The Netroots and Iraq

Someone just pointed me to this radio interview of John Stauber by Bob McChesney (it is the 8/19 interview) on the Netroots (especially Move On) and the Iraq issue, and I think it is excellent.

I’ve discussed this issue often, see here and here, here and here. In the Guardian, I wrote this:

In fact, the entire netroots’ performance opposing the Iraq war during 2007, and especially the performance of MoveOn, has been nothing short of pathetic. For example, MoveOn , seconded by such netroots stalwarts as Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller, then of the blog MyDD, and the Daily Kos blog, tried to rally support for the Democrats’ utterly inadequate Iraq supplemental spending bill. Predictably, the effort ended in disaster for Democrats.

But no matter, at least for MoveOn, which decided that this failure would be a great jumping off point for a political campaign to challenge Republicans in the 2008 election. MoveOn is still in the middle of that campaign. What we do not see from MoveOn or any of the leading left blogs are any attempts to pressure Democrats into taking action immediately to end the Iraq war. Every plan, every project, seemingly every post, is focused on how to exploit Iraq as a political weapon against Republicans in the 2008 elections. Very little thought is brought to bear on how to pressure Democrats to use the power of congress to end the Iraq war now.

MoveOn and many of the leading left-wing blogs have become nothing but appendages of the Democratic party – defending every initiative, no matter how wrong-headed, cowardly and obviously ineffective. And since the Iraq supplemental fight, where the netroots did such a horrible job, the discussions of what congress should do to end the Iraq debacle are practically nonexistent in the leading left blogs. They have seemed intent on confirming Bai’s view that the netroots are more interested in being kingmakers than in dealing with the issues. A review of the leading Left blogs shows very little coverage of Iraq issues and what congress should be doing. Instead, they are obsessed with 2008 presidential horserace blogging.

Stauber is not someone I am going to agree with a whole lot on a wide range of issues (for example, he is a big impeachment proponent), but I thought Stauber was especially good in this interview. Take a listen.


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  1. It has been literally surreal to me to see what’s going on over at Daily Kos, but also when reading about the 2008 Dem presidential candidates, how they are missing the point.  Frankly, I’d be a lot more supportive of both Hillary and Obama if they’d stop the campaign circuit and get back to work opposing this war.

    There have been plenty of FP posts at Daily Kos about the war, and even about the poor performance of the Dems, especially when it comes to FISA, and now I think it is finally sinking in that Reid and Pelosi have no credible plans to oppose this misAdministration.

    I think this is a huge mistake.  And I think it is counterproductive to Daily Kos as a site interested in electing Democrats.  The best way to make sure Democrats are elected is to forcefully speak out to our present Dem reps to be a real opposition, to stop this war, yes, Armando, to defund.

    I truly do not understand why this isn’t being done.  It defeats even the purpose of being “kingmaker,” imo.  There is no up-side to it at all.

    I’m hoping (foolishly, perhaps) that now most folks realize the Dems are NOT listening to us when it comes to unifying against the war that the leading blogs will stop equivocating and come out swinging, using whatever “political capital” they’ve obtained, to help force an end to this war, and let the Dems know they will not be supported — NONE of them — until we see some real opposition in our Congress and Senate.

    I think that threat is the only thing Dems will respond to.  And tho I am not all that familiar with MoveOn (don’t belong to the organization), they should do the same.

    It makes no sense to do anything else.

  2. is developing in an unsettling way.

    I think a lot of it is a sort of collective shock at just /how/ weak the Dems have been . . . both in terms of actions and messages.

    But there is no model that the blogosphere is conforming to.  It’s being made up as we go.  That makes the blogosphere weakness especially troubling.

    • pfiore8 on September 4, 2007 at 1:14 am

    i can’t agree enough and have been writing about it myself…  as i wrote recently challenging dKos’s willingness to accept this insanity:

    Let me put it this way: if the Congressional Dems are afraid, then we need to find people to send to Congress who are not afraid.

    And if they’re not afraid, then what are they, the people’s elected representatives, waiting for? Or are they all complicit in the policy-making of George W. Bush’s administration? Somebody, give me some other options…

    … cause this isn’t working for me.  Is it working for any of you?

    i know the complicit part is something we have to discuss and for another of your diaries…

    1. Cowards, Cowards II.

      Clearly the leadership has decided to ignore us.

      You know, I’m not one of those who think kos and the other FPs are not radical enough.  mcj, kagro, Barb, DT, are all clearly pissed.

      I think the tone is such that people feel uncomfortable now expressing their frustration, not understanding that it’s actually ok.

      That’s why we really need voices like budhy and Turk and OPOL to keep pushing.

      Otherwise people will tune out.

      • Armando on September 4, 2007 at 2:18 am

      has been prettyy upfront about it since March, he thinks nothing can be done.

      I think that even if you DO think it, you need to do the right thing and call them out.

      Had a long discussion with Greenwald about this yesterday at Talk Left.

    • pfiore8 on September 4, 2007 at 1:22 am

    i have to think this: we need the TRUTH. period.

    everybody wants to mitigate reality. but that is NOT the way to do this. hard. blunt. and with love.

    people are more afraid of the dark… and that’s where we are right now.

    if we tell them the hard truths and what it will take to clean up this mess… they’ll go into some shock, but when they come back to their senses, they’ll have a purpose… they’ll understand it and be able to make decisions…

    it’s not uncertainty as much as not being in control of living or dying on your own decisions…

    i have no doubt that most people in this country would stand tough… as they did in world war ii… but you know what this is really about?

    this time calls for a LEADER… and including Al Gore… NO BODY is stepping up to the plate… not our ex presidents… nobody is laying it down…

    we need a LEADER… not another fucking rock star or beer-drinking buddy

    1. Let me put this differently.  How does Kos, for example, expect to grow his readership if the views on the FP are not qualitatively different than what is being written by the editors of the New York Times?

      This is not to “trash” the FPers at D-Kos.  As you say, their views are fine. 

      But as for discomfort . . . shit, what exactly is market, here?

      1. They are reaping what they have sown and if Democrats expect they can turn us on like a light switch they are delusional.

        People are feeling down.

        • Armando on September 4, 2007 at 2:16 am

        I have been mean about it but I hope to be able to hand out candy now.

          • Armando on September 4, 2007 at 2:22 am

          I want them afraid of US!

      • Armando on September 4, 2007 at 2:18 am

      I amn curious  about this.

      I think my proposal pretty damned sensible.

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