Judging from the amount of publicity they gleaned, the liberal bloggers who gathered in Las Vegas recently for the first annual Yearly Kos convention represent the cutting edge of thinking in the Democratic Party. But the blogs I have scanned are heavier on vituperation of President Bush and other targets than on creative thought. The candidates who have been adopted as heroes by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the convention's leader, and his fellow bloggers have mainly imploded in the heat of battle -- as was the case with Howard Dean in 2004 -- or come up short, as happened to the Democratic challengers in special House elections in Ohio and California. Fortunately, there are others than these "net roots" activists working on the challenge of defining the Democratic message. I do not include the Democratic congressional leadership in the hopeful camp. The new legislative "agenda" that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and Co. trotted out last week was as meager as it was unimaginative. But a covey of relatively new Democratic think tanks in Washington are sponsoring conferences and lectures where more substantial policy ideas are being aired and debated. And this past week two new publications appeared -- one online and the other in print -- that promise to push the thinking of the opposition party even further. Promising as they are, the two publications also show just how hard it is to break free from conventional wisdom without leaving the universe of realistic policy.One of these Broder mentions, The Democratic Strategist, has a publishing roster packed with some long-time Democratic Party stalwarts (but this list includes Harold Meyerson, who peddles standard, disgruntled out-party attacks on the GOP at the Washington Post, and his inclusion among the publishers likely limits the prospects for the new journal's novelty -- although Elaine Kamarck's also one of the publishers, and I've assigned some of her insightful writings in the past). For two more essays on the potential of the "Yearly Kos" convention, see Ronald Brownstein's recent piece, and this longer conceptual essay by Ryan Lizza at the New Republic Online.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Blog Party: Can "Netroot" Internet Activists Help the Democrats?
This David Broder column at the Washington Post dismisses the significance of Daily Kos and other "netroot" blogging outfits on the development of a coherent Democratic Party agenda. Here's the main thrust of the essay:
Posted by Donald Douglas at 1:25 PM