What The Netroots Has Become

Chris Bowers says "the Medium is the Movement:"

Is there a progressive movement? . . . If the Obama campaign can change the principles of the movement so quickly, perhaps there isn't a movement at all. . . . [T]he rise of the Creative Class doesn't really work, even most members of the Creative Class tend to be progressive. This leaves us with the lower cost of information, and resulting explosion in cultural production, brought on by the Internet. Perhaps the de-centralization of mass media consumption, the public sphere interaction, and cultural production brought on by the Internet is the progressive movement. It is the clearest example of how daily life has changed in a progressive way over the last decade. The medium is the movement.


. . . [F]rom a "medium is the movement" perspective, the choice between Clinton and Obama isn't really even a choice at all. It's Obama by a mile.

If that is all the Netroots is, then Obama is indeed the obvious choice.

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    I'm lost (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by AnninCA on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:38:31 AM EST

    I'll await erudition by more sophisticated folks here and try to figure out what this is saying.

    Interpret creatively! You can do it. (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by MarkL on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:39:55 AM EST
    I only got that (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by AnninCA on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:53:04 AM EST
    joke after I read the responses.  :)

    Geez, what is this "creative class" anyway?

    I made my living and put kids through college off of my "creative" skills.  I should know, huh?

    But......what worked is NOT filling in the blanks.  I screwed up big-time early on by doing that.

    Learned my lesson.

    So I'm still going to read these replies and learn what the heck you guys are talking about.

    I thought I had this term, "progressive," finally nailed.  But I ran it by my young son, and he blew me out.

    He doesn't think they are any more recalcitrant about their opinions than any other group.  

    So I had to think about that.

    He could be right.


    Bowers Movement (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by myiq2xu on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:51:26 AM EST
    That article is a load of you-know-what.

    Half arsed MacLuhanism? (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Salo on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:51:41 AM EST
    I was always a bit suspicious of the word progressive anyway.

    I always prefered the idea of "social democrat".

    It ha s anice European ring to it.


    they're too scared (none / 0) (#166)
    by Nasarius on Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:38:02 PM EST
    Of Fox News calling them names to associate with anything openly socialist. They already ran screaming from "liberal" into the comforting, all-encompassing "progressive" label.

    The netroots: (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by kmblue on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:54:02 PM EST
    "a vast wasteland", baby! ;)

    me too (none / 0) (#9)
    by DFLer on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:43:43 AM EST
    Will it make any more sense if I read the (5.00 / 5) (#2)
    by MarkL on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:39:25 AM EST
    entire post?

    Random quoting would be better? (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by lambert on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:05:13 PM EST
    If you're suggesting that the poster is unethical, and took material out of context, than you had better be prepared to back up your charge.

    The comment I responded to... (none / 0) (#173)
    by lambert on Mon May 05, 2008 at 06:55:49 PM EST
    Seems to have disappeared. The comment above was not directed at MarkL.

    I tried. It didn't. (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by dianem on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:20:55 PM EST
    I have no idea what Bowers is talking about. I thought that reading all of it would bring clarity, but it doesn't. If anybody can explain it rationally, I would appreciate it.

    I read the whole thing (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by joanneleon on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:22:48 PM EST
    before I came here, actually.

    There is a lot between the two cited quotes and it's worth reading.  Personally I have two big problems with it:  First, I don't think Chris makes his case about the movement and the medium; Second, you have to make a huge leap at the end in order to come to the conclusion that Obama is the logical choice.  


    This is right (none / 0) (#149)
    by Virginian on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:49:29 PM EST
    there is no logical conclusion, no linear connection between the thesis and the conclusion...

    more cart-before-the-horse logic from our brethren...


    nope (5.00 / 4) (#104)
    by p lukasiak on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:38:22 PM EST
    I read the whole thing, and I'm totally WTF?!?!

    Yes. (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by Same As It Ever Was on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:58:10 PM EST
    But the reasoning will be no less faulty.

    heh (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:43:02 AM EST
    no <eom> (none / 0) (#14)
    by litigatormom on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:46:52 AM EST
    Well unless what has been quoted is later (none / 0) (#80)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:15:27 PM EST
    ..debunked by the author, I think I get the point and it makes very little sense IMHO. But I already figured I wasn't a part of the netroots movement any more. I'm "post" that.

    Heh (none / 0) (#93)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:29:22 PM EST
    The face of the new movement, false smears.

    you are suspended for the day. Come back tomorrow. your comment will be deleted.


    No! Wait... (5.00 / 2) (#143)
    by oldpro on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:29:36 PM EST
    this is one of those increasingly opportune "teachable moments!"

    Selective quoting...is there any other kind?

    Short of lifting someone's words in their entirety, I mean?


    You're not the only one who is lost (5.00 / 11) (#13)
    by litigatormom on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:46:13 AM EST
    I read the underlying article, too.

    If the medium is the movement, Obama wins by a mile because....why?  Because it is without content?  Because it is the change we've been waiting for?

    And what the hell is the Rise of the Creative Class?  Has there ever been a time when prosperous, well-educated adults have been an oppressed class?  (I recognize that prosperous, well-educated women and African-Americans of both genders have historically been oppressed, but still...I am confused.  Must be because I am a prosperous, well-educated woman.)

    Maybe the point is that these are half-educated (5.00 / 5) (#17)
    by MarkL on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:47:32 AM EST
    people, who use their creativity to fill in the blanks where their abilities and knowledge are insufficient.

    Oh, that makes sense (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by AnninCA on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:57:09 AM EST
    Most of the academics I've known and loved are that way.



    Well, there aren't actually many Ph.D's in the (none / 0) (#165)
    by MarkL on Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:11:27 PM EST
    blogospheric "creative class'.
    Most of them are undereducated punks.

    Thats a bit rought (none / 0) (#176)
    by Virginian on Mon May 05, 2008 at 09:12:31 PM EST
    I would venture a guess that most of them are "in-transit", ie... working on their bachelors...the views and opinions and formations I see in our neck of the nets seems to mimic the undergraduate experience and transition...and often some of the bologna theories and ideas that are so often are mistaken as supporting evidence only to be revealed later as a farce in the undergraduate journey...

    The so-called Creative Class isn't rising (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by joanneleon on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:12:24 PM EST
    and it hasn't been rising since Bill Clinton left the presidency.  The only place where this class is rising is overseas, not in this country.

    Unfortunately, I know this from first-hand experience.  I was there in the 90s and I'm here now, and, we're not rising.

    And I wish they'd find another name for it.  Gad.


    The Medium is the Message (5.00 / 7) (#108)
    by blogtopus on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:43:31 PM EST
    That's basically what the Obama campaign is about.

    'We're hip, we're new! We use the internet to spread our message of change!'

    Erm... what IS your message?

    'We're hip, we're new! We use the internet to spread our message of change!'


    Check the links in that sentence (none / 0) (#124)
    by Same As It Ever Was on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:00:24 PM EST
    He is saying it is Obama by a mile because he perceived Obama is better on net neutrality and issues affecting the medium.

    The problem is that he conflates process with substance.  If the medium is the movement, then the movement is an empty vessel.


    Bowers is trying to hard (none / 0) (#177)
    by Virginian on Mon May 05, 2008 at 09:18:59 PM EST
    Would anyone consider television a movement? If we dig deeper, would anyone consider television programing a movement? What about radio? The answer is no...its a ridiculous statement...not thought out in the least.

    To answer your question... why Obama wins (none / 0) (#129)
    by kimsaw on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:04:17 PM EST
    because the medium loves him.  Without advancement by the medium the movement is down wind of the latrine.

    The "creative class" is the group that created the latrine and moved on to master the medium -hence the movement is a royal flush.

    In this case the Rise of the "Creative Class" today has nothing to do with a struggle against oppression. The "Creative Class" or what I refer to as the " think they know it alls" is what the middle class and working class should admire and follow blindly. It's not about money, but it involves money to the degree in which the Creative Class is able to push their agenda.  It is the juxtaposition of the liberal educated elites fawning analytical theory vs. working class common sense smarts.  


