The middle aged children's brigade
Not a blogger
Sitting At The Kiddie's Table Hotlist
Tue May 02, 2006 at 07:42:50 AM PDT
Chris Bowers has an interesting post up that I think is right on target as far as how the media/party establishment views the netroots:
In the Joe Klein / Mike McCurry narrative, the netroots are teenagers while career political professional are adults. [...] This is the dominant narrative concerning the netroots within much of the "gang of 500." The netroots are teenagers who think they know what they are doing but don't, while the establishment , both media and political, are adult professionals who know how to get things done.
Bowers explains how we're painted as (1) newcomers, (2) young; (3) uninformed; (4) rabid; and (5) inexperienced and arrogant. Perhaps I'm not the best choice to comment on this, since I was a teenager just a few years ago, and I'll be the first to admit that I'm inexperienced and a relative newcomer to the political scene (though not, I would argue, uninformed).
Yet as Bowers explains, according to a recent BlogAds survey, the media age of netroots participants is 46. He has a great rebuttal to each of the five stereotypes, but I'd like to focus on the "uninformed" criticism we hear so often.
The complaints I have received about the netroots are not that we are uninformed in terms of current events. The liberal blogosphere is highly informed--indeed, self-informed--about every minute detail of current events, whether the media report on it or not. Rather, the focus seems to be that we are "uninformed" about politics in general.
We have seen this attack time and time again. People complained that fighting for an Alito filibuster was futile. Our calls for acts of courage on Capitol Hill are frequently met with exasperated sighs, slow shakes of the head, and condescending explanations that we just don't understand how D.C. works.
The reality, of course, is that we do understand how D.C. works--we just refuse to accept the status quo. It is precisely because we know how D.C. works that we call for change. It is not naïveté that compels us to demand that the gloves be taken off; rather, such calls for courage stem from a rational realization that the current system is broken.
D.C. insiders, the big boys as they probably fathom themselves to be, are too busy playing in the rubble of our political process to realize that all they hold in their hands are remnants of a dying institution. They cling to expired notions of "bipartisanship" and "gentlemen's agreements", both of which obviously can no longer exist in the toxic climate of this Republican government. And when we, who haven't been lulled into complacency, desire to step in and step up to perform some type of CPR on this dying democracy, we're brushed off as immature kids who will likely cause more harm than good.
And so here we sit: awkwardly large at the kiddie's table, observing the chaos one table over, where the insiders continue with their failed tactics and policies, preferring their cannabilistic politics to real reform and change. In the meantime, we lose election after election because they're too stubborn to pull up another chair and bring the rest of America to the table.
Update by kos: If I may intrude into Georgia's excellent post, let me make one more point. McCurry writes:
You can see in blog commentary lots of great huffing and puffing that will get you to exactly 38% of the electorate. I don't see a lot of useful dialogue on how to get winning coalitions together that can win more than 50% in closely contested elections.
Democrats haven't won 50+1 percent in a presidential election since Jimmy Carter in 1976. McCurry may think we're all "huff and puff" and we may not know how to win 50 percent, but we know for damn sure that the crowd in DC, McCurry included, is incapable of it.
One stat from the Blogads survey, from both this site and across the network was that 80 percent of readers were likely to e-mail someone over an issue. That is a phenominal rate of response that any marketer would sell his kids to Michael Jackson for. Half our readers will send a letter to the editor.
These are not the acts of teenagers.
To the Beltway crowd, shocked that Stephen Colbert can rip into them and not smile, they think that politics must move with their whims and dislike our collective intrusion.
posted by Steve @ 1:32:00 AM