Blogosphere Loses Leverage Over 2008 Presidential Campaigns

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 14:20

At Daily Kos this afternoon, BarbinMD asks a good question: why has Obama spent a longer time away from Daily Kos than he has from Fox News?

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the shout out that Daily Kos received during the interview. It seems that for some reason, the senator is less willing to take on our commenters than he is Chris Wallace. It's now been 922 days since his last visit. Is it time to borrow from Fox News and start our own "Obama Watch?"  After all, we never pushed the "Barack is a Muslim, Marxist, un-American, latte swilling, elitist" stories.  That should be worth something, right?  Or is that left?

The reason I ask is that there are far more Democratic primary voters to be found on Daily Kos than on Fox News. Only 7% of the Fox News audience supported John Kerry in 2004, whereas the vast majority of the roughly 1.12 million daily readers of Daily Kos not only vote for Democrats in general election s, but in primaries as well. Surely, with several remaining upcoming Democratic primaries, Obama would rather appear on media outlets where he can not only reach more Democratic primary voters, but where he can even control his own message by crafting his comments ahead of time. At the very least, one would think that the Obama campaign wouldn't lie to the blogosphere about Obama's appearance on Fox News.

What concerns me about this entire affair is not he specifics of the interview, or even the general argument about whether Democrats should appear on Fox News. Instead, what concerns me is the blogosphere's apparently large loss of influence over the presidential election in influence over the presidential election during the past twelve months. Last year, the blogosphere successfully spearheaded a campaign to keep Democratic debates off Fox News, while simultaneously managing to hold a full-fledged presidential debate of our own at Yearly Kos in early August. Last year, Democratic presidential campaigns were shunning Fox News and embracing the blogosphere. This year, Democratic presidential campaigns are flat-out lying to the blogosphere and their appearances on Fox News. That is quite a tumble for the blogosphere. How did this happen?

More in the extended entry.  

Chris Bowers :: Blogosphere Loses Leverage Over 2008 Presidential Campaigns
Matt's basic argument, with which I am inclined to agree, is that the blogosphere and netroots have lost their leverage over the presidential campaigns because we have made our endorsement, and now there is no way to hold the campaigns accountable as a result. and many of the larger blogs endorsed Obama a while ago. Now, Obama's more than 3-2 advantage among small online donors, and more than 2-1 advantage among online supporters, basically means that he has the constituency as locked up about as much as anyone ever hope to have it locked up in a national primary. Further, the unwillingness of many to even call the Obama campaign on its about face from once freezing out Fox News to now appearing on Fox News, not to mention sending out mendacious missives about the purpose of his appearance on Fox News, only exacerbates the situation. Last year, the progressive political blogopshere was still undecided and / or split among several candidates, its potential voter and activist support had to be respected. Now, because we have fallen in line and take beatings with a smile, there is no need to respect us.

Then again, it has also been demonstrated that one of our only means of influencing Democratic behavior is to make endorsements in congressional primaries. For example, during a year of mass action on the Iraq war, the only two Democratic votes we flipped on Iraq in the House were Dan Lipinski in IL-03 and Leonard Boswell in IA-03. In both cases, we only managed to flip those votes because of the primary challenges those candidates either face or still face. Even in defeat, Mark Pera's campaign in IL-03 can be viewed as just about the only successful anti-war rally of 2007, and it was accomplished by making an endorsement in a primary.

One of the most difficult aspects of grassroots progressive activism is, given our relatively small resources, finding means of influencing Democratic behavior. Just about the only proven mechanisms we have found to date involve spending resources either in favor of primary challengers to incumbents, or in simply spending money to run ads against Democratic incumbents (which proved successful in flipping some Democratic votes on S-Chip). In all three cases--the debates in 2007, the S-Chip votes in 2007, and the Iraq and FISA-based primary challenges in 2007-8--the blogosphere and netroots successfully leveraged things of actual value in order to change Democratic behavior. Presidential candidates wanted our support, incumbent Bush Dogs didn't want local Dems to know how conservative they were, and no one wants to face a serious primary challenges.