    The only cohesive component of this movement is (none / 0) (#167)
    by Salt on Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:56:33 PM EST
    anti Clinton, the glue that binds, Obama is no Progressive of course most were JE fans until he left.

    As for a Progressive movement... (5.00 / 8) (#52)
    by citizen53 on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:59:17 AM EST
    or a movement at all, here are two articles that look at the issue:

    Obamarama: Is it a Movement? Or is it Marketing? And What Should We Be Doing?

    The Obama campaign frankly claims to be the direct successor to and the current incarnation of the movement for justice and human rights which won Black voting rights and an end to Jim Crow. Unprecedented numbers of young people have been put in motion, the corporate media breathlessly tell us, by "the Obama movement" and Hillary Clinton's staffers have publicly wrung their hands in dismay at the futility of running against, not a rival campaign, but against a "movement."

    While there many similarities between a well-executed twenty-first century US presidential campaign, and a successful multimedia and viral marketing campaign, there are many important differences between both of these and a transformative movement for social change.

    All three, to be successful, must tap into widespread, deeply held beliefs in their target audiences, and take full advantage of horizontal, person to person communications inside those audiences to push their message, a process marketers call "viral marketing." But the content of marketing and political campaign messaging is dictated from the top. Though the masses are passive consumers and sometimes the transmitters of marketing and partisan political messaging, they are seldom or never its originators.


    Freedom Rider: Progressives Cave to Obama

    MoveOn is not alone. It is incomprehensible that The Nation magazine endorsed Obama after making the following statement. "This magazine has been critical of the senator from Illinois for his closeness to Wall Street; his unwillingness to lay out an ambitious progressive agenda on healthcare, housing and other domestic policy issues; and for post-partisan rhetoric that seems to ignore the manifest failure of conservatism over these past seven years."

    If The Nation has so many qualms about Obama, why endorse him at all? The editors could have simply made a statement of non-support for Obama or Clinton. The sad plight of progressives is all too obvious. "While his rhetoric about `unity' can be troubling, it also embodies a savvy strategy to redefine the center of American politics and build a coalition by reaching out to independent and Republican voters disgruntled and disgusted with what the Bush era has wrought." The Nation should explain to readers why Democrats ought to "redefine the center" with independents and Republicans instead of having their own agenda and fighting to make it a reality.

    If even The Nation bows down in thrall of the over hyped "center," then all hope for true change is gone. In other words, capitulation is the order of the day, and Obama makes it more palatable than Hillary Clinton does.


    Ding ding ding (5.00 / 8) (#70)
    by litigatormom on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:04:39 PM EST
    We have a winner.  This puts into words what has been bothering me about Obama since Nevada.

    How many times have we heard that Obama can afford to alienate some traditional Democratic voters, because of all the "new" voters he is bringing in/will bring in?  Are they sure that all these "new" voters are actually going to support progressive causes, or even Obama himself, in the fall?

    I guess Obamafans haven't heard that old adage, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."


    worse than that (none / 0) (#171)
    by moll on Mon May 05, 2008 at 06:24:58 PM EST
    How many times have we heard that Obama can afford to alienate some traditional Democratic voters, because of all the "new" voters he is bringing in/will bring in?  Are they sure that all these "new" voters are actually going to support progressive causes, or even Obama himself, in the fall?

    I think the point is that the liberal elites have decided they are sick of working class white and other "uncooperative" party members, and they want to change the party - stop "pandering" to economic issues and embrace libertarianism and economic survival of the fittest.


    Well, if that's what they want... (none / 0) (#174)
    by lambert on Mon May 05, 2008 at 06:57:56 PM EST
    ... they will surely get it. By any means necessary.

    These guys think they're the first. (5.00 / 3) (#60)
    by rooge04 on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:01:43 PM EST
    They think they're the first to think that they can change politics as usual in Washington. They think they're the first to stand for anything.  Sadly,they're not. And the people that were activists before them actually stood for SOMETHING: Civil Rights, Women's Rights, Human Rights.

    They stand for Obama. Aaaaand...that's about it.

    And Jimmy Carter---don't forget (none / 0) (#67)
    by MarkL on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:03:32 PM EST

    And don't forget Ross Perot.... (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:29:27 PM EST
    ...I think Obama's movement is more like that but without the charts. And with the added advantage of targeting the co-opting of an existing political brand rather than trying to create a new one.

    I agree (none / 0) (#100)
    by AnninCA on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:35:02 PM EST
    It's a third-party candidacy trying to take over the Dem. label.

    I'm ready to give it to him.

    But then, that lets me also choose a new party label for myself.

    But I definitely agree......it's a sideswipe election.


    The internet is like the printing press of 1400s (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Prabhata on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:02:05 PM EST
    That's the movement, not any specific website. Without the internet we would not be able to read what BTD and Jeralyn think.  That's awesome.

    Will they quit this Creative Class nonsense? (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by Ellie on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:02:24 PM EST
    Gahhh, every time I see the chasm of absent creativity in front of that bit of self-congratulation from the bloggers who use the title the most, I ask, why be modest?

    Why not Soulfully Eyed Awesomely Genital'd Computer-Using Demi-Gods (who, like, blog)?

    I wish you guys would stop calling Obama's (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by WillBFair on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:09:56 PM EST
    worshippers educated and The Creative Class. They're not. They don't know that rhetoric is a type of lying and has nothing to do with reality. They accept Obama's empty assertions when all the evidence contradicts him. They don't know the first thing about cause and effect, and when Obama claims to be a uniter, they don't see the disconnect when he insults the red States nonstop. When he talks about taking the high road, then throws the good Rev. under the bus, for them it's water off a duck.
    I know it's cliche to sneer at the young, but this is the first taste were getting of a generation raised on video games. And it's not pretty.

    I call them The Plastics. (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Marco21 on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:15:04 PM EST
    They talk good progressive politics but when you turn their back and leave their lunch table, they get all Rove on your a$$, call you names and devalue your very existence.

    Plus their leader is a glamour boy.


    Please stop with (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by kredwyn on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:47:08 PM EST
    the "rhetoric is a type of lying and has nothing to do with reality."

    Rhetoric is the counterpart of dialectic. And like the Force and Duct Tape, it's a tool that when used by good people (e.g. JFK and MLK Jr.), it can move mountains and people to reach for goals greater than hey ever thought possible.

    What you're trying to talk about is a form of sophism (not Gorgias and Isocrates...) that works to be something for everyone and winds up being nothing for the people who can see through the desire to cater to whatever audience is present.

    Rhetoric is not the doer...


    technically (none / 0) (#116)
    by Salo on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:52:23 PM EST
    a sophist promised to make the weaker argument the stronger.  They were professional speech writers.

    Although some of that derision may have been Platonic propaganda.  Plato was a Spartan in Athenian clothing so I view him as an unreliable author.

    I'll bet what he called sophists were simply the various democratic perspectives in Athens.  Everyone was a sophist apart from Plato you see.


    according to Plato... (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by kredwyn on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:03:53 PM EST
    I was thinking along the lines of the second sophistic movement and how some would want speeches that'd not piss off the ruling classes and get themselves killed. I'm remembering something about Cicero's execution from my ancient rhetorics class.

    Isocrates was a sohpist...but one who seemed to think that more people should have access to education than just the Athenian elite.


    But then again... (none / 0) (#130)
    by kredwyn on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:04:38 PM EST
    I find Plato...annoying at times...and whiney at others.

    bah (none / 0) (#172)
    by moll on Mon May 05, 2008 at 06:31:44 PM EST
    Rhetoric is the counterpart of dialectic. And like the Force and Duct Tape, it's a tool that when used by good people (e.g. JFK and MLK Jr.), it can move mountains and people to reach for goals greater than hey ever thought possible.

    Show me one mountain moved by pretty words.

    All the people who are famous for their speech, are so because the speech was linked to action. You can talk about soaring rhetoric but MLK Jr didn't change the world through his words. He changed the world through his vision. When you are for something and you know what you believe and what you believe is right, you can talk like Sojourner Truth ("and ain't I a woman?") and it's great. But Obama is just the reverse - his words aren't simple or homespun, they're sophisticated. But they're also empty. It's just rhetoric.

