I think what you're describing is the transition from an open to a competitive market dynamic. Price of entry is now high enough that solo bloggers are not quite making it in, and established bloggers are innovating to retain their share.
would be to just say that the social dynamic of MyDD is distinct from the social dynamic of other sites.
Either way, I think MyDD has just as much of the dynamic of a "social clique" as any other progressive blog.
You may not see it as a family ethos, but there is definitely an in-group out-group dynamic on this site as much as any other.
I hope this doesn't come as a disappointment to have a diarist give you this kind of feedback. From my perspective, the sociality of MyDD is just one among many of the reasons for spending time here (e.g., it's a positive).
I think Schumer is awkward in conversation and interviews in a way that I associated with a certain breed of New Yorkers. I particularly appreciate the question on Iran. In my view, it mattered less what the specifics of the question were on Iran, than that Schumer was made aware through the question that the netroots is watching the Conference closely on this.
The issue that Chris is making here, and that I talked about in the 2005 piece linked in the post, is that large street protests are not accomplishing what they used to--not changing public policy through mass public gatherings as once they did. In an age driven by a different forms of media, single powerful images reproduced millions of times over seem to have much more of an impact than large scale images of mass crowds. That's a big change that needed to be acknowledged.
In terms of driving social change, the most effective protests of the past few years have been decidedly small in scale: The Sheehan vigil on the left, and then the anti-Abortion protesters on the right (the red tape on mouth folks).
In each of those two cases, the protests succeeded wildly because they created compelling images of individuals that--due to the nature of current media--literally overtook public net- and airwaves.
An image of one person reproduced millions of times, in other words, has proven to be a more effective protest than one image of a million people that does not get picked up.
So we have to ask: what purpose are these large-scale protests playing if high impact protests are now the single person efforts?
I made the claim--and I stand behind it still--that large scale protests are largely consumer events, social events that offer an opportunity for people on the left to experience politics in the open and with others. This is no doubt a valuable part of the process of growing a political movement, but arguably not a crucial part of the process of changing an immoral policy.
The logic of that statement by McCain is very similar to a "finger in the dyke." We are supposed to accept three concurrent ideas: (1) there is a sea of violence and death already "in" the region (e.g., like water behind a damn), (2) Iraq is the dyke holding back all that violene and death, and (3) the U.S. military presence is the only thing "holding it back."
To scare the pants off the American public, McCain tells the public that anything other than support for escalation is tantamount to yanking the finger out of the dyke: all the violence and hate comes pouring through.
As I understand it, a military withdrawal would be much different than a sudden yanking out. More akin to a fall back to defensive position on a chess board.
It was in this piece from Bob Geiger where he quoted Biden saying this:
"I have reached the tentative conclusion that a significant portion of this administration, maybe even including the vice president, believes Iraq is lost," Biden said last week. "They have no answer to deal with how badly they have screwed it up. I am not being facetious now. Therefore, the best thing to do is keep it from totally collapsing on your watch and hand it off to the next guy -- literally, not figuratively."
I got the impression this signalled that Biden was on the same page as Pelosi at least--that the Dems are about to enter a middle game with Cheney with the stakes being to prevent an escalation that would de facto just throw the whole mess to the next Administration (presumably a Democratic one).
God knows Biden is no genius, so I got the impression that Pelosi and Reid probably brought him in line.
MacLuhan's makes a basic point in The Medium is the Message that seems to undermine what you're arguing here:
Let us return to the electric light. Whether the light is being used for brain surgery or night baseball is a matter of inidifference. It could be argued that these activities are in some way the "content" of the electric light, since they could not exist without the electric ligh. This fact merely underlines the point that "the medium is the message" because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action...indeed, it is only too typical that the "content" of any medium blinds us to the character of the medium.
So the connections between politics and technology that you mention would be the conent in this case. But the medium would be the full range of possibilities that emerge through the mere existence of the given technology--possibilities that we don't even really see or think about. And so I side with MacLuhan in concluding that this makes the technology by itself important.
And so we send email, sure. But the fact that we even think of politics in terms of the possibility of communicating with millions of people instantly--this is a product of the medium which shapes and controls how we think about politics even before we conceive of something concrete.
I think the move by Pelosi in the video is very smart--to back increasing general troop numbers while at the same time demanding the Presidend justify any requests for additional troops sent specifically to Iraq.
It may not fully answer the political question in the short run, but a mission becomes a political force if it gains enough political capital. So, I think what the Edwards campaign is emphasizing here at the outset is a campaign based on participation over a campaign based on cash. If they stick with this approach, it could mean that the primary season will fall down into a battle between two kinds of political capital: financial (Clinton, Obama) vs. volunteers (Ewards).
If this plays out (and I suspect it will), we will see the word join emerge as the core message of the Edwards campaign--and if he wins the nomination--"join" will then be the mantra of the Democratic bid for Presidency. "Join" in this sense leads to "act." We join to act.
By contrast, if we see Obama or Clinton get the nominee, the word give or some variation of it will likely emerge as the core message. "Give" leads to "change."
So we will likely get "join...act" vs. "give...change" and then a variety of attempts to fuse the two from new candidates.
And given that "people power" is the estblished theme of the progressive blogs, it seems that Edward's direction will eventually arrive at the head of that column.
Great post. There's several distinctions bouncing around in this thread:
movement leader vs. nominee
movement vs. transactional
movement vs. network
Another other way to think about what Edwards actually did in his announcement, though, is line up two more distinctions:
framing vs. staging
movement vs. mission
Nancy pulls out the line about action now and calls it the framing of the speech, but I would argue that Edwards signalled a big shift in that announcement through staging.
What we saw in the framing was not new. It combined Dean's call for political entrepreneurism, Warner's call for effective management, Bill Clinton's call for global initiatives, and Edwards' own call to end poverty. A new pan, perhaps, but the same cake mix. If Edwards was Mr. "Two Americas" before this announcement, new hehas become Mr. "Two Managed Well America's that The Power To Take Global Action--Right Now!" It's all great, but it's now all there at the same time.
Given all that, I think what was actually novel in the announcement was not what we heard, but what we saw. And what we saw was not the framing of a campaign, but an attempt to stage a campaign as a mission.
Now, "mission" is a loaded word, but what I mean is mission in the sense of a sectarian assignment, not a military assignment. Mormons go on a mission (e.g.).
The Uganda videos, the NoLa footage, the "join us" frame--I think all this indicates that Edwards wants his campaign to be seen as a mission.
A mission is different from a movement because (1) it focuses on going to a specific place and (2) it is defined in terms of solving a particular problem. A movement is more general, more about defining an identity. And so I saw the NoLa announcement as the emergence of a mission campaign in a landscape defined by magazine cover principals. I'll be very curious to see if this staging continues in the Edwards camp or if it is just an opening strategy.