At this point, I'm not sure what we can do to influence the Obama campaign's behavior, and hold it accountable for what took place over the weekend. In retrospect, I supported endorsing Obama not as a means of influencing either remaining Democratic candidate, but instead to try and help bring the nomination campaign to a conclusion, and also to use the energy of support behind Barack Obama to help some excellent downticket candidates on the Blue Majority page. At this late point, our ability to influence the presidential campaigns themselves might be gone. They know who we are supporting in the primary, they know who we are supporting in the general, and the campaigns have built massive in-house organizing centers that can circumvent netroots institutions almost entirely. Our best hopes for leverage in 2008 probably are to be found outside the presidential campaign at this point, in places like encouraging more congressional candidates to sign on to the Responsible Plan, or by supporting candidates in blue district primaries a both the federal and local levels. The events of this weekend, where the Obama campaign can appear on Fox News, the campaign can lie about the purpose of the appearance, and then bloggers who call Obama out on this get attacked by Obama supporters online, to me smacks of the death knell of blogosphere influence in the 2008 presidential campaigns. The best we can hope for right now is to affect the outcome of the campaign itself (which is, of course, still important), use the energy of the campaign for our own purposes (like elected progressive leaders downticket), and hit Bush Dogs where we can hurt them (at the local, state, and congressional district level). Unfortunately, as for as presidential campaigns go, it seems to be out of our hands.  

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This is what Democratic candidates do as they prepare for the general (4.00 / 5)
This is why I was enraged at people trying to make apologies for the centrist posturing of the candidates in general, and Obama in particular--the primary is our one chance to get these guys to actually have Progressive things come out of their mouths.  It is the time that they actually have to speak to us.  

When they get the nomination, they always either drift or sprint toward the center.  Our job is to keep them far enough to the left at the end of the primary that they don't end up slightly to the left of Newt Gingrich in November.

But I guess I just didn't understand Barack's new tranformative style of politics.  I almost wish this country could afford four years of a McCain disaster so we could triumphantly run Feingold in 2012. Almost.  

Illusion (4.00 / 9)
This is just silly. We never had much influence in the first place! Clinton and Obama were not the choices of the blogosphere. Edwards had much more support, and he won ZERO states.

MoveOn's endorsement came after Obama had already gained strength.

I adore our blogosphere and I hope we can increase our influence in the future, but let's not kid ourselves. If the blogosphere had actual influence, we'd be talking about nominee Feingold.

But ... (0.00 / 0)
Feingold didn't want to run .. in Sept of '06 ... I was at a MoveOn event in Philly .. and Feingold was there .. he took questions after his presentation .. and while I didn't really have a question ... I told him a lot of people(myself included) would hope he'd run .. I don't know how we could have persuaded him to run

[ Parent ]
Exactly! (0.00 / 0)
Blogs have some sway on media narrative. If everybody starts writing the same thing then they tend to pay attention. But other then that the sphere is pretty impotent.


It's been frustrating the hell out of me lately. There's no organized activism coming from the blogs. It's just people writing their thoughts and then people write there thoughts about those thoughts. Add in some sniping back and forth and that's it.

The academics of it all is interesting to read but woefully inept at creating action or influence.

For example, where the hell is the McCain googlebomb campaign? I see people write about getting something together but, again, no action. Just talk.

The blogosphere has just become a big forum for people to whine in.

If someone could point to a blog or group that is not about the drama but about action it would be greatly appreciated. MoveOn I think would be one group that fits the mold. Is there others?

[ Parent ]
More Action (0.00 / 0)
Yes, where is the Googlebomb campaign?

And last Sunday, the NY Times reported that 75 retired military officers have been spouting pro-war propaganda for the last 6 years. I first got interested in the blogosphere when DailyKos was outing Jeff Gannon, the "reporter" who somehow got press credentials to write propaganda and ask softball questions and presidential news conferences. Why isn't the blogosphere ripping those 75 retired military officers apart (researching this story, learning who these people are and what they were getting out of their deceit, and publicizing it) and forcing this scandal into the news? Why aren't we ripping the major TV networks apart for their complicity in thwarting the news?

This is the kind of thing that a decentralized movement of over-educated people can do. Why aren't we doing it?  

[ Parent ]
Just give Obama what Obama needs... (4.00 / 5) collar white any of them in your blogosphere? If you really want leverage at this stage of the race, demonstrate that you can deliver blue collar white voters. Its pretty simple. Just give Obama what Obama needs...

It is shocking (4.00 / 5)
Yes, after you vote/endorse you have less influence over the candidates than before you vote. I am sorry to have to be the one to break that to you. But if you never vote/endorse you have no influence.

As for this:

At this point, I'm not sure what we can do to influence the Obama campaign's behavior, and hold it accountable for what took place over the weekend.
maybe you should refer Obama to the Hague or Nuremberg.

What took place over the weekend was a campaign trying to win the election.  It is unfortunate that this got in the way of the all-important Fox boycott or whatever it is called. You can disagree on strategy, you can lament that it has come to this, but to go on and on and call Obama a "liar" and a "coward" as some front pagers have done is beyond absurd.

