Reporters "go native" on their Washington sources, internalize the assumptions of the people they cover, and treat new movements with the cynical contempt of castle lords facing a plebeian rabble.
Some 40 years ago conservative Republicans were being lectured to by their Washington party that they were too doctrinnaire, that they were too extreme, that they should follow their leaders if they wanted power, and would never win if they demanded orthodoxy.
So the parting on the right is now a parting on the left, and it’s the Netroots who are being lectured in the same way. The response to that lecture should be clear.
Netroots to Blogometer: We’re not your monkey.
How dare you, in your comfy Washington office, lecture people in the field over who they must support! How dare you state baldly that unless the Netroots continue sucking up to the Joe Liebermans of the world they have no chance of ever achieving anything? The circular logic of that is amazing. If you support real change you will never get it. Go Cheney yourself!
Much of this ignorance is built on the fact that the Washington party refuses to see the differences between Netroots Democrats and Washington Democrats. The Blogometer calls them "angry activists ready to go out and vote for anyone with a "D" after their name." This is simply not true. The campaign against Lieberman makes this clear.
So let’s ask the key question:
What do the Netroots want? What do the Netroots demand?
Mainly, we want attention paid to the real world, not the
Washington world. We demand that leaders address such things as global
warming, the replacement of hydrocarbons, the economic competition from
China, India and Brazil. We demand that America embrace the future,
starting with this medium. We demand more bits, more communication,
This is at the heart of Open Source Politics. It’s an
intuitive understanding that this medium, and its values of connection,
transparency, and consensus, are a new paradigm that must prevail
before we can move forward. It is telling that both Right Blogistan and
Left Blogistan stand together on issues regarding the Internet, not
just net neutrality (a Washington phrase) but on the demand that these
networks be defined at the edge, not at the center.
Why do Washington editors and consultants insist on lecturing us? Because they know, very
well, that we’re not just against specific politicians. We’re against
the whole idea of a center insulated from the edge. We’re not going to
take it anymore, from the TV talking heads, from the cable talking
heads, from the newspaper talking heads, and certainly not from the
National Journal. We demand more responsiveness fron the center, not just in 2006 but going forward.
It’s going to be messy, in part because the Netroots’ philosophy is
more about the process of change than about specific policies, as it
was in the Goldwater era. But that’s the way it is when you’re working
on a new political myth.
The Lamont-Lieberman race is merely a symptom of something larger. It’s
not just about the policies of the moment, but the processes by which
people achieve power in Washington, and what they must do afterward to