I’m not at Netroots Nation this year, so I have to rely on reports to have an idea of what the largest gathering ever of self-described ‘progressive bloggers’ is trying to accomplish. A review of news reports indicates that the gathering is a depressing assembly dedicated to fist shaking and expressions of impotent rage.
The take-away from these reports is that the left should be demoralized, frustrated, filled with rage and a real sense of betrayal–especially when it comes to President Obama and Democrats holding any elective office. Naturally this “Democrats is disarray” meme is irresistible candy for the political press and media outlets:
The WSJ joyfully jumped in with: At Netroots Nation, Progressives Decry Obama Policies.
NPR is going with: Liberal Bloggers: Obama ‘Not Our Boyfriend Anymore’.
Huffington Post is breathless with excitement as their page screams: IT’S OVER. Progressives ‘Break Up’ With Obama.
Politico celebrates with: Liberals’ frustration on display at Netroots.
Joel Connelly of the Seattle PI reported that: Liberals have no love for Obama.
TPM gives this tired old meme its due with: Progressives Still Fighting Obama, Democrats At Netroots 2011.
And Dave Weigle offered: Netroots Nation: The Sadness of Crowds.
There were many more examples and new stories celebrating the meme are being filed every hour. And I’m not even linking to the predictable examples of this “Manic Progressive” meme from FDL or the auto-outrage Diarists over at Big Orange.
I’ve been to Netroots Nation before and I know that there is far more to the event than these reports hyping “Angry Left” and “Democrats is disarray” memes seem to suggest. A lot of great discussions are being had, connections are being made and some real organizing for future victories is being done. But these reality based stories of the conference will not be how Netroots Nation is described to folks beyond the walls of the convention center. Control of that message has been surrendered.
By Sunday, the “Manic Progressives” meme will be one of the non-stories in competition to replace Weinergate as the side show du jour. This notion that Right and Left both hate Obama in equal measure will help to keep any discussion or review of the madness of the
Republican Confederate Party and Wingnutopia policies off the front pages and away from the public. It will feed the both sides are extreme and therefore the same story line. It will make the never-ending series of hostage negotiations with the GOP a bit more difficult. It will do nothing to help progressives win a single victory. And yet, this “Manic Progressives” message will be the one that defines Netroots Nations for most people who hear anything about it. So it goes.
It would be nice if Netroots Nation was in control of their message, but they are not. From the news reports it seems to be a gathering of the Left stading in solidarity with the Right to shout to the rest of the Nation that Obama is destroying America.
And there were folks who said that the Right and Left could never agree on anything…