    That's ultimately the big difference between MLKJr and Obama. Martin Luther King articulated a vision. Obama sounded great in that speech of his - but who remembers what he said, other than that he threw his granny under the bus?


    Which guys? (none / 0) (#78)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:14:53 PM EST
    Bowers guys?

    I think he means us guys... (none / 0) (#145)
    by kredwyn on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:34:39 PM EST
    and giving the "creative class" more power than it should by giving it a moniker that suggests some level of artistic merit.

    They're hitching their wagons behind Obama... (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by OxyCon on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:26:11 PM EST
    ...and damning everything Clinton.

    Which begs the question, what happens to these "movement progressive blogs" should Obama fall flat on his face?

    I "hope" it's what I think will happen (hint, the same thing happened to the far right blogs because Bush failed miserably).

    I call it the Kindergarden Class (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by thereyougo on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:58:07 PM EST
    kids with computers and potty mouths.

    LOL* (none / 0) (#132)
    by AnninCA on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:07:44 PM EST
    That's what my son keeps telling me.  :)

    Bowers in the Desert (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by tdraicer on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:16:04 PM EST
    Wow, Bowers sure marched a long way into an intellectual desert just to some up with a silly justification for backing Obama.

    I suppose when you have nothing intelligent to say the Medium HAS to be the Message.

    Oh My God - just kill me now... (5.00 / 4) (#136)
    by Anne on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:16:30 PM EST
    Must everything be about Clinton and Obama?  Everything?  And must it always be about somehow making Obama the winner of everything?

    Give me a break, pleeeease, and send help to all these posters who seem hell-bent to turn this into the net-rots.

    Am I the only one who wonders how Chris and Josh Marshall and Markos and Jane Hamsher and Arianna and others expect me to ever want to be on whatever bandwagon they're driving through the toobz? - they are killing their credibility, and giving us all a much harder way to go to actually move things in a more progressive direction.

    And I wonder if it ever occurs to these people that Obama may not actually be all that progressive - at least as I always understood the concept.  I have heard enough GOP/right-wing talking points from Obama than I ever wanted to hear from someone who has (D) after his name.

    So, if they're wondering about the health of the progressive movement, they might want to think a little bit about backing someone who actually IS progressive.  And not shutting out anyone who disagrees.  Or mocking them.  Obama's huge internet presence, his massive internet ATM and a (D) does not automatically bestow the "progressive" label to his movement, and if they would just look a little closer, they might see that it's a Movement of One.  The One.  The Only.  Barack Obama.

    A t best, the more honest, progressive... (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by santarita on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:40:32 PM EST
    supporters of Obama understand that his stated policies are not all that progressive or at least not that different from the policies of Hillary that they don't believe are progressive.  What they do believe about Obama seems to be (a) he is being vague (if not, deceptive) about his true radical nature and/or (b) he is not all that progressive but will be forced to be by his supporters once he is in power.  

    Supporting a candidate on these beliefs is strangely anti-intellectual.


    actually (none / 0) (#160)
    by dws3665 on Mon May 05, 2008 at 02:24:40 PM EST
    Jane Hamsher has, imho, been much more reasonable than the others you cite there.

    Try going over there and making a case for (none / 0) (#162)
    by Anne on Mon May 05, 2008 at 02:37:07 PM EST
    Clinton, or criticizing Obama.  It may not be Jane, specifically, who is responsible for the piling on when it happens, but it's her site, and it undermines the whole meaning of "progressive."

    I think what has shocked me about so many of these blogs is the unwillingness to be at all open-minded and willing to listen - that's something I always thought was GOP/right-wing territory.  I have no peoblem with someone challenging my opinions, asking me to back up my assertions with links, or giving me information that might allow me to think differently about something, but the personal attacks accompanied by cheering (jeering?) sections do not advance the discussion.  


    agreed (none / 0) (#178)
    by dws3665 on Mon May 05, 2008 at 10:25:29 PM EST
    the commenters there are insane. I don't think Jane is, however.

    Obama's illusory coalition (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by pixelpusher on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:18:18 PM EST
    Obama's coalition is going to fall apart more the worse the economy gets.  Not only is it a hodgepodge of demographics, but the legions of youngish, white-collar middle-class strivers who make up his biggest cohort aren't even going to be able to stick together as a coherent interest group.  The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer, and this rarefied class of Americans grown in the hothouse atmosphere of easy credit will find itself ripped apart by economic reality.

    And Chris Bowers is going to be back home living off his parents within 2 years and mercifully his bloviations will probably cease... unless he doesn't actually become the brownshirt he's always dreamed of being (God save us).

    As impossible as it may be for some Obama fanatics to grasp, the future does not belong to them.  The world isn't their oyster.  It's not "their turn."  Their turn will never come.  So many of his most enthusiastic demographics are in actuality rootless people wandering across America with no real home communities, no real connection to local politics, and when the economic hammer really falls, they're doomed to be herded like sheep.  Ironically it is the tough old birds back in the rust belt communities who are going to be holding a better hand.  At least they own their homes without mortgages... and their "knuckle-dragging" children are still in town to take care of them.

    When the Obama bubble finally bursts - as it must - a lot of these netrooters will, sensibly, be migrating back to their places of family origin to take up real politics on real ground... others will form roof-gardening communes in the desert... and the really unlucky hindmost will be scooped up by demagogues and cultists.

    Obamism is merely old fashioned American exceptionalism and triumphalism clothed in a "multicultural" garment.  Like the netroots bubble, it is doomed.  Obama may make it to the White House but he will not have any army behind him to make his presidency successful.

    Reality is never far away (none / 0) (#170)
    by Camorrista on Mon May 05, 2008 at 06:03:24 PM EST
    As impossible as it may be for some Obama fanatics to grasp, the future does not belong to them.  The world isn't their oyster.  It's not "their turn."

    This is the scary part, isn't it?  

    That a huge number of people--especially young people--seem to believe that the right education and the right motives, and a lot of smooth chatter can move mountains and part oceans.  If only they(in the figure of their hero) had their hands on the levers on power, the Iraq occupation would end, Iran would forgo nuclear power, Osama bin Laden would disband al Queda, China would pay its menial workers $10 an hour, GM would re-patriate all its auto factories, American banks would declare a moratorium on foreclosures, Guantanomo would be turned into a Club Carib, all private colleges would forgive all student loans, JP Morgan would take over the Social Security system, the Mayo Clinic would run Medicare, all movies and music would be free for downloading, Net Neutrality would be written into the Constitution, Ticketmaster would distribute decent seats fairly, and Judd Apatow would be named Secretary of Health & Human Services (& Sexual Anxiety).

    To this group, the New Millenium, Nirvana, Utopia--choose your own label--is never more than a mouse click away.  Blood, sweat and tears are no longer necessary to achieve anything; good thoughts and good talk (and a fashionable degree) are more than enough.  

    To quote Miranda:

        O brave new world
        That hath such people in't!


    "progressive" (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by TheRealFrank on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:20:15 PM EST
    In the blogosphere, the word "progressive" has long lost its original meaning, and now just means "anyone who agrees with me". It is often used with a dose of arrogance.

    It seems that we can now add "Creative Class" to that, which is a term that is even arrogant in itself.

    A lot of lefty blogs have thoroughly discredited themselves during this primary season. They had an opportunity to make a difference. People were starting to take notice. But now they're just another source of arrogant punditry. If I wanted arrogant punditry, I would just read the editorials in the traditional newspapers. Blogs were supposed to be different. They're not.

    Nah* (none / 0) (#141)
    by AnninCA on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:23:27 PM EST
    Not one bit different.  Just the coffee shop on the net.  :)

    Indeed, I could always sense (none / 0) (#152)
    by eric on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:56:12 PM EST
    that many of these people aren't really liberals at all.  They are just democrats who are really into the process of politics.  Student council types.  Many don't seem to be especially passionate about any of the "progressive" or "liberal" causes.  Instead, its about polls and elections and winning, etc.  It could be about anything, really, it just so happens that they are dems.

    Dems? (5.00 / 1) (#164)
    by oldpro on Mon May 05, 2008 at 02:54:17 PM EST
    You really think they're Dems?  What's the evidence?

