If we coulda swung it, I'm sure my wife and I would have enjoyed attending Netroot Nation this year, if only to swap hugs and handshakes and conversation with all the terrific fellow travelers with whom we interact online but rarely have a chance to meet IRL.
However, as Brother Charles Pierce points out, lately when the Liberals tribes gather we find new and exciting ways to carve each other up in public, whereas when the objectively insane Conservative tribes get together, they find a way to fucking well make it rain. Their antics dominate the news cycle and echo onward for weeks, and no Republican of the First Water would dare not make the wingnut hajj to kiss the crazy ring:
Again, having attended both CPAC and Netroots this year, the difference between the power of the two gatherings over the respective political parties to which they generally gravitate was more startling this year than ever before. Certainly, there was loud rumbling of internal discontent at CPAC, too, but there wasn't a prominent Republican in the country that dared not show up. (And there were several panels about the severe mistreatment of the Keystone pipeline by environmental extremists, wah-dee-doo-dah.) CPAC was loud and noisy and fun. Netroots was simply dead-assed. One convention felt like a movement. The other felt like a trade show.
When I attended Netroots in 2007, it felt like a movement. There were hundreds of credentialed journalists from all over the world. Every Democratic candidate running for president (save one) -- and plenty who weren't -- showed up, even at the risk of getting booed (for the record, I in attendance at the Obama breakout session seen in the video above.) And Subcommander Markos swung enough cod to get a place at the table on Meet the Press:
Seven years later, so far as I can tell, the entire net media result of Netroots has been to give Steve Kornacki another reason to talk even more about whether Progressives like "Hillary 2016!", or like-like her on his "Good Morning, New Jersey!" MSNBC teevee show --
-- and a single Politico story about Netroots and..."Hillary 2016!":
...There is hope for Hillary Clinton …Netroots attendees hail from the most liberal corners of the Democratic Party. To them Clinton is simply too conservative on fiscal and foreign policy matters. They see the former New York senator as tight with Wall Street, and she doesn’t strike them as willing to fight for working people the way Warren does.Yet interviews with several attendees suggest it’s not a lost cause for Clinton. If she distances herself from big business, highlights her support for labor — a point that came up several times here, given the big union representation at the conference — and demonstrates she cares about the struggles of ordinary Americans, she could go a long way with this group...
This is all well above my pay grade and in the nearly 10 years I have been blogging, nobody at Liberal CentCom has ever asked my opinion about anything (although the fundraising emails come in every hour on the hour like clockwork), but it gets a little harder every year to rally people to the Cause, when the Cause can't seem to get its shit together enough to not shoot itself gratuitously in the foot.
Not impossible, but every year a little harder than it needs to be.
So even though Mr. Pierce has already used the reference, offhand I can't think of one that is more appropriate: