Commentary Magazine


From YearlyKos to a Star Wars Convention

Last week was the annual “Netroots Nation” conference, formerly known as “Yearly Kos,” where hundreds of liberal bloggers meet to discuss “how to be more effective in using technology to influence the public debate,” be “an incubator for progressive ideas” and, as Christopher Hitchens once mocked, continue their “long underground twilight struggle against Dick Cheney.”

“Kathy G.” is one netrooter who attended last week’s conference. Yet she has some beefs. Primary among them is that

The cost is probably one reason why the conference was so overwhelmingly white — it was about the whitest left-of-center gathering I’ve ever attended. And I don’t just mean that there were few African-Americans — Latinos and Asian-Americans were scarce as well. I also noticed that the attendees seemed to skew heavily male.

Yet the overwhelming white/male/upper-middle class composition of Netroots Nation probably had less to do with the cost of attending than it did the simple fact that most liberal blog readers and writers are white, male and upper-class, with a median annual income of $80,000. The Netroots is hardly representative of the country, never mind the base of the Democratic Party which it claims to represent.

Also, “there could have been more panels with people disagreeing with each other.” Sorry, but dissent isn’t allowed in Netroots Nation.

Anyways, those who attended this year’s Netroots Nation conference should enjoy it, because whatever “power” the Netroots had in Democratic politics will not last much longer. The illusion is up. To quote “paleoprog,” an apt commenter on the popular, left-of-center American Footprints blog:

There is a reason why Obama doesn’t respect the net left and is willing to lie to them and then betray them, it’s because they may not even respect themselves. Almost everything the roots have said about Iraq or the Bush administration is a half truth. From the lie about the pre-war intelligence to the insistence that the surge has not helped reduce violence to the valorization of Moqtada al Sadr. In a year or two, yearly kos and netroots nation will have the political significance of a renaissance fair or a star wars memorabilia trade show.

Remember to keep your Markos Moulitsas figurine in its original packaging.