If this campaign stop on Fox and the campaign advisers statement that Obama was taking on Fox are so heinous, such a mortal sin, then rescind your endorsement and endorse Hillary. Just do it, please. (For ease in keeping the messaging straight you can merge again with MYDD.) Then you can write a dozen stories about how she and her surrogates have let you down by appearing on and praising Fox. Rinse and repeat.

John McCain doesn't care about Vets.

Obama's quest for the white house was set back when he went on fox (4.00 / 3)
it's not some blind test of loyalty.  It's not about anything other than the fact that, by going on FOX, Obama managed to give credence to the stupidity being spread about him by non-indignantly answering questions about stupid nonsense external to the campaign, and he helped legitimize a propaganda machine that will be essentially campaigning for McCain for the next six months.  He didn't help himself out, however much he or his handlers thought that they were helping him get elected.

[ Parent ]
Now that is a fair response (4.00 / 1)
It is fair to debate the wisdom of the strategy or whether he performed well. (Greg Sargent said he gave a solid performance, but that is in the eye of the beholder.) I don't know whether this helped win him votes or not. That is a reasonable debate. Time, I suppose, will tell.

That is not, however, what has been going on here, for the most part.

John McCain doesn't care about Vets.

[ Parent ]
Missing the Point (4.00 / 4)
The Fox New freeze was important. While it had already been broken by the Clinton campaign, being that Obama will be the nominee, it would have taken away a lot of their credibility if the Democratic nominee had never gone on the network, sort of how Dan Rather lost a lot of power when Bush I, the Republican nominee in '88, refused to be interviewed by Rather again after he received what he perceived to be an unfair interview from the reporter. While conservatives had hated him for ages for having been one of the biggest journalists on busting Richard Nixon for Watergate (watching the videos of Rather at Press conferences fills me with rage pretty intensely, in comparison to the modern state of the Washington Press Corp), this was when they started to really block him out, and sewed the seeds for his final destruction under Bush II (for what was honestly a rather minor mistake).

As well, I have to say, I truly am disappointed, more with the campaign lying to us. What this shows is that they know we exist, and yet don't care, because as has been shown by some of the more radical Obama supporters (of which I count myself in the pragmatic pool) as of late, they will defend him, even when he has fucked up. It is depressing reading this rather fatalistic interpretation of the events by Chris. Personally, I think that if we were to organize a shitload of Netroots members currently a part of the Obama campaign to call and complain, and even threaten to leave the campaign, we might be able to have an effect. Honestly, as an Obama supporter, I would be more than willing to take part in this, because this really has been a let down by a man whom I greatly respect.

Former Edwards Supporter, Obama Supporter since January 30, 2008

[ Parent ]
Sounds good to me.... (0.00 / 0)
Yes, maybe organizing an orchestrated contact effort would be more effective than chastising us Obama supporters who had the temerity to question the wisdom of Obama going after Wallace, a la Clinton.  

As if what people write in comment threads means a damn thing.... As if we 'Obama partisans' are preventing "the blogosphere" from taking action.  As far as I have seen, no action had been proposed until JJ made this suggestion.  And as an 'Obama supporter,' who has been supposedly gumming up the works around here, I'm all for it.  

[ Parent ]
Influence (4.00 / 2)
You also have to remember that presidential campaigns are massive operations. All kinds of constituencies are trying to exert their influence on the presidential candidates, of which the netroots is only one. To think that we could have massive influence in a campaign of that size and magnitude is kind of silly in the first place. Although I enjoy reading blogs about the presidential race, I think the blogs can have more influence in smaller arenas with fewer least until the day when a majority of Americans swear their undying allegiance to The Great Orange Satan.

Agreed. (4.00 / 1)
When there were multiple players jockeying for support, the netroots was one place to find then and court them.  But once it got down to 3 and then quickly 2 candidates, the campaign is just too big for the netroots to have much influence.  There may be 1.2 million viewers, but they (we) are scattered among various states who vote over time, and not all viewers are Dem partisans anyway.  We have much more leverage and influence over congressional races, House especially.  There our money and bodies are more readily noticeable, and sometimes really make the difference between winning and not.

And then the netroots folks have their own agendas and own issues which are more important to them (sometimes) than the fate of a particular candidate, while the candidates are pretty singlemindedly trying to win a nomination and then an election.  And of course the more progressive the blog, the more chary the candidate or his/her people will be of being associated with it, because of the way the right wing media exploit that kind of stuff.  It is a bigger deal in a presidential race because the stakes are the highest.

In addition, if the netroots is going to be a forum for journalistic criticism and dissection of strategy, then that will be its mode of influence--campaigns will come here for ideas to appropriate.  But the bloggers won't be "advisers" to the campaign, because the very independence that the blogs prize precludes that.  Maybe after the election, but not in the heat of the fray.  But even a sycophantic blog like MyDD doesn't have any real leverage.  So be it.  Trashing the winning candidate is not likely to lead to any more influence, so maybe the blogs just have to decide what role they want to play and live with that.  Do you really see the netroots as a "pressure group" like the ones you often criticize?  

I don't think the endorsement was a big factor one way or the other.  I think the institutional differences. or differences in roles played, and the sheer size of the campaign and the national stage, are a much bigger factor.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
Well (3.50 / 8)
One reason the Fox brouhaha isn't likely to generate any big moves is because its (rightly, I think) perceived as childish and silly.  It's sometimes very hard to take the netroots seriously, and stuff like this is a big part of why that's true.

The perception is going to be that a bunch of people are saying "don't talk to the mean right-wing outlets or I'm taking my toys and going home."  Accordingly, there's going to be a lot of doubt that the support was ever useful or meaningful in the first place if something as silly as this can cause such outrage.

This is especially true with someone like Obama who has demonstrated time and again that he simply is not interested in the shout-them-down approach to politics.  He got bashed from the right for suggesting that he was willing to talk to foreign dictators without preconditions, but his basic premise is that simply speaking to them is not a reward - it is necessary to establish some conditions for dialogue.  This is just another side of the same coin.  It is not in his temperament to believe that simply talking to them is all that bad.  If he sees a gain in it, he will do it.  

The key is to find places where persuasion is an option.  Demonstrating how strong and deep the commitment runs on getting out of Iraq, on poverty, etc. is far more likely to result in a meaningful engagement from the Obama campaign.

We can all have our opinions about whether that's a good or bad way for him to behave (I think it's pretty reasonable), but if we've decided that his positives outweigh the positives of anyone else, it's time to stop throwing a tantrum every time this happens and start thinking about ways to play a meaningful role.

This would be a good argument (4.00 / 1)
But you are ignoring the fact that his campaign lied, and said he would be "taking Fox on." If he is simply above the fighting game, why would they lie and attempt to placate the  blogosphere by making it sound like they would fight, and if we have such little influence, why would they even acknowledge and respond to us in the first place? The actions are rather clear: they know we have been important to them, and that we supply enough activists to be important, but they made a political move and deceived us when they thought it would help them.

Former Edwards Supporter, Obama Supporter since January 30, 2008

[ Parent ]
Please (4.00 / 4)
What, does "taking on Fox" even mean? It can be eviscerating them for being a tool of the Right, or it can mean answering whatever questions they threw at him or it can mean any number of things.

Are campaign advisers lying when they say "my candidate won the debate" or "my candidate took the high road" or "my candidates health insurance policy is the best" or any of a million statements like that. Both sides say this, so someone must be lying.

Get real.

John McCain doesn't care about Vets.

[ Parent ]
Frankly, I don't trust Greg Sargent anyway (4.00 / 2)
He's been careless too many times, and shown bias on at least a few other occasions, so I considered the somewhat ambiguous statement he reported from an unnamed source to be not worthy of basing any expectations upon.  I certainly don't think it qualifies as the "lie" that so many otherwise sensible bloggers are treating it as.

[ Parent ]
Then explain the freeze in the first place. (4.00 / 4)
I just love, love, love the explanations of how Obama's course reversals are brilliant, necessary and principled in every instance. If he sees a gain in something, he'll do it, and this is changing politics how ...?

You think it's silly to hope that candidates will stick to their previous position and not go on a known propaganda outlet. Yeah, childish. I take it you're not a big Media Matters fan.

Though I can see how we'd get so much farther if we adopted your strategy of kissing political tuchis every chance we get, even when we disagree. Everybody knows that the best way to win power in politics is to never make a fuss about anything.

[ Parent ]
This type of response is absolutely infuriating (4.00 / 7)
I didn't say it was brilliant.  I said it's his approach, one that I can see the sense of, but more importantly that it's senseless to be constantly angry about something that isn't going to change.

Beyond that, I think it's explicitly NOT a course reversal.  Obama did freeze out Fox for a long time, and rightly so.  But it was never supposed to be some great ideological fight with him.  He knows what Fox is and did not see much, if any, advantage is talking to them.  But even at the time, the netroots was full of people who were plenty angry that he wouldn't go full-bore on this, that he wasn't "leading" on the Fox freezeout, etc.  

