Friday, February 08, 2008

Obama: The Netroots (and Harlem) aren't so independent...

Here's a link to The New Republic's "Net Loss/Why liberal bloggers don't love Obama" by Bradford Plumer..... worth a read:

What the left/liberal bloggers are saying is they can't REALLY trust Obama to get us out of Iraq (Hillary is given a pass on this issue), and they're not sure where he stands on government surveillence (Wouldn't that be #2 on the Dem party platform after getting out of Iraq?? But I digress.....) Apparently Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas grumbled that "the usual D.C. consulting crowd" was advising Obama to run a "safe race."

Brad Plumer goes on to say that "Of course, irking the major bloggers won't sink Obama's campaign. And he still has ample support both from midsized blogs and many blog readers - he consistently does well in Daily Kos and MoveOn straw polls."

Though I agree that the Big Blogs aren't the end of the story and as in all establishment venues, it's the Daily Kos and MDD, Open Left, etc. that have the standing, there does appear to be the same establishment/grassroots split in the blogosphere as we have everywhere else.

I'm an independent and as such in New York, I have no vote in the primaries that are taking place. I don't know that I would endorse Barack Obama unless he asked me to (Which he has not. And I didn't receive The Memo....) and unless he had some pretty compelling arguments.

One argument might be that he recognizes independents by name (Obama has yet to acknowledge endorsements of significant independent leaders in California like independentvoice.org's Jim Mangia, or South Carolina's Independence Party's Wayne Griffin. In Missouri, independents like Barbara Woodruff put Obama over the top and raised the possibility that he might win the election based on independent voters. )

And he should talk concretely about our issues (Like open primaries, initiative and referendum, and other political reforms) when he claims our support.

That said, I don't like the politics of Daily Kos and Markos Moulitsas. Kos wants to be a vote broker for a supposed liberal voting bloc. Kos is living proof that the Amercian left is a calcified comodity of the Democratic Party that can be consumed like this morning's latte. (NOTE to Markos: The Liberal Movement has expired, please check your credentials at the door.)

The 2008 difference is that there's a real independent movement underway... A movement that Barack Obama and David Axelrod and other Dem strategists should pay very close attention to.

The Netroots are not alone. Compare the black Dem establishment. As Lenora Fulani put it yesterday: {A]ll of New York's black members of Congress backed Hillary and helped produce her highest percentage of the black vote anywhere in the country - 37 percent. In Harlem, the seat of the black establishment, represented by Congressman Charles Rangel, Hillary beat Obama by 7½ points. Rev. Al Sharpton remained neutral, managing to avoid getting caught in the crossfire between the insurgent and establishment camps.

We are in a fight in this country between the establishment (the elites) and the grassroots (everybody else). There's nothing in the blogosphere or in technology, in Harlem, or in Obama's campaign, that is inherently independent or forward-looking. That's up to us the people. The ability of the Obama campaign to connect with the independent movement will depend on the Obama campaign's ability to connect with independent voters, not their ability to read political polls.

I'm not surprised that Kos doesn't care about this fight and settles for "Dems Uber Alles". And don't you be surprised either when Kos and Charlie Rangel start saying we have to elect Hillary in order to beat Bush -- even if Bush is not running. Hey, you gotta have something to be against to win an election, right? Right. Except it's 2008. And we ain't yesterday's fools. -NH

P.S. -- Sen. Obama, if you want us, come get us. Don't be distant!

1 comment:

jeff roby said...

As I have posted on the Daily Voice piece by Fulani:

Why did Obama fare so badly in Harlem relative to the rest of the country (and state)? Well, what did the IPNY do for Obama? What did CUIP do for Obama?

Fulani mentor Fred Newman -- in his Talk Talk column along with Jackie Salit -- regularly wrote good things about Obama. But he never said people should vote for him.

The independent Hankster website didn't support Obama. Rather, while sometimes writing favorably, it constantly complained that Obama wasn't doing enough to seek the independent vote, and Nancy Hanks just wrote, "I don't know that I would endorse Barack Obama unless he asked me to (Which he has not.)"

The Independence Party of New York didn't support Obama. The New York City chapters didn't come out four-square for Obama. No such public statements that I could find.

Independent community members went to Harlem to support Obama in the last days of the race. But too little too late.

What we have here is a clear case of chutzpah -- killing your parents then asking the judge for mercy because you're an orphan!

Jeff Roby