    'Not being a Republican' is not the same thing as 'being a Dem.'


    4 things about Obama fans (5.00 / 2) (#139)
    by wurman on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:20:16 PM EST
    At my local Democratic Party convention, the Sen. Obama supporters outnumbered the Sen. Clinton group about 2 to 1.  On some key votes, they had 68%, others as low as 58%.

    1. They are not specifically computer literate.  They have a facile ability with games, IM, vanity websites, P2P, etc., but not much skill at digging into information, data mining & cross-referencing.  They seldom click a link & check a source & they don't know how to make a link.

    2. I spoke to a dozen or so who don't see a connection between the massive resources of the internet & their use of usually only the communications aspects.

    3. Twenty or so had no sense(s) of history, even about their communication devices, which took place entirely in their lifetimes.  Bandwidth is a mystery, processor speeds are in terms that they cannot explain in real meaning (bits, bytes, gigs); it's as if they flick a light switch & don't know that the electricity comes from a power generating facility.

    4. About 50 of them, in caucus, lacked any awareness that their actions have consequences.  It's as if they literally don't realize that Mommy & Daddy's vote for "W" is why junior & missy can't find a job & there's a war in Iraq & a war in Afghanistan.  They do have enough sense to hate the war & "believe" that Sen. Obama will do something about it.

    And for some utterly idiotic reason that is not fathomable, the folks who want to "crash the gates" seem to think that Sen. Obama will not be in there drinking bottled water, eating shrimp & accepting donations from the K-street krowd.

    this is what they have become (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:39:47 PM EST

    Monday, May 05, 2008
    Slate: Rumors of more Monicas

    courtesy of Ablog.

    Hmm (none / 0) (#154)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon May 05, 2008 at 02:05:38 PM EST
    Obama must really be expecting some bad news tomorrow.

    To Chris Bowers (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by Stellaaa on Mon May 05, 2008 at 02:21:16 PM EST
    Take all the  comments from this thread and you will find a better analysis.  

    Heh (4.92 / 13) (#6)
    by Steve M on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:42:48 AM EST
    If the Obama campaign can change the principles of the movement so quickly, perhaps there isn't a movement at all.

    Even though it's patently obvious, it's still always nice to see someone acknowledge that there's no good reason the progressive netroots should be 100% in the tank for Barack Obama.

    I'm reminded of a diary I wrote in which I noted that the "progressive" arguments I hear for Obama on the blogs don't always resemble the progressive arguments I'm used to hearing:

    I don't think these people are being dishonest at all when they seek to redefine "progressivism" from how I understand the term.  Rather, it increasingly seems to me that they simply understand "progressive" to mean whatever Barack Obama happens to be for.  If Obama makes a disdainful comment about unions, well then, unions are no longer an essential part of the progressive movement, they're just a special interest.  Ultimately you arrive in a place where progressivism is not about Paul Krugman's economic arguments, it's not about the netroots agenda, it's simply about "bringing people together" and restructuring "our participatory form of government," as the above comments suggest.  It's almost as if the rest of us had no idea what progressivism meant before Obama came along.

    Progressivism. . . (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:47:11 AM EST
    a one-size-fits-all political movement.

    Clinton may have lost it all... (none / 0) (#41)
    by Salo on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:54:15 AM EST
    ...when she called herself a Modern Progressive.

    Progressives (none / 0) (#158)
    by Stellaaa on Mon May 05, 2008 at 02:19:19 PM EST
     My definition is evolving.  They are united by who and what they don't like.  They don't like Bush, they don't like the Clintons, they don't like the war, they don't like the working class, they don't like not cool or hip people.  But ask them what in God's name do they like?  and what do they propose to do about things they don't like?  And they will come up with some ironic, pop culture sarcasm and a whimsical outfit to wear for the event.  They will spend more time on the look, than on outcome.  

    Heh, check out their comments.  They all mimic each other.  It's a movement based on excluding rather than including.  That is why they killed the unity pony.  


    If Obama Is What Defines Progressive, (5.00 / 6) (#45)
    by MO Blue on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:56:18 AM EST
    I am more than happy to going back to being a liberal since Obama wants no part of that identity.

    I could never handle throwing out long held principles, values and issues on a daily basis just to keep my Obama progressive card.


    Well (5.00 / 6) (#65)
    by Steve M on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:03:16 PM EST
    Back when MyDD had a higher quality of diaries, I enjoyed reading arguments from people about why their candidate is more progressive.

    I am a former Edwards supporter and, while I have nothing against Hillary, I never imagined thinking of her as particularly progressive.  But then I read some diaries from Hillary supporters arguing, for example, that Hillary's health care plan is progressive because competition between private and public insurers will lead us to the single-payer system we really want.

    Buy the argument or not, it's still what I consider a progressive argument for a candidate.  And enough of those arguments eventually won me over.

    The reason I wrote the diary I quoted from is that the "progressive" arguments from Obama supporters were starting to lose me.  They weren't arguing for substantive policy results that I'd consider progressive, they were arguing that being a progressive is about making all these policy-type changes that Obama advocates for.  And it seemed to me that, back before Obama started running for President, I didn't know a single person who defined "progressive" this way.


    which direction... (5.00 / 3) (#111)
    by p lukasiak on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:46:18 PM EST
    the "progressives" who have been co-opted by the Obama candidacy are people who are all about "Crashing the Gates" -- which direction you turn once the gates are down is subordinate to tearing down the gates.

    Us "liberals" have always insisted upon turning left -- we could care less if the gates are broken down, or if we get them opened, as long as we go left once we're inside.


    I remember (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon May 05, 2008 at 02:09:03 PM EST
    that diary. It was excellent. You were very sharp to recognize early on that "progressive" is whatever Obama says it is.

    Actually, I think that lots of them have come to the conclusion that a lot of voters in the center and right have come to: That Obama is very far left because he is an AA.


    Ditto (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by AnninCA on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:14:12 PM EST
    My one funny memory about explaining to my son what "we" were about happened when he signed up for ROTC.  I will never forget him cowering in his bed while I marched and explained that we simply do not volunteer for war or for killing people.  That's that.  LOL*  I mean, I sounded like the "witch mother" who haunts you and makes you seek therapy.

    Yesterday, I had another such moment.  We were putting along enjoying our politics talk, but then I got started that this business of this election truly does cut the pretenders from the real liberals.

    You cannot, I explained in that 'witchy' voice, allow sexism, ageism, or any other ism and then claim you're on the right side of racism.

    Doesn't work that way.

    Just doesn't work.


    That is exactly the problem. (5.00 / 2) (#125)
    by TomP on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:00:34 PM EST
    Well said, Mo Blue.

    There are things progressives/liberals/the left have fought for and we are not giving up just because Obama might want to this year.

    It is enthrallment to a person and that is not progressive.

    Say it loud and say it proud: I am a progressive populist.  I will not turn my back on the working class and its concerns for any person.


    You have it wrong. (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Faust on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:18:24 PM EST
    You write:

    Even though it's patently obvious, it's still always nice to see someone acknowledge that there's no good reason the progressive netroots should be 100% in the tank for Barack Obama.

    Chris Bowers is in fact saying that there is a very good reason that the netroots are in the tank for Obama. He's just saying it has nothing to do with fixed precepts.


    Well (none / 0) (#90)
    by Steve M on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:24:30 PM EST
    you make a good point.  Perhaps my phrase "no good reason" was a little too subjective.

    Well I think you are pointed in the right (none / 0) (#95)
    by Faust on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:30:10 PM EST
    direction, but it is important to understanding what Bowers is saying to note that there is a logic to what is happening, it's just a "new" logic.

    I think there is def something to what Chris is saying myself. It's certainly a theory that offers a good expanation for the phenomenon of Obama's candidacy and the way the "netroots" have responded to it.


    It doesn't (none / 0) (#131)
    by Same As It Ever Was on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:07:30 PM EST
    do you really think the netroots is in the tank for Obama because he's stronger on process issues and net neutrality?  I'll give you that his anti-lobbyist rhetoric may be part of the appeal.  But if there's no more than that to the progressive movement on the internet, then the netroots are both sickeningly devoid of principle and potentially destabilizing in the most negative sense of the word.