And yes, this is an example of a new kind of politics.  Not new in some Messianic sense, which detractors constantly love to point out, but new in the sense that he appears to put genuine effort into the idea that dialogue and discussion can produce positive results, even among people with serious and unshakable disagreements.  That's not a brand new idea, by any stretch, but it is a meaningful departure from how a lot of politicians behave.

I think one thing that has drawn a lot of people to Obama is that he sounds and acts like someone who is genuinely interested in finding out what other people think.  And the whole point of this is that it's a profound progressive attitude.  Conservatives may be happy to toe the line and shut out opposing viewpoints, but that's not us, and it shouldn't be us.  We should demand better of ourselves.  For me, at least, (and I think for a lot of other folks that he won over) that's what all the talk about hope is really about.

It's not about not making waves or accepting "conservative frames," it's about a belief that we are smart enough, good enough, honest enough as a nation to talk to each other and listen to each other without losing our individuality.  And it's to accept that any candidate will necessarily be flawed, imperfect, but we should still hope for someone who will listen as much as he or she can.  

Even if that means that sometimes the general principle of disavowing attack-style politics is going to result in particular situations that are frustrating.

It's just who is he, and how he is going to run.  On balance, I'm happy to take the deal.  If you're not, feel free to support someone else.  But every time people act all surprised, shocked, and dismayed about this sort of thing it gets less credible and sounds more ridiculous.

[ Parent ]
Yes, please, explain the "freeze" (0.00 / 0)
and tell us all what effect it had, if any?

Has FOX lost revenue?  Have they lost viewers?  Have they lost advertisers?  

What results were gained by this so-called "freeze"?

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
well (4.00 / 2)
because there's a difference between a supporter who will pull the lever for you, and one who will sleep on floors and knock on doors in october rain for you.

Obama will get the netroots vote in the general sure, but every deed like this causes a few more dedicated progressives to decide to sit this one out or work for a congressional candidate instead of him.

[ Parent ]
alienating Hillary supporters (0.00 / 0)
the almighty Obama netroots have done him no favors. They elevate his status to the point of worship and that is just a set up for when he is revealed to his adoring, idealistic masses, to be, oh dear, oh no, HUMAN!!!

AND, they did a bang up job of alienating anyone not in lockstep with them on the Adoration of the Chosen One. If Obama were seeing straight himself, he might've called the Kos troops to heel and stop disrespecting the Hillary supporters that Obama would be needing one day.

Kos, by not laying down some rules of decent behavior, and by not having a policy of fairness and a semblance of equal time for other POV, has harmed Obama immeasurably.

And now Kos is furiously backpedaling and I find it pretty damn hilarious.

Obama needed reasoned support and a hefty dose of reality check medicine that has been pretty damned hard to find in the "netroots."

I think the worshiping, endorsing netroots have come off looking mighty shabby, and I hope this turn of fortune will help the badly-needed maturation process along.

[ Parent ]
I think a lot of folks just want a democrat in the white house (4.00 / 1)
And do what the average person does with their vote: pick what seems to be the best out of all the alternatives.

Nobody ever stops to think that they can influence candidates and demand more of them. Let alone that the candidates can influence the electorate instead of taking politically safe positions like "affordable health care".

I support Obama. But it's less enthusiastic than it could be. But hey, the guy doesn't need me. Appearently I'm too predictable or something.  

Obama Watch II (4.00 / 1)
How many days, hours, minutes and seconds since he posted on Daily Kos?

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

Learn From Our Mistakes (4.00 / 2)
Assuming we have lost our leverage, and I think we have though I'd be open to counterarguments, what can we do to avoid this in the future?

Obviously, don't endorse would be priority numero uno.  Even if the "blogs" (which aren't a borg mind anyway, but I know what's meant) have a clear favorite, making an explicit endorsement hurts us, rather than helps.

Secondly... what can we do during the general to get some influence.  Obviously right now we're about as sought out as the plague, but is there anything we can do to change that for the general?  I don't have any ideas, but hopefully someone else does...

Helping out downticket races, and trying to influence those outcomes could be a way of proving that we're a force to be reckoned with (though how that lesson wasn't learned after 2006 I have no idea).  If "our" supported candidates outperformed candidates we don't throw full support behind, it might send a signal (especially assuming that Obama wins the presidency) that we're damn useful in expanding his majority and his voting base.

Other than that... I dunno.  Anyone else have any useful ideas.

