Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chris Mathews Was Wrong in His Criticism of the Netroots

I've had several conversations with people over the years with people who claimed that bloggers and online activists weren't really Democrats, but were instead folks who didn't really have any political sense and just wanted to promote their own agenda. These conversations usually take place right after there were a number of posts in the blogosphere that criticized a politician who is popular within the party establishment. Now I agree that there are some bloggers who don't care about anything other than making themselves look good, but the vast majority of the netroots actually want to help strengthen the campaigns of Democratic candidates and to make sure that our elected officials continue to represent the best interests of their constituents. When criticisms are made, it's usually done with the intention of working towards policy decisions that will actually do good for the general public.

Nonetheless, there are still plenty of folks who simply think bloggers are a group of fringe activists who like to toot their own horns but never actually show up when it matters. It appears as though that's what Chris Mathews believes as he was preaching those values on his show Thursday evening.
I don’t consider them Democrats, I consider them netroots, and they’re different. And if I see that they vote in every election or most elections, I’ll be worried. But I’m not sure that they’re regular grown-up Democrats. I think that a lot of those people are troublemakers who love to sit in the backseat and complain. They’re not interested in governing this country. They never ran for office, they’re not interested in working for somebody in public office. They get their giggles from sitting in the backseat and bitching.
As I said earlier, that's completely off base. Just here in Virginia, for instance, I know that I am one of several bloggers who have donated and raised a significant amount of money for various candidates. Furthermore, many of us have served as officers in our local Democratic Committee (including myself) and have also been staffers for campaigns or community organizations (once again, including myself). As Kos pointed out in an appearance on the Ed Show, that's not just the case here in Virginia but can be said about the netroots all across the country. So the next time you here someone try to dismiss criticism simply because it came from a blogger, remember that the netroots are often times some of the most active and insightful people you can talk to about the important issues of the day.


  1. This comment really rankled, because I can't stand when people go around deciding who is a "real Democrat." I find it counterproductive and demoralizing, especially since (as I believe is also the case here, although it isn't obvious) it is often based upon age. There is a real strain in Dem rhetoric that if you aren't a "Greatest Generation" or 1960's Baby Boomer, you have nothing to offer and can't possibly understand.

  2. Well, I think that Chris was making the point that there are some people like Markos and now Jane Hamsher who are really attempting to radicalized the party. Neither of them have held or ran for political office and don't have to answer to constituents and don't deal with the same issues as them. It's easy for them to rant and rave about their elected officials not being "true progressives" or whatever else they want to say. I mean they are using this health care debate as a litmus test now and it's pretty pathetic because it's the same thing we are laughing at the right about.

    You aren't going to find a candidate who meets 100 percent "progressive" ideology and threatening to "primary" them or work to help defeat solid congressman like Tom Perriello over one vote is stupid and makes them look foolish and less credible every time they say something. We made an effort to have our party be one of a large umbrella and now we are turning against them. Hell, I'm at the point to where if the party keeps going this course I won't be lasting much longer in it, whether it be by force or choice.