    And I say this as an Obama support.  

    I think Bowers is wrong.


    Well I don't think that the theory is (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by Faust on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:31:34 PM EST
    APPEALING to contemplate. It's a theory that meshes well with Bower's postmodern tendencies, and someone so clearly schooled in post-modernism is bound to come up with some theories that have a strong tinge of cynicism in them.

    Nor do I think the theory is comprehensivly explicative, or even proven.

    But it IS TRUE that on several issues...such as FOX and in my opinion on the issue of Wright, the Obama supporters have absolutely turned on a dime.

    Actually I think Clinton supporters have done somthing similar with the gas tax.

    The partisanosphere has certainly revealed a remarkable fluidity at the level of it's "fixed precepts" in my opinion.

    Bower's theory offers a perspective that can make some sense of some of these things.


    Perhaps . . . (none / 0) (#150)
    by Same As It Ever Was on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:53:20 PM EST
    but I think you've hit on Occam's Razor in your comment.  It's less about the netroots than it is about partisanship.  The netroots are hardly monolithic.  As are many of the commenters here, MyDD is staunchly pro-Clinton and you see some shockingly anti-progressive statements made there, just as you would on DailyKos.

    It is partisanship combined with the fact that most in the netroots self identify as progressives that leads to contradictions.  The fact is neither candidate can reasonably said to have a perfect progressive scorecard and so the partisans battle over which is more progressive without crediting the progressive credentials of their opponents or the weaknesses of their candidate of choice.


    the "creative class" becomes the.... (none / 0) (#84)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:19:24 PM EST
    "lazy thinking class." I guess they were all just looking for a leader who could release them of their burden.

    It's weird how thoroughly long time (4.90 / 11) (#15)
    by lorelynn on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:46:59 AM EST
    progressives are left out of this particular equation. I'm certain that Jeralyn, myself and a whole lot of other people have a much longer history of being involved in progressive causes than a lot of Obama-bots. It's weird how we are no longer considered progressives because we don't support someone who isn't including universal healthcare in his platform.

    If it's between Obama and Clinton for what I've understood since the mid-seventies to be the progressive movement, then it's Clinton by a mile. If Obama is the answer, then I don't undersand the question.

    Yes. (5.00 / 4) (#54)
    by madamab on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:59:33 AM EST
    Unlike "progressive creative class" bloggers Kos and JMM, I marched against the Iraq war before it started. I marched for abortion rights in 1989 in DC when I was in college. I think people like me, and there are millions and millions, are the base of the progressive movement, and we are the ones that the OFB have discarded like last year's Hummer.

    If they are indeed members of some movement, then thank Jeebus I'm not a part of it. Seems more authoritarian than progressive to me.


    antiwar sentiment (none / 0) (#68)
    by Salo on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:03:55 PM EST
    is the only thing glueing Obama's coalition together.  Even that sentiment is going to look shallow if Obama wins office and keeps 80,000 troops in Iraq.

    It'll be justified in the most interesting terms immaginable.


    You nailed it (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by feet on earth on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:20:01 PM EST
    we were and still are in working for Progressive Causes
    Obama's followers call themselves a Progressive Movement

    When Progressive Movement doesn't translate into supporting and working hard for Progressive Causes (Universal HC, Gov. SS, etc.), then the movement is like a ballon losing air: cycling around and going down.

    I am writing this while Obama on CNN is talking about change, turning the page on Washington, etc.
    He sound like that ad "Head On", "Head On": irritating


    Ronkseattle wrote about that (5.00 / 3) (#101)
    by katiebird on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:36:35 PM EST
    at Confluence about a month ago:

    OBAMA: Apply directly to the forehead


    I love your ad (5.00 / 4) (#106)
    by Salo on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:42:06 PM EST
    but your product doesn't work!

    LMAO (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by blogtopus on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:46:22 PM EST
    That made my day. Thank YOU!

    Can we go back to (5.00 / 2) (#105)
    by ruffian on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:39:24 PM EST
    calling ourselves Liberals and let the Obamabots have the Progressive Movement label, since they are so afraid of being called Liberal?  

    They don't seem to stand for much beyond electing Obama and making a name for themselves writing polemics that half the readers on the most educated, thoughtful blog around can't understand.


    It's odd to (5.00 / 3) (#110)
    by mikeyleigh on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:44:09 PM EST
    find myself being called a racist, a war-monger, a conservatives at many of the other blogs (especially TPM).  I have voted for black politicians like Barbara Jordan, Mickey Leland, and Shelia Jackson Lee for the past thrity-five years or so.  I organized anti-war rallies in my native Texas and across the south in the late '60s and early '70s.  I definitely don't remember the Reagan years as 'The Reagan Revolution" and worked hard to combat so many of that time's more illiberal tendencies.  Yet I find myself mocked, despised, ignored by today's so-called progressives.  Strange days!

    i'll bet a lot of em (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by Salo on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:47:40 PM EST
    are former Bush voters who feel like projecting thier own misguided votes on you.

    Well . . . (none / 0) (#126)
    by Same As It Ever Was on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:03:09 PM EST
    the question Bowers is asking is which is better for the medium.  He implicitly concedes that the movement as he sees it is essentially hollow.

    Hogwash... (4.90 / 10) (#34)
    by ctrenta on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:52:53 AM EST
    ... if we actually think that Obama's starting a new progressive movement... guess again.

    Adolph Reed, Jr. on Democracy Now!

    What Obama has put together is not so much a coalition as a fan club... I mean, you don't build a movement around a political campaign. I know I've heard people say that, well--you know, Kool-Aid drinkers have said that, well, you know, this could be--he could set in motion forces like those that moved FDR in a progressive direction, those that moved JFK in a progressive direction. But as Will Jones, the historian at the University of Wisconsin, has pointed out, you know, that comparison fails, because in each of those cases there were dynamic, rooted social movements that had been pushing for progressive agendas with popular bases on the ground prior to the election of the president.

    You know, you can't compare--frankly, I think the comparison of the Obama coalition to either, you know, the Montgomery Bus Boycott or the Greensboro sit-ins or the Gastonia textile strike, you know, just fall completely flat, because this is a candidate- centered politics.

    End of story IMO.

    Fan club politics (5.00 / 2) (#155)
    by pixelpusher on Mon May 05, 2008 at 02:06:56 PM EST
    Good observation.  And I might add, that Obama is just another "self nominated candidate" - a phenomenon first discussed at length by Alan Ehrenhalt in his 1991 book "The United States of Ambition."  Like most candidates since Reagan (perhaps the last true standard-bearer of any standard we've had running for president, except maybe Mondale or Jackson in '84), Obama was plucked from obscurity by a group of backers who plugged him into an available presidential campaign.  Obama was not sent for by any existing political coalition.  (neither were the Clintons, by the way, not even in '92)  He was self-nominated, and his candidacy depends -- as all modern candidacies seem to -- on his ability to assemble and mobilize a fan base.  

    Which is why, on the blogs, you have these periodic soul-searching displays where his fans wonder if he's "jumping the shark" with this or that speech... and all the peanut gallery suggestions that follow.


    God bless their souls (4.88 / 9) (#21)
    by Edgar08 on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:49:03 AM EST
    Why don't they just wear T-shirts with the words "Co-opt me now!" on them.

    I thought at first I had better say the conclusion is wrong about Obama being a better fit with the medium until I realized what a huge criticism of Obama that is given the definition of the medium so described.

    If Cinton isn't aligned with that, just one more reason to vote for her in my opnion.

    Some more irony (5.00 / 5) (#107)
    by joanneleon on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:42:16 PM EST
    to complement your post:

    Clinton's campaign regularly reaches out to the netroots bloggers, including them on conference calls, etc. while Obama's campaign ignores them and doesn't include them in anything.  In fact, he goes on Fox News and essentially disowns the netroots.

    There is basically no blogger communications going on as far as I can tell, the kind so critical to a good blog strategy like Tim Tagaris ran with the Lamont campaign.  The Clinton campaign does a much better job, down to little details such as inviting bloggers on press calls.


