Democracy Downloaded

Running from the netroots

Posted by joevoeller on February 22, 2007

Ari Melbar makes some interesting points in this Comment piece, which was posted earlier today to The Nation’s website.

Citing the Edwards blogger scandal, Melbar writes that the controversy “was not so much about religion or online obscenity as power.”

The power of progressive bloggers, that is. In Melbar’s words, the netroots are the “most ascendant force in progressive politics, wielding more members, money, and media impact than most liberal organizations.”

And what’s the response strategy for the GOP? Divide and conquer. Melbar writes that the Republicans are trying to “drive a wedge between Democratic candidates and the netroots by attacking bloggers–and their readers–as an extreme vitriolic embarrassment.” Put simply, the strategy is to “scare Democratic politicians away from tapping their motivated base.”

Relunctant kudos must be given to Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, who was able to execute this strategy so successfully.

Unfortunately, Melber’s solution for Democrats seems a little too neat-and-simple: “Democrats should focus on tapping bloggers’ energy while managing their passion–and disregard the self-serving complaints of their opponents.”

After the Edwards flap, that is easier said than done.  

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