is "closed out" by the factional politics within the GOP, he will go INDEPENDENT. He's not gonna go away.

It's just a question of "what can he capture."

Remember this. In 1860 the GOP was UNTRIED. And, the Bonkeys were very willing to "compromise." THEY LOST!

Do people lose in politics? You bet'cha.

Do they lose in other markets? You can bet that, too. Does it pay not to buy? Hell, no. Because most of the time, if you're buying wisely it's better than "to rent."

Bush's legacy is that he used the Military in Irak and Afghanistan. But he was very slow; and very disinterested in the "politics." Other than he was "guided by the Saud's" to go get them some more real estate. IN that, he failed.

My guess is that Americans, today, have major interests in areas where politicians don't even want to get involved. And, if we're lucky, this will spell disaster for some of these stinking politicians.

The other hope? Given the "types" that gain entry, over and over again. No matter how often you shout "term limits," what has to happen ahead? When these winning critters get together to vote in their own leadership, they better be aprised how, so far, so many failed.

In another field, the stage, the Barrymore's once ruled. But that's now how you get famous these days. Doesn't come through your mother's hips.

The other unknown? Will the measily MSM, which is not really mainstream, any longer. Will they prevail? Just because they earn good salaries; while there's not much else they can do except flip burgers ... makes ya wonder. In other words, we're watching the processes where the marketplace isn't heard. And, where elites think they can force things down the throats of others.

What's at stake, now? The whole magila, that came in with affirmative action. A sinking boat in a swamp. People aren't voting for this crap, either.

Nor are people voting to throw women into jail for having abortions. It's just not up there on the horizon as a vote-catcher. Has it poisoned the well for the religious folks? Yeah. That's why Guiliani can be bold. AND, HE IS! He gets through like signals in clusters of noise. And, that's worth watching.

Posted by the fly-man | August 17, 2007 4:21 PM

Out- of- the- mainstream views, isn't castigation? So after a couple of years and elections, the Netroots are simply marginalized by some one at the WSJ? isn't this the same WSJ that has sat back for years watching the stock market sing along while Iraq was just a correctable, give it time, opportunity? After all the VP was in charge. So I find it fairly disingenuous, and predictable, for an old world media rag to try bury a new power base. Mr. Liberman actually had to campaign for his seat, that had to be a wake up call.

Posted by Ray | August 17, 2007 6:59 PM

the fly-man,

The "new power base" you speak of is simply a segment of the old power base that has been given a new means to communicate and coordinate. The term "netroot" itself is nothing more than a fancy moniker for yet another means of coordinating grass-root types of campaigning. This isn't a case of previously maligned supporters suddenly finding a direct connection to their candidates, it is a case of a very public means of gathering and coordinating the supporters that already exist.

The same people that populate the "netroot" base previously supported their candidates through other means like the contribution of money to their candidates and grass-root campaigning like delivering fliers and door to door campaigning. They use to coordinate between themselves through face to face meeting and phone calls, so this type of coordination is nothing new. The blogs and other Internet sites just allow the supporters to communicate and coordinate faster and easier then ever before.

Are they effective? Yes, but no more so then just a few years ago before such technology was utilized. This is because the "netroot" is utilizing technology to coordinate the existing supporters and very few people will align themselves with a particular candidate simply because of the efforts of grass-root campaigning. That's why their base is not expanding very much.

Posted by english teacher | August 17, 2007 7:15 PM

good analysis captain, to which i can only add the even more obvious question "why would any democrat in their right mind pay any heed to what the wsj editorial page says democrats should be doing"????

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