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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Democrats Must Like the View

Glenn Greenwald has a post this morning at Crooks & Liars where he delves a little deeper into his interaction with key Democrats over the Senate non-investigations into the illegal NSA wiretaps, something I touched on last night:
I explained that there is a bursting and eager energy among the literally millions of people who write and read blogs to take meaningful action against the Bush Administration. The people in the blogosphere are highly motivated, informed, and politically engaged. Activating that energy and having national Democrats work cooperatively with the blogosphere (rather than ignore it or scorn it) could make an enormous difference in how these stories end up being covered and resolved. It is monumentally dumb not to embrace the one mechanism which has the ability to unleash genuinely impassioned, mass citizen action. And there are obvious and easy -- yet quite potent -- ways for national Democrats to work with bloggers and the blogosphere to maximize the force of these efforts.

This was the response I ultimately received:
I think there is an opportunity for us to figure out a better way to work together. But, you have to understand, my ultimate goal is to help [the] Senator [] achieve his objective of real oversight on national security matters by the Intelligence Committee.

Even with the best of intentions, I'm not convinced that bloggers can help us meet that goal. In fact, I worry about it hurting our efforts given the increasingly partisan environment.
This response is not uncommon. Many - if not most - national Democrats really are afraid of working with actual citizens, and are particularly afraid of having any involvement at all with the blogosphere. It's as though they think they need to remain above and separated from the poorly behaved, embarrassing masses. They actually have been scared away from working with the very people who they are supposedly representing and who are on their side.
Glenn demonstrates on a daily basis that he knows more about what's going on with this whole mess than any of those clueless dolts who are supposedly tasked with oversight. Their dismissive and condescending response to his overtures of help (after they contacted him to chew him out) would be pathetic based on that fact alone, but as Glenn goes on to explain, it's their commitment to staying in the minority that is really galling:
The fact that so many Democrats are so resistant, even hostile, to one of the only venues which exists where truly impassioned and energized activism can be found illustrates just how dysfunctional and frightened they have become. They care far more about securing the approval of pompous establishment media pundits and even the approval of Bush allies who continuously push them around, than they do about working with the people who are on their side and actually winning.

They don't want to go anywhere near the citizen activism in the blogosphere because Tim Russert and Chris Matthews will no longer think they're a moderate, serious, responsible Democrat, and Republicans might accuse them of being an extremist or a liberal. They'd prefer to avoid that disapproval even it means losing (as it usually does), than be criticized and win. The reason they run away from their own allies in the blogosphere is the same reason they so often run away from taking a real stand against the Bush Administration -- it's because they are petrified that the establishment media and even Republicans will criticize them as being too combative, too liberal, extremist, etc.

As Crashing the Gate makes clear, the national Democratic apparatus is broken in so many ways, and the blogosphere and Internet-based citizen activism can either be the antidote for those problems or the force which wages battle against that dysfunctional machinery. Many of these frightened national Democrats are shutting their eyes tightly hoping that the blogosphere and its dirty masses just go away, or at least remain quiet and at a safe distance.

That obviously isn't going to happen. So the sooner Democrats realize that the blogosphere and citizen activism is something to embrace rather than scorn, the sooner it will be that they can find ways to finally cause the Bush Administration and all of its appendages to come crashing down.
As Glenn points out, the GOP most certainly recognizes the looming potential of the blogosphere and that's why they've gone to great lengths to promote the right and demonize the left. Once again, the Democrats have allowed the Republicans to define their narrative for them about the liberal blogs and then done their best to perpetuate it.

I guess the gutter is an awfully comfortable place for some people.