The NYT review of Crashing the Gates is dead on:
The netroots' power comes from the same network effect that made eBay a retailing phenomenon. Far-flung political activists now join together on sites like dailykos.com, and inject themselves into matters that used to be settled behind closed doors. The netroots helped make Mr. Dean head of the Democratic National Committee, over several establishment candidates. Now, they are backing Ned Lamont in a primary challenge to Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, who is about as popular among liberal bloggers as a computer virus.The GOP understands the power of the blogs and works agressively with them. The Democrats are terrified of us and generally see us as an extremely threatening presence. Witness the completely patronizing way that Jay Rockefeller's office dealt with Glenn Greenwald. If you were really interested in getting some popular support for investigating the illegal NSA wiretaps, wouldn't you want that guy on your side? He doesn't cost you a dime, he knows his shit and everyone's listening to him.
Much of the authors' criticism of the party establishment is dead-on. They rail against political consultants who take 15 percent commissions on media buys while giving bad advice. They are especially incensed by what they see as the self-defeating role of special interests, notably Naral Pro-Choice America's decision to endorse Senator Lincoln Chafee, a Rhode Island Republican, over two pro-abortion-rights Democrats. If Mr. Chafee wins, he could ensure that the Republican Party, which has an aggressive anti-abortion agenda, keeps control of the Senate.
To solve the consultant problem, the authors urge more hires from outside the Washington Beltway and lower fees. To rein in special interests, they point to two successful models. In Colorado, a few wealthy donors called in the groups before the 2004 election and prodded them to cooperate. Ken Salazar was elected senator, one of only two Democratic pick-ups. In Montana, Brian Schweitzer threw out the interest groups' questionnaires and spoke directly to Montana voters. The same day that Montanans gave President Bush 59 percent of their votes, they elected Mr. Schweitzer governor.
For all the talk about having to crash gates, the netroots are well on their way to becoming insiders. Mr. Armstrong is an adviser to the political action committee of Mark Warner, a leading candidate for president in 2008. When dailykos holds an offline convention this June in Las Vegas, Harry Reid, the Senate minority leader, will be a speaker.
The Democratic establishment could not hold the netroots back even if it wanted to. Their ability to raise money, recruit volunteers and shape the debate will make them indispensable. (my emphasis)
Christ almighty if he wrote that persuasively in favor of banning abortion or staying in Iraq Patrick Ruffini would have his baby.