    Anyway, it's clear that Obama's campaign has not fixed its relationship with the blogs and the liberal internet space... The Obama campaign could sure use a Peter Daou type.

    Peter Daou is Clinton's internet director.

    He goes on to say that even McCain's organization does a better job at including bloggers.  Yet, Obama is the logical choice for the netroots?


    It paints a pattern, doesn't it (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by blogtopus on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:51:29 PM EST
    Just like Bush was with the press, who fawned on him despite his dismissive treatment of them.

    Now with Obama, who dismisses the netroots, and THEY STILL FAWN ON HIM. Same kinds of personalities must be involved, I suspect. The netroots, in personality, are indistinguishable from the press.

    What's next?


    Both of your comments are scary -- there's also a (none / 0) (#168)
    by jawbone on Mon May 05, 2008 at 04:51:11 PM EST
    post at Corrente that maybe Obama's backers are trying to do a leveraged buyout of the Democratic Party, making it their party. A takeover....  Look what sheer numbers did to Perot's "movement" party, leading to Buchanan as their candidate!

    Here's the link for the Adolph Reed apprearance at Democracy Now.

    Thanks for the heads up to that discussion.


    Leave the Netroots for two weeks... (4.85 / 7) (#20)
    by citizen53 on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:48:53 AM EST
    and when you come back, notice how self-important and irrelevant it actually is.

    Just a bunch of noise and people being mean to each other.  Rarely anything worthwhile.

    Sometimes it takes a step back and view from the outside to see things in perspective.

    Process v. Policy (4.83 / 6) (#23)
    by BDB on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:50:26 AM EST
    A post at Corrente suggesting that is the real debate going on among democrats.

    Process v. Policy (5.00 / 5) (#42)
    by litigatormom on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:54:20 AM EST
    Is this the difference between Unity Ponies and Universal Healthcare?

    Good post (5.00 / 4) (#43)
    by Steve M on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:54:52 AM EST
    That's a very smart site.

    Obama's vision of reforming health care by televising negotiations with industry lobbyists live on C-SPAN, with experts standing by to rebut arguments that aren't factual, is a great illustration of the distinction.

    I happen to think it's literally an insane idea.  Many Obama supporters seem to think we really would develop a national consensus for universal health care if we did exactly that.  Fix the process, they reason, and the policy will be exactly what we want.


    The truth is... (5.00 / 4) (#51)
    by Salo on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:58:39 AM EST
    ...it would need to involve all sorts of ugly bribes, backstabs and pay offs to get the Health Insurance Industry to back off and go away willingly.

    It couldn't be done transparently.


    You mean, when he says (5.00 / 5) (#56)
    by litigatormom on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:00:15 PM EST
    that he wants to bring everyone together, he means everyone?  Does that mean that we don't get to enact universal healthcare until everyone reaches consensus?

    Because we're already not getting anything done, even without consensus.  So why bother to achieve unity if you end up in the same nowhere place?


    It seems to me (5.00 / 7) (#75)
    by Steve M on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:10:38 PM EST
    there is this notion among some liberals that we're just not explaining ourselves well enough, that if we could sit everyone down and get them to understand the arguments from both sides, they'd inevitably agree with us in the end.  Now, of course I think we have better arguments, but persuasion is a more complicated process than that.

    Being a good liberal, I may have felt that way myself at one time, but I think I got over it in my 20s or thereabouts.

    There is this grandly idealistic notion among some Obama supporters that he's going to be this philosopher-king who will patiently listen to both sides and then, when he decrees "I find the progressive argument to be more persuasive!" everyone will just nod and go along with it, because they figure he's such a reasonable guy they can't disagree.

    The only way you ever get consensus on the big issues is by fighting and winning decisively, like the way we don't really fight Republicans on guns any more.  Some people really think Obama can bring the country together on difficult issues like the Iraq war just because he had some Republican co-sponsors for his ethics reform bill.  I can't get over the feeling that some of these people are very, very new to politics, or at least experiencing a second childhood.


    I completely agree. (5.00 / 3) (#81)
    by AnninCA on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:15:53 PM EST
    The problem with this convoluted writing is that there is convoluted thinking going on.

    That's obvious.

    And frankly, I'm lying when I pretend it's a writing problem.

    It's not.  They are not thinking straight.  

    OK....enuf true confessions for one day.  :)


    Exactly (5.00 / 8) (#88)
    by litigatormom on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:23:12 PM EST
    Consensus about Social Security was achieved AFTER the New Deal was enacted.  Republicans went down kicking and screaming about it.  Part of the reason Eisenhower won in 1952 (aside from his status of super-warhero/icon) was that he accepted most of the New Deal and campaigned on preserving it. Social Security first, consensus later.

    It wasn't until the mid- to late-Sixties that a new generation of New Deal haters arose.  They were the ideological fathers of "the Reagan Revolution." You know, that "transformative" president -- much of his "transformation" was about destroying the existing consensus about New Deal programs, bit by bit. Not to mention consensus about the Civil Rights statutes.  Dubya got ahead of himself when he decided the time was ripe to formally dismantle Social Security -- the thought that the country was ready to accept his assurances that "privatizing" it wouldn't destroy it, and that a few years of reaping profits in our gangbusters stock market would create a new consensus about the utility of privatizing just about every other government program as well.

    You fight for what you think is right. You get "enough" of a consensus to achieve it.  And then the results, hopefully, bring acceptance, if not consensus, from the dissenters. No progressive reforms are going to be achieved any other way, IMO.


    benign neglect (5.00 / 3) (#119)
    by p lukasiak on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:56:23 PM EST
    and Nixon understood this -- that is what "benign neglect" was all about... preventing the slim majority that supported Great Society programs like AFDC and CETA from achieving general consensus by allowing the inevitable problems that will arise in any social program to fester through "neglect"...

    By not dealing with problems in CETA and welfare, by allowing waste, fraud, and corruption to go unchecked, Nixon effective destroyed job training for poor people for a generation, and made "welfare" a dirty word.


    The problem with this logic (5.00 / 4) (#97)
    by cawaltz on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:33:08 PM EST
    is that it makes the assumption that all folks are reasonable and will act in a reasonable manner. Considering some of the GOP leaders in Congress, I can say there is a legion of folks out there that are not able to connect the dots and no amount of reasoning is going to work with them. The best we can hope for is to achieve a majority consensus and even then we will have to work around obstructionist GOP leaders who will be looking for any opportunity to sabotage progress.

    And... (5.00 / 4) (#118)
    by santarita on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:54:01 PM EST
    it's not so much that there is an inability to connect the dots but an unwillingness to connect the dots and even if they are willing to connect the dots. they see something different when the picture is completed.  There is a fundamental disagreement on the role of government.  

    Getting people together in one room and televising the discussion- isn't that what C-Span does with Congress?  This vision of how to work things out is just plain naive.  


    The funny thing is (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by cawaltz on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:58:48 PM EST
    that many of the people who decry government intervention are the same folks who would come a hollerin' the moment there was a catastrophe in their neighborhood. I don't know if they are unwilling or unable to connect the dots but I do know there is just no reasoning with them.

    explanatory democracy (none / 0) (#157)
    by pixelpusher on Mon May 05, 2008 at 02:18:31 PM EST
    I honestly don't think this is a "liberal" or "progressive" tendency.

    It IS a white-collar tendency.  Think about it: in order to get ahead in the typical office job, you call a meeting and hash out ideas and eventually, the best idea wins (or so you're told).  The idea can be tweaked and developed over time; you don't need a concrete plan, just a concept.

    Blue-collar culture hasn't got time for that sort of time-wasting deliberation.  You work 8 hours, you pick up your check, you go home.  I keep my end of the contract, you keep yours.  End of conversation, until the next round of contract negotiations.


    What It Means Is After Obama Does His (5.00 / 6) (#98)
    by MO Blue on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:33:49 PM EST
    inspirational speech and a few C-Span presentations, if no actual progress is made, it will not be his fault. The voters failed to get enough Republicans to go against their constituents and the insurance companies failed to give up their profit margins even though Obama asked them nicely. No one will have done more to get healthcare for all people than President Obama but others failed to do what they needed to do so it failed.

