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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Internet Freedom and Progressive Netroots

Lately, I have been blogging a great deal on the intersection of the blogosphere and Democratic campaigns using netroots coordinators (I, II, III). This weekend, I've similarily been consumed with Ned Lamont's surprising showing against Senator Joe Lieberman at the Connecticut Democratic Party Convention (I, II, III, IV). Which brings me to two posts on MyDD on the evolving nature of Democratic Party politics and Internet Freedom.

Chris Bowers headlined, A New Power is Coming:

I saw it here in Philadelphia last Tuesday in a primary election that assured no member of the local media or Democratic Party would ever fail to take the local netroots scene seriously again. We all saw it on Friday night when Ned Lamont delegates at the Connecticut state convention assured that no member of the Connecticut media or Democratic Party would ever fail to take the netroots seriously again. Nationwide, we are seeing the re-emergence of a progressive, reformist, and partisan movement within the Democratic Party. Importantly, the netroots is a major player, but certainly not the only player, in this movement. The established news media is starting to take notice [...]

New Lamont, the candidate currently at the center of the movement, the candidate who now has Joe Lieberman in some very real trouble according to the Hartford Courant, has now produced a video thanking the blogosphere for helping to push this movement along.

I can only imagine that the right-wing political blogosphere must seethe with envy over how the media and the political establishment has become so much more entranced with the progressive political blogosphere. However, the fact is that the freepers, the Malkinites, and all those people who like to call themselves libertarians but who are really conservatives have done little to transform their party or the way the American political scene operates. As Mattt and I wrote nine months ago, the right-wing online is primarily an ineffective add-on to existing conservative and Republican institutions, while the progressive netroots is a newly emerging constituency with new leaders, new institutions, and new ideas. We have built a new progressive media, changed existing progressive electoral strategy, made some in the establishment cry, developed a new progressive donor base, and have begun to move into the establishment of the Democratic structure itself.

A new power is rising in American politics. The progressive netroots are altering the entire political ecosystem, and things will never be the same again.
And many a campaign want to be a darlying of the netroots in 2006 and 2008. So why have so few candidates signed up to support the internet freedom that has made all of this possible? Matt Stoller is whipping votes and I can't imagine any reason other than selling out to the highest bidder (cough, Mike McCurry) that anyone would side with the big telecoms against net neutrality. Yet here is the current list of candidates and politicians who stand with the netroots:
Coleen Rowley (MN-02)
Al Weed (VA-05)
Robert Rodriguez (CA-25)
Chris Owens (NY-05)
Rick Penberthy (FL-05)
David Harris (TX-06)
Harris Miller (VA-Sen)
Paul Aronsohn (NJ-05)
Herb Paine (AZ-03)
Ned Lamont (CT-Sen)
Tim Barnwell (TX-26)
Tony Trupiano (MI-11)
Eric Massa (NY-29)
Glenn Melancon (TX-04)
Bob Johnson (NY-23)
Saving the internet is to the netroots like CAFTA was to Labor. Politicians need to step up and declare loud and clear that they support the concept of net neutrality (that is the reason why you can visit this website without paying a toll because I'm criticizing the telecoms). The politicians with smart political instincts are joining up, it is the only position that makes sense. Change is coming, just not the kind the telecom lobby is trying to buy.

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