Monday, July 21, 2014

The View From Outside

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:


Pinkamena said...

And, as inevitable as time, tides, and yearly Madden games, one of our usual cleaver-swingers will be along to tell us how it's not everyone's fault that we carve each other up, it's just the Right-Wing Dinocrat Property Not A Dime's Worth Party's, and if we all just turned our backs on them and voted for whomever promises us the sparkliest, most colorful pony, all our problems would be solved forever - and in the absence of that, we must all not vote or lodge protest votes, even when the result is giving the reins over to utter fucking lunatics, because voting for anyone in the Right-Wing Dinocrat Property Not A Dime's Worth Party is like voting for ten million Gohmerts.

wagonjak said...

I used to enjoy the kids at MSNBC and even Kornacki for awhile (when he was talking about the "Jersey Blubber Mouth!), but I find myself reaching for the remo more and more and switching to a nature show or even a reality show. I guess I needed them for awhile, but I find myself increasingly tired of their rants and humor....and their absolute FOCUS on the "game" of politics rather than substance. Hayes and Maddow DO break a new angle to an old story occasionally, and I appreciate that.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

@Pinkamena for the win!

All I have to add is my observation that the Netroots crested in 2006. We were young(ish) and educated and experienced (four years of losses made us hungry) and dedicated to knocking off those evil Bush bastards. The decline set in with victory in 2008: a lot of people jumped on the bandwagon who don't really fit in with a vanguard party (I'm looking at you, Deadhead).

Maybe we were fools to think we could save the world, and maybe the world just doesn't want to be saved.

Zipperupus said...

I think the reason is graft.

The GOP sees more money in keeping the tribe unified and bellowing about whatever fresh Hell has been concocted by the outrage merchants on the daily.

The money on the left side of the aisle is to be made on wedging us apart. Look no further than Benghazi truthers Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald. Elizabeth Warren makes a boffo speech about the game being rigged? Out come the knives. Her stances on the NSA, Israel, the ACA, etc. Will all be used in a coordinated whisper campaign to undermine her progressive bona fides.

That is the grift.

Anonymous said...

Driftie, I love you. I adore your writing. Live for your wit and turn of phrase. However, since you opened this one up, I just have to say how symptomatic (even you my beloved fellow traveler from the Peoples Popular Front of Where-Ever) can be when you take shots at Greenwald and (OK admittedly not many others). More than not worthy of your time and energy, I just don't get how you don't get it.

Anonymous said...

If you follow the links that come up after the short Monty Python clips finishes, there's a really interesting BBC debate from 1979 between Palin and Cleese on one hand, and some stuffy bishop and Malcolm Muggeridge on the other. They both totally misunderstand the movie and spent quite a bit of verbiage calling it names. Needless to say, they come off every bit as out-of-touch and hopelessly pre-cambrian as you would expect. An interesting time-capsule.

Swede said...

How much is this a function of having a democrat in the White House?

n1ck said...

Divide and conquer isn't just used to divide one group into two. In fact, the best divide and conquer techniques divide one group into two groups where one large group largely identifies with itself as a whole opposed to the other group as a whole. Meanwhile, the other group is divided as many times as possible to make their group less cohesive and more likely to engage in infighting.

Usually you see that with the left wing because of the inherent anti-hierarchical philosophy of the left wing. It means that while we can agree on a whole host of issues in the abstract, actually devoting money/time/effort to solve those issues will divide people into smaller groups based on what that particular group feels needs the most attention.

Hence, while one group literally hates liberals as people, the other group focuses on individual issues to work on, rather than hating conservatives as people.

To sum it up, the left wing has always been and always will be fragmented, especially when it is in power. We aren't interested in preserving the current power structure and inequalities, which means that we're constantly fighting to make the world better, and there are so many areas in which it can be made better that we're going to disagree on where to start and where to focus.

Plus we aren't authoritarian douchebags. Authoritarians love hard and fast rules. We love tearing them down, especially the really arbitrary ones.

It shouldn't be cause for alarm. In fact, it is pretty much accepted as true.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

Monster from the Id said...

Holding leftist political views does not necessarily confer immunity from the temptation to authoritarianism. The Jacobins and the Communists became authoritarian douchebags fast enough--faster than you can say "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others"--once they got their hands on enough power to get away with being ADs.

Meanwhile, the arc of the physical universe is even longer, and it bends towards entropy.