    That's Because Many Obama Supporters (5.00 / 6) (#83)
    by BDB on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:18:41 PM EST
    particularly among the netroots, are used to working in settings where the best argument wins.  I think that's particularly true of those who aren't that far out of college or grad schools.

    The problem is that it presumes that the best argument wins in politics.  When that's not true.  Some people don't want healthcare reform because it's not in their economic best interests, it's not in their political best interests, or it conflicts with their political ideology to have government involved in what they see as the private sector's job.

    And then there's pure political cowardice that leads to people like Chuck Schumer and Jay Rockefeller backing away from UHC before the democrats even when the WH.  Indeed, in all the rush to blame the failure of healthcare reform on the Clintons, a large part of the problem was that the democrats in Congress were divided, with some working against UHC reform (one of whom, Cooper, is currently Obama's point man on healthcare).

    Politics isn't a graduate studies seminar.  Enacting large-scale reform is an exercise in arm twisting and rewards.  Because if you wait for everyone to agree you're right, it will never happen.  People will just pick your proposal to death.


    early adopters (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by p lukasiak on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:03:30 PM EST
    particularly among the netroots, are used to working in settings where the best argument wins.

    one of the thing that has always bothered me about the A-listers in the prog-blogs is most of  them were "early adopters" of a new technology.  IMHO, understanding the potential of technology to empower oneself is not the same as understanding the potential of political movements to empower everyone.  

    I mean, if you go back to the early days of the blogosphere, blogs were all about personal empowerment.  Of course, blogs wound empowering the early adopters a lot more than everyone else, and since they were all about personal empowerment to begin with, they've run with that ball.  (to the point where one of the worst ideas ever, Bloggingheads TV, is able to attract the 'best and the brightest' bloggers because it provides them with face time, i.e. personal empowerment)


    I truly gave that article a whack (none / 0) (#55)
    by AnninCA on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:00:06 PM EST
    but I didn't follow it.

    My biggest observation in this primary is that there are some really interesting ideas being expressed in such "precious" ways that the message is lost.

    It's sloppy writing, frankly.

    I feel like yelling:  Make it clear, dang it!


    Like, (none / 0) (#175)
    by oldpro on Mon May 05, 2008 at 08:57:47 PM EST
    whatever happened to the simple declarative sentence?

    There's an interesting read there (none / 0) (#99)
    by Edgar08 on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:33:56 PM EST
    But I find the process focussed folks (as they are described there), the folks who believe if you just change the matrix the right policies will fall out are full of it.

    One of the questions that I used to ask kossacks that just infuriated them to know end, was this.

    Gore took money from the pharmaceutical lobby, do you think his ability implement health care reform would have been impacted by these donations?

    Now of course, this is a bit unfair.  It puts some of their loyalties on the line.  Being critical of Gore (especially on policy) is now verboten.

    But every now and again I met someone on dailykos.com who would put the loyalty aside and stay true to his or her position on the lobbyist money issue, and they'd say "Yes.  Gore would not have been able ot implement any effective change to health care because of those donations."

    Not that I agreed of course.


    Head spinning (4.83 / 6) (#35)
    by Step Beyond on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:52:54 AM EST
    . . . [F]rom a "medium is the movement" perspective, the choice between Clinton and Obama isn't really even a choice at all. It's Obama by a mile.

    Why? Did Obama invent the internet?


    No (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by Edgar08 on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:00:45 PM EST
    But he's the candidate that best reflects the internet insofar as the internet stands for nothing.

    Is this "Creative Class" (4.81 / 11) (#4)
    by OrangeFur on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:41:00 AM EST
    moniker, complete with capital letters, now official dogma in the lefty blogosphere?

    Are we trying to alienate as many other voters as we can?

    Why don't we just hold a $1000 fundraiser in a posh mansion in San Francisco and laugh about how provincial and prejudiced all those other voters are?

    Hari Kiri Party (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Salo on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:52:38 AM EST
    Now with added Katana.

    What is the Creative Class? (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by dianem on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:25:51 PM EST
    I've seen it used, generally in a mocking way, but I've never seen it defined and I've been too embarassed to ask (us middle aged women hate to appear as ignorant as people seem to think we are). Well... I'm asking. Any takers?

    something like Bobo. (5.00 / 2) (#103)
    by Salo on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:37:38 PM EST
    but nicer.

    Its a term created by Dr. Richard Florida, (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by tree on Mon May 05, 2008 at 02:03:29 PM EST
    a social scientist. More here
    Lefty bloggers who use the term in a non derogatory way tend to include themselves in the appellation. Those who use it in a derogatory way are usually mocking the pretentions and elitism of the first group of bloggers.

    Oh, dear...that's me! (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by dianem on Mon May 05, 2008 at 02:34:37 PM EST
    I should have known to check Wikipedia. Is there anything they don't cover? Thanks. I'm a bit surprised to find out that I appear to be a member of the "Creative Class".  I don't think I'm going to start referring to myself that way, though. I think I'm in the group that thinks it's a bit pretentious. I like "Professional", better.  Well, it seems to fit better when it's not my slowest work time of year, but it will fit again when things warm up and people start coming back into the office to give me (creative) work.

    When I hear so much about. . . (4.80 / 10) (#12)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:45:32 AM EST
    the "movement" I think "gastro-enterologist".

    A movement would be greatly to the benefit of people who are so full of it (and themselves).

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:49:15 AM EST
    Point to the bald headed man with a lisp.

    Gosh Larry (5.00 / 8) (#26)
    by Steve M on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:51:18 AM EST
    I just got done pimping one of my old diaries and now you've made me bring up another one.

    In the online communities like Daily Kos, the vast majority of participants are drawn to Obama's message.  For the most part, we are activists, and the idea of joining a movement for change feels natural to us.  We see younger voters in general drawn to Obama for much the same reason; they have the energy and the passion for change and they want to be part of making it happen.  They're not looking for Hillary to solve all their problems while they stand by passively.

    But not everyone in the Democratic Party is looking to be part of a movement.  Many traditional, mainstream Democratic voters - the working class, the elderly, the downtrodden, the single mothers - are simply looking for a hand with their problems.  It's not that they want a handout.  It's that they already have trouble finding enough hours in the day, and if the government can make things a little easier for them, that's what they're looking for.  They have no time to join a movement.

    Indeed. I like[d] that post (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by andgarden on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:53:22 AM EST
    Obama's movement (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by Salo on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:55:38 AM EST
    is self evidently a simulacra.

    It even has a studium and punctum.


    Yes but (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by cawaltz on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:03:18 PM EST
    when you ask for details on what change is going to look like they get all sketchy. I got told all the time I was a policy wonk on Dkos because I wanted to know how we got to universal from Obama's health care proposal. Edwards at least explained how we got there(and Hillary pretty much adopted his plan sans the enforcement mechanism). I'm not averse to change. That said, I've seen "change" in the last eight years and none of it has been good. I don't think it is too much to ask to explain HOW the political landscape will look with the changes you are planning to make.

    I must confess. . . (none / 0) (#50)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:58:33 AM EST
    (getting myself in trouble here again) to an instinctive distrust of activists.  An activist in a particular area to which they've come through personal experience or interest I have the utmost respect for.  But for someone who's a general-purpose activist in principle?  It seems too much like being an outrage junky.

    "What you an activist for?"

    "I dunno?  What you got?"


    At my age.. (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by mrjerbub on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:51:48 AM EST
    It's the highlight of my day.

    Help: I'm trapped in a Woody Allen movie! (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by andgarden on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:51:52 AM EST
    thank you (none / 0) (#24)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:50:39 AM EST
    I was trying to come up with way of saying this that would not get deleted.

    How about "this movement belongs in (none / 0) (#28)
    by MarkL on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:51:27 AM EST

    I always said (none / 0) (#49)
    by waldenpond on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:58:21 AM EST
    it wasn't the sink he needed to be worried about having thrown at him.

