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Comments by YACCS
Thursday, February 02, 2006

A commerical interruption ....with a difference


I'm so cute, look at my tongue

Raising money, taunting trolls......but I want to talk about something a little larger today.

Chris Bowers , Matt Stoller and Kevin Hayden are all doing post-mortums on the Alito fight. And they all make good points, but miss something.

First, we, the netroots, didn't do anything wrong. We created a campaign out of whole cloth and forced the Senate to respond. While that didn't work, it's a powerful tool to have on tap. We did what we could and we did it well, better than I imagined, but.......

The problem is that we're outsiders. People for the American Way, after sitting on their hands, is now raising money after not fighting Alito, using him as a boogieman. NARAL is still backing Lincoln Chafee, despite his refusal to vote for a filibuster, and the rest remain mute as French mimes. PFAW now says "we did all we could" to stop Alito, which is, excuse my French, utter and complete bullshit. Ralph Neas must think we're idiots.

We were the only people in the fight, and they want to collect the money for it.

Second, the Washington insiders think we're their bitches. We exist to raise money, do field work and shut up. Many bloggers are stunned when they get on a conference call with the 527 people and pols.

People were pissed when I went after Tim Kaine last year, and now Matt Stoller is saying we need to stop being starstuck by pols. Well, being a bit older than my friend Matt, I waill say this: as long as you go along to get along, you won't be respected. As long as you rely on pols to transmit your message, you will be constrained by them.

I value my self-respect far more than party loyalty. It nauseates me to see all the right bloggers defending Bush at any price. What? Did they stop thinking? Power groupies, the lot of them.

What Matt is getting at is that people have to stop genulfecting because Ted Kennedy is on a conference call, which is true. Respect often morphs into synchophantic behavior when confronted by the famous. It takes a lot of time to get that hard nose that you learn in J school.

But it's more than that. The old liberal structure is basically founded on the condescening idea that an elite is needed to protect our basic rights and promote progressive ideas, and you can see that from the Nation to NARAL.

The reason I harp on the Nation is that it is the most liberal magazine published, yet it is a preserve of the rich and white in a city which is black and hispanic. NARAL backed Chafee despite pro-choice Dems running, and both come to us, hat in hand, saying they're fighting for us.

Well, that day should end. We don't need people to fight for us, we need people to fight with us. Steve Elmendorf, one of Kerry's former consultants, said basically, well, let's figure out a way to take their money and not respond to their demands.

The sad part is people defended him because they knew him.

My response to that is "so fucking what."

Anytime someone disrespects you, you have to defend yourself. Even if you like him.

The reason we raise money, not just here, but at most other sites, because we have no choice. There is no liberal structure to support us, to fund our research. I hate asking for money, I don't think any blogger likes asking for money, but George Soros isn't dolling out research grants and sending us around the US to write on issues.

When bloggers went to New Orleans after Katrina, we did that. When they went to DeLay's indictment, we paid for that. There wasn't a call we could make and a project officer to talk to.

Despite that, we, collectively have a lot of power.

The problem is that we lack the institutional support the right has. Their bloggers may be hacks for the most part, but they are part of a larger team.

We need more from those rich liberals we see in the media. What, exactly, are they waiting for, another election, another 527? The more people who do this full-time, the better the work becomes.

It isn't that your support isn't great, it is. It makes things possible, but unless someone has an endowment of $2m to kick in, our activities are limited.

I mean, we can see how the right treats their young people, and how you still have to have a rich father to work on the left. The left has gotten use to cheap, subsidized labor and then wonders why they aren't effective. Because the best and the brightest wind up in government, with unions, with people who can pay their bills.

But I think the problem is that a lot of bloggers like politics and wanted to be inside the game. Well, not me, but that's not the point here.

You are either an insurgent or not. If you want to change the Democratic Party, you have to be serious about. No more talk about the Greens, no stomping off. We have to be serious about getting rid of the dead wood at every level and pushing our arguments relentlessly.

We did that last weekend. We need to keep doing it.

As usual:

Stephen Gilliard
217 E 86th St
NMB 112
New York, NY 10028

posted by Steve @ 10:55:00 AM

10:55:00 AM

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