Learn From [Y]our Mistakes (4.00 / 1)
I had posted this at the end of a thread that was done, so here it is again:

So Obama supporters/endorsers are either
1. Upset that he dissed KOS and them
2. So happy he is smart enough to pander to the right wing.
So to get those all important Republican votes Obama:
Throws women under the bus by saying he is willing to  reach across the aisle to limit abortion rights.
Throws everybody who is not a rich white man or a corporation under the bus by first flirting with the idea of voting to confirm Roberts as Chief Justice and defending his Democratic colleagues who do. AND
Throws the planet under the bus by telling us deregulation was a good thing and industries can police themselves.

What a liberal! What progressive stances!

Are we even sure this guy is a Democrat?

[ Parent ]
Huh? (0.00 / 0)
How is this even remotely a response to what I wrote?  Or even a response to the topic at hand?  Stop trolling.

[ Parent ]
Huh? (0.00 / 0)
It is a response because you are all so upset about your feelings and your influence.  Where is your concern about actual issues? What about what the candidates say? Does any of it matter?  You guys are staring at your navels.  We are electing a president.  Not stroking your egos.  Do the issues addressed by the candidate in the interview you are all so upset/not upset about matter?  Or is this how you avoid discussing anything that is troubling?  I am really interested.  Does the content of what he said in the interview - aside from dissing the blogosphere - matter at all?

[ Parent ]
My feelings don't matter a damn (0.00 / 0)
And "influence" only matters insofar as the issues matter.  I'm making an assumption that the liberal/progressive blogosphere or netroots or whatever is in agreement about pushing liberal/progressive issues (such as transparent government, ending the stupid war, fixing our tax system, fixing income inequality, protecting reproductive rights, gay rights, civil rights and liberties, etc etc) and flat-out rejecting right-wing frames.  Obama going on Faux News is in and of itself basically an acceptance of right-wing frames; what he said on there, ignoring the so-called kos diss (which kos himself disagreed was a diss btw), wasn't bad.  He did ok.  That doesn't surprise me, Obama handles himself well in interviews.

So my response was to talk about ways that we can push liberal/progressive ideas forward, since our ability to do so via this presidential campaign is basically non-existent at this point.  So let me pose the question to you: how do YOU propose the liberal/progressive blogosphere push forward liberal/progressive ideas in this campaign season, and what can we do differently to do a better job of pushing those ideas during future presidential campaigns?

[ Parent ]
My feelings don't matter a damn (4.00 / 1)
Well, I think mine do, and as a female who can become pregnant I do not think the candidate did well. He suggested that one way to reach across the aisle to Republicans(!) was to limit abortion rights.  How is that progressive?  Why is that "ok"?
He said he agreed with deregulation and that industry could police themselves.  How is that progressive?  How does that help workers or the planet?
I won't even discuss the Roberts debacle.
Are you progressives actually Republicans? Oh he was just pandering? That is what you need to do to get elected.  So what does he stand for?  
SO THE REAL QUESTION IS: Why did the liberal blogosphere jump out to support him?  Or are you going to try to convince me that these are progressive values?

To answer your question: I suggest the liberal blogoshere support an actual liberal next time.  See what is there, not what we want to see.

[ Parent ]
Incoherence (0.00 / 0)
So, first you criticize "us" [whoever "us" is] for "our" feelings getting hurt... I say that my feelings aren't hurt, and even if they were who cares, because it doesn't matter... then you say your feelings are hurt and it matters.

I feel spun.

Agreed with the Roberts debacle, and I (and the liberal blogosphere) criticized him at the time.  Quite frankly, the other stuff that your fee-fees got hurt over are being blown way out of proportion, imho.  His positions in votes and policy proposals have been consistently liberal, or at least left-leaningly moderate.

Finally, re: liberals.  Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, I hate the "Lefter Than Thou" Game.  So I'm not going to play it because it's the definition of narcissistic navel gazing.  I will, however, point out that the "blogosphere" was initially Edwards-heavy, and very critical of Obama (does no one else remember people whining about it being the Daily Edwards?).  That criticism was ihmo well-founded, but in case you haven't noticed Edwards dropped out and can't win.

You haven't, of course, answered my questions.  What do we do the rest of this election cycle to push liberal ideas forward, and what can we do in future elections to do a better job of doing so?  "Supporting liberals" is a tautology.  What do we do to push our moderately-liberal [or even the conservative Bush Dogs] Democrats to a more liberal position?  Primary challenges work against congress critters, and that seems to be where the liberal blogosphere, at the moment, excels.  How do we apply that to future Presidential contests?