    Whaaaa? (4.80 / 5) (#38)
    by rooge04 on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:53:12 AM EST
    Is he saying the Internet is running for office?

    Let's vote for him!

    My Write-in Candidate (none / 0) (#117)
    by blogtopus on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:53:59 PM EST
    Translation (4.80 / 5) (#69)
    by hlr on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:04:02 PM EST
    if loving Obama is wrong,
    I don't want to be right.

    And we (4.75 / 4) (#19)
    by Molly Pitcher on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:48:03 AM EST
    are the ones we have been waiting for!

    (then I am out of luck!)

    My interpretation: (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by madamab on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:51:29 AM EST
    We have the change he's looking for!

    with the hot flashes to go with it (5.00 / 2) (#109)
    by ruffian on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:43:40 PM EST
    speaking for myself only of course

    That is way too funny (none / 0) (#133)
    by wasabi on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:12:43 PM EST
    We have the change he is looking for!

    Mind if I steal that line?


    Go for it! (none / 0) (#142)
    by madamab on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:26:13 PM EST
    It was on my blog on Friday - I posted some proposed bumper sticker slogans I made up, for all three candidates.

    I got some good contributions from commenters, too.

    I must admit that one was my favorite. :-)


    Wuh? (4.75 / 4) (#57)
    by Democratic Cat on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:00:26 PM EST
    Perhaps the de-centralization of mass media consumption, the public sphere interaction, and cultural production brought on by the Internet is the progressive movement.

    If that's what the progressive movement is, count me out. My progressive movement is about human rights, universal suffrage, social and economic justice.... Or are those tenets passe among the creative class?

    I guess you and I are (5.00 / 6) (#72)
    by litigatormom on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:05:20 PM EST
    "low information progressives."

    High time for Netroots 2.0. nt (4.75 / 4) (#73)
    by Joelarama on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:08:25 PM EST

    Does it not give Bowers pause (4.66 / 3) (#18)
    by madamab on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:47:34 AM EST
    to think that Axelrove's forte is astroturfing?

    Who ARE these people on the Internets that are so rah-rah for Obama?

    And meanwhile, what about the real KKKarl Rove? My husband is convinced that he's behind the "turning" of the previously-known-as-left blogosphere, and in fact, that a lot of Obama's "grassroots" support comes from Republican bigwigs who would rather run against Obama than Clinton.

    I call them "Axelrod's Army" (none / 0) (#96)
    by dianem on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:32:44 PM EST
    It's simpler than "Axelrod's Astroturfers", which would work as well. Also known as "obamabots", since they seem to have a bot-like way of searching the web for Obama references. They were all over Salon for a while, but seem to have toned down lately. I suspect that they are being diverted to GOTV efforts in NC, since losing NC would be a major hit on Obama's campaign.

    You could always spot them easily. They would pop up virtually immediately whenever anybody wrote anything remotely sympathetic to Clinton or negative about Obama, claiming bias and bringing up Obama talking points. They always got in early, and always wrote clean, short posts with no passion, just reason. The names often changes, I'm sure that they had different accounts. But the pattern was always the same.


    This is Grad School Chris speaking (4.50 / 2) (#5)
    by andgarden on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:42:27 AM EST
    or rather, stringing together words from the english language to mean. . .something.

    It's the lefty version of Protein (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by MarkL on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:43:25 AM EST

    Don't read it (none / 0) (#10)
    by andgarden on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:44:51 AM EST
    Did he, perchance, graduate from (none / 0) (#163)
    by oculus on Mon May 05, 2008 at 02:43:05 PM EST
    the Prosperity Institute?

    and here I had become convinced that we (4.50 / 2) (#25)
    by jes on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:50:51 AM EST
    were not single isse voters. (Sorry the keyboard lost a critical key - no yo anymore.)

    No issue voters actually (5.00 / 5) (#53)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:59:23 AM EST
    Bingo (5.00 / 5) (#89)
    by AnninCA on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:24:11 PM EST
    That's what I've noticed.  The blogging world is incredibly personality-driven and media-driven, while complaining about both.

    I never watch the TV pundits.  They scream.  I don't like it.

    And I noticed it was impossible to discuss issues on some of the blogs.  

    What I decided was that they are wanna-be political analysts.....all about nuanced interpretations.

    Except real voters don't think that way.


    Clinton (4.50 / 2) (#40)
    by lilburro on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:53:38 AM EST
    is too old for the Internet?  Or, uh... ?

    As far as the spread of information goes, the blogosphere seems to specialize in the spread of DISinformation, and exiles those that spread contradictory information (the pro-Clinton bloggers).  Eventually the internet should kill this tendency off (as the massive info triumphs over the blogging few, the meme makers).  Kos said hopefully the pro-Clinton bloggers find a place to go - its a big Internet.  It is, and they will, while the mini-media (A-list bloggers) will continue to emulate the big media.  And when it's all over, the blogs will have nothing to say regarding issues whatsoever.  

    I take my internet information with a large (none / 0) (#140)
    by AnninCA on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:22:38 PM EST
    dash of salt.

    And it's clear that Daily KOS is proud to kick out Hillary supporters, along with Huffington Post.

    OK.....but those links they now enjoy, I predict, are about to dry up.

    They are an embarassment to journalism.


    The medium is the movement (none / 0) (#11)
    by Lahdee on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:44:58 AM EST
    If the Creative Class never changes, if the demographic remains the same, then perhaps the medium will have time to define the movement. Until then flash mobs and text messages will rule. Are we capable of pivoting that quickly?

    Contradiction? (none / 0) (#36)
    by Manuel on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:52:55 AM EST
    We should expect other changes in the future, including an inevitable rejection of Obama's ideas on partisanship and Fox News.

    This statement isn't supported in the post.  Indeed, parts of it seem to contradict it.

    Also, I don't quite follow the income inequality argument.  I thought income inequality has been growing.

    The only real parallels (none / 0) (#47)
    by joanneleon on Mon May 05, 2008 at 11:57:29 AM EST
    I see between the progressive movement and the Obama movement is that they are both amorphous.

    I'd say both are (none / 0) (#59)
    by Salo on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:00:48 PM EST
    more-or-less meaningless.

    Both are fueled by an antiwar sentiment that will disapear with the war.


    If Obama is progressive (none / 0) (#63)
    by americanincanada on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:02:33 PM EST
    then I don't want to be. I'll define as liberal, thanks.

    As far as  movement goes...that's not what Obama feels like to me. Clinton, on the other hand...

    Wow.... (none / 0) (#102)
    by Oje on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:37:16 PM EST
    He start capitalizing "creative class."

    honestly (none / 0) (#123)
    by dws3665 on Mon May 05, 2008 at 12:59:56 PM EST
    This reminds of the line from South Park (I confess I used to watch) when the boys, in the process of mocking pretension, say that "those people enjoy the smell of their own ..." er... gaseous expulsions. That's exactly how I read Bowers on this one, wafting it up his own nostrils.

    Stunning Arrogance (none / 0) (#135)
    by Same As It Ever Was on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:16:19 PM EST
    The arrogance of Bowers' post is shocking.  he conflates the netroots and the progressive movement as if the latter is completely subsumed and represented by the former.  

    The result of this conflagration of ego is a so-called movement with no principles whatsoever.

    Fortunately for all of us, I think he couldn't be more wrong about the role of the netroots, the principles of progressivism or what the phenomenon of the Obama "movement" reflects about a significant portion of the electorate.

    I thought I was a progressive (none / 0) (#146)
    by nyawker on Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:36:07 PM EST
    Now I'm confused...I feel like I'm in a classroom listening to a Lit Professor talk about my favorite novel in a way that I can't even recognize it when I read Chris's kak...

    Read the post again (none / 0) (#169)
    by bordenl on Mon May 05, 2008 at 04:53:58 PM EST
    I think what Bowers is saying is that to be worthy of the name of movement, there has to be a social movement alongside any political goals that are wanted from government. The Internet itself is the closest thing he can see to a social movement that can be turned towards being progressive. I don't think he's any happier about it than Matt Stoller or BTD would be. The netroots can get candidates to support some specific political goals such as a responsible FISA or the Responsible Plan to end the war.