[ Parent ]
Incoherence (0.00 / 0)
Well, for one, how about supporting someone with liberal values, or insisting that they actually tout liberal policies rather than just pretend.  The idea here (or Obama's idea as presented on Fox)seems to be not to convince the more right-leaning voters that progressive policies will help them, but act like you agree with certain right-wing views to get elected.  Bush has screwed us with 7+ years of Republican crap. The compare and contrast should be easy.
BUT: Obama has made two mistakes:
1. He has not acted as if there is something to truly fight against, ie. our country and our constitution being taken over by border-line fascists. We do have something to stand up against AS DEMOCRATS.  There is no reason to run on this view that Democrats are the enemies of change.  This just alienates the base.  And the Obama-endorsing blogs have treated the Democratic base with disdain.  Democrats barely control the Congress and that is NEW.
2. Those of us who are very left-wing see who Obama's economic advisers are and are highly suspicious of his left-wing or even just basic liberal credentials.  These are not progressives. They do not believe in government as a force for economic good in the lives of the citizenry.  The blogosphere should have called him on this.  Or at least should have analyzed it.

The progressive blogosphere should have waited. Next time, have more judgment.  Be a little more cynical.  Demand specifics and hold them to their words.  

[ Parent ]
It could have something to do (4.00 / 2)
with the fact that some of the left blogosphere (perhaps the majority of it) has gone completely off the rails in recent months.  You are now experiencing the kind of irrational, vitriolic push back that others have felt for months-- but none of the admins did anything about it, or at least, didn't do nearly enough.  I used to send people to these sites all the time.  Last month, I had to tell my B-I-L and others to stop going to dkos and to please not judge me by the things they were seeing there.  I had to tell them it had gone off the rails, and I could no longer recommend going there.  That didn't happen so much here, but at times, it was close.

As for the campaigns coming to the netroots, you have to give the Clinton campaign credit for trying to engage at dkos.  Their online director used to come regularly until he was finally purposefully driven off the site by users filled with vicious, irrational hate.  And he didn't just show up a few times, it was many times.

It seems to me that most of the major netroots bloggers have been blinded for some months now.  You forgot what our role was as online activists.  I thought we were here mainly to do two things:  1) elect more and better democrats, and 2) to reform the party.  It was all over once you all went over to the Obama camp.  It was a really sad thing to see.  It seemed like the most prominent bloggers were afraid to be on the wrong side and to have to argue against others.  To be in the Obama camp was to be with the "in crowd."  It would have been much more valuable if you had all tried to maintain a balance of supporters on the front page at least.

Retract your endorsement.  Call back the people who supported other candidates.  Moderate your site so that open debate and dissent toward Obama is allowed and protected.  Get back in the business of holding people accountable.  Today is a good start.  It's a great relief to see this happening, finally.

What the hell are you talking about? .. (0.00 / 0)
I see plenty of critique of Obama here .. would you rather this be MyDD?

[ Parent ]
I agree with you... (0.00 / 0)
and I'm depressed by it. Obama would have to do a lot worse than go on Fox for me not to offer my time, money, and vote to him. The prospect of a McCain presidency is just completely unacceptable.  

Policy (0.00 / 0)
Because the blogs have turned into yet another method to raise cash versus put pressure for real policy positions.

I've also seen some posts on the blogs (let's not name names shall we, but it's not here) that are outright despicable and should be condemned.  

All one has in the blogs is typing objective, accurate and insightful info so when one sees things promoted that are so well, frankly socially unacceptable, unfounded and way out there, it hurts credibility.

Way way too much herd behavior, cheerleading versus in-depth accurate posts which is where the blogs can shine.  

The Economic Populist

i don't get the outrage (4.00 / 1)
The ABC debate and the general focus of coverage on nearly every network the last few weeks should make clear to all that there really is not much difference between FoxNews and CNN, NBC, etc.

Chris Matthews does just as much to promote right-wing frames as anybody else on TV these days.  I wouldn't say that Tweety's comments come from the same hateful place as Rove or O'Reilly, but it seems to me that he was out in front of the silly "elitist" meme, loudly and repeatedly discussing orange juice and bowling in order to maintain the horserace and to tout his own fraudulent common-man persona.

I'm not happy with Obama going on Fox, but then I wouldn't be happy with Obama going on ABC or CNN either.  So what's he gonna do?  It's not practical for a candidate for the presidency to boycott every TV outlet apart from Countdown, ComedyCentral, and PBS.

I'd love it if Obama visited Daily Kos again soon, but while it's true that the Kos is all Dem primary voters, it's also true that through self-selection that place is already 95% locked in for Obama.  There's actually many, many more votes for him to win by going on FoxNEws than there are for him to win by returning to Kos.

Frankly, I'd rather he stop by here instead anyway.

Number of KOS viewers vs. Number of FoxTV viewers (4.00 / 1)
"The reason I ask is that there are far more Democratic primary voters to be found on Daily Kos than on Fox News."

Laughable, I think you need to talk to someone in advertising and find out how true that is.  I'd be of the opinion that FauxNews gets a little bit more viewers than 1.5M per day.

See below .. (0.00 / 0)
I'd be of the opinion that FauxNews gets a little bit more viewers than 1.5M per day.

It's easy enough to verify online .. but it isn't much above 1.5 million

[ Parent ]
I didn't specify, not sure i needed to (0.00 / 0)
I would predict that the Obama FauxNews interview reached way, way over 1.5M people.  It was carried locally and nationally.  I would predict it reached enough people that 7% of the total was still far over 1.5M.  But I don't have the real data.

[ Parent ]
Getting my facts straight.. (0.00 / 0)
Sorry, the number quoted in this original article was 1.12 million daily KOS readers.  Which is what, page views, unique visitors, logins?  Who knows.  My point is that I think Obama made a good move based on 'getting elected', and I think he presented himself so well that even the hawkish analysts afterwards looked, at the least, at a loss for words, if not downright scared! :)

[ Parent ]
Fox News mean prime time viewership (0.00 / 0)
According to a report published by journalism. org, "The State of the News Media, 2007," the mean viewership for Fox News during prime time in 2006 was 1.4 million. Measured by that metric, Fox was the most-watched cable news channel during prime time, with average viewership double that of CNN and triple that of MSNBC. The same study found Fox had 61,541,000 unique viewers during the month of December, 2006, while CNN had 71,797,000. Apparently Fox gets higher ratings than CNN although it has fewer unique viewers because the Fox News viewers stay tuned to Fox longer.

Here's the report:

This brings me to the underlying substantive difficulty I have about the "boycott" of Fox News. Not only does Fox have a large number of viewers, it probably has many viewers whose principal source of news -- if not their only source -- is Fox News. Should Obama have "boycotted" those viewers? It's one thing to "boycott" the Fox talking heads, it's quite another to refuse to talk to the people who watch Fox regularly. What exactly is to be gained by Obama's refusing even to attempt to get his message and version of the issues across to those viewers? Is it better to let the Fox audience hear about Obama's views only as interpreted by Fox talking heads who range from vapid to vile?

[ Parent ]
We were going to end up (0.00 / 0)
with a cautious centrist no matter who won the nomination. That was a given.

So I'm not sure what we've "lost" here, except maybe for the illusion that Obama was actually interested in the netroots.

The only path I see at this point is, yes, downticket races and primary challenging Blue Dogs year after year. Do we have any choice? If we push Congress back to the center Obama will follow.

Montani semper liberi

I wish the title of this (0.00 / 0)
was prefixed with "BREAKING!"

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

I'd agree (0.00 / 0)
The blogosphere has relatively little influence because by and large they like obama and generally like the things he does.  Thats the main reason why it has so little influence over the presidential election.

As you can see the people who don't think that he should be on fox news are a minority of the blogosphere so understandably him going on fox is exactly in keeping with the views of the blogosphere.  Thus it is very hard to have influence on someone who is doing something you agree with.

The liberal wiki
Send an email to

It was a purely political move to shed some of his liberal image. (0.00 / 0)
Obama is a politician not a saint. I voted for him in our primary and despite the disappointing appearance on Fox, he's still has my support.  The reason he broke his boycott and went on Fox was political. His campaign pretty much made the case for it after the Pennsylvania primary.  They announced they were going to revamp the campaign to broaden Obama's appeal to older working class white voters.

Obama is now a liberal elitist according to Clinton and McCain. While I can think of better ways of addressing that issue, one way to do it is go on the conservative network that has carried the water for the Bush administration.  The condemnation of his appearance by the blogosphere serves to lower his liberal credentials as well. It was a political poke in the eye to liberals in an attempt to gain support among his weakest demographic.

Clinton still has a minuscule chance of winning. To do so, she must win big in the remaining states.  Except for Oregon and Puerto Rico, the remaining states are red to purple and have a signicant population of Reagan Democrats.  The Obama campaign is not looking to woo liberal voters like us, they're trying to close the deal by wrapping up the campaign with wins in Indiana and North Carolina.  

While I'm not happy with his appearance, I can see how they came to it through a political calculation.  Personally, I think he would have come out better if he had done a tour playing 3 on 3 basket ball versus supporters in the upcoming primary states.  He could follow the games up with a press conference afterwards while sitting in the bleachers sipping the favorite local brew. Now that would say non-elistist in a less controversial way.

John McCain wants to put SS